CHOSEN TO 2015 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SUPER LAW YERS – TOP 10
Tom Girardi has become a legend for his courtroom victories,
as well as his advocacy for the judiciary and legal profession.
His 30-lawyer firm, Girardi|Keese, boasts more members of the
illustrious American Board of Trial Advocates than any other firm,
and his advice is valued as much by injured consumers as it is by
national political and business leaders.
“These cases, what my firm and I do every day, is the most
important work I know,” says Girardi, who has tallied more than $11
billion in verdicts and settlements. “There is no higher calling than
to go to court and represent someone who has been injured to
ensure they are compensated.”
Despite all his success, he still loves nothing more than taking
on a corporation that he believes is taking advantage of people.
That’s exactly the case with his battle against Dole Food Co. on
behalf of 1,000 residents of the Carousel division of Carson, which
is heavily polluted by petroleum waste. In July, the Carson City
Council declared an environmental emergency because benzene
levels 100 times more than allowable were found.
THE ADVOCATE FOR THE TOUGHEST BATTLES
“I’ve seen some really bad actors in my time,” says Girardi, whose
fame was made as one of the lawyers in Erin Brockovich. He won $333
million against PG&E for its devastation of Hinkley, Calif., and its 650
residents, who were poisoned by hexavalent chromium. “But this one
takes the cake. The residents of Carousel saved every penny they had
for these dream homes, and now all they have is a nightmare.”
He’s particularly saddened that for some Carousel residents,
justice delayed will be justice denied. Royalene Fernandez was a
proud homeowner before she developed severe health problems,
including leukemia and melanoma in 1992. It took until 2008
for the homeowners to discover that their homes were built on a
former crude oil storage site that Dole operated from 1922 to 1967
before selling it to a developer. Fernandez died in 2010.
Dole has acknowledged the site is polluted, but denies
responsibility because so many years have passed since it
developed the land. Despite that, the Los Angeles Regional Water
Quality Control Board has ordered the site cleaned.
Girardi has asked Dole to buy out the homeowners in addition
to cleaning the site. “It’s not possible to clean the site
without digging out all the soil,” he says. “These poor
people should not have to live in those homes one
more day. Fair is fair,” he says. “I mean, do you think
any of the Dole executives would let their children play
in a yard where they could get cancer?”
As with Dole and other toxic polluters, Girardi
specializes in holding accountable large and powerful
organizations that deny responsibility while making huge
profits. That was the motivation that fueled his recent
lawsuit against the National Football League, winning a
$765 million settlement on behalf of former professional
football players who have suffered brain injuries.
That was also his motivation in taking on the Los
Angeles Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt for
the savage beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow at opening
day in 2011. Stow was attacked by two Dodgers fans,
fueled by alcohol and marijuana and a lack of security.
McCourt had cut back security and increased alcohol
sales, Girardi claims, in the name of profits.
Girardi, Christopher Aumais and David Lira led the
litigation against the Dodgers, and secured a verdict
of more than $18 million in the much publicized
case. “It’s shameful, really, that the organization that
brought us Jackie Robinson is claiming it doesn’t have
responsibility to a fan who simply came out to enjoy a
day at the ballpark,” says Girardi.
TOM GIRARDI HAS WON BILLIONS TAKING ON THE MOST DIFFICULT ADVERSARIES,
INCLUDING DOLE FOOD FOR ITS ROLE IN A NEIGHBORHOOD DESTROYED IN CARSON.
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