June 30, 2017 marks 70 years since David S. Casey, Sr. hung his shingle to practice law in San Diego.
June 30, 2017 marks 70 years since David S. Casey, Sr. hung his shingle to practice law in San Diego. After naval combat in World War II in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, he decided he wanted to spend the rest of his legal career in San Diego. When he arrived in San Diego, there were fewer than 400 lawyers. Only a small number of them would actually go to trial, which is where he excelled, trying over 600 jury trials in his career. Since he launched his practice, CaseyGerry has emerged as one of the region’s preeminent plaintiffs’ firms – known for taking on high profile, complex litigation in a range of practice areas. Through it all, the firm has remained true to its original mission: Protecting the rights of individuals who have been seriously injured or lost loved ones.
A vibrant history marked by larger than life personalities
The firm’s long history is marked by many colorful characters and anecdotes. Founding partner David S. Casey Sr. was the first plaintiffs’ attorney ever elected president of the State Bar of California. A former U.S. Navy lieutenant and son of a St. Louis attorney, Casey Sr. graduated from St. Louis University School of Law in 1937 and entered the Navy Air Force until the conclusion of World War II. He later moved west, founding The Law Offices of David S. Casey Sr. in 1947. In 1961, he moved his firm to the site of the current offices at 110 Laurel St. in San Diego’s Banker’s Hill neighborhood.
In 1969, another legendary attorney, Richard Gerry, joined the firm which was then known as Casey, McClenahan, Fraley and Hauser. Born in Winona, Minn., and raised in Billings, Mont., Gerry started off his career building flying fortresses for Boeing and was a member of the Merchant Marine from 1942 to 1950, participating in South Pacific campaigns during World War II. He embarked on a law career upon earning bachelor’s and law degrees at Columbia University. After moving to the Bay Area in 1956, he worked for Melvin Belli, the famed “King of Torts” and two years later became a partner in Belli’s firm.
Gerry was followed in 1976 by David S. Casey Jr., then a city prosecutor, who is now the firm’s managing partner. Today, current partners also include Gayle M. Blatt, Frederick Schenk, Robert J. Francavilla, Thomas D. Penfield, Jeremy K. Robinson, Thomas D. Luneau and Wendy M. Behan.
Milestone cases contribute to firm’s national reputation
Over seven decades, CaseyGerry attorneys have handled thousands of cases with precedent-setting results. Following is a brief look at some of the major cases that have contributed to CaseyGerry’s national reputation – and led to the recovery of billions of dollars for consumers:
- CaseyGerry’s Robert J. Francavilla in 2017 was recognized as the trial lawyer of the year by the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. Robert has achieved outstanding multi-million dollar results in aviation, maritime, product liability, and numerous other personal injury cases.
- Casey Jr. serves on the national VW Multidistrict Litigation Plaintiff’s Steering Committee, overseeing litigation against the automaker over its diesel emissions scandal. The PSC was successful in recovering our $11 billion for consumers in one of the largest consumer class action settlements in history. He is the only San Diego attorney named to the panel.
- Following an appointment by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, firm partner Gayle M. Blatt is now serving on the plaintiffs’ executive committee overseeing class action litigation related to the data breaches revealed by Yahoo Inc. in late 2016. Blatt is the only California attorney to serve on the committee.
- CaseyGerry, throughDavid S. Casey, Jr. and Frederick Schenk, joined eight other firms on the national Plaintiffs Steering Committee that developed the National Football League Players’ case against the league revolving around the connection between concussions and serious long-term brain injuries. The resulting settlement calls for the NFL to compensate players and their families and to fund medical research for retired players.
- In California’s fight against Big Tobacco, Davis; Ellis v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company et al, CaseyGerry was one of the firms selected to join the private attorney general action. Of the $206 billion national settlement, California received $25.2 billion.
- Following the devastating 9/11 attacks, David S. Casey Jr. helped form the largest pro-bono effort in American legal history to support the victims’ families. Then vice president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of American (now called the American Association for Justice), he helped organize 1,100 attorneys into Trial Lawyers Care. Together, they secured awards of more than $2.5 billion from the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund.
- Our attorneys played a major role in a $5 billion verdict following the Exxon Valdez oil spill that dumped more than 11 million gallons of crude oil along Alaska’s coastline, Fisherman v. Exxon Valdez. The firm represented more than 1,000 fishermen out of the total 14,000 fishermen, cannery workers and landlords whose livelihoods and property were damaged.
Read more about our colorful and compelling history — marked by pioneering attorneys, precedent-setting cases, landmark verdicts and much more — Click Here
Also, Click Here to see more 70th Anniversary Party Photos.