Boxer & Gerson, LLP has once again earned top Tier 1 rankings for Oakland law firms in two different practice areas by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® for the Eighth Edition of “Best Law Firms.” The firm earned Tier 1 recognition in the workers’ compensation area for the third consecutive year, while its product liability services earned Tier 1 ranking for the first time.Product liability is a subset of the firm’s personal injury practice area, headed up by Partners Gary Roth and Associate Attorney Eric Ritigstein.Meanwhile, the remaining nearly 20 attorneys in the firm practice in the workers’ compensation area, making it the largest worker’s comp firm in Northern California.
In addition, three of the firm’s attorneys—Co-Founding Partner Michael Gerson, Managing Partner John Harrigan, and recently retired Partner John Anton, were honored individually as Best Lawyers® for 2018. Gerson and Harrigan were named on the claimants’ side in workers’ compensation, while Anton was honored on the plaintiffs’ side in personal injury and product liability.
The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. This year, the rankings incorporated 7.3 million evaluations of more than 54,000 individual leading lawyers collected by Best Lawyers® in its most recent annual survey.
The survey solicited feedback from clients on firms’ practice groups, level of expertise, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, civility, and whether they would refer another client to the firm.
Boxer & Gerson Managing Partner John Harrigan once again noted the firm’s appreciation for the recognition by a respected third party.
“The fact that these awards recognize specific feedback from clients and peers in the legal profession is of course gratifying,” he said. “No one ever thinks about winning awards when they’re faced with the challenge of simply handling cases for clients one by one. The most important award is when we have simply done collective good work for our clients.”
Boxer & Gerson, LLP Partners Dennis Popalardo and Gary Roth paid a weekend visit to the Teamsters International Union’s Local 315 in Martinez on Saturday, July 15 to make a presentation to some 50 shop stewards and alternates.
Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist Popalardo and Roth, who practices personal injury law, emphasized the basic do’s and don’ts for workers in both the immediate and longer-term aftermath of suffering a workplace injury. Roth gave special attention to injuries caused by a third party.
Shop stewards are typically charged with learning as much as possible about issues affecting union members in the workplace. Boxer & Gerson attorneys make a regular practice of being available for presentations to stewards across a broad range of industries in the Bay Area.
Local 315 has a venerable history, having been chartered in 1936. It maintains collective bargaining agreements with more than 100 Bay Area companies.
The industries represented within its unit range from package handling and delivery to solid waste and recycling collection, grocery distribution and warehousing, transit, bakeries, construction and building materials, and much else. It represents some 4,500 workers, primarily in Contra Costa, Napa, and Solano counties.
Boxer & Gerson Partners Michael Gerson, Gary Lee, Maria Sager and Gary Roth were joined by Associate Dikla Dolev in addressing an audience of union shop stewards at the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) on Wednesday, July 12.
The veteran attorneys were invited by Union Local 2019 staff, who were joined in the audience by members of Union Local 444. The two unions represent different classes of EBMUD employees.
The event was held at the EBMUD offices in downtown Oakland.
Roth, the only personal injury specialist in the quintet, started off the two-hour program with a review of personal injury law as it applies in the workplace.
He was followed by certified workers’ compensation specialists Sager, who gave an overview of workers’ compensation law, and then Lee, who discussed medical care and temporary/permanent disability.
Gerson, also a certified workers’ compensation specialist, offered his perspectives throughout the program, gleaned from his nearly 40-year tenure as a founding partner of Boxer & Gerson, LLP. Dolev then joined in with her colleagues in the concluding question-and-answer session.
The assembled employees came from a wide variety of jobs, among them engineers, clerks, inspectors, accounting staff, customer service representatives, lab technicians, environmental compliance staff, dispatchers, construction workers, plumbers, concrete finishers, plant operators, information technology workers and more.
Local 2019 is comprised of some 700 EBMUD employees. Both it and Local 444 address the collective bargaining needs of municipal employees working on drinking water and wastewater treatment projects.
EBMUD provides drinking water to 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and also operates wastewater treatment facilities that serve 685,000 customers.
Gary Roth (back row, left), Maria Sager and Dikla Dolev (front row left and right), and Michael Gerson (next to Dolev) join some of their audience members from EBMUD after their presentation.
Boxer & Gerson, LLP’s personal injury attorneys Gary Roth and Eric Ritigstein teamed up recently to win an $896,468 jury award in Alameda County Superior Court for a severely injured California Highway Patrol officer who was sideswiped by a car while traveling on Highway 580 in September 2016. The case went to jury trial after Roth and Ritigstein rejected the opposing counsel’s settlement offer of $115,000.
The veteran officer was thrown from his bike while traveling at freeway speeds. He suffered a concussion and was left with intense head, neck and back pain, along with an inability to swivel his neck. This latter condition made it impossible for him to resume motorcycle duty upon his return to work. He had been much decorated through his career and had served as a training officer and mentor for motorcycle officers just entering the ranks.
Speaking of his colleague and lead counsel Roth, Ritigstein observed, “Gary did a masterful job in cross-examining the opposing counsel’s medical expert, who had said the officer should be completely recovered from his injuries after three months. He claimed the officer’s neck limitations were due to simple aging, though the officer was only 41 years old.”
The accident occurred when a young driver made an unsafe lane change next to the officer on the highway just west of Dublin. The impact sent the officer skidding along the pavement, resulting in the severe scraping of his tool belt, badge and helmet.
“He was unconscious at the scene and had to be rushed to the hospital,” said Roth. “He then had continuing memory issues, including vocabulary recall and executive function problems, for many months after the accident. He also has a wife and three children at home, and he can no longer do the work he loved doing.”
Roth and Ritigstein work closely together to handle a good portion of the personal injury cases coming to Boxer & Gerson. Roth joined the firm in 2007 and became a partner early in 2014, just as Ritigstein joined the firm as an associate. They both maintain their own caseloads while occasionally joining forces when it proves advantageous in particular cases.
In a repeat of its performance ratings last year from the prestigious U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings, Boxer & Gerson, LLP has again been named a Tier 1 “Best Law Firm” for the metropolitan Oakland area in two of its specialty practice areas: workers’ compensation and personal injury. The awards are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in the respective fields, and other factors.
This year’s rankings attracted the highest-ever number of participating firms and client ballots. More than 10,000 attorneys provided some 800,000 law firm assessments, and 10,000 clients+ provided more than 90,000 evaluations.
“We’re pleased again to be recognized in a well-respected national selection process, and the combination of peer and client reviews make these awards particularly meaningful,” said Boxer & Gerson Managing Partner John Harrigan. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about showing up every morning and doing your best to serve the needs of your clients. Whatever awards come from those efforts are just icing on the cake.”