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Robert E. Kerrigan, Jr.

Robert E. Kerrigan, Jr. Partner
(504) 593-0619
rkerrigan@dkslaw.com

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Mr. Kerrigan is a partner at Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles, a member of the firm’s Management Committee, and head of the firm’s Civil Litigation Department. He has successfully defended against most types of personal injury claims, including certified class actions and cases involving catastrophic events such as industrial explosions and accidents; toxic exposure claims; product defect allegations; and aviation, trucking, and other transportation-related litigation. He also handles toxic waste and environmental litigation, commercial disputes, and professional liability defense.

He recently obtained a defense verdict in a five and a half week jury trial in which a trucking company was being sued for $40 million in relation to an alleged chemical release. He also recently obtained precedent-setting summary judgments in a paralysis case only days after opposing counsel demanded a settlement of eight million dollars. One of his most notable cases was representing Pan American Airlines and the United States Government as lead trial counsel in the defense of an airline accident just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. Over 200 lawsuits were involved.

Among Mr. Kerrigan’s many successes in defending professionals against claims for damages are several claims involving insurance brokers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In one case, he obtained dismissal of an insurance broker in litigation with claims exceeding 18 million dollars, proving that the broker placed proper coverage.

Mr. Kerrigan has lectured at numerous litigation and legal education seminars, including those held by Defense Research Institute and Med Psych Corporation. He has been on the faculty of the Insurance and Law Committee of the Georgetown University School of Medicine's Research Program in Forensic Psychiatry and on the faculty of the 20th Annual Defense Counsel Trial Academy of the International Association of Defense Counsel. He has written articles relating to advocacy, and has served on various boards of business, charitable and social organizations.

Military Service
United States Army, Infantry, 1964-66, Retired Captain

Honors
"Louisiana Super Lawyers" List, 2007-2014
"The Best Lawyers in America" List, 1995-2014
> "New Orleans Best Lawyers Environmental Litigation - Lawyer of the Year," 2014
> "New Orleans Best Lawyers Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Lawyer of the Year," 2012
Chambers & Partners, "Notable Practitioner," 2009-2014
Leadership in Law Award: Top 50 Lawyers in New Orleans, 2008, 2009, 2013 (Hall of Fame)
New Orleans Magazine's "Top Lawyers" List, 2012-2014

Professional Activities
American Bar Association
-- Products, General Liability, Consumer Law, Aviation and Space Law Committees
-- Tort and Insurance Practice Section
Defense Research Institute
International Academy of Trial Lawyers
Louisiana State Bar Association
-- House of Delegates, 1975-1980, 1983-1997
-- Chairman, Committee on Draft, 1979
-- Chairman, Committee on Lawyer Referral, 1976-77
New Orleans Bar Association
-- Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law, 1974
Tulane Law School American Inns of Court, Active Master

Education
J.D., Tulane Law School, 1969
A.B., Spring Hill College, 1964

Important Trials
Lead trial counsel in multi-district wrongful death/personal injury/property damage litigation arising from crash of Pan Am 759 into a suburban neighborhood near New Orleans in 1982. Litigation involved approximately 200 suits and was litigated from 1982 through 1985. Conducted discovery in and prepared over sixty suits for trial. Tried over twenty-five Pan Am jury trials, including numerous wrongful death suits, psychic injury claims of neighborhood residents, personal injury claims and numerous house damage claims involving extensive engineering investigation and testimony. Significant appellate practice followed a number of the trials. See, e.g., Trivelloni-Lorenzi v. Pan American World Airways, 789 F.2d 1092 (5th Cir. 1986), 821 F.2d 1147 (5th Cir. 1987) (en banc), reversed in favor of Pan Am on Warsaw Convention issue, 109 S.Ct. 1928 (U.S. 1989), on remand, 883 F.2d 17 (5th Cir. 1989); Tudela v. Pan American World Airways, 764 F.2d 1082 (5th Cir. 1985); Turgeau v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 764 F.2d 1084 (5th Cir. 1985); Leconte v. Pan American World Airways, 736 F.2d 1019 (5th Cir. 1984); Giancontieri v. Pan American World Airways, 767 F.2d 1151 (5th Cir. 1985); Brun-Jacobo v. Pan American World Airways, 847 F.2d 242, 11 Fed. R. Serv. 3d 585 (5th Cir. 1988); Bode v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 786 F.2d 669 (5th Cir. 1986); Savoie v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 742 F.2d 1451 (5th Cir. 1984); Eymard v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 795 F.2d 1230 (5th Cir. 1986).

In re Chemical Release at Bogalusa, No. 73,341, Div. "C." Following a five and a half week jury trial, obtained a defense verdict as to all claims brought by three employees of Gaylord Chemical/Container against a trucking company alleged to have delivered and moved four stainless steel trailers at Gaylord Chemical's Bogalusa plant. The last of the "Gaylord Chemical" cases, plaintiffs' alleged that their injuries and damages were caused by nitrogen tetroxide that leaked from the trailers in the days prior to the October 23, 1995, explosion. Because the cause of action accrued in 1995, plaintiffs were allowed to pursue punitive damages in addition to the forty million dollars ($40,000,000.00) they prayed for in closing argument. After deliberating for forty-five minutes, the jury found in favor of the trucking company and against the plaintiffs, dismissing their claims, with prejudice, and at their cost.

Averel Jackson v. Rose Phillips, et al., 07-CA-963, La. App. 5th Cir. April 15, 2008. Appellate decision in favor of defendants and against a plaintiff who filed suit against a district judge's minute clerk and the Clerk of Court for the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Court for what he claimed was his "unjust incarceration." Filed exceptions of prescription (statute of limitations) and of no cause of action under the theory of judicial immunity in the trial court, which were granted. Argued in the trial court and on appeal that the plaintiff, who filed suit more than five years after the alleged erroneous minute entry due to the clerks' negligence, had notice of his cause of action and thus should have filed a civil lawsuit within one year of learning of the alleged mistake. Also argued that even if the plaintiff's claims were timely, they were barred because the clerk's actions were cloaked in judicial immunity. The trial court and a 2-1 majority on the appellate court agreed.

Gloria B. Martello v. City of Ferriday, et al., No. 36-358-A, 7th Judicial Dist. Court, Concordia Parish, Louisiana. This certified class action was originally filed on behalf of the residents of the Town of Ferriday. The action involved Ferriday’s water treatment system, and primary claims were for injury, nuisance, and inconvenience. Plaintiffs also alleged that engineers engaged in fraud to cover up their alleged negligence in designing the system. This case was vigorously defended under the immediate direction of our client, and was favorably settled to the client’s satisfaction.

Phillips v. Severn Trent Environment Services, Inc. and the Parish of Plaquemines, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, No. 07-3889., Sect. “F,” Mag. 4. This class action involves alleged water contamination and the failure to notify affected parties in a timely manner. The case involves upwards of 15,000 people and is currently being litigated. We have successfully removed the case from state to federal court under the CAFA Statute, and have successfully defended against its remanding. Alleged damages include permanent gastrointestinal problems and other infirmities such as cancer. Due to the involvement of local government in the case, this matter has required both political finesse and a strong defense.

Erick Molo v. Southern Magic, Inc., et. al., Case Number 103,600, 16th District Court, Parish of St. Mary, State of Louisiana. Worker at a Sugar Mill filed suit after being struck in the head by a blowtorch, which fell from scaffolding forty feet above his head. Plaintiff sustained a comminuted and depressed skull fracture which required surgery to repair. At trial, Plaintiff alleged that he sustained permanent brain damage and was unemployable. We represented the excess carrier at the 2004 trial and the jury returned a verdict well within the primary insurer's offer.

Carroll Menard, et. al. v. Cassidy Empire, Inc., et. al., Docket Number 108225, Parish of St. Mary, State of Louisiana. Retired gentleman filed suit alleging that he sustained permanent brain damage after being struck by the digger bucket of a backhoe. The gentleman sustained a fractured skull and later required a burr hole to relieve the pressure caused by the subdural hematoma. Plaintiffs alleged that the gentleman required 24 hour care and/or institutionalization. Jury Trial on damages was held from March 24 to March 28, 2003 and the jury did not accept plaintiff's life care plan.

Green v. K-Mart Corporation involved a claimant who alleged she sustained a closed-head injury as a result of being struck by falling merchandise at a K-Mart store. Our firm enrolled as appellate counsel for K-Mart twenty days after the Third Circuit Court of Appeal increased the jury’s award to plaintiff from $1,458,000 to nearly $4,500,000. With less than ten days remaining before the judgment became final and irrevocable, we drafted a successful writ application to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which vacated the opinion of the Third Circuit and remanded the case to the court of appeal for another hearing. Green v. K-Mart Corporation, 2002-3198 (La.4/4/03), 840 So.2d 1209.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeal again rendered judgment against K-mart for $4,500,000. Green v. K-Mart Corporation, 01-675 (La.App. 3 Cir. 6/18/03), 849 So.2d 814. We again sought a writ of certiorari, and the Louisiana Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. In a unanimous opinion, the court reversed the Third Circuit and reinstated the jury’s award. Green v. K-Mart Corporation, 2003-2495 (La.5/25/04 so.2d). This case involved two successful writs to the Louisiana Supreme Court and saved the client $3,300,000 in principal and interest.

Obtained U.S. Fifth Circuit precedent applying the Gilbert forum non conveniens criteria to admiralty cases. Obtained similar precedent under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act requiring the law of the adjoining state to be applied to a rig accident precluding imposition of punitive damages under a "choice of law" theory. Wooton v. Pumpkin Air, Inc., 869 F.2d 848 (5th Cir. 1989). Defended against severe burn injuries to occupant of helicopter in clear liability case. Favorable quantum verdict obtained given extent of burns to a 28 year old married man.

Perniciaro v. Martin Marietta Corporation, 613 So.2d 775 (La.App. 4th Cir. 1993). Family of worker filed suits seeking tort recovery worker's compensation benefits alleging worker's suicide was the result of mental illness produced by stress in work place; tort action dismissed on summary judgment; benefits denied in trial on merits.

Mergen, et al. v. Piper Aircraft Corporation, et al., 524 So.2d 1348 (La.App. 1st Cir. 1988). Represented business owner of aircraft who sued manufacturer in redhibition and negligence to recover value of twin-engine Navajo Chieftain.
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