Distinguished Lawyer Memorial Honoree
Born in Winona Minnesota in 1923, Richard F. Gerry was an active trial lawyer for 45 years. He built aircraft for Boeing and served as a member of the Merchant Marine from 1942 - 1950. Mr. Gerry graduated from Columbia University School of General Studies and from the Columbia University School of Law. In 1958 he became a partner in Belli, Ashe and Gerry in San Francisco. There he was involved in the trial of many of the early cases in the development of products liability law. He also participated in the litigation of many aviation disaster cases. Taking a hiatus from the practice of law in 1967 to raise cattle for a couple of years in Manaus, Brazil, Mr. Gerry then moved to San Diego in 1969 and became of counsel to David Casey, Sr.'s law firm. In 1972, he and David Casey, Sr. with David Casey, Jr. and Richard Westbrook formed the predecessor law firm to Casey, Gerry, Reed & Schenk LLP. Here, he handled class and non-class cases arising out of ground water contamination and asbestos exposure and he represented thousands of Marshall Islanders against the United States arising out of the atomic testing program conducted in the Marshall Islands from 1948 to 1956. Mr. Gerry was a member of the Executive Committee of the Plaintiffs' Coordinating Committee prosecuting the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill cases in Alaska, which resulted in a verdict in excess of $5 billion. Mr. Gerry was a member of many organizations including the following: Association of Trial Lawyers of America, President 1981-82; Western Trial Lawyers Association, President 1973-74; California Trial Lawyers Association; San Diego Trial Lawyers Association; American Board of Trial Advocates; National Board of Trial Advocacy, founding board member; Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, founder; International Academy of Trial Lawyers; Roscoe Pound/ATLA Foundation, founding fellow and honorary trustee, Melvin M. Belli Society, President 1982-83; State Bar of California.