Robert J. Gordon, Esq.
Trials are often won or lost on the smallest of things. A snippet of evidence. A question asked one way but not another. A procedural technicality.
Robert J. Gordon seems never to lose sight of such details, no matter how massive or complex the case. And that is a big part of the reason why the law firm where he is a member has gone on to obtain for clients $7.3 billion in verdicts and settlements.
Start with evidence, one of those never-neglected details. Mr. Gordon’s almost legendary approaches to ferreting out facts and figures are, at their core, tenacious. Just ask the courtroom opponents confronted with damning material Mr. Gordon and his elite team of attorneys have uncovered and introduced to the record. What these rivals know is that, once Mr. Gordon goes to war against a wrongdoer, there is almost no stopping his relentless quest to dig up documents, pictures and statements that buttress his client’s case.
The asking of questions, that is another detail of paramount importance. And those posed by Mr. Gordon are about as incisive (and brilliantly clever) as they come. Aware that an interlocutory framed just so can smash through the most elaborate shields erected by the defense, Mr. Gordon sometimes spends endless hours preparing questions. His purpose is to formulate and reformulate them until they brim with lethal force.
Procedure – the rules governing conduct of a trial – are vitally important, too. There are a great many of these rules, some mind-boggling for their intricacy. Yet, Mr. Gordon knows them front to back. As such, he understands which motions to make at what stages of the contest in order to gain ground against the defense or to block that side from gaining any ground of its own.
Toughness of the sort embodied by Mr. Gordon is exactly the type required to win big. Mr. Gordon’s victories through the years now cumulatively stand in excess of $405 million, mainly from verdicts against the makers and marketers of asbestos products, harm-causing medicines, dangerous medical devices, and more.
At Best Lawyers, a nationally respected attorney-rating organization, toughness – tempered by compassion for the innocent victims of wrongdoing – is a trait so highly prized that they give honored recognition to it. Which is why, in 2011, Best Lawyers named Mr. Gordon “New York Mass Torts Litigator of the Year.” He emerged as the winner of that coveted title after Best Lawyers meticulously combed through the nominations of thousands of other attorneys and concluded that Mr. Gordon exemplified better than anyone else the attorney ideals of ability, integrity, and professionalism.
In 2012, another esteemed organization tapped Mr. Gordon for honors, hailing him as a New York metropolitan-area “Super Lawyer.” This was not the first time that particular laurel went to him; Mr. Gordon has been declared a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2006. This is a significant achievement inasmuch as no more than a relative handful of a state’s total attorney workforce attain “Super Lawyer” status in any given year. It also is a significant achievement because a “Super Lawyer” is an attorney acknowledged by peers to be an extraordinarily talented practitioner of the law (this is borne out through a process that begins with a nomination from other attorneys who have personally observed the prospective “Super Lawyer” in action and ends after completion of a rigorous, multi-phase rating process that evaluates the candidate on a dozen indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement).
And there have been other tributes. In 2009, Mr. Gordon was a finalist for the Public Justice Foundation’s “Trial Lawyer of the Year” award in the category of MBTE litigation (MTBE is the acronym for methyl tertiary butyl ether, a gasoline additive produced in the U.S. at a rate of close to a quarter-million barrels per day and responsible for some of the worst incidents of contamination of the nation’s fresh groundwater supplies; Mr. Gordon was co-lead counsel in a multi-district litigation brought against the oil and gas industries making MBTE and played a pivotal role in engineering a nearly half-billion-dollar settlement on behalf of public drinking-water providers nationwide as well as for plaintiffs from various states, counties and cities). In 1995, the National Law Journal inducted Mr. Gordon to its roster of “Top 40 Under 40" attorneys – membership in this exclusive cadre is extended to attorneys 40 years old or younger who exemplify superior qualifications, trial results and leadership.
All three of those attributes have been Robert Gordon hallmarks for as long as he has been in practice at law – including his time fighting crime as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, one of the most rough-and-tumble cities in America. There, he helped put a great many felons behind bars so that the streets might be made safer for the law-abiding.
Mr. Gordon joined Weitz & Luxenberg five years after the firm’s founding. He was given the title of chief trial lawyer and made responsible for seeking justice on behalf of asbestos exposure victims. In 1996, owing to his inestimable value to the firm, Mr. Gordon was named a member of Weitz & Luxenberg (co-founders Perry Weitz, Esq., and Arthur Luxenberg, Esq., are the firm’s two other members).
Having seen what Mr. Gordon can achieve, our clients find it easy – and potentially quite profitable – to rely on his counsel. His courtroom opponents also at times find it advisable to heed his words. For example, Mr. Gordon participated in representing hundreds of individuals and businesses along the Gulf of Mexico who suffered financial losses, property damage and other harms as a result of the BP “Deepwater Horizon” oil spill. What happened was this: In 2010, a well-head on the Gulf floor ruptured and allowed approximately 5 million barrels of crude oil to gush uncontrolled into the surrounding waters. By the time the well was capped three months later, fish and wildlife had died en masse, the health of many people was ruined, the livelihoods of many more had vanished, and local economies from Louisiana to Florida were hit hard. Weitz & Luxenberg, joined by numerous other law firms, sued the parties responsible for this man-made disaster. In early 2012, thanks in part to the contributions of Mr. Gordon, it was announced that BP had agreed to fully compensate hundreds of thousands of Gulf oil-spill victims, rather than go to court.
Lawsuits brought by Mr. Gordon on behalf of individual clients sometimes convert into multi-district litigations. This happens when the same issues and facts are present in those many individual cases, and the courts – wanting to proceed in the most efficient way possible – order them consolidated. To facilitate these litigations, certain of the plaintiffs’ attorneys are chosen as leaders who work together and make decisions in the best interests of the many other involved plaintiff attorneys and their clients. Mr. Gordon has served on such leadership teams, usually called plaintiffs’ steering committees, in multi-district litigations against the drug Rezulin, against a specific brand of silicone breast implants, and against Zimmer Next Gen artificial knees. Other leadership posts he has held: in the Rezulin proceedings that took place in New York state courts, he was co-liaison counsel; in litigations against the maker of the drug Baycol, he was liaison to the Advisory Committee and Compensation Subcommittee; in the breast implant trials, he was co-chair of the Science Subcommittee.
In addition to asbestos, drugs, medical devices and environmental pollution, Mr. Gordon’s expertise extends to litigations arising from birth injury, brain injury, automobile accidents, construction mishaps, escalator and elevator accidents, false arrest, lead-paint exposure, medical malpractice, municipal liability, nursing home abuse, and wrongful deaths.
No fewer than 36 of the verdicts won by him over the years exceeded $1 million. Twelve topped $10 million each. His highest single verdict was worth $22.4 million.
Mr. Gordon has represented clients since 1980. He is admitted to practice law in the state courts of New York and New Jersey, as well as in the New Jersey and Eastern and Southern New York districts of U.S. District Court. Moreover, he is admitted to the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals and to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Memberships in law organizations are an important mechanism by which Mr. Gordon imparts cutting-edge insights about practice to his peers, and receives useful information back from them in exchange. Organizations to which he belongs are: New York City Bar Assn.; New York State Trial Lawyers Assn.; American Association for Justice; and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. For the New York City Bar Assn., Mr. Gordon has served on its Committee on Tort Litigation; for the American Association for Justice, he has participated on its Scientific and Medical Integrity Committee and the List Committee.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Gordon completed the demanding law school program of George Washington University, from which he received a juris doctor degree with honors in 1980. Originally from Florida, he attended the University of Michigan. The school conferred upon him in 1977 a bachelor of arts degree with high distinction.
Telephone: 212 558 5505
Fax: 212 558 5506
Education: George Washington University School of Law (1980); University of Michigan
Bar Admissions: New York; New Jersey; U.S. District Court (New Jersey; Eastern, Southern New York); U.S. Court of Appeals (Third Circuit); U.S. Supreme Court
Memberships: New York City Bar Assn. (Committee on Tort Litigation); New York State Trial Lawyers Assn.; American Association for Justice (Scientific, Medical Integrity Committee; List Committee); Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
“Excellence typifies our attorneys. They have outstanding dedication to our clients and exceptional skills as litigators. All of this is so vital because mass torts is a team game, and our team is among the finest currently on the field – the best staff attorneys, the best administrators, the best, the best negotiators, the best alliances with other top firms around the country." – Robert J. Gordon, Esq.
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