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The Immeasurable Impact of Advocacy

Burg Simpson founder Michael S. Burg discusses how the firm’s results transcend the courtroom to improve life for consumers and professionals nationwide.

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Justin Smulison

February 29, 2024 10:00 PM

Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, PC is driven by a passionate belief in the law and the impact it can make when properly applied.

Formed in 1976 in Denver, Colorado, Burg Simpson has since expanded to 62 lawyers and 200 staff in seven offices spanning six states. This national presence has uniquely positioned the firm at the forefront of civil law in the U.S. and has earned Burg Simpson a reputation for unparalleled advocacy in all areas of catastrophic injury and wrongful death. This includes class actions, product liability, construction defects, birth injuries and medical malpractice, as well as personal injury and commercial litigation. The trial law firm has secured more than $2 billion over its 45-year history, and with several far-reaching cases in progress, it will continue its tradition of excellence in 2024.

“We are proud to be lead and co-counsel in major nationwide trials and actions,” said founder Michael S. Burg. “Our mission is to achieve high-value results that will further protect the public and also maintain the integrity of the legal profession.”

Ohio Trail Derailment – Class Action

Burg Simpson’s Ohio office has been crucial for those affected by the freight train derailment that occurred on February 3, 2023. In that accident, 38 Norfolk Southern train cars transporting hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. Several cars burned for more than two days, and the release of various chemicals and pollutants into the air and ground forced nearby residents to evacuate.

A class action was filed by residents against Norfolk Southern, and a federal judge appointed firm shareholder Seth A. Katz as a co-lead attorney for the dozens of law firms and several hundred plaintiffs for that action. In addition to seeking maximum compensation for physical and real damages, Katz and his team are monitoring the long-term health of the affected residents since cancers and similar fatal diseases can take years to detect and be traced back to the derailment.

“The public can be preyed on by lawyers who don’t have the capability to handle cases of great complexity,” said Burg, who has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® annually since 2007 for Mass Tort Litigation / Class Action - Plaintiffs, and who received the Colorado Trial Lawyer Association’s Norman Kripke Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022. “Injured victims and their families need real trial lawyers who can make a difference and who are willing to take cases to trial and to fight for the rights of their clients.”

Body Broker Case

The “Body Broker Case” was an example of Burg Simpson’s ability to fight over the long haul for clients at the intersection of science, ethics and the law. In November 2019, the firm secured $58.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages for families who had donated the bodies of their deceased loved ones to Steve Gore and the companies he worked for, including Biological Resource Center (BRC) and Platinum Training, LLC.

“The jury verdict was one of the largest civil verdicts in Arizona history and shuttered the defendant company,” Burg said. “The case also put a spotlight on the importance of treating donated bodies with dignity and respect.”

After the initial jury verdict, the trial court ruled that the punitive damages award was constitutionally excessive, reducing it to $8.5 million (for a total of $17 million). But the Burg Simpson trial team appealed on behalf of the Donor families, and ultimately, the court ruled in favor of the Donor Families and ordered the trial court to reinstate the original judgment of $58.5 million. Burg Simpson is now litigating a bad faith case in federal court against BRC’s insurance company to further ensure justice is served.

Construction Defect

Burg Simpson’s Florida office opened in 2020 to serve as a beacon for consumer advocacy, particularly in the area of construction defects. COVID-19 caused an interruption in many construction projects. Once they resumed, they were often hurried to completion, so the work was inefficient and, in many cases, dangerous. The firm now handles some of the largest condominium defect claims in Florida on behalf of owners and homeowner associations.

“There is still some attempt to limit construction defect claims in the state as developers try to insulate themselves from liability,” Burg noted. “Many of the entities selling these properties and homes have no assets, so we must first pierce the corporate veil in order to hold the right parties accountable.”

Taking On Terrorism

Burg Simpson is also honored to be part of a consortium of law firms representing 3,500 Iraqi War veterans and Gold Star families in a civil lawsuit against seven EU banks. Filed under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), the suit requests damages, charging that the banks are responsible for various shootings and roadside bombings because they processed Iranian money that paid for the attacks between 2003 and 2011.

The banks previously admitted wrongdoing and agreed to $3.2 billion in payouts to the U.S. government in exchange for delayed prosecution for violating sanctions against Iran and other countries. But Burg noted that veterans and their families are still enduring the physical and emotional harm suffered from the attacks, which are only being intensified by tie-ups in court. “We are proud to fight for our veterans,” Burg said. “As we inch toward a fair resolution, we need our country and politicians to step up for these families by holding these banks accountable.”

Catastrophic Injuries and Class Actions

Burg Simpson continues to demonstrate national leadership in the areas of catastrophic injury and liability suits against well-funded defendants, including:

  • Grayhawk Golf Club’s Isabella Restaurant (Arizona). The firm represents two families whose children, one of whom was a seven-year-old and one of whom was a five-year-old, suffered near-death experiences after being served food containing extreme levels of THC—the main psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.
  • Gaylord Resort and Hotel (Colorado). A client and his family were in the indoor pool area of the Gaylord Hotel when the entire HVAC system collapsed. A part of the system landed on the client’s head, causing brain bleeds as well as a broken neck and back.
  • Banner Health. In this class action, Burg Simpson represents 272 doctors who claim the Arizona-based healthcare system routinely changed medical coding for certain procedures, cheating the physicians out of bonuses and compensation.

Ensuring the Next Generation of Lawyers

Burg Simpson’s commitment to excellence has resulted in countless accolades for the firm and its lawyers. Burg Simpson has a national Tier 2 ranking from Best Law Firms® 2024 in Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs and was recognized as a Tier 1 firm in Colorado for Construction Law, Litigation – Construction, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs, Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs and Workers’ Compensation Law – Claimants.

Best Lawyers® recognized shareholder Scott J. Eldredge as the 2024 “Lawyer of the Year” in Denver for Professional Malpractice – Plaintiffs. The firm continues to successfully fight and resolve cases on behalf of families whose children were catastrophically injured during birth. Birth injury litigation, including cerebral palsy and brachial plexus injury cases, remains an important part of the firm’s medical malpractice department.

Burg Simpson also continues to stand out as a legal leader, with 21 attorneys listed in The Best Lawyers in America and seven new lawyers as Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America for 2024.

“Peer reviews are extremely valuable and humbling because it frequently means we earned the respect of those who are on the other side of the courtroom,” Burg said. “We are also delighted that our younger and newer lawyers are upholding this reputation for impactful advocacy and excellent client service.”

Headline Image: Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, PC

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