Attorney Profile
Home » People » Purcell, Gilbert L.
profile
Gilbert L. Purcell

Contact Me:

  • Asbestos
  • Personal Injury -- Plaintiff
  • Mesothelioma

Biography

Born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, Gil Purcell relocated to California in 1971 when Chevron closed its Midwest offices and his family moved to San Francisco. He attended Mt. Diablo High School in Concord, California where he was Valedictorian of his 1976 class. In 1979 Mr. Purcell attended Pembroke College at Cambridge University, studying International Economics and Courts before returning to UCLA to complete his B.A. in Economics. He studied law at Pepperdine University Law School, clerking for famed trial lawyers, Girardi & Keese in Los Angeles and was a founding member of a mid–sized plaintiffs firm with trial lawyers Federico Sayre (former founding partner with legendary trial lawyer Melvin Belli) and Raymond Boucher. He tried his first asbestos case in 1986 before California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George. After achieving a sizeable verdict, and one of the first verdicts against the John Crane Packing Company, he was asked to return to the Bay Area and try asbestos cases for Steve Kazan, founding and senior partner of Kazan, McClain, Lyons, Greenwood and Harley, PLC in Oakland.

It was through this trial work that he met current partner, Alan Brayton. Before relocating to the Bay Area, Mr. Purcell tried to verdict the first successful asbestos property damage action in California against W.R. Grace & Co., manufacturer of asbestos–containing spray–applied fireproofing, obtaining the first of several multimillion-dollar verdicts. In that case, Mr. Purcell represented the owners of a 32–story condominium building in downtown Los Angeles and had many current and former Superior Court Judges and prominent attorneys as clients.

Widely regarded as the premiere asbestos trial lawyer - Mr. Purcell has tried, and been more successful in obtaining verdicts for victims of asbestos disease, than any other attorney. His trials span the western United States (Washington, Oregon and Utah) and throughout California (Alameda, Los Angeles, Solano, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Orange, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino and Contra Costa counties). In addition to numerous mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer and asbestosis trials, Mr. Purcell tried the very first asbestos-related non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases in Washington and Oregon, as well as asbestos-related colorectal cancer case in California.

He has argued multiple successful appeals before the California Court of Appeal, the California Supreme Court, the Utah Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and in Federal Courts involving complex asbestos, shipyard, railroad–related FELA/BIA/Preemption and personal injury issues. For an example of his trial work, see his record of trial verdicts.

Mr. Purcell has testified before the California Legislature on behalf of the Los Angeles Community College District addressing the injustice of limitations running against public entities barring pursuit of remedial asbestos cost recovery litigation.

Admissions, Associations, Activities and Accolades

Mr. Purcell was admitted to California Bar in 1984 and is also admitted before the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; U.S. District Courts, Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California; District of Columbia, Court of Appeals. He is the author of "Rostker v. Goldberg: A Step Backward in Equal Protection, or a Justifiable Affirmation of Congressional Power?" Pepperdine Law Review, Vol.9, No. 2, p. 441.

He is on the Board of Directors and Board of Governors for the Consumer Attorneys of California; and a member of the American Association for Justice (former Acting Chair, AAJ Railroad Law Section). He is also a member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, Public Justice, Litigation Counsel of America – Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, the American Bar Association, and the Bar Association of San Francisco. Since its inception in 2007, Mr. Purcell has been honored by the National Trial Lawyers as a member of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in California.  Mr. Purcell became the youngest member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) to achieve the designation of diplomat in 2008.

Mr. Purcell was selected as Attorney of the Year by The Recorder in 2011, and one of Lawdragon's Top 500 Attorneys for 2012. He was the recipient of the 2013 Pepperdine University School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2014, he received the Marin Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, and most recently received the 2015 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association

Mr. Purcell has been an invited speaker at educational seminars teaching other attorneys how to try asbestos cases, including specific assistance with:

  • Jury selection
  • Opening statements
  • Witness preparation & presentation
  • Closing arguments
  • Jury instructions

Additionally, he lectures on substantial factor causation in asbestos litigation at American Lung Association meetings, the Cedars Sinai Medical Center Forums on Asbestos Diseases; the Andrews Publications Annual Asbestos Conferences in New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco and Colorado; the Perrin Conferences Asbestos Litigation Conference; Plaintiffs Asbestos Litigation Seminar with founder and colleague Shepard Hoffman; KPIX radio; the National Lawyers Guild; and the Bay Area Community Law Foundation—Litigating for Social Justice Program Series. He also lectures on trial practice at law schools throughout California.

He is rated "AV Preeminent" by Martindale–Hubbell, indicating that he has achieved the height of professional excellence. This peer–reviewed rank indicates the highest level of skill and integrity in an attorney’s practice areas. His peers have also selected Mr. Purcell as a Northern California Super Lawyer for thirteen consecutive years. In 2017, he was ranked as one of Northern California's Top 100 Super Lawyers.

Personal Interests

Mr. Purcell is a graduate of the Jim Russell Racing School, having driven at Laguna Seca and Infineon Raceways. He hopes to someday compete in the USAC Formula Russell Pro Series Racing Championship, and regularly attends Indy Car, Formula One, and IRL races, including the annual Indianapolis 500 since 1985.

Mr. Purcell actively supports and defends animal rights – regularly assisting humane societies including Pets Without Parents, Voices for Pets, and the Marin Humane Society with their legal issues.

Mr. Purcell lives in Sausalito with Roxanne Sheridan and their ten cats, all of who were rescued from Bay Area animal shelters. Never to shy away from a challenge, he has worked to painstakingly restore a Sausalito historical landmark since 2003.

Education

  • Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, California, 1983
    J.D.
    Law Review: Pepperdine University Law Review
  • University of California, Los Angeles, 1980
    B.A.
    Honors: Alumni Scholar
    Major: Economics
  • Pembroke College at Cambridge University
    Major: International Economics and Courts

Bar Admission

  • California, 1984
  • District of Columbia, 1985
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Published Works

  • "Rostker v. Goldberg: A Step Backward in Equal Protection, or a Justifiable Affirmation of Congressional Power?", Pepperdine Law Review, Vol.9, No. 2, p. 441

Representative Cases

  • Betty Peterson et al v. Cahill Construction Co et al., 2015
  • Elaine Percy et al v. San Francisco Gravel Co. et al., 2015
  • Damon & Sondra Leeper v. Certainteed Corporation; TIMEC; et al., 2014
  • Robert & Linda Whalen vs. John Crane, Inc., 2014
  • U.S. Navy Admiral Beverley Lowe(ret.); James Mack; Kerry O'Brien v. General Dynamics Corp. et al., 2014
  • Raymond & Carol Byrum v. BorgWarner Morse TEC Inc. et al., 2014
  • Tajie Major v. Lorillard Tobacco Company, et al., 2014
  • Charles Fannin (Stationary Engineer); David Gerecke (Marine Machinest); John Giraudo (Laborer); Gloria McClain (Tommy McClain - Insulator); Guadalupe Ramirez (Marine Electrician); Edward Schlimmer (Pipefitter) v. Bath Iron Works Corporation; General Dynamics Corporation; et al., 2014
  • Kenneth Sawyer et ux v. Certainteed Corporation, et al., 2014
  • Willie Howard v. Rosendin Electric, Inc. et al., 2014
  • James and Ester Shiffer v. General Electric Company, et al., 2014
  • Janeen Kempton et ux. v. Flowserve US, Inc. et al., 2014
  • Deloris Turner et ux. v. Hennessy Industries, Inc., et al., 2013
  • Margaret Patrick et ux. v. Lamons Gasket Company, Inc. et al., 2013
  • Sandy Siegel et ux. vs. Hennessey Industries, Inc. et al., 2013
  • James Chesser v. Supro Corporation, et al., 2013
  • Eugene Rocha and Gail Rocha v. Hamilton Supply Co, Inc. (Oakland SheetMetal Co., Inc), 2013
  • Franklin Schwab and Patricia Schwab v. ZF Sachs Automotive of America, Inc. et al, 2013
  • John & Mary Beth Perniz v. Certainteed Corporation, et al., 2013, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Richard Luros, M.D. v. Amcord Inc., et al., 2013, Superior Court: Alameda County
  • Michael Villaverde et ux v. Fluor Corporation et al., 2013, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Flora Olson et ux v. Timec Company Inc., et al., 2013, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Michael Todd v. Todd Shipyard Company, et al., 2013, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • David and Gail DeCeoursty v. Fraser's Boiler Service, Inc. et al., 2013, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Melvin Desin v. Asbestos Corporation Ltd, et al., 2012, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • John and Sandra Leonard v. Metalclad Insulation Corporation, et al., 2012, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Oscar Bonetto v. Kelly Moore Paint Company, et al., 2012, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Thomas Metcalf, et ux. v. San Francisco Gravel Company, et al., 2012, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Judith Black v. Certainteed Corporation, 2011, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Margaret Watson v. Honeywell Corporation; Borg Warner Company, et al., 2011, Superior Court: King County, Washington
  • Sandra Austin, et ux. v. Sequoia Ventures, Inc. (fka Bechtel Corp.); Fluor Corporation; Del Webb Corporation; et al., 2011, Superior Court: Los Angeles County
  • John Casey and Patricia Casey v. FDCC (fka Dinwiddie Construction Co., Inc.); Kaiser Gypsum Company; et al, 2010, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • John Casey and Patricia Casey v. FDCC (fka Dinwiddie Construction Co., Inc.); Kaiser Gypsum Company; et al., 2011, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Pauline Thompson v. General Electric Corporation, et al., 2010, Superior Court: King County, Washington
  • Charles Akins v. Thomas Dee Engineering Company, et al., 2010, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Judy Oxford v. Foster Wheeler Corporation, et al., 2010, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Thomas and Victoria Olson v. Pacific Coast Building Products, Inc., et al., 2010, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Vickie Warren v. Georgia Pacific; Hamilton Materials and Union Carbide Corporation, 2010, Superior Court: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Christopher Bakkie; Charles Bakkie v. Union Carbide Corporation, 2010, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Al Samuelson v. Amcord, Inc., et al., 2009, Superior Court: Los Angeles County
  • Al Samuelson v. Amcord, Inc., et al., 2010, Superior Court: Los Angeles County
  • Mareta Ryan, et ux. v. Gardner Denver, Inc., et al., 2009, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Bernice Cox, et ux. v. Leslie Controls, Inc., et al., 2009, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Bruce Wall, et ux. v. J.T. Thorpe & Son, Inc; Wickes, Inc.; et al., 2009, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Patricia Pascale, et ux. v. Cleaver Brooks, Inc.; Quintec, Inc.; et al., 2009, Superior Court: Los Angeles County, California
  • Jack Reynolds v. Hamilton Materials, Inc., 2009, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Charlotte Smith, et ux. v. Sequoia Ventures, Inc.; Foster Wheeler LLC, et al., 2009, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Pamela Baur, et ux. v. Sequoia Ventures, Inc., et al., 2009, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Stephanie Berg, et ux. v. Scott Company of California, et al., 2009, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Connie Trujillo, et ux. v. Sequoia Ventures, Inc.; Fluor Corporation; et al., Superior Court: San Francisco, California, 2009
  • Margaret Simpson, et ux. v. Union Carbide; J S Guerin Co.; SF Gravel Co.; et al., 2009, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Robert Hilt, et al. v. Metalclad Insulation Company, et al., 2008, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Marissa DuRette, et al. v. Dana Companies, LLC, 2008, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Mary Marcelja, et al. v. Leslie Controls Company, Inc., 2008, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Anne Vanden Broek, et al. v. Plant Insulation Company, 2008, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Kenneth Martin, et al. v. COE Manufacturing Company, et al., 2008, Superior Court: San Francisco, California
  • Richard and Betty Palmer v. Rockwell Automation Inc., et al., 2008, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Eunice McClure v. Plant Insulation Company, et al., 2008, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Barbara J. Walker, et al. v. Foster Wheeler Corporation, et al., 2008, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Estate of Otto Schiebold v. Plant Insulation Company, et al., 2008, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Judy Oxford, et al. vs. Foster Wheeler Corporation, et al., 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Judy Oxford, et al. vs. Foster Wheeler Corporation, et al., 2008, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Jersey & Shirley Gray v. Allis–Chalmers Prod. Liability Trust, et al., 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Twila Harford v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Shirley McClure v. Plant Insulation Company, et al., 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • In re Asbestos Groups 378/391, 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Albert Cook v. Plant Insulation Company, et al., 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Edward McIntyre v. Metalclad Insulation Corporation, et al., 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Peter and Agnes Reiss v. Pneumo–Abex Corporation, et al., 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Janet Blakley v. Metalclad Insulation Corporation, et al. , 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Rollen Cox (Family) and Wenton Hutchinson (Family) v. Beazer East, Inc., et al., 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Samuel Barrick v. Allen Bradley Company, et al., 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Joseph Kotarski v. Rheem Manufacturing Company, et al., 2007, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Richard Campbell v. Kaiser Gypsum Co, et al., 2006, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Houston Muckelvane v. Highland Stucco and Lime Company, et al., 2006, Superior Court: Orange County, California
  • David Bakkie v. Union Carbide Corporation, 2006, Superior Court: San Francisco County
  • Charlton Clemmer, et al. v. John Crane, Inc. and Thorpe Insulation Company, 2006, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Alan Reinstein v. Kentile Floors Inc.; Bondex International Company, 2005, Superior Court: Los Angeles County, California
  • Alan Reinstein v. Kentile Floors Inc.; Bondex International Company, 2006, Superior Court: Los Angeles County, California
  • Genaro Garcia and Delia Garcia v. Duro Dyne Corporation and Holmes & Narver, Inc., 2005, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Walter Cozad v. Certainteed Corporation, et al., 2005, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • John Surprenant v. 20th Century Fox Corporation, et al., 2005, Superior Court: Los Angeles County, California
  • Shaheed Nuriddin v. Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., 2005, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Ralph Pierce v. Certainteed Corporation, 2005, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Ernest Coulter and Lerose Coulter v. ACandS, Inc., et al., 2005, Superior Court: King County, Washington
  • Patricia Moore v. Harley Davidson Corp, et al., 2005, Superior Court: King County, Washington
  • In Re Group 283 Asbestos Cases, 2005, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Tommy Archibeque v. Rockwell Automation Corporation, 2005, Superior Court: Los Angeles County, California
  • Robert Botorff v. Asbestos Defendants BP, et al., 2005, Superior Court: Los Angeles County, California
  • Chester Harris v. Sequoia Ventures Inc. (fma Bechtel Corporation), et al., 2005, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • David Dryden v. Volkswagen of America Company, et al., 2005, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Donald Perman v. Duro Dyne Corporation, et al., 2004, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • In Re Group 282 v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., 2004, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Thomas McClure v. Fluor Corporation, et al., 2004, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Anne Mader v. Owens Illinois Company, et al., 2004, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Stanley Ives v. Hamilton Building Materials Company, et al., 2004, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • David Davis v. Kelly Moore Paint Company, et al., 2004, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Richard Reynolds v. Hill Brothers Chemical Company, 2004, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Harlan Ketchum v. Union Carbide Corporation, 2004, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Morris Nagl and Donna Nagl v. Dowman Products Inc., 2004, Circuit Court: Multnomah County, Oregon
  • In Re Department of Justice – September 11 Victim Relief Fund, 2004, Department of Justice: New York City, New York
  • Robert Ryan v. Asbestos Corporation Ltd., 2004, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • John Kiss v. Asbestos Defendants, et al., 2004, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Patricia Anderegg, et al. v. Center for Claims Resolution, 2003, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Carl Ransdell v. Sequoia Ventures, et al., 2003, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Clarence Green v. Union Carbide Corp, et al., 2003, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Norman Hopkins v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., 2003, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Gertrude Bailty, et al. v. Oscar Erickson, Inc., 2003, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Otto Schiebold v. Asbestos Defendants, 2003, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Judy Arndt v. Ford Motor Company, 2003, Superior Court: King County, Washington
  • Lester Tims v. Ford Motor Company, 2003, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Milt Johnson/Alex Mendoza v. Asbestos Defendants, 2002, Oregon Circuit Court: Multnomah County, Oregon
  • Perry Wells v. Allen Bradley Company, Inc., 2002, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Alfred Todak v. Foster Wheeler L.L.C., 2002, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Joseph and Thomas Soares (Minor Twins) v. Tile Council of America, Inc., 2002, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Mark Compton, et ux. v. Asbestos Defendants, 2001, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Anthony Gallegos, et al. v. Dick Simon Trucking, Inc., 2001, District Court: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Group 193, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Robert Alexander v. Union Pacific Railroad/Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Co., 2001, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Ray Sundberg v. ACandS, Inc., et al., 2001, Superior Court: King County, Washington
  • Fred Robertson v. Westside Building Material Co., et al., 2001, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Dennis Emrick v. WR Grace & Co., et al., 2000, Oregon Circuit Court: Multnomah County, Oregon
  • Theodore Norman/Marion Norman v. US Gypsum Co and Krueger Lumber Co., 2000, Oregon Circuit Court: Multnomah County, Oregon
  • Alfred McKeown v. Center for Claims Resolution Defendants, 2000, Oregon Circuit Court: Multnomah County, Oregon
  • Donald Benedict v. Center for Claims Resolution, 2000, Oregon Circuit Court: Multnomah County
  • Bernie Chavers v. Owens–Illinois, Inc.; Gatke Corporation, 2000, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Lynda Broussard v. Graybar Electric Company, 1999, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Dona Cottam v. Rapid American Corp., 1999, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Sandra Holland v. U.S. Mineral; Douglas Insulation Co., 1999, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Robert Bush v. Kaiser Gypsum, 1999, Oregon Circuit Court: Multnomah County, Oregon
  • Jim White v. ACandS, Inc., 1999, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Tracy Thompson v. T&N PLC, 1999, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Arthur Manners v. E.J. Bartells Co., 1999, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Janis Hoffman v. Mobil Oil Co., 1999, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Frank Dens v. Burlington Northern Railroad, 1999, Superior Court: Los Angeles County, California
  • Kenneth Kugelman v. John Crane Co. (Opening Statement), 1999, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California
  • Donald Dressler v. Lear Siegler Co., 1999, Superior Court: San Francisco County, California

Honors

  • Northern California Super Lawyer, 2004 – 2016
  • Rated AV – Preeminent; Highest Possible Rating by Martindale–Hubbell
  • Attorney of the Year – The Recorder, – 2011
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award – Pepperdine University School of Law, – 2013
  • Commencement Address – Graduation Ceremonies – Pepperdine University School of Law, – 2013
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year Award – Marin Trial Lawyers Association , – 2014
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year Award – San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, – 2015
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers in California – The National Trial Lawyers Association, 2007 – 2015

Classes & Seminars

  • Speaker, Try Asbestos
  • Lecturer, Substantial Factor Causation in Asbestos Litigation , American Lung Association Meetings
  • Lecturer, Trial Practice
  • Featured Speaker, Southern California Trial Lawyers Conference, Pepperdine University, 01/29/2016 to 01/29/2016

Past Positions

  • Girardi & Keese

Professional Associations

  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Diplomat, 2008 to 2008
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Member
  • Consumer Attorneys of California, Board of Directors
  • Consumer Attorneys of California, Board of Governors
  • American Association for Justice, Member
  • Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, Member
  • Public Justice, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (SFTLA), Member
  • The Bar Association of San Francisco, Member, Present
  • Marin County Bar Association, Member, Present

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Certified Civil Trial Attorney, National Board of Trail Advocacy
  • Certified in Civil Practice Advocacy, National Board of Trial Advocacy

Current Employment Position

  • Senior Trial Partner