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Gilbert L. Purcell

Contact Me:

  • Asbestos
  • Personal Injury -- Plaintiff
  • Mesothelioma


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 prominent plaintiff firms 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 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.


  • Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, California, 1983
    Law Review: Pepperdine University Law Review
  • University of California, Los Angeles, 1980
    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


Evelyn Brown et al. v. Lone Star Industries, et al.

  • Civil Jury Trial (Remote trial – COVID-19)
  • Wrongful Death
  • Case resolved during pre-trial motions in excess of $1,500,000.00 as to all case defendants.

Else McKay et al. v. Honeywell International, Inc. (Bendix Corporation) et al.

  • Civil Jury Trial (Remote trial – COVID-19)
  • Mesothelioma Wrongful death
  • Case resolved during pre-trial motions in excess of $2,500,000.00 as to all case defendants


Jeffrey & Teresa Sposito v. Fluor Corporation; Monterey Mechanical Company; Bigge Crane Company; Tulloch Corporation et al.

  • Civil Jury Trial (Remote Trial – COVID-19)
  • Sarcomatoid Malignant Mesothelioma and Spouse Loss of Consortium – Negligence.
  • Case resolved as to all defendants during second day of Plaintiffs’ Opening Statement in excess of $13,000,000.00.

Gary Garrison and Karen Garrison v. Temporary Plant Cleaners, Inc.; Scott Technologies, Inc.; Broadspectrum Downstream Services, Inc. FKA TIMEC Company, Inc.; Parsons Government Services, Inc. FKA Parsons Infrastructure & Technology Group, Inc.; YBJD, Inc. FKA Yardbirds Electric and Plumbing Supply, Inc. et al.

  • Civil Jury Trial (Remote Trial – COVID-19)
  • No Marker Lung Cancer – 100+ pack year smoking history; Loss of Consortium.
  • Case resolved as to all defendants, including those who began trial as set forth above, during jury hardships (partly remote due to COVID pandemic) in excess of $1,250,000.00.

Robert & Debra Walker v. TIMEC Company, Inc. (n/k/a Broadspectrum Downstream Services, Inc.) et al.

  • Civil Jury Trial
  • Personal Injury/Loss of Consortium No-Marker Adenocarcinoma of the Lung – Negligence case – Contractor Liability
  • Case resolved during Motion Practice prior to jury selection in excess of $1,500,000.00 as to all case defendants.


William Cole et al v. TIMEC Corporation et al.

  • Civil Jury Trial
  • Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma – Negligence and Product Liability; Loss of Consortium
  • Case settled at opening statements in excess of $3,250,000.00 as to all case defendants.

Cynthia Treadwell v. Fluor Enterprises/Fluor Daniel Inc.; Sutherland Building Materials, Inc. et al.

  • Civil Jury Trial
  • Wrongful Death – Career Insulator/Asbestos Abatement Contractor – Negligence – Products Liability
  • Case resolved at beginning of Plaintiff’s Opening Statement in excess of $2,500,000.00 as to all case defendants.

Mary Ann Trujillo et al. v. Cal-Steam Company, Inc., Frederick Meiswinkle, Inc., Monterey Mechanical Company, et al.

  • Civil Jury Trial
  • Wrongful Death – Mesothelioma – Career Sheetmetal Construction Worker
  • Case resolved after hearings on all Motions In Limine prior to Jury Selection in excess of $2,500,000.00 as to all case defendants.

Press Releases

Other Trial Verdicts by Year


  • 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

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