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.