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David S. Casey

Helping people driving force behind trial attorney's practice

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San Diego trial attorney David Casey's influence isn't limited to 2009, and he has the hardware to prove it.

In September, he received the Lifetime Legal Achievement Award from the statewide education and advocacy group Consumer Watchdog. He was honored, along with actor Dennis Quaid and two others, at the group's annual Rage for Justice Awards.

"David Casey's landmark cases against Exxon, big tobacco and the pharmaceutical industry have forever changed the balance of power for consumers in this country," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. "He represents the highest ethical standards for lawyers in America, as well as achieving unprecedented results for his clients, and we are proud to honor him."

The senior partner at Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield helped recover approximately $1 billion for the victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The 20-year legal battle is nearing a conclusion following the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a $500 million punitive damage award in the case. Casey represented approximately 1,000 fishermen in the case.

He also helped recover $25 billion from the tobacco industry for the state of California and played a key role in establishing the 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund, the largest pro bono program in the history of American jurisprudence.

Consumer Watchdog's lifetime achievement award isn't the only honor Casey received in 2009. In October, the American Bar Association's tort trial and insurance practice section gave him its Pursuit of Justice Award.

Casey's late father, David S. Casey Sr., won the inaugural Pursuit of Justice Award a decade ago.

"It's very special to receive the same award from the ABA that my father received," he said. "To be recognized by your peers, and on a national level, it's very gratifying."

Casey appreciates the awards but said it's not why he practices law.

"My approach to the legal profession is to take every step I can to protect the legal rights of individuals," he said. "It gives me great joy in life to undertake the representation of clients that need help and (to be) able to make a difference."

This past year, Casey also was named chairman of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) judicial nomination process. He is charged with overseeing her four bipartisan advisory committees, which are set up in each of the state's federal judicial districts.

They are responsible for nominating the U.S. attorney and the U.S. marshal in the Eastern and Central districts and for nominating federal judges in all four districts.

Casey owes a lot of his accomplishments in his 35-year career to his late father, who founded Casey Gerry.

"My dad taught me a lot about the importance of mentoring young people," Casey said, "because if you reach out a hand, you never know the impact that will make on them in the future. I think my love and respect for the law has a lot to do with how my father brought me along."

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