Friday, June 27, 2008

We should all be so lucky as to get this type of "super" legal representation

Richard Warren Mithoff has been described by the National Law Journal as “one of the nation’s highest profile litigators,” and the Texas Lawyer, noting his “impressive trial record,” has described his approach to the law as “magic.”

He has consistently been named among the top trial lawyers in the country:

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Top 10 Texas “Super Lawyers” (2003-2007)

Top Five “Go To” Personal Injury Lawyers, Texas Lawyer (2002)

Top 10 Trial Lawyers in the Southwest, National Law Journal (1999)

Top 10 Trial Lawyers in the United States, Forbes (1989 and 1995)

2006 Trial Lawyer of the Year – Texas Bar Association

Best Civil Lawyer in Houston, Houston Press (1998 and 2004)

Best Lawyers in the U.S., (1989-2007)

American College of Trial Lawyers

International Academy of Trial Lawyers

International Society of Barristers

American Board of Trial Advocates

In naming Mr. Mithoff the “Best Civil Lawyer” in Houston in 1998 and again in 2004, the Houston Press described his courtroom style as “dazzling his opposition with pretrial maneuvers and connecting emotionally with any juror he needs,” while noting that he has “earned a reputation for honesty and forthrightness with clients, judges, and the media.”

Practicing in the area of general civil litigation with Mithoff Law Firm, Mr. Mithoff has focused on personal injury and commercial litigation, including medical malpractice, products liability, aviation, and admiralty cases. Mr. Mithoff has recovered more than $1 million by verdict or settlement in over 100 personal injury and commercial cases, and has successfully defended clients in commercial cases involving claims of several hundred million dollars for breach of contract, antitrust, trade secrets, and patent infringement. His diverse list of clients includes San Diego Padres owner John Moores, the family of former Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams, the family of police-shooting victim Pedro Oregon, the Democratic Party, J. P. Morgan Chase in the Enron litigation, Momentum Operating Co. and families of the BP Texas City explosion, the bus accident involving senior citizens fleeing Houston and Hurricane Rita and victims of a bus accident between Mexico and Houston (near Victoria, Texas).

Significant Cases

In 1998, Mr. Mithoff represented Harris County in the tobacco litigation and joined with several other attorneys in securing a judgment in excess of $2.2 billion in behalf of all Texas counties and hospital districts. He requested that $10 million from his fee in that case be retained by Harris County to fund children’s health programs. The Houston Chronicle, in an editorial praising the landmark settlement, described Mr. Mithoff as a “powerhouse attorney” whose “charitable gesture is deserving of the highest accolades.”

In 1999, in a complex trade secret dispute involving major business entities, Mr. Mithoff, along with other attorneys, negotiated a confidential settlement in which claims against their client, the defendant, were dismissed completely, with the plaintiff paying $39 million in damages to settle a counterclaim for anti-trust damages.

In 2000, Mr. Mithoff obtained a verdict of $40 million against Columbia Hospital for acting with malice in the retention of a staff physician whose botched surgery resulted in catastrophic brain injury to the patient, the first such verdict of its kind in the country. The case was subsequently settled after it was reversed and remanded for new trial.

In 2002, Mr. Mithoff won a verdict of $29 million in behalf of the family of a man killed in a rollover accident, securing a judgment against Sears, the tire retailer, in the first verdict in the country involving a Bridgestone/Firestone tire since the recall in 2000. (Settled on appeal.)

In 2003, Mr. Mithoff negotiated a $10 million settlement in behalf of the family of a 9-year-old child burned to death in a fire resulting from a rear-end collision with a Houston Metro bus, prompting calls for reform, in the hiring and training procedures of the bus operator First Transit.

In 2003, Mr. Mithoff represented the 42-year-old victim of an. explosion at the Imperial Sugar Co. facility in Sugar Land, Texas, citing defects with its explosion suppression system. The case settled for $5.5 million.

In 2004, Mr. Mithoff won a verdict of $24.7 million against Progressive Insurance Company, among others, for negligence in arranging for a rental car by a man known by the company to have had a recent history of convictions for driving while intoxicated, resulting in the collision and fire, and the death of a 56-year-old woman. (Settled on appeal.)

Also in 2005 Mr. Mithoff negotiated settlements for families of five victims killed in the explosion at the BP plant in Texas City. He also settled suits for victims of the 2004 BP explosion. (Confidential settlements)

In 2006 Mr. Mithoff negotiated settlements for the families of victims who died fleeing Hurricane Rita in a bus charted by the Brighton Gardens of Bellaire Senior Citizen Center. (Confidential settlements)

In 2007, Mr. Mithoff won a verdict of $31.8 million against Allied Van Lines in behalf of the families of a 9-year-old child and an 18-year-old woman burned to death and two victims who were severely burned in a fire resulting from a rear-end collision with an Allied Van.

Pioneering Cases

Mr. Mithoff won the first case to establish a defect in silicone breast implants in a landmark decision in 1977, and he and his firm in recent years have recovered over $70 million for clients in breast implant litigation.

Nationally, he is recognized for his “pioneering litigation” in cases of babies suffering brain damage during childbirth. One of his first widely publicized cases involved a $119 million structured settlement in a malpractice case against a Pasadena hospital in behalf of a child injured at birth. The case was featured on ABC’s Nightline and led to changes in the laws relating to hospital reporting requirements for the misconduct of doctors.

A $10.5 million judgment obtained in 1997 by Mr. Mithoff in behalf of a pregnant woman against a hospital and anesthesiologist with a history of drug abuse required the hospital to make sweeping changes in its by-laws and drug screening procedures--an order described as a “precedent setting decision” by the American Hospital Association.

Another landmark case won by Mr. Mithoff in 1993 involved the death of a young woman from hyponatremia--a low sodium condition affecting primarily women and young children following the use of improper IV solutions after surgery. The verdict resulted in changes in hospital procedures concerning the use of such IV fluids, and one of the experts involved in recommending these changes has estimated that such changes will save thousands of lives every year.

Mr. Mithoff has been involved in many other landmark cases over the years in which resulting changes in product design or usage have led to a reduction in risk of injury. These cases include litigation involving the defective Dalkon Shield IUD, which increased the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, and defective tampons, which elevated the dangers of toxic shock syndrome.

Professional Background

A native of Lufkin and reared in El Paso, Mr. Mithoff attended the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in business administration. After graduating in 1968, he enrolled in the UT Law School, graduating in 1971. He was Project Editor of the Texas Law Review in his final year at UT. Following graduation, he clerked for U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice. In 1974, he went into practice with legendary trial attorney Joe Jamail with the firm that later became Jamail, Kolius & Mithoff. In 2006 he established the Mithoff Law Firm.

Mr. Mithoff has endowed a series of scholarships at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, including a Presidential Scholarship in law for educationally, socially and culturally disadvantaged students at the UT Law School, a Presidential Scholarship for disabled students at UT Business School and an endowed professorship in neonatal/perinatal medicine at the UT School of Medicine. The UT Medical School endowment funded community outreach perinatal centers, as well as the Life Flight program to bring injured babies quickly from outlying community hospitals to major medical centers.

Active in State Bar committees and Continuing Legal Education, Mr. Mithoff has served on the Supreme Court of Texas Committee on Judicial Appointments, on the State Bar of Texas Committee on Pattern Jury Charges, and as Special Assistant Disciplinary Counsel to the Texas Commission for Lawyer Discipline. He has also been a guest speaker at many seminars on a variety of topics throughout the country. He has served as president of the Houston Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and president of the Houston Trial Lawyers.

In 1997, Mr. Mithoff was awarded the Jurisprudence Award by the Anti-Defamation League in recognition of his “immense talents, persuasive ability, and energy to fight for the principles enshrined in the Constitution and the League’s mission--justice and fair treatment for all.”

Richard and Ginni Mithoff were awarded the first Ben Taub Humanitarian Award by Harris County Hospital District Foundation in 2000 in recognition of their philanthropic endeavors as exemplified by the “generosity, interest and advocacy for health care” of the late Ben Taub. The hospital district named its world-class trauma center the Ginni and Richard Mithoff Trauma Center at the Ben Taub Hospital in 2007.

They were selected as honorees at the Children at Risk accolades luncheon in 2002 for their “continuous commitment and service to the children of Houston” and were honored by County Judge Robert Eckels and the Harris County Commissioners Court with a Proclamation that Wednesday, October 2, 2003, be Ginni and Richard Mithoff and Children at Risk Day, in recognition of their efforts “making a positive difference in the lives of the children of our community.” The couple was honored in 2003 with the Samaritan Spirit Award in recognition of their “significant contributions to human health and growth” and in 2007 by Family Services of Greater Houston as the 2007 Family of the Year.

Mr. Mithoff enjoys skiing and mountain climbing. His summits have included Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and the Grand Teton in Wyoming, as well as numerous climbs in Patagonia in South America as well as the Pyrenees in Spain, the Mont Blanc range in France, the Drakensberg range in South Africa, and numerous rock climbs in Wyoming and Colorado. He and his wife, Ginni, have two children, Michael and Caroline, and three grandchildren, Mia, daughter of Michael and his wife, Melissa and their twin sons, Max and Matthew

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