Fifty years ago, up-and-coming attorney Browne Greene hung a shingle and started what would become one of the country's most prestigious law firms. He recruited a dynamic team of attorneys that has helped thousands of clients get the justice they deserved with the passion and compassion that became the firm's hallmark.
As the powerhouse plaintiffs' firm Greene Broillet & Wheeler LLP marks its golden anniversary, its leadership is looking ahead and leading the charge as the legal community enters a new era.
The Los Angeles Daily Journal recently profiled this milestone in an article. Read more as the Daily Journal covers the firm's history and how it hopes to continue making an impact here.
Over the past 50 years, GBW's attorneys have found great satisfaction in cases that force business, governmental, and social improvements.
In the beginning, some of the most groundbreaking and influential cases championed by GBW included holding the industrial machinery industry accountable for dangerous equipment that caused workplace amputations. Winning in court changed the industry's behavior by ensuring that redundant safety devices and "fail-safe" mechanisms were installed on machines for operational safety.
GBW's attorneys have maintained a well-deserved reputation as litigation heavyweights that go head-to-head with the corporate world's biggest titans and imposing public entities. The partners at GBW have secured a remarkable track record. Some of the most impressive victories include Partner Christine Spagnoli's $4.9 billion judgment against General Motors, the highest product liability verdict in history, and Partners Browne Greene and Bruce Broillet successfully suing big tobacco on behalf of Los Angeles County, recovering $3.3 billion.
The top performing trial lawyers at the plaintiff's firm, Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, are recognized as some of the most vigorous attorneys in the state and the nation. Few plaintiff firms demand the same respect as GBW when competitors face off in court. GBW has a no-holds-barred approach to courtroom battles, where they've slayed Goliath many times on behalf of their clients.
"Resourcefulness is a hallmark of our firm. We try to set an example of cutting-edge thinking regarding the law, handling exhibits, and presenting evidence. We're most dangerous when we feel behind the 8-ball," said Partner Bruce Broillet.
GBW often represents high-profile individuals and obtains impressive results, including a $55 million verdict for FOX Sports reporter and TV personality Erin Andrews in her case against the Nashville Marriott hotel for its misconduct. This case had a global impact; today, most hotel chains now have policies against giving out information about their guests.
"Working shoulder-to-shoulder with experienced lawyers who literally, "wrote the book" on handling some of the most challenging practice areas has helped make us stronger attorneys," said Partner Alan Van Gelder.
The firm was among the first to litigate wrongful terminations in employment cases successfully. With the achievements of Partners Mark Quigley, Ivan Puchalt, Aaron Osten, and Christian Nickerson, GBW is a leader in protecting the rights of whistleblowers in the medical community.
The firm has unique expertise in tire tread and auto defect cases because of the trailblazing work of Partner Christine Spagnoli. As one of the state's most elite plaintiff attorneys, Ms. Spagnoli has worked tirelessly for consumer safety by successfully litigating automotive design and tire defect cases against the nation's leading car manufacturers. She was co-counsel in a historic $58 million verdict for a man severely burned by a defective O-ring.
The firm's attorneys are leaders in the legal community, consistently ranking in the upper echelons of the most elite trial lawyer organizations and publications nationwide. Its lawyers are members, and some are past presidents of Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), The Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL), and the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).
Since its inception, eleven CAALA Presidents have come out of the firm. Additionally, seven CAALA Hall of Famers, eight CAALA Ted Horn Award Winners for selfless service to colleagues, and no fewer than 12 CAALA Trial Lawyer of the Year winners have practiced at or are current partners at GBW.
"We draw on 50 years of experience and consider ourselves a resource to the younger attorneys in our office and the wider legal community," said Partner Browne Greene.
Looking to the future, the firm recently added three new attorneys to its staff and relocated operations from Santa Monica to El Segundo, where its growing workforce has a larger, cutting-edge, COVID-compliant office space.
While the firm has a long list of landmark victories and historic settlements, GBW is not resting on its laurels, even after the COVID-19 pandemic. "We emerged from the pandemic stronger and more technically savvy," said partner Molly McKibben.
With its deep bench of legal talent, the firm has racked up significant court victories just this past year, including:
• $26.6 million jury verdict for whistleblower retaliation, wrongful termination, and breach of contract.
• A high-profile confidential settlement in the wrongful death of actor Bill Paxton.
• $12.2 million jury verdict in a traumatic brain injury due to a slip and fall.
• $5 million jury verdict in a federal civil rights trial involving a sheriff's deputy's excessive force.
Greene Broillet & Wheeler is a force in the legal industry and is eager to continue helping their clients receive the justice they deserve.