Jerry Popovich is the Managing Partner of the firm's Orange County office, located in Santa Ana, California, and is a member of the firm’s General Liability, Commercial Litigation, Toxic Tort/Environmental, and Product Liability practice groups.
Jerry’s practice focuses on litigating cases with complex personal injuries and on cases that have a high probability of being tried. His trial experience includes claims of product liability, toxic exposure to products such as asbestos and benzene, commercial and personal auto, premises liability, pharmacy and doctor malpractice, construction accidents and construction defects, breach of contract and business disputes, real estate appraiser errors and omissions, assault and battery, false arrest, malicious prosecution, workers’ compensation subrogation, and other complex matters, including those litigated in civil courts, as well as insurance coverage disputes and policy matters.
As a result of his extensive trial experience (over 60 trials), Jerry has been inducted into the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) and elected into the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) where he was recently elevated to an advocate-level member of the Orange County chapter. He has also been selected to be a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), a national invitation-only society made up of a maximum of 3500 attorneys (less than one-half of one percent of attorneys in the United States). LCA Fellows are selected based upon effectiveness and accomplishment in litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels, and superior ethical reputation.
Jerry is married with two children and is actively involved in his church's ministries.
- Represented a subcontractor in a case brought by a dying 44-year-old man and his wife. The man claimed exposure to asbestos from products installed by the client. The product liability claim was defeated on a motion for nonsuit. The negligence claim was defeated by a defense verdict.
- Provides national counsel services for a manufacturer of chemicals for the print industry. A federal action was brought against the client in Mississippi, claiming that a woman who worked in a printing shop died as a result of acute lymphocytic leukemia, allegedly as a result of exposure to benzene claimed to be present as a contaminant in products to which she claimed exposure. Working with local counsel, motions were brought to exclude the testimony of plaintiff's primary liability expert and for summary judgment. The federal judge agreed that the expert could not express his opinions at trial, and as a result, summary judgment was granted.
- Represented client retail store in a trial brought by a man dying of the cancer called mesothelioma. The plaintiff claimed that his disease was a result of exposure to asbestos from products sold by client. After a six-week trial, the jury unanimously returned a defense verdict in favor of client.
- Represented a manufacturer of airplane parts against a claim of silicosis from some of the sand used in the process. The case was litigated in Federal Court, and a jury trial resulted in a defense verdict based on the Mississippi statute of limitations.
- Defended client corporation in a trial in which plaintiff claimed that he was dying from the cancer known as mesothelioma. The jury found unanimously for client corporation, finding that it was not negligent, nor was it liable under product liability theories.
- Represented a medical clinic against a medical malpractice claim brought by a patient of the clinic. The patient claimed that an intrauterine device (IUD) was negligently implanted in her uterus for birth control, and the IUD then perforated her uterus and had to be surgically removed. Refusing to accept the claim of negligence, the clinic aggressively defended the case and took it to trial, resulting in an involuntary dismissal of the case in favor of the clinic.
- Defended a premises liability action on behalf of an international movie star. The suit was brought by a man who was injured in a fall at the property. The pre-trial demand was in seven figures, with a reduced demand during trial in the mid-six figures. The verdict came in at less than 50% of the lowest demand ever received.
- Defended a personal auto case involving claimed back and neck injuries to a retired Pro Bowl football player from the former Los Angeles Rams. The plaintiff had back surgery. The case resulted from a rear-end auto accident, in which liability was admitted. The defense was based on the lack of credibility of the plaintiff, who claimed that he had never had back or neck problems before. The jury awarded the plaintiff economic damages for his past medical expenses and lost earnings in the amount of $159,362, but because of the lack of credibility, the jury did not award any noneconomic damages for pain and suffering.
- Represented a bus company and its driver who were providing para-transit services to members of the public who are not able to use buses running regular routes because of physical and/or mental disabilities. This was a wrongful death case brought by a father whose 16-year-old daughter was killed while a passenger in a car involved in the intersection accident with the bus. The plaintiff claimed that the bus ran a red light, causing the accident. The jury returned a defense verdict in favor of the bus company and the driver.
- Represented a transport company which was claimed to have intentionally mishandled human remains that had been donated to a state university. It was alleged that this was done for profit, by selling body parts illegally. After over a week of trial, the plaintiffs accepted a settlement from the defendant that was less than the offer made before the start of trial.
- Defended a real estate appraiser at trial against allegations of negligence. It was claimed that because of the negligent appraisal, a fraudulent loan application was not discovered, resulting in a loss of over $185,000 to the mortgage company plaintiff. The trial resulted in a defense verdict.
- In a case capturing the attention of the media, represented a country club and its employees in a case of admitted fault, arising from the drowning death of a four-year-old child attending his first day of summer camp. The drowning was caught on the club's surveillance videotape, and the child was seen to be under water for over eight minutes without being seen by the lifeguards or day camp counselors. The parents of the child sought not only wrongful death damages, but also punitive damages, claiming willful disregard in providing safety for the children of the day camp. The lowest demand before trial was $20,000,000, with performance-based conditions as well. The verdict was for compensatory damages of $13,855,950 and punitive damages of $2,341,039; the compensatory damages were reduced to $10,000,000 as a result of post-trial motions.
- Defended a large department store against a trip-and-fall accident victim who sustained facial injuries. The jury found for the defense.
- Represented a large department store against a claim of negligence, in which a 77-year-old man fell down an escalator. The result was a jury verdict for the defense.
- Tried a case for a homeowners association and one of its security guards against claims of assault, battery, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution brought by one of the homeowners, resulting from a July 4th celebration on the beach. The court granted nonsuit in favor of the association and the security guard.
- Defended a bus driver in a case arising from an altercation with a passenger. The bus driver also prosecuted a cross-complaint for assault and battery against the passenger. On the complaint, the court awarded judgment on the pleadings in favor of the bus driver. The cross-complaint was then tried by our firm, and the bus driver received a money judgment.
- Represented a backhoe operator in a trial brought by a man who was struck by a heavy metal trench plate as it was being moved by the defendant. The injuries included lower leg lacerations and an ankle fracture, with scarring. The jury found for the defense.
- Represented the manufacturer of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment in a million-dollar subrogation claim, resulting from a home fire. It was claimed that overheating of the air handler started the fire. The jury did not agree, and a verdict for the defendant was obtained.
- Defended a pharmacy against a malpractice claim involving allegations that the pharmacy dispensed contraindicated medications, resulting in the death of a young mother of four children. The jury found in favor of the defendant pharmacy.
- Brought a breach-of-contract case to trial against an international television star, based on a plumbing repair. The court found for our client, the plaintiff plumbing company, awarding the contract price, interest, attorney's fees and litigation costs.
- Represented a plaintiff injured in an automobile accident at trial. Defendant admitted liability on the last business day before the start of trial, and the case was tried on damages only. The verdict exceeded the pre-trial statutory settlement demand of the plaintiff, resulting in recovery of interest and expert fees, in addition to the damages verdict and litigation costs.
- Defended the owner of two Rottweilers, which escaped from the owner's property. Plaintiff claimed that the dogs were fighting with another dog, and a lady was trying to stop the fight. Plaintiff tried to help separate the dogs, and as a result of his exertion, had a massive heart attack. The jury found that the defendant was not negligent.
- Defended client insurance company against an insured claiming uninsured motorist coverage under his auto policy. The court agreed that there was no coverage, based on a knowing waiver of the uninsured motorist coverage by plaintiff.
- Tried a subrogation claim for a workers' compensation insurance carrier for a back injury. After winning on liability, the claim was settled for 98% of the lien, before the damage phase started.
Court of Appeal
In the Court of Appeal (COA), Jerry has considerable experience briefing and arguing appeals and writs. He drafted a writ which resulted in the COA summarily reversing a trial court ruling which would have prevented our client from raising a critical defense of trial.
He was on the appellate team that obtained a reversal of a punitive damage award of over $32 million. It is found at Soto. v. Borg Warner Morse TEC, 239 Cal. App. 4th 165 (2015).
Jerry has also successfully argued several other appeals, which did not result in published opinions.
In 2018, Jerry was inducted into the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). The ACTL is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the ACTL is extended by invitation only and only after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers of diverse backgrounds, who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality. Lawyers must have a minimum of fifteen years trial experience before they can be considered for Fellowship. Membership in the ACTL cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province.
Additionally, Jerry has been elected into membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Orange County Chapter. Since his original membership, he has been elevated to the level of Advocate. ABOTA is made up of trial lawyers with a significant level of experience, a high level of success, and a high ethical standard. ABOTA's mission is to educate the public about the important right to a jury trial in this country, and to protect that right.
For a number of years, Jerry has been annually recognized as a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers Magazine, Southern California Edition. On four occasions, he has been nationally recognized as a Super Lawyer in the Super Lawyers Magazine's Corporate Counsel Edition. From 2013 through 2018, he has been voted a Top 50 Attorney in Orange County. In 2016 and 2017, Jerry has been recognized as a Top 100 attorney in all of Southern California.
Jerry has lectured for continuing education programs for lawyers and claim handlers in the areas of litigation and trial practice. These presentations were put on by HarrisMartin, the Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) and Lorman Education Services.
Professional Associations And Memberships
- American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL)
- American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Orange County Chapter (Advocate-level Member)
- Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), Senior Fellow
- Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
- Orange County Bar Association
- Defense Research Institute
- Super Lawyers: 2006-2007, 2009-2018
- Rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell