Copyright © 2014 Dryden, Margoles, Schimaneck & Wertz
About our Firm
YEARS OF TRIAL AND APPELLATE ADVOCACY
The origins of DRYDEN, MARGOLES, SCHIMANECK & WERTZ date back to 1916. Over the course of almost 100 years, the firm has established a national civil litigation practice providing a wide range of legal services to individuals, corporations, manufacturers, insurance companies, self-insured entities, professionals and healthcare providers.
The firm's office is located in San Francisco from which it serves clients throughout California. The firm also represents clients before courts and administrative agencies across the nation. The firm routinely handles litigation in Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Hawaii and other states.
The cornerstone of the firm's success is trial experience. Civil litigation on behalf of the sophisticated client requires more than a thorough knowledge of the substantive and procedural law. The evaluation of liability and damage issues requires knowledge gained from trying lawsuits. The firm has tried cases for local and national clients in many different fields, including product liability, medical negligence, toxic torts, construction litigation, premises liability, insurance coverage and general negligence. The philosophy of the firm has always been to aggressively defend its clients and negotiate from a position of strength, knowing that the opposing side will view the option of trying the case as an unwelcome alternative to settlement.
Each of the firm's partners has significant trial experience. Senior partner Robert E. Dryden has tried over 200 civil jury trials and was recognized in the Woodward, White book, The Best Lawyers in America. His experience over the last 40 years has influenced the evolution of the firm from Barfield, Barfield & Dryden to Dryden, Margoles, Schimaneck & Wertz.
A new generation of lawyers at Dryden Margoles continues
the tradition of quality representation. The firm provides cutting-edge legal
services, while maintaining the same commitment to serve that has sustained
the firm for over 90 years.
THE ATTORNEY/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP, A TEAM APPROACH
The primary tool of the trial lawyer is the ability to communicate and listen effectively. The firm is dedicated to utilizing the knowledge, expertise and experience of the client to its best advantage in each case. This is achieved by including the client on the litigation team.
In addition, the firm has responded to industry requests
to develop methods and procedures to reduce the costs of litigation. Several
firm-wide programs have been instituted which allow our clients to control
costs throughout the litigation. At each step during the litigation process,
a budget can be prepared to assess the cost of defense, including discovery,
legal research, motions, expert retention, and trial preparation. Frequent
communication with the client insures that the client remains an integral
part of the defense team and actively participates in those decisions that
affect defense costs.
AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION
Over the course of over 90 years the firm has defended clients in almost every kind and variety of civil actions, often as the new tort theory of recovery is emerging. For example, the firm has tried product liability cases for major automobile manufacturers for over 40 years. These cases included: post-collision fuel-fed fire cases, rollover, tire failure, transmission inadvertent movement, and occupant restraint cases. Our experience spans the spectrum of all automotive vehicles, from motorcycles to 18-wheel rigs.
The firm has developed specific emphasis on aerial platform, crane, ladder and scaffold industries. We have handled litigation across the country dealing with scissor lifts, boom lifts, scaffolds and shoring. Some of our members have received specialized training in the operation of lift equipment and the erection/dismantling of scaffolding. We are members of industry groups such as the Scaffold Industry Association and the North American Society of Scaffold Professionals. Our services are not limited to the courtroom. We have represented clients before OSHA in California, Utah, Oregon, Arizona and other states.
We have defended cases involving numerous other products, including bottling machines, punch presses, bakery equipment, pneumatic couplers, vacuum cleaners, construction equipment, aviation components, carburetors, rotor blades and even the beverage carts used by flight attendants.
The firm has been active in the defense of professional negligence cases, representing physicians, nurses, and hospitals, including hospital privileges litigation in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the field of toxic torts the firm has defended clients in toxic pollution/spills litigation, chemical and paint exposure actions, and was principally involved in the litigation arising out of the One Market Plaza P.C.B. contamination. The firm has a significant emphasis in asbestos litigation.
In general liability cases the firm has handled cases involving automobile accidents, premises liability, the defense of public entities (both cities and school districts), and all forms of general negligence litigation. In recent years, the firm has been active in defending employers and their insurers in employment discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination cases.
Construction defect litigation has centered on the many projects built in Northern California. The firm has represented plumbers, electricians, drywall installers, waterproofers, carpenters and other contractors in construction defect litigation throughout Northern California.
The firm sustains an active practice advising insurance carriers on coverage issues. Current coverage issues with which we are involved include "occurrence" issues in sexual harassment cases, "advertising liability" coverage in economic injury cases, the first party coverage available for environmental property damage and the consequences which may arise from a wrongful failure to defend.
In addition to being a trial litigation firm handling both
court and jury trials throughout the State of California, the firm is involved
in all forms of arbitration both small and large, alternative dispute resolution
(ADR) and complex litigation cases. The firm handles all of its own appellate
and writ work, having developed an in-house department to specialize in this
The firm is represented in the American Bar Association, the San Francisco Bar Association, the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California, and the local bar associations.
In addition, members of the firm
are part of a wide variety of legal, business and industrial organizations,
including: American Board of Trial Advocates, American Inns of Court, American
College of Barristers, Defense Research Institute, International Association
of Defense Counsel, Scaffold Industry Association, and North American Society
of Scaffold Professionals.
COMPUTERIZED LITIGATION SUPPORT
The firm utilizes a network of computers to support its attorneys in the development, preparation and trial of cases. Our Information Services Department has maintained databases containing hundreds of thousands of documents. For the last decade, the firm has been compiling a computerized index of depositions and trial transcripts from expert witnesses whom the firm confronts on a regular basis.
The computer age has brought hi-tech graphics and dynamic animation into the courtroom. Although the firm has utilized these state-of-the art exhibits, it should be recognized that many cases do not warrant the expense of these tools. The firm has worked closely with its clients and experts to develop the resources to produce cost-effective "low-tech" exhibits which are appropriate to the value of the particular case.