理查 俄爾剛 (Bio in Chinese)
Richard A. Ergo has over 25 years of experience in representing clients across the United States and around the world in matters ranging from products liability, business litigation, life and health insurance litigation, intellectual property and general business advice. His representation of product manufacturers includes handling a variety of commercial litigation, drafting and reviewing contracts and interfacing with the Consumer Product Safety Commission on product recalls and safety notifications.
Mr. Ergo began his practice in the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices of Adams, Duque & Hazeltine. In 1985, he became one of the founding attorneys of Bowles & Verna, LLP. He holds the highest rating of “A.V.” from the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory (http://www.martindale.com).
Mr. Ergo graduated from the University of California, Davis (with honors) in 1978 with a degree in Economics. He received his Juris Doctor in 1983 from the University of Utah.
Mr. Ergo is a seasoned litigator and trial attorney. However, his mission is to act as outside general counsel for companies by providing practical business advice and developing strategies to proactively avoid exposure to legal liability. In this role, Mr. Ergo analyzes prospective business ventures, negotiates contracts, advises on potential litigation exposure, ensures that adequate and appropriate insurance is secured, and interfaces with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. When claims arise, Mr. Ergo finds solutions that not only resolve the claim at hand, but also minimize the potential for negative consequences in other pending or potential claims. These services have been particularly valuable to domestic companies that do not have a legal department and foreign companies that do not have a U.S. legal department.
Mr. Ergo has tried and arbitrated more than 30 cases. He currently serves as National Counsel for Worthington Cylinder Corporation of Columbus, Ohio and Grand Hall Enterprise Co., Ltd. of Taipei, Taiwan. As such, Mr. Ergo handles litigation for these companies throughout the United States.
Mr. Ergo has appeared as counsel of record for a variety of clients in the following states: New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Arizona, New Jersey, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma, Nevada, Colorado, Alabama, Louisiana, Idaho, New Mexico and Virginia. He has tried cases in California, New York and Arizona.
Mr. Ergo’s practice takes him all over the world. He has represented a variety of clients from Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Egypt and the Netherlands. Mr. Ergo regularly travels abroad to meet with clients to keep abreast of their operations and legal needs.
Highlights of Mr. Ergo’s Experience:
- A $5.7 million judgment in Contra Costa County, California in favor of a life insurance company, after a five-week trial, against a former agent of the company. The agent allegedly misrepresented to an insured that a $2 million premium would indefinitely sustain a $10 million universal life insurance. As a result of this verdict, Mr. Ergo was featured in an article in the Verdicts & Settlements supplement in the June 6, 1997 edition of The Los Angeles Daily Journal and The San Francisco Daily Journal.
Obtained summary judgment on a products liability action in Federal Court in San Diegoalleging that a client’s flammable gas torch cylinder was defective resulting in severe burns. The court granted Mr. Ergo’s motion to preclude Plaintiffs’ experts from testifying under the Daubert
standard on the grounds their opinions were not scientific and were unreliable. The court further ruled that the “consumer expectations” test for defect was not available to plaintiffs since their theory of defect required expert explanation and, thus, granted summary judgment as plaintiffs’ experts were disqualified. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling and the US Supreme Court rejected plaintiffs’ request to hear the case. While unpublished, click here
to see the trial court’s detailed analysis of the Daubert
factors as well as why the consumer expectations test was applicable in this case.
- Successful defense of a claim in Federal Court in San Diego alleging that a client’s flammable gas cylinder was defective resulting in more than $750,000 of special damages. Plaintiffs’ experts were precluded from testifying based on defense motions that the experts failed to meet criteria set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). The Court further found that plaintiffs could not proceed with their claims without expert testimony and, thus, granted summary judgment.
- A defense verdict in a four-week jury trial in Fresno County, California where the plaintiffs alleged that a propane retailer overfilled a propane cylinder. Mr. Ergo demonstrated that the cylinder was not overfilled and that the accident resulted from other causes. Plaintiffs’ pre-trial settlement demand of $2 million was rejected.
- A $3.5 million settlement in a Los Angeles County lawsuit in favor of a distributor of nutritional supplements imported from China against the subsidiary of a foreign public company that breached a multi-million dollar purchase order.
- A successful defense of a products liability jury trial in Federal Court in Phoenix, Arizona. Mr. Ergo represented a major U.S. retailer and the Taiwanese manufacturer of a propane barbecue grill against claims of inadequate warnings. During the trial, plaintiff agreed to dismiss the action with prejudice for a waiver of costs.
- Summary judgment in Santa Clara County (upheld on appeal) in favor of a major life insurance company (as well as in favor other numerous co-defendant life insurers) regarding allegations of fraudulent misrepresentations involving agent transactions replacing existing coverage with in excess of $30 million of coverage.
- A defense verdict in a four-week jury trial in San Francisco, California in a real property class action matter. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants (various limited partnerships and limited liability companies) had improperly managed several Class A apartment complexes and several tracts of unimproved property. Plaintiffs sought to compel the sale of the apartment complexes and to recover money damages for claimed breaches of fiduciary duty. Prior to trial, the plaintiffs’ class representatives made combined settlement demands in excess of $25 million.
- Summary judgment (upheld on appeal) in Federal Court in San Francisco in favor of a major life insurance company regarding claims that annuity payments had been misdirected.
- A defense verdict in a two-week products liability action in Orange County, California. Mr. Ergo represented a Taiwanese company and two U.S. companies against allegations of a manufacturing defect in a propane valve. Prior to trial, plaintiff’s $550,000 settlement demand was rejected.
- Favorable settlement for a client (a Taiwanese bicycle component part manufacturer) after a major US customer was liquidated while owing client in excess of $2 million. Client successfully attached assets of customer in Taiwan. The successor in interest to the US customer challenged the attachment in Taiwan and in the US (Federal Court in Los Angeles) claiming that the attachments were fraudulent and in breach of an alleged verbal agreement between the client and successor company.
- Nominal contribution (less than 10%) to a seven figure settlement after the close of evidence in a six-week products liability trial in Bronx County, New York. Mr. Ergo’s client was charged with providing inadequate product warnings. Separate settlement demands to Mr. Ergo’s client of $2,000,000 during jury selection and $1,000,000 during the course of the trial were rejected.
- A defense verdict in Sacramento County, California in a three-week products liability trial involving allegations that a propane cylinder had various design defects. The verdict was obtained after rejecting plaintiff’s initial demand for $250,000 and a subsequent demand for a “high low” format of between $500,000 and $5 million.
- Summary judgment in favor of a propane cylinder manufacturer in a wrongful death claim in Queens County, New York.
- Summary judgment in Federal Court in San Francisco in favor of a major life insurance company regarding claims that annuity payments had been misdirected.
Recent Speaking Engagements:
- April 15, 2005, Propane Gas Defense Association meetings, New Orleans, Louisiana. Topic: Product Liability Issues for Propane Valve and Cylinder Manufacturers.
- April 13, 2006, Taipei International Sporting Goods Show (TaiSPO), Taipei, Taiwan. Topic: U.S. Product Liability Law and Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- May 10, 2006, National Hardware Show, Las Vegas, Nevada. Topic: IP, CPSC and Products Liability Issues for Foreign Manufacturers.
- May 21, 2007, International Consumer Product Safety Conference (Household Products Workshop), jointly sponsored by AQSIQ and ICPHSO, Beijing, China. Topic: Practical Realities for Asian Manufacturers in US CPSC Product Recalls.
- October 2007 Separate Presentations to the Neihu Business Association, Taipei, Taiwan; Taichung Industrial Park, Taichung, Taiwan. Topic: Effective Strategies for Preventing Lawsuits for Companies Selling Goods to the U.S.
- February 8, 2008, Defense Research Institute Product Liability Conference – Product Liability in the Global Economy (Consumer Goods and Office Equipment Workshop), Phoenix, Arizona. Topic: Guiding Asian Defendants through U.S. Consumer Product Liability Litigation.
- October 2008, Separate Presentations to TAITRA branches in Tainan and Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Chang An, China. Topic: Protecting Patent Rights in the US and Limiting Foreign Manufacture Exposure in the U.S.
- March 2009, Separate Presentations to TAITRA branches in Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Topic: What You Need to Know about the 2008 CPSIA and Strategies for Preventing Lawsuits for Companies Selling Goods to the U.S.
- June 2, 2009, Sponsor Hangzhou Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (CIQ). Hangzhou, China. Topic: Sino-US Trade Related Laws and Regulations.
- November 10, 2009, Taipei Bar Association. Taipei, Taiwan. Topic: Representing Product Manufactures and Exporters: What every Taiwanese Attorney Needs to Know About US Law.
Mr. Ergo was born on June 10, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois while his father was attending law school at Northwestern University. He earned two varsity letters in baseball while attending U.C. Davis. Between undergraduate studies and law school, Mr. Ergo drove an “eighteen wheeler” hauling rice, wheat and tomatoes and worked at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah where he skied 97 days in one season. Mr. Ergo is married to Linda S. Ergo and has five children. His oldest son served 4 years in the Marines and was awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his service in Fallujah. Mr. Ergo has coached youth baseball, soccer and basketball for more than 20 years. Mr. Ergo is a board member of the Northgate Community Pride Foundation and a past board member of the Walnut Creek Little League and the Walnut Creek Fountain for Youth Foundation.