Gary Galiher, the founder of Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman, was a passionate advocate for mesothelioma victims for over 35 years in Hawaii. Since 1978, he and his firm represented mesothelioma clients and assisted with their cases in over 40 states and several foreign countries, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements.
These numbers may be impressive today, but the firm’s successes all began with just one case. Upon graduating from law school in 1977, Gary embarked upon his legal career as a young associate at a prominent labor law firm that represented several large labor unions. One day a member of the electrical workers’ union came to Gary asking for help.
Over 35 Years Ago, Gary Filed One of the First Mesothelioma Cases in the Country
This man was Tristan Nobriga. He was an electrician at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and he had just been diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer called mesothelioma. Although he could barely pronounce the name of his disease, he knew that he was gravely ill.
Gary talked to Mr. Nobriga and learned that he had worked with and around many asbestos products at Pearl Harbor, especially aboard ships that came to the shipyard for repair. Immediately after meeting Mr. Nobriga, Gary went to the medical library to investigate his disease. His medical research showed that mesothelioma is caused exclusively by exposure to asbestos products, and is inevitably fatal. Armed with this medical and legal knowledge, Gary told Mr. Nobriga and his wife Fannie that he could help them.
Success in the Courtroom
In 1978, Gary filed one of the first asbestos lawsuits in the country, Tristan and Philomena Nobriga vs. Johns-Manville Sales Corporation, etc., et al. When the asbestos companies denied responsibility for what their products had done, Gary and his firm took them to trial and won a jury verdict of over half a million dollars.
Word quickly spread and soon more shipyard workers, widows, and family members sought Gary’s advice. It was becoming clear that the heavy use of asbestos at Naval Shipyards, including Pearl Harbor, had created an epidemic of asbestos disease among shipyard workers.
Unprecedented Settlement Uniquely Benefited His Clients
By 1982, the Galiher law firm had filed 141 asbestos cases in both the federal and state courts. As part of this effort, Gary and his firm worked to negotiate a significant settlement with Johns-Manville, one of the primary manufacturers of asbestos products used in the Navy. Amazingly, the settlement was finalized on the eve of Johns-Manville’s bankruptcy filing, and as a result, the 141 asbestos clients Gary represented were able to enjoy the benefits of a five-year structured payout even after all claims against Johns-Manville were stayed or put on hold.
This settlement was unprecedented in the country, and a testament to the firm’s ability to think creatively and outside the box to affect the best possible recovery under the law for clients. Following upon the success of these first asbestos cases, for over three decades Gary and his firm have continued to recover verdicts and settlements that are many multiples of the original Nobriga verdict.
National Reputation Led to Cases Throughout the Country
Because of this success and reputation, the Galiher law firm became involved in asbestos cases throughout the country, an involvement that has continued through nearly 40 years until today. The Galiher law firm has worked with other outstanding mesothelioma lawyers throughout the country to represent hundreds of mesothelioma victims in over 40 different states. Gary and his attorneys traveled extensively, met personally with each client, and worked with them to understand fully their case from the way in which they were exposed to asbestos to the emotional impact on the client and the family.
Understanding the Emotional and Financial Stress
The key example that Gary set for the firm is the care and service that he gave to his clients from the very beginning. He especially understood the emotional and financial stress that comes with these terrible diseases. To help clients cope with this, he met with every client personally and did everything he could to provide support. To this day, just as Gary did with Tristan Nobriga so many years ago, the attorneys of Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman continue to work tirelessly on every case to get the best possible financial result for clients and their families.