Phil Ward

Prior to joining Hassard Bonnington LLP, Mr. Ward spent 14 years in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. He served as the Chief Trial Deputy, Chief Deputy City Attorney and Acting City Attorney. Mr. Ward represented all city departments and had extensive background in complex civil service, civil rights and employment discrimination litigation.

Since joining the firm, Mr. Ward has handled numerous toxic tort, professional negligence, product liability and civil rights/employment discrimination lawsuits.

Mr. Ward has successfully tried more than 20 cases to defense jury verdicts during his career.  He was nominated for and elected to membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Mr. Ward has also been named a “Super Lawyer” in products liability and negligence cases. He has extensive experience managing the presentation of and challenge to expert witness testimony involving science and medicine, professional liability, manufacturing processes and state-of-the-art defenses.  His trials have included issues of standard of care, state-of-the-art, carcinogenesis of materials, risk of cancer, causation and epidemiology.

    Partner, 1989-Present
    Associate, 1986-1989
    Deputy City Attorney, 1972-1986
  • Alleged personal injury due to asbestos exposure, 2008. A living mesothelioma case by a plumber who claimed exposure to asbestos-containing drywall products contributed to the causation of his cancer. The jury returned a defense verdict on causation.
  • Alleged legal malpractice, 1995. The plaintiff retained the defendant’s professional services in underlying litigation. Thereafter, Mr. Ward was retained to prosecute a legal malpractice action against the defendant law firm, and he secured a jury verdict in excess of $1 million in the plaintiff’s favor.
  • Alleged insurance malpractice, 1995. The plaintiff accused its former insurance brokers of malpractice. Representing the defendant broker, Mr. Ward obtained a defense verdict on issues of causation.
  • Alleged personal injury due to asbestos exposure, 1990s. Plaintiff claimed his mesothelioma was caused by occupational exposure to asbestos. The jury returned a defense verdict based upon a disputed issue of causation.
  • Alleged personal injury due to asbestos exposure, 1989.The plaintiff was a career pipefitter in San Francisco Bay Area naval shipyards. He alleged that he had contracted asbestosis as a result of occupational exposure. The jury returned a defense verdict on the issue of medical causation.
  • Alleged personal injury due to asbestos exposure, 1988.The plaintiff, a World War II welder, alleged she had contracted asbestosis due to inhaling asbestos fibers. The jury returned a verdict for all defendants.
  • Alleged personal injury due to asbestos exposure, 1987.The plaintiff claimed to have developed asbestosis based on occupational exposure to asbestos-containing products. The jury returned a unanimous defense verdict.
  • Mr. Ward has also represented clients in over thirty appellate matters, twice appearing before the California Supreme Court. See Van Atta v. Scott, 27 Cal.3d 424 (1980) and San Francisco v. United Association, 42 Cal.3d 810 (1986). He successfully defended the applicability of Proposition 51 to strict liability cases, Wilson v. John Crane Inc., 81 Cal.App.4th 847 (2000), and secured appellate approval for including the U.S. Navy on the verdict form in asbestos cases, Taylor v. John Crane Inc., 113 Cal.App.4th 1063 (2003). His two most recent appeals were Panoutsopoulos v. Chambliss, 157 Cal.App.4th 297 (2007) and Jones v. John Crane Inc. (unpublished), 2013.

Mr. Ward has extensive experience with preparing and presenting dispositive motions to resolve cases without the need for trial. These motions include scores of summary judgment and summary adjudication motions, anti-SLAPP motions, demurrers and motions to strike.

Mr. Ward has deposed, presented and cross-examined a wide variety of expert witnesses over the course of the last forty years. Included are physicians (pathologists, epidemiologists, internists, pulmonary specialists and cardiologists), material scientists, industrial hygienists, economists, attorneys and other witnesses offering opinion testimony.

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