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Michael S. Burg

Michael S. Burg

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Michael S. Burg J.D. is one of America’s leading trial lawyers, a best-selling author, legal expert, and founding shareholder of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine. A legal champion for victims of corporate and individual malfeasance, negligence, overreach, and abuse, Burg began his career fighting for the underdog and has gone on to successfully litigate some of the country’s most high-profile cases of the past four decades. Under Burg’s leadership, Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine has expanded to more than 65 attorneys across seven states. A national leader in mass tort and class action litigation, the firm has won more than $1 billion in verdicts, judgments, and settlements on behalf of its clients.

During his 43-year career, Burg has been a vigilant consumer watchdog, representing thousands of individuals and helping their families overcome catastrophic injuries and immense hardship. He has taken on big pharma in multiple dangerous drug mass tort cases including Fen-Phen, Yaz/Yasmin, Ortho Evra, and Pradaxa. Burg stood up to corporate greed fighting against UBS for knowingly selling risky mortgages to investors, creating the blueprint for many similar actions by states, municipalities, government regulators, and other aggrieved investors. More recently, Burg filed a sweeping action against 28 California wineries to stop them from selling toxic wine contaminated with arsenic. In 2019, Michael Burg secured a $58.5 million dollar verdict in compensatory and punitive damage for families who had donated bodies of their deceased loved ones to the Biological Resource Center.  He represented the victims of a fraudulent scheme to illegally sell human body parts of their loved one’s bodies that were supposed to be donated for scientific and medical education and research. The verdict is one of the largest civil case results in Arizona history.

Burg is a member of the Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska bars and is an inductee into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, an honor that recognizes his lifelong dedication to representing clients at the highest level. Michael Burg is a recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award, and was inducted into the 2019 US Legal 500 Hall of Fame for Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action: Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices-Plaintiff. He was also recognized by Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year”  in 2018, for Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs, Denver.  In 2021, Law Week Colorado named Michael Burg as Barrister’s Choice (Editorial Selection) and People’s Choice for Best Overall Litigator  In 2022, 5280 Magazine recognized Michael Burg as a Top Lawyer in two categories: Civil Litigation and Personal Injury Plaintiff.  Also in 2022, Michael Burg received the Kenneth Norman Kripke Lifetime Achievement  Award, presented by the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association.  Mike Burg has been consistently recognized by Colorado Super Lawyers every year since 2006.

Burg is the author of the best-selling book, Trial by Fire: One Man’s Battle to End Corporate Greed and Save Lives, (BenBella Books 2016), a harrowing and moving account of his lifelong battle against corporate greed and corruption played out in a high-stakes courtroom drama.

Burg was admitted to the practice of law in 1976 after receiving a J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and a B.A. from the University of Denver. He’s an Advocate and Life Fellow of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a Sustaining Fellow of the Roscoe Pound Institute and serves on the board of Denver’s Mizel Museum.

An active and committed member of his community, Burg is a noted supporter of Craig Hospital, Food Bank of the Rockies,  Toys for Tots, Make A Wish Colorado, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and the Denver Bar Association Community Action Network.

Notable Recoveries & Verdicts

  • $58.5 Million verdict, Personal Injury
  • $7.2 Million verdict, Personal Injury Settlement
  • $6.4 Million verdict, Gas Explosion
  • $6 Million verdict plus interest, Gas Explosion
  • $5.6 Million verdict, Product Defect
  • $5.3 Million verdict including interest, Insurance Bad Faith
  • $4.6 Million verdict, Insurance Bad Faith
  • $2.4 Million verdict, Contract Dispute
  • $2.1 Million verdict including punitive damages, Lender Liability
  • $1.2 Million verdict, Construction Defect
  • $1.2 Million verdict with interest, Business Dispute
  • $1.15 Million verdict, Contract Dispute

Honors & Accolades

  • Recipient of the CTLA’s Kenneth Norman Kripke Lifetime Achievement Award, 2022
  • Law Week Colorado’s, Barrister’s Best

      • Barrister’s Choice (Editorial Selection): Best Commercial Litigator, 2021
      • People’s Choice: Best Commercial Litigator, 2021
  • 5280 Magazine’s Top Lawyers Awards:

      • Top Lawyer for Civil Litigation, 2020, 2022, and 2023
      • Top Lawyer for Personal Injury Plaintiff, 2020, 2022, and 2023
  • Law Week Colorado’s, Barrister’s Best – Barrister’s Choice (Editorial Selection): Best Overall Litigator, 2020
  • Hall of Fame, U.S. Legal 500, Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action: Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices – Plaintiff, 2019
  • Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year 2018,” Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs, Denver
  • Law Week Colorado’s, Barrister’s Best – People’s Choice: Best Class Action/Mass Tort Lawyer, Plaintiffs, 2018
  • Law Week Colorado’s, Barrister’s Best – Best Civil Litigator, 2016
  • Inducted to the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, 2016
  • Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year 2016,” Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs, Denver
  • America’s 50 Leading Trial Lawyers, The U.S. Legal 500, 2012-2019
  • Recommended Attorney, Mass Tort, The U.S. Legal 500, 2012-2019
  • AVVO®, Highest Distinction of Superb 10.0 Attorney Rating
  • Lawyer of the Decade, Law Week Colorado, 2000-2010
  • Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year 2013,” Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs, Denver
  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Law Week Colorado’s, Barrister’s Best – People’s Choice: Best Civil Litigator, 2015
  • Clarence Darrow Award, 2013
  • Outstanding Alumni Award, The University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 2013
  • Selected to Best Lawyers® in America, 2007-2022
  • Top 100 Most Influential Attorneys (National), the National Trial Lawyers
  • Top 100 Attorney, Civil Plaintiff, the National Trial Lawyers
  • Colorado Super Lawyers®, 2006 – 2022 and Top 100 Super Lawyers® 2014 and 2020-2021
  • 5280 Magazine Top Lawyer, 2015-2022
  • Wiedemann and Wysocki Award, American Association for Justice, 2014
  • Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation, United States – Plaintiffs, Mass Tort/Product Liability, 2013
  • Local Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation, Colorado – Plaintiffs, 2012 and 2013
  • Denver Business Journal Power Book, 2011 and 2013
  • President, the National Trial Lawyers, 2010
  • “Best of the U.S.” 2006 – 2011
  • Law Week Colorado’s, Barrister’s Best – Overall Litigator, 2010
  • Law Week Colorado’s, Barrister’s Best – Personal Injury, 2009 – 2011
  • Law Week Colorado’s, Barrister’s Best – Mass Tort Lawyer, 2011 and 2012
  • Colorado Lawyer of the Year, Law Week Colorado, 2015
  • AV Preeminent® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Heavy Lifting Award, American Association for Justice (AAJ), 2011

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado, 1976
  • Arizona, 2014
  • Nebraska, 1996
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 1976
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 2015
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, 1979
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1990

Judicial & Other Appointments

  • Appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission, 2014, by the Governor of the State of Colorado, the Colorado Attorney General, and the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court.
  • Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the Zyprexa Multidistrict Litigation – The Honorable Jack Weinstein, United States District Judge, Eastern District of New York
  • State Liaison Committee for the Vioxx Multidistrict Litigation – The Honorable Eldon Fallon, United States District Judge, Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Plaintiffs’ Co-lead Counsel, Ortho Evra Products Multidistrict Litigation – The Honorable David A. Katz, United States District Judge, Northern District of Ohio
  • Co-Lead Counsel, Yaz/Yasmin Multidistrict Litigation – The Honorable David Herndon, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Illinois
  • Appointed to the Executive Committee, 2019, by the District Court Judge, for the Lawrence/Andover, Massachusetts Gas Explosion Cases
  • Appointed to Federal Judge Selection Committee for the District of Colorado by Senator Hickenlooper and Senator Bennett, 2020

Education

  • J.D., 1975, The University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • B.A., 1972, The University of Denver

Professional Affiliations

  • The Melvin M. Belli Society
  • The National Trial Lawyers (NTL)
  • Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA)
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Denver Bar Association
  • Arapahoe County Bar Association (ACBA)
  • American Association for Justice (AAJ)
  • Presidents Club, American Association for Justice (AAJ)
  • Advocate and Life Fellow, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Executive Committee, The National Trial Lawyers, 2009
  • Other Appointments & Accomplishments

    Sustaining Fellow, Roscoe Pound Institute
  • Board Member, Mizel Museum
  • Sponsor, Study Hall at The University of Denver
  • Sponsor, Moot Court Trial Room at The University of Wyoming

Community Involvement

  • Craig Hospital
  • Food Bank of the Rockies
  • Ali Meyer Foundation
  • Kaps for Kendall
  • Toys for Tots
  • Make A Wish
  • Denver Bar Association Community Action Network
  • Colorado Symphony Orchestra
  • Mizel Museum
  • Sungate Kids

Publications & Media

Lectures & Seminars

  • Voir Dire and Colorado Limitations, CTLA, August 2021
  • Anatomy of a Trial – Two-hour in-house seminar to attorneys and litigation paralegals: March, 2020
  • Voir Dire and Damages, NTL Trial Lawyer Summit, January 8, 2020
  • How to Succeed and Thrive, Fort Collins Rotary Association, September 10, 2019
  • Legal Evolution, ACBA Spring CLE, Montreal, Canada, May 13, 2019
  • Order of Proof, NTL Trial Lawyer Summit, January 4, 2019
  • If you Build it: Building a Successful Law Firm, MTMP, April 12, 2018
  • How to Succeed and Thrive, Amarillo Bar Association, March 8, 2018
  • Cross-Examination of Defense Biomechanical Engineers in Auto Cases, NTL Trial Lawyer Summit, January 15, 2018
  • Saving Civil Jury Trials and the Role of Lawyers and Judges in the Battle, Arapahoe County Bar Association CLE, May 3, 2017
  • Building a Successful Law Practice, CTLA Bootcamp, March 8, 2017
  • Trial by Fire and Steps to Success, ACBA, November 28, 2016
  • Mass Tort Litigation: Being in Leadership and Appointment Committees, CTLA Spring CLE, November 20, 2016
  • Building a Successful Mass Tort Project: Identifying the Opportunities; October, 2016
  • Never Give Up!: Top Ten Lessons from Our Eight-Year Battles in the CDO Litigation about the Collapse of the U.S. Economy, January, 2016
  • Punitive Damages: What You Should Know to Prepare Your Next Case and to Maximize Your Damages by Including a Punitive Damages Claim; June 2015
  • Protection of California Wine Consumers: Arsenic is Poison; June, 2015
  • Advertising: Necessity? Dangerous? Out of Control?; May, 2015
  • Mass Torts & Class Actions 101; May, 2015
  • Arsenic Levels in Popular, Low-Cost California Wines; April, 2015
  • The Importance of the Judge and Jurisdiction to Your Case and Common Benefit Percentages; April, 2015
  • Mental Pain and Anguish in Injury Cases; January, 2015
  • If You Build It… They Will Come: How We Have Succeeded and Thrived; January, 2015
  • Morcellator Litigation Primer; October, 2014
  • Referrals and Networking for the Future; January, 2014
  • Voir Dire: The New Goals in 2014 and How They Differ From the Old Goals; January, 2014
  • Roadmap of a Mass Tort: Lessons Learned and Strategies for the Future; September, 2013
  • How to Choose Your Next Mass Tort; September, 2013
  • Punitive Damages; June, 2013
  • Commercial Litigation Update; October, 2012
  • Presenting to the Defense and the Jury; June, 2012
  • Direct and Cross Examination of Life Care Planners; April, 2012
  • National Trial Lawyers Summit – Flourishing in the Age of Tort Reform: A Brainstorming Session; January, 2012
  • Panel Member: Judicial Forum on Mass Torts; January, 2012
  • Defining Mental Anguish; September, 2011
  • Moderator: Civil Court Judicial Forum: Advanced Discovery & Trial Practice; Denver, Colorado; May, 2009 and October, 2010
  • Trial of the Plaintiff Personal Injury Case; September, 2010
  • Statutes Which Affect Liability Evaluation in Personal Injury Actions; September, 2010
  • PI Litigator’s Summit; Las Vegas, Nevada; March 7-9, 2010
  • The Plaintiff Practice Goes Green; Maximizing the Value of Your Cases and Your Practice; Napa, California; September 19-20, 2010
  • The Art of Negotiation. What Makes Some Lawyers Poor Negotiators and Other Lawyers Superb Negotiators. The Art, Science and Skill of Mastering Negotiation Methods in Order to Maximize the Benefit for your Clients; April, 2010
  • The Challenge of Proving “Physical” and “Mental” Pain and Suffering; February, 2010
  • How to Get the Big Verdict (Personal Injury, Product Liability, and Commercial); October, 2009
  • Snow Skiing and Other Head Injury Cases; February, 2009
  • The Collapse of Wall Street and What Only Trial Lawyers Can Do About It; February, 2009
  • If You Build It They Will Come. The Steps to Building a Successful Law Firm; Various presentations – 2009 to present
  • Florida Justice Association: 2008 Workhorse Seminar; Orlando, Florida; February, 2008
  • Moderator: What Civil Court Judges Want You to Know; Denver, Colorado; June, 2008
  • How and Why Economic Damages Drive a Case; September, 2008
  • Proof and Argument of Damages: Wrongful Death Cases; September, 2008
  • Obtaining the Best Settlement for Personal Injury Clients; Denver, Colorado; March, 2007
  • Pharmaceutical & Human Tissue Litigation Conference; Charleston, South Carolina; June, 2006
  • Plaintiff’s Personal Injury: Practice Tips and Application; October, 2006
  • Faculty: Emerging Drugs Conference; Chicago, Illinois; October, 2006
  • Trying the Pharmaceutical Case; Pharmaceutical Litigation 101; New Orleans, Louisiana; June, 2005
  • Practical Aspects of Being a Trial Lawyer; Sturm College of Law; February, 2005
  • Faculty Member: Trends and Hot Topics in Pharmaceutical Litigation; Las Vegas, Nevada; September, 2005
  • Pharmaceutical Torts Cases in Colorado: Ethical Consideration for Practitioners; Denver, Colorado; November, 2005
  • Drug Litigation Conferences; Zyprexa Litigation; November, 2004
  • Advanced Expert Witness Deposition Tactics in Colorado; 2002
  • Successfully Presenting the Complex Case to a Colorado Jury; 2001

Teaching Positions

  • Adjunct Professor: The University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 1995 to present