Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Litigator David I. Shapiro, founding partner of the firm Dickstein Shapiro, has died. In a career that spanned many areas of litigation, Mr. Shapiro also was active in several prominent mass tort litigations, and came to focus on mediation as a case management method. Here's an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal's obituary:
Mr. Shapiro branched out into class-action suits in the late 1960s. He handled the states' cases in a complex federal price-fixing lawsuit against manufacturers of the antibiotic tetracycline, winning a $100 million verdict for the states.
Later, Mr. Shapiro took on cases related to breast implants, asbestos and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In 1984, he was assigned as a special master to handle a $180 million settlement resulting from the Agent Orange case, then among the largest class-actions suits to date.
But Mr. Shapiro came to feel that much of class-action litigation was driven by greed, and that cases could be better settled by other means. He developed an expertise in negotiations, and was chairman of the American Bar Association's National Institute on New Techniques for Resolving Complex Legislation.
"It's possible to get justice and recompense for consumers without the greed of the few that plagues the U.S. system," he told the Telegraph of London in 2007.
He taught mediation at the London School of Economics, and created a mediation practice at SJ Berwin.