Richard Ergo

Richard Ergo

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Products Liability Attorney in Walnut Creek, CA

Bowles & Verna, LLP
 | 2121 N California Blvd, Suite 875
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Phone: 925-478-5763
Fax: 925-935-0371
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2013 - 2019
Licensed Since: 1983
Practice Areas:
  • Personal Injury - Products: Defense (60%),
  • Business Litigation (30%),
  • Intellectual Property Litigation (10%)
Attorney Profile

With more than 30 years of experience representing clients throughout the U.S. and internationally, Richard Ergo handles a variety of cases ranging from business litigation, products liability, intellectual property and general business advice. He is a founding member of the Bay Area-based law firm Bowles & Verna, LLP. Mr. Ergo frequently travels abroad to countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Germany.  He has visited numerous client manufacturing facilities in Taiwan, Japan, China and Singapore. He regularly interfaces with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on safety notifications and product recalls, attempting to prevent consumer injury as well as costly litigation for corporations.

Mr. Ergo has been a speaker at DRI, the Propane Gas Defense Association, ICPHSO, as well as numerous industry associations in China and Taiwan.

After graduating with honors with a degree in economics from the University of California, Davis in 1978, Mr. Ergo earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Utah in 1983. He has experience appearing as counsel of record for clients in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Arizona, New Jersey, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma, Nevada, Colorado, Alabama, Louisiana, Idaho, New Mexico, Mississippi,Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. He has tried and arbitrated more than 30 cases in California, New York and Arizona.

Mr. Ergo has received the highest possible rating of AV-Preeminent* from Martindale-Hubbell, and currently serves as national counsel for the Worthington Cylinder Corporation (Ohio) and Grand Hall Enterprise Co., Ltd. (Taiwan). Mr. Ergo strongly believes in giving back to his community. For over 20 years, he has coached youth sports, and has served as a board member for the Northgate Community Pride Foundation, the Walnut Creek Little League and the Walnut Creek Fountain for Youth Foundation.

*AV-Preeminent and BV-Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

About Richard Ergo

Admitted: 1983, California

Professional Webpage: https://www.bowlesverna.com/about-the-practice/about-our-att...

Honors/Awards:

  • Highest Rating of "A.V." from the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory (http://www.martindale.com)
  • Admission to the Litigation Counsel of America, the Trial Lawyer Honorary Society , 2014

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Vice Chair of the ABA Life Insurance committee, 1999

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Founding board member and past advisory board member of the Northgate Community Pride Foundation, established to raise funds for capital improvements to schools in Walnut Creek, California.
  • From 1985 through 2007 coached more than 40 boys and girls youth athletic teams.
  • Past Board member of the Walnut Creek Little League
  • Past Board member of the Walnut Creek Fountain for Youth Foundation

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • Guiding Asian Defendants through U.S. Consumer Product Liability Litigation, Defense Research Institute Product Liability Conference – Product Liability in the Global Economy (Consumer Goods and Office Equipment Workshop), Phoenix, Arizona, February 8, 2008
  • Protecting Patent Rights in the US and Limiting Foreign Manufacture Exposure in the U.S., Separate Presentations to TAITRA branches in Tainan and Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Chang An, China, October 2008
  • What You Need to Know about the 2008 CPSIA and Strategies for Preventing Lawsuits for Companies Selling Goods to the U.S., March 2009
  • Sino-US Trade Related Laws and Regulations, Sponsor Hangzhou Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (CIQ). Hangzhou, China, June 2, 2009
  • Representing Product Manufactures and Exporters: What every Taiwanese Attorney Needs to Know About US Law, Taipei Bar Association. Taipei, Taiwan, November 10, 2009
  • March 2011, Presentation to Kaiohsiung Branch of TAITRA.  Topic:  Effective Strategies for Preventing US Lawsuits., Speaker, 2011
  • Panel Speaker:  “Navigating the CPSC: From Initial Injury to Rulemaking," DRI, Products Liability Conf., Hand & Power Tool SLG, April 2012., Speaker, 2012
  • June 2013, Taipei, Taiwan.  Topic:  Tax and Penalty Liabilities Under the Foreign Accounting Tax Compliance Act., speaker, 2013
  • September 2014, Beijing, China.  Presentation to the Trade and Economic Association, Chaoyang District.  Topic:  Overview of U.S. Litigation System; Overview of U.S. Product Liability Law., Speaker, 2014
  • March 2011, Taipei Bar Association, Taipei, Taiwan.  Topic:  Purchase Orders:  Obligations Under the UCC and CISG., Speaker, 2011
  • Product Liability Issues for Propane Valve and Cylinder Manufacturers, Propane Gas Defense Association meetings, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 15, 2005
  • U.S. Product Liability Law and Consumer Product Safety Commission, Taipei International Sporting Goods Show (TaiSPO), Taipei, Taiwan, April 13, 2006
  • IP, CPSC and Products Liability Issues for Foreign Manufacturers, National Hardware Show, Las Vegas, Nevada, May 10, 2006
  • Practical Realities for Asian Manufacturers in US CPSC Product Recalls, International Consumer Product Safety Conference (Household Products Workshop), jointly sponsored by AQSIQ and ICPHSO, Beijing, China, May 21, 2007
  • Effective Strategies for Preventing Lawsuits for Companies Selling Goods to the U.S, Separate Presentations to the Neihu Business Association, Taipei, Taiwan; Taichung Industrial Park, Taichung, Taiwan, October 2007

Verdicts/Settlements:

  • A $3.5 million settlment in a Los Angeles County action in favor of a distributor of nutritional supplements against a subsidiary of a foreign public company who breached a multi-million dollar purchase order.  Client's customer attempted to cancel an order of herbal materials imported from China.  We successfully argued that under the terms of the purchase orders, there were no circumstances justifying cancelation., 2006
  • 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., 2000
  • Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of Kwang Yang Motor Company (KYMCO) after 3 week trial on a product liability case involving an ATV accident.  El Dorado County, California Action no. PC 20090630, 2012
  • A defense verdict in a four-week jury trial in San Francisco in a real property class action matter. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants (associated with various limited partnerships & 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., 2001
  • Settlement of a catastrophic products liability action involving two deaths and two children with horrific burns and scarring.  Special damages were alleged to be in excess of $10 million. More than 80 depositions were conducted throughout the United States and Taiwan, including approximately 30 expert witnesses. A jurisdictional motion was denied by the trial court, but the Nevada Supreme Court issued a writ to review the decision prior to trial., 2017
  • 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., 2004
  • A nominal plaintiff's award defending in a two-month trial in Santa Clara County involving an insurance agent termination action. The court found "after acquired evidence" established cause for the termination and limited plaintiff's damages. The case was tried against a $3 million demand. The plaintiff's award was restricted to various vested pension and deferred compensation monies. The court rejected all claims for future lost compensation and injunctive relief., 1998
  • Summary judgment in favor of a propane cylinder manufacturer in a wrongful death claim in Queens County, New York., 2003
  • 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 defense verdict in a four-week jury trial in Fresno County when 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., 2001
  • A defense verdict in a two-week products liability action in Orange County. 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., 1999
  • Settlement of a wrongful death action in Montana where a toddler became entangled in curtain drawstrings. We represented a Taiwan based manufacturer of curtains and filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court delayed ruling on the motion pending mediation. The trial court’s favorable statements regarding the motion provided substantial leverage in the mediation., 2016
  • A successful defense in Federal Court in San Francisco of an agent termination and defamation action. Summary judgment was granted for interference claims. The case settled on terms favorable to defendants after a five-week trial while the jury was deliberating., 1995
  • 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., 2009
  • Summary judgment in Federal Court in San Francisco in favor of a major life insurance company regarding claims that annuity payments had been misdirected.  Case settled for a nominal amount while on appeal., 2006
  • A $5.7 million judgment in Contra Costa County 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 policy on a 70 year old woman with a table DD rating. The judgment represented the cost of a substitute policy the company gave the insured in settlement of the insured's claims against the company. 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 and San Francisco Daily Journal., 1996
  • Dismissal of a $15 million products liability case after two weeks of trial based on repeated acts of perjury by the plaintiffs.  See Englebrick v. Worthington 944 F.Supp.2d 899 (2013).  US District Court, Central District, California, 2013
  • 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., 2000
  • U.S. product manufacturer dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction in a Califorinia action where plaintiff where plaintiff suffered amputations of his right arm and right leg., 2015
  • A defense verdict in Sacramento County after a three-week trial in a products liability action 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., 1997

Transactions:

  • Conducted audits of manufacturing sites for US manufacturer for the purpose of recommending implementation of additional quality control procedures, revision of warnings, and revision of owner manuals for the purpose of reducing occurrences of accidents and mitigating against consumer class action lawsuits., 2017
  • Conducted a "worldwide" recall of one pound propane cylinders.  The recall was conducted in countries including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. We interfaced with the CPSC and parallel agencies in all of these countries with minimal assistance from counsel in a handful of the countries., 2012

Representative Clients:

  • Worthington Industries, Inc. (parent of various companies that manufacture cylinders for flammable and inert gases); Grand Hall Enterprise Co., Ltd. (Taiwan based manufacturer of propane valves, torches and barbecue grills); Green Energy Technology, Inc.  (Taiwan based manufacturer of solar wafers); New Widetech Industries Co. Ltd. (Taiwan based manufacturer of dehumidifiers); Since 2015, more than 300 Chinese online retailers sued for trademark infringement in the U.S., 2017

Educational Background:

  • University of California, Davis, Degree in Economics. With Honors, 1978

Industry Groups

  • ABA
  • Contra Costa Bar Association
  • DRI
  • ICPHSO
  • International Bar Association
  • Litigation Counsel Of America
  • Propane Gas Defense Association
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Office Location for Richard Ergo

2121 N California Blvd
Suite 875
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Richard Ergo:

Last Updated: 5/1/2019

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