Education

  • University of Connecticut (B.A., 1972, with honors in Chemistry)
  • Harvard Law School (J.D., 1975, cum laude)

Opinions

Bruce J. Berger, who joined the Firm in 1986, retired in 2015 to pursue a second career.  He enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing at American University in Washington, DC, and received his MFA with Outstanding Academic Achievement in 2018.  His first novel, The Flight of the Veil, was published in 2020 by Black Rose Writing, and his second novel, The Music Stalker, was published in 2021 by the same publishing house.  Also, since 2017, Mr. Berger has been an Adjunct Professor at American University, teaching both College Writing and Creative Writing.  

Throughout his legal career, Mr. Berger was a trial lawyer and tried more than twenty cases to verdict.  While at the Firm, Mr. Berger was lead trial counsel for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in Hogan v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 1:06-CV-00260 (E.D.N.Y.), one of the first bellwether trials in the Aredia®/Zometa® multidistrict litigation pending in the Middle District of Tennessee.  Aredia® and Zometa® are bisphosphonate drugs used to combat skeletal-related events (e.g., bone fractures) that occur as cancer metastasizes to and degrades a cancer victim’s bones.  Plaintiff alleged that her late husband developed osteonecrosis of the jaw (“ONJ”) as a result of his receiving Zometa® as part of his cancer treatment.  Following a seven-day trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of Novartis, concluding that plaintiff had failed to prove that Zometa® had caused Mr. Hogan’s jaw condition.  

Mr. Berger secured his second consecutive defense verdict in the Aredia®/Zometa® litigation in Brodie v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 4:10-CV-138 (E.D. Mo.), a failure-to-warn case in which plaintiff alleged that her deceased husband developed ONJ as a result of his use of Zometa®.  After a one and a half week trial, the jury deliberated for less than two hours before it returned a verdict in favor of Novartis, validating Novartis’s position that the company provided adequate warnings about the known and reasonably knowable risks associated with the use of Zometa®.

Among his most memorable trial victories, in 1997 Mr. Berger successfully defended a pharmaceutical company against products liability claims brought by four plaintiffs and their spouses in a month long trial in Galveston, Texas.  

In addition to his extensive experience with the defense of pharmaceutical products liability cases, Mr. Berger served as counsel for Norfolk Southern in the case of Avondale Mills v. Norfolk Southern, No. 1:05-2817 (D.S.C. 2008).  Plaintiff Avondale alleged property damage to its textile plants arising from a January 2005 train derailment and chlorine gas release.  Mr. Berger led the defense of financial damages issues in the case, which was the largest single mass tort case in South Carolina history.  After one month of an anticipated three-month trial, the parties agreed to a confidential settlement.

Among other manufacturers and industrial clients that Mr. Berger represented while at the Firm, he defended gasoline manufacturers and successfully obtained summary judgment in leukemia cases relating to alleged exposure to benzene.  (Bly v. Tri-Continental Indus., 663 A.2d 1232 (D.C. 1995).)  He also has successfully advocated the causation defense relating to alleged benzene exposures in complex workplace settings involving contract laborers and bystanders.  

Prior to joining Hollingsworth LLP, Mr. Berger worked for the United States Department of Justice in both the Civil Rights Division and the Lands and Natural Resources Division.  He also taught Trial Practice as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center and frequently chaired seminars, lectured, and wrote on trial practice, toxic tort litigation, and environmental issues.  He clerked for the Honorable John Minor Wisdom, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, from 1975-76.  While attending law school, he served as Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

In addition to the work he handled on behalf of our clients, Mr. Berger served for five years as the Firm's Pro Bono Coordinator.  He frequently served as guardian ad litem representing children in custody disputes and served on the Children and the Courts Committee of the Council for Court Excellence.

Mr. Berger was named in the Washington, DC edition of Super Lawyers and recognized as a Top Rated Lawyer™ by American Lawyer Media & Martindale-Hubbell.

Publications

  • And The Defense Wins: DRI's The Voice recognizes Firm partner in summary judgment win for Novartis.
  • BPA Update and Opinions: Legislation, Regulation, Science, and Litigation Concerning Bisphenol-A
  • PFOA Update
  • Pesticide Chemicals and Endocrine Disruptor Allegations
  • The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, Its Implementation and Its Liability Implications
  • The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and its Liability Implications
  • Endocrine Disrupter Studies Can Be Challenged as Lacking Proper 'Fit' with the Human Question
  • The IADC publishes "Endocrine Disrupters: The Potential Cloud of Manufacturer Toxic Tort Liability" in the April 2007 issue of its Defense Counsel Journal.
  • Endocrine Disrupters: The Potential Cloud of Manufacturer Toxic Tort Liability
  • Endocrine Disrupters Are Still Here
  • Case Reports Present Ample Potential for Scientific Fraud in Toxic Tort Cases
  • Conde v. Velsicol Chemical Corp.: Lessons for the Defense of Toxic Tort Cases.
  • Practical Ideas for Superfund Settlements
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