Jerome (Jerry) Block is a partner at Levy Konigsberg LLP and specializes in representing people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases including mesothelioma (a cancer caused by asbestos exposure) and lung cancer (a cancer caused by both asbestos exposure and smoking). Jerry is one of the only attorneys in the United States to have won multiple jury verdicts against both the asbestos and tobacco industries. Jerry is a fierce and passionate advocate who views his cases as battles for public health.
Jerry tries his cases in courtrooms throughout the country and has successfully defended his jury verdicts on appeal in courts including the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the New York Appellate Division and the Delaware Supreme Court. Jerry’s mastery of the law and rules of evidence have resulted in an extraordinarily high winning percentage at trial and on appeal.
In May 2019, Jerry won a historic $325 million dollar verdict against Johnson & Johnson, and a J&J subsidiary company, resulting from his client Donna Olson’s mesothelioma that was caused by decades of exposure to asbestos from J&J’s talc products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder. Jerry served as lead counsel in this landmark four-month trial which was the first case tried against J&J in New York relating to asbestos in baby powder. This case is currently awaiting final review on appeal.
Just seven months earlier, in October 2018, Jerry won a $43.1 million dollar verdict against R.J. Reynolds in Boston on behalf of his client Louis Summerlin who developed lung cancer from smoking menthol cigarettes and from asbestos exposure from work as a brake mechanic. This was the first lung cancer case tried to verdict in the United States in which the case was litigated all the way through trial against both tobacco and asbestos product companies. The Summerlin trial was featured in an episode of The Great Trials Podcast.
Over the course of his career, Jerry has obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in jury verdicts and pre-trial settlements. Jerry is known for his willingness to take on the most challenging cases, and has won trials against numerous large corporations who made asbestos, talc and/or tobacco products including (in alphabetical order): American Tobacco Company, Anaconda-Ericsson, Brown & Williamson, Dana Corporation, Exxon-Mobil, Ford Motor Company, Foster-Wheeler, Hobart Brothers, John Crane, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., Johnson Controls, Lincoln Electric, National Grid, Okonite, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and Spirax Sarco.
Jerry has been an invited speaker at many national conferences where he has given presentations on topics involving asbestos litigation, tobacco litigation and jury trial skills. Jerry served on the national faculty of Emory School of Law’s Trial Techniques Program in May 2007 where he taught jury trial skills including cross-examination.
Jerry has been included in every edition of Best Lawyers in America since 2005. He has also been distinguished by Super Lawyers in New York City and has been selected to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 List.
Prior to joining LK in 2001, Jerry worked at an international law firm where he gained valuable experience representing large corporate defendants in complex, multi-party lawsuits.
A graduate of Emory Law School, Jerry served as the “Notes and Comments” editor of the Emory Law Journal. While at Emory, he received several awards and honors, and was inducted into The Order of the Coif. After completing his law degree, Jerry worked as a two-year law clerk for the Honorable Jean C. Hamilton, who was then Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri.
Jerry is a long-time resident of Brooklyn, NY, along with his wife Michelle and their three children. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Jerry remains a devoted fan of the St. Louis Blues and Cardinals.