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Client Service Philosophy
“I believe in thoroughly investigating a client’s case and digging into the evidence to master the details. This approach often results in finding contradictions in the defense that can be exploited during negotiations or at trial. I work on employment cases because I believe companies often treat employees unfairly, and as the grandson of a UAW organizer I want to fight back. I work on product liability cases because if it were not for lawyers pushing for victims’ rights many products (especially pharmaceutical products) would be unconscionably dangerous and risky.”
Bert Black has been practicing law for almost forty years. His current cases are mostly in the areas of employment law and consumer protection litigation. Before attending law school at Yale he worked for several years as an engineer, and over the course of his career many of his cases have involved complex scientific, statistical, and financial issues. His statistical skills are often helpful in employment discrimination cases. He was counsel on amicus briefs filed by clients such as the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in several U.S. Supreme Court cases that redefined the standards for admitting scientific and other expert testimony.
Bert has been focusing on employment cases for the last decade, but in the past has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in environmental pollution and products liability matters, as well as corporate governance, securities fraud, and bankruptcy litigation. His corporate law experience comes in handy when negotiating employment contracts and addressing questions about executive compensation.
Bert was originally admitted to practice law in Maryland and also has practiced in Georgia and Texas. He moved to Minnesota in 2005. He has argued several cases before U.S. Courts of Appeal, and briefed cases for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Bert is a lifelong bike rider. When he was in high school, he rode across the country, from Maryland to Washington State. He still rides as often as he can and does at least one century (hundred mile) ride every year. Bert also does carpentry work and makes furniture, and is an avid reader and amateur writer of fiction. His first novel – Impeachment Day – was published in April, 2015.
- Juris Doctor, Yale Law School, 1982
- Master of Science Degree, Civil Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1975
- Bachelor of Science Degree, Civil Engineering, University of Maryland, 1974
- Minnesota, 2005
- Washington, D.C., 2007
- Bert served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps from 1965 to 1970, reaching the rank of First Lieutenant. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Captain in 1974.
Minnesota Supreme Court Unanimously Hands Down Decision for Homeowners in Foreclosure
The law firm of Schaefer Halleen, LLC, is pleased to announce that on April 2, 2014, the Minnesota Supreme unanimously handed down a decision that gives the firm’s client, a homeowner who lost her house to foreclosure, the right to sue the servicing company that was handling her mortgage. Attorney Bert Black helped brief the case. Read More.
Human Resources Executive Denied Promotion
The Client: Senior Human Resources executive with a large consulting firm.
Problem: Was denied promotion to head of HR after being promised the job.
Approach: Sent proposal letter to company and later filed EEOC Charge and engaged in mediation.
Solution: Obtained more than a year’s severance pay for client.
Pharmaceutical Product Liability Litigation
The Client: Represented several plaintiffs in a product liability multi-district litigation (MDL); all had suffered heart attacks or were pursuing heart attack claims for deceased family members.
Problem: Drug caused heart attacks resulting from atherosclerotic plaque rupture.
Approach: Tried test cases to verdict.
Solution: Defense verdict in one case was reversed and case eventually settled; in a second case got a plaintiff’s verdict far larger than the amount demanded.
Condo Conversion Budgeting and Construction Defect Case
The Client: Condo Association
Problem: Condo conversion project was not completed properly (garage was about to be condemned, fifty year old windows required replacement, and other common elements were not completed or repaired properly), and monthly fees were grossly inadequate to fund reserves.
Approach: Served complaint and mediated case.
Solution: Settled for enough money to repair garage and at least partially fund reserves
Architect Terminated Because of Gender Discrimination
The Client: Staff architect at large nationwide architectural engineering firm.
Problem: Was terminated, supposedly as part of a staff reduction, but actually because of gender bias.
Approach: Sent proposal letter to company and engaged in direct negotiations through counse
Solution: Obtained settlement that more than covered the compensation client lost while looking for a new job.
In the seminal Supreme Court case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Bert represented the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science on an amicus brief that was cited by the Court in its decision.
- Peer Review and Discrimination: No Place for Employers to Hide Improper Bias, MD News, April 2015
- Bert is also the author of numerous articles on law and science that have appeared in various publications including:
- Fordham Law Review
- Science Magazine
- The New England Journal of Medicine
- Professor, Products Liability, Southern Methodist University of Law School, 2002-2003
- Professor, Fluid Mechanics and Small Dam Design, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Member, American Law Institute
- Past Chair, American Bar Association Section of Science and Technology Law
- Past Member and Chair, National Conference of Lawyers and Scientists
- Committee Member, Committee that drafted the Restatement of Torts
As a Senior Human Resource Executive with a national employer with a significant local presence, I never thought that I’d need a lawyer to help me address sexual harassment and discrimination issues. When this occurred, I so glad that Larry Schaefer and Bert Black were available, and could advocate for me in a way that not only fully exposed the horrible sexually-motivated treatment I suffered, but did so in a way that convinced my former employer to make this right and provide me with transition pay that allowed me to move past this trauma with my dignity (and career) intact.
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