A native of La Jolla, David S. Casey Jr. is managing partner of Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP, San Diego’s oldest plaintiffs’ law firm. With a career spanning 42 years, his legal skills and landmark cases have had far-reaching consequences, impacting both consumers and the legal community. He is being inducted into the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego’s Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame for his service to the public, high ethical standards and leadership.
The La Jolla resident has helped clients in a range of serious injury cases relating to aviation, maritime, product liability, trucking and automobile crashes. Last month, he filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court seeking to hold the smokeless tobacco industry accountable for baseball legend Tony Gwynn’s death.
In January, he was appointed by the Federal Courts to the national VW Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee overseeing litigation targeting Volkswagen over its diesel emissions scandal — one of the largest in class action history.
For the last eight years, he has served as state chair for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Federal Judicial Selection Committee, working to find the most qualified judicial candidates for the Federal bench in California.
What brought you to La Jolla?
My dad was born in St. Louis. He served in the Navy in World War II and survived the battle of Leyte Gulf. He swore that if he lived through that experience, he would leave St. Louis and move to La Jolla, which he did in 1947.
What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?
I grew up in La Jolla when there were no homes on the hills. I would have liked to see a lower density of housing in La Jolla, which I believe would have helped keep its charm and reduce the current traffic.
Who or what inspires you?
My father – David S. Casey Sr. – was a founder and partner of this firm and was the greatest inspiration in my life. He always told me to take the high road in life. Integrity and credibility do matter. I have tried to follow his footsteps.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
I would ask Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Clarence Darrow, John Adams, Justice William Douglas, Gerry Spence and my father.
What are you currently reading?
I recently finished a trilogy by Richard J. Evans about the rise of Hitler in Germany and his impact, specifically in Germany, until the conclusion of the war. It was very chilling in documenting a horrific experience we should never forget, and the dangers of dictatorship.
What is it that you most dislike?
I have a lot of respect for the legal profession and the lawyers and judges who serve in it. We have the finest legal system in the world. I have no tolerance for lawyers who cheat their clients and dishonor the legal system.
What is your most-prized possession?
Without question, the photographs of my family.
What do you do for fun?
I have a passion for skiing, particularly in Deer Valley, and a lifelong love of tennis.
What is your philosophy of life?
Each day brings its challenges. It is how you deal with those challenges that makes all the difference. I have always tried to respond to challenges in a positive way and always encourage those around me to a higher level of accomplishment.
What would be your dream vacation?
It’s hard to beat Bora Bora with my beautiful wife, Lisa.