On Mind and Belief
Gerald Spence (born January 8, 1929) is an American trial lawyer, widely recognized as one of the greatest trial lawyers of all time. Spence states that he “has never lost a criminal case either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney. He has not lost a civil case since 1969.Spence did lose a criminal case in a bench trial but prevailed on appeal.
Spence gained attention for the Karen Silkwood case.Karen Silkwood was a chemical technician at the Kerr-McGee plutonium-production plant, where she became an activist and vocal critic of plant safety, what would now be known as a whistleblower. On November 13, 1974, Silkwood died in a fatal one-car crash under suspicious circumstances after reportedly gathering evidence for her union. Spence represented Silkwood’s father and children, who charged that Kerr–McGee was responsible for exposing Silkwood to dangerous levels of radiation. Spence won a $10.5 million verdict for the family.
In civil litigation, Spence won a $52 million verdict against McDonald’s Corporation on behalf of a small, family-owned ice cream company.A medical malpractice verdict of over $4 million established a new standard for nursing care in Utah. In 1992 Spence earned $33.5 million verdicts for emotional and punitive damages for his quadriplegic client, after a major insurance company refused to pay on the $50,000 policy.