The firm was started by Harry Berke who was admitted to practice in 1934. Harry Berke was a stalwart of the Plaintiffs’ bar (those lawyers who were responsible for bringing cares for those persons who were injured by the fault or negligence of others). He was responsible for many new and innovative techniques and legal theories. His cases which went to the Appellate Courts created new law in Tennessee that aided injured persons. In addition there were numerous business and other types of litigated cases which established new law in such areas as aviation law, electrical injury law, and similar topics.
In 1961 he was joined in the practice by his son Marvin B. Berke. The two represented Jimmy Hoffa in his criminal case. Hoffa at the time was the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union. The firm in this time period continued to establish new law in personal injury and other litigation fields.
The two were joined by Ronald J. Berke, another son of Harry Berke. The firm continued its groundbreaking cases. They were joined in 1994 by Marvin Berke’s son, Andy. The Plaintiff’s practice and innovations continued with many large verdicts and settlements.
There were verdicts such as $8,000,000.00 in a bus accident, while other injury cases were settled at close to $1,000,000.00. Settlements in a gas explosion of $6,000,000.00 another victim of about $2,000,000.00, an auto accident case in the amount of $4,750,000.00, and many similar cases over a million dollars were made by the firm.
Andy Berke was elected as a State Senator while an attorney in the firm. He was later elected Mayor of the City of Chattanooga and as such had to withdraw from the firm.
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