Merrill G. Davidoff is Chairman Emeritus and a Managing Shareholder, in addition to his continuing work as Co-Chairman of the Antitrust Department and Chairman of the Environmental Group. Mr. Davidoff has litigated and tried a wide range of antitrust, commodities, securities, and environmental class actions.
In a long-running environmental class action on behalf of property owners whose land was contaminated by plutonium from a nuclear weapons facility (Rocky Flats near Denver, Colorado), Mr. Davidoff served as lead counsel and lead trial counsel in a 2005-2006 trial that resulted in a $554 million jury verdict, third largest of 2006. In 2009 the Rocky Flats trial team received the Public Justice Award for “Trial Lawyer of the Year.” A 2010 decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the judgment, but Berger Montague persevered and sought entry of judgment under alternative state law grounds. After losing this battle in the district court, plaintiffs appealed to the 10th Circuit again, and the Court of Appeals (by then-judge, now Justice, Neil Gorsuch) reversed and held that plaintiffs could proceed on state law nuisance grounds. A settlement of $375 million was announced in May 2016. The settlement received final approval on April 28, 2017.