Gerard W. Cook's Profile Image

Gerard W. Cook

Gerard Cook is a partner with OKGC and has been with the firm since 1984. Gerard focuses his practice on municipal liability defense, product liability defense and general tort defense.

Gerard’s comprehensive litigation practice encompasses trial work and consulting. He has successfully tried numerous cases to verdict and has extensive trial and appellate experience in the areas of product liability, municipal liability and general tort liability. His work litigating numerous wrongful death and serious injury cases includes acting as first chair trial counsel internationally, defending a manufacturer in product liability lawsuits. He was also first chair counsel for a defendant/rail car manager in the Duluth/Superior train derailment litigation, which arose out of a train derailment/toxic spill that resulted in the evacuation of most of the population in Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin. Gerard achieved dismissals on behalf of his client in multiple resulting lawsuits, including class action suits, in several jurisdictions. Recently, he won summary judgment for a product manufacturer involving a precedent-setting issue under the federal preemption doctrine, as it applies to product warnings.

Gerard has presented on product liability and municipal tort defense topics. His involvement in the community includes service on the Board of Directors of a drug and alcohol abuse counseling organization. He also has worked with the Boy Scouts, teaching law merit badge classes, and has given lectures in various areas of constitutional law in schools, working with the Lawyers in the Classroom organization.

Areas of Focus

  • Product Liability Law
  • Municipal Liability Defense
  • General Tort Defense

Education

  • John Marshall school of Law, J.D. 1978 (Phi Delta Phi)
  • Northwestern University, B.A. 1975

Representative Cases

  • Christman, Sr. et. al. for Christman et. al. 95-C-495-C (W.D. of Wis.)—Summary judgment granted in favor of GLNX Corp. toxic spill/train derailment case based on federal preemption doctrine.
  • Davis v. Jasper Co., 99 L 5 (Circuit Ct. Jasper Co., Il)—Won defense verdicts after jury trials (case remanded after appeal and tried second time). Both juries awarded defense verdicts in both trials, with multimillion dollar claims for multiple serious permanent injuries occurring in car/truck crash.
  • Veath v. Wikel Mfg. (Circuit Ct. of Madison Co., Il)—Won defense verdict for manufacturer of asphalt application equipment that exploded causing serious and permanent injuries. Defense showed misuse of product.
  • Conduff for Conduff, a minor v. Bureau County Sheriff’s Department, 03-L-3 (Circuit Ct. of Bureau Co, Il.)—Won summary judgment on behalf of Sheriff and deputy for alleged wrongful death of boy on go-cart. Tort immunity applied to hazardous recreation. Affirmed on appeal.
  • Harr v. County of Fulton, 07-L-20(Circuit Ct. of Fulton Co., Il.)—Summary judgment granted in case involving single vehicle accident resulting in paraplegia to plaintiff. Improper road maintenance was alleged. Discretionary immunity was applied by court.
  • Suarez et. al. v. W.M. Barr Co., 1-13-cv-04569 (N.D. of Il.)—Summary judgment granted to defendant in product liability suit alleging defective design and warnings. Plaintiff sustained serious burns in a flash fire by using the product in a household setting. Federal preemption doctrine applied.
  • Hopey v. Spear et al., 13-CV-2220-CSB-DGB (Central District of Illinois) - Won defense verdict where the plaintiff sought $2.3 million in damages for a concussion, post-concussion syndrome and aggravation of pre-existing spinal disc conditions allegedly caused in a rear end motor vehicle accident. The trial included testimony from multiple physicians and biomechanical engineers, including a neurosurgeon on behalf of the defense, who was recently depicted in the Hollywood movie "Concussion."

Recent Decisions

Admissions

  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • United States District Courts for the Western District of Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin
  • Florida (inactive)