Legal Leaders Magazine, one of the countryâ€™s foremost legal trade publications, has named Bob Hilliard, Founding Partner at Hilliard MuÃ±oz Gonzales, LLP, to its list of AV Preeminent Top Rated Lawyers in recognition of Mr. Hilliardâ€™s â€œnational reputation for going toe-to-toe with powerful corporations.â€
In a legal career that spans three decades, Mr. Hilliard has successfully fought institutional and corporate wrongdoing on behalf of thousands of victims and their families. He has successfully taken on major companies like General Motors, Coca-Cola, Toyota and GlaxoSmithKline, after these have disregard the safety of customers in pursuit of their own corporate profits. â€œItâ€™s not simply about justice,â€ remarked Mr. Hilliard in a recent talk delivered at Georgetown University Law Center. â€œItâ€™s about understanding how to get to justice.â€
And this is exactly what makes Mr. Hilliard one of the countryâ€™s foremost Plaintiffâ€™s attorneys. He understands that getting to justice requires more than sharp legal acumen. It is his innate ability to connect with clients on a personal level and his determination to fight for those most in need that truly drives his practice. Mr. Hilliard recognizes that corporate wrongdoing has very real and personal consequences for clients and their families.
Mr. Hilliardâ€™s national reputation as a fighter has earned him recognition from clients and colleagues alike. For instance, he was named co-lead counsel in the national litigation against General Motors for its now infamous ignition switch defect, with primary responsibility for the 1,365 death and personal injury cases involved in this litigation. This case is regarded as the largest product liability action in U.S. history.
In large part due to Mr. Hilliardâ€™s leadership, GM has been forced to admit that, for 10 years, its executives and engineers knew that some 30 million GM vehicles were death traps—with an ignition switch so heinously defective that it could disengage a carâ€™s airbags, power steering and power brakes in the blink of an eye. To date, some 169 people have lost their lives. Thanks to Mr. Hilliardâ€™s efforts, GM has agreed to pay $575 million dollars under an agreement related to hundreds of lawsuits for wrongful death and personal injury as well as a shareholder class action lawsuit.
Mr. Hilliard recognizes that the consequences of corporate wrongdoing often times go beyond the financial. He has refused to stand idly by as the victims of automotive design defects by carmakers like GM and Toyota have been wrongfully accused of murder and been forced to serve jail time. Because of Mr. Hilliardâ€™s unwillingness to remain silent in the face of such injustice, several victims have regained their freedom.
For instance, Mr. Hilliard led the fight against Toyota, representing Koua Fong Lee, a Hmong immigrant wrongfully convicted of vehicular homicide in 2006 after his 1996 Toyota Camry experienced sudden unintended acceleration and caused a car accident where three people were killed and two more suffered serious injuries.
Mr. Lee served two and a half years of an eight-year prison sentence before Mr. Hilliard gained his release by proving that the accident was in fact caused by Toyotaâ€™s design defect. Mr. Hilliard went on to win an $11.4 million jury verdict in a subsequent civil suit, the largest of its kind against Toyota for unintended acceleration.
Each of these cases is a testament to Mr. Hilliardâ€™s legal prowess and to his determination to give a voice to those most in need. Mr. Hilliard is now currently spearheading legal action against Volkswagen for its Dieselgate scandal—representing owners of VW diesel vehicles equipped with cheat technology that allows these cars to dupe emissions tests and pollute at over 40 times federal limits. This new battle is one in which Mr. Hilliard, no doubt again, will find a way to get to justice.