Gene
S. Gene Fendler
Of Counsel, New Orleans
Assistant
One Shell Square
701 Poydras Street
Suite 5000
New Orleans, Louisiana 70139

Overview

Gene Fendler is a trial and appellate lawyer with more than 35 years of experience in both casualty and business matters.  He has tried over 75 lawsuits to verdict or judgment in state and federal courts throughout Louisiana as well as Texas, Illinois and Massachusetts, and has served as lead trial counsel in mass tort and class action matters.

Gene often handles complex claims for clients facing casualty litigation, commercial and construction disputes.  Here are a few representative examples:

  • Gene was recently lead trial counsel for a shipyard in a construction dispute with the purchaser of a large offshore liftboat.  The jury returned a $4.8 million verdict in favor of the shipyard.
    "I have faith in the jury system and the average juror's reasonableness.  In this case, I caught the other side in a lot of inconsistencies during depositions, and the jury saw right through it."

  • He helped a major oil and gas producer in a claim valued in excess of $300 million for loss of a drilling structure on a deep water production facility during a hurricane.  Gene was lead trial counsel.

  • In a Houston arbitration where Gene was the lead counsel, he helped resolve a construction dispute with claims and counterclaims of approximately $350 million involving a floating, deepwater production facility hull.  "We represented the purchaser of the structure, which was built in Norway.  The builder blamed my client for changing the design."

Gene served as the firm's president and managing partner from 2003 until 2009.  Prior to joining the firm, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Alvin B. Rubin, District Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Experience

With over 35 years of trial and appellate experience, Gene has helped corporate and institutional clients throughout Louisiana and the U.S., including serving in the following representative cases, frequently as lead counsel:

  • A shipyard in a construction dispute with the purchaser of a large offshore liftboat in which the jury returned a $4.8 million verdict in favor of the shipyard.

  • Major oil and gas producer in a claim valued in excess of $300 million for loss of a drilling structure on a deep water production facility during a hurricane.

  • In an arbitration of a construction dispute involving claims and counterclaims of approximately $350 million with respect to a deep water production facility hull.

  • A class action suit with more than 3,000 members for claims arising out of a fire and explosion at a chemical plant.

  • In a seven-week trial and seven-week AAA arbitration in a $250 million offshore casualty claim for loss of a deep-water production facility.

  • For an international chemical manufacturer, defense of a multimillion-dollar construction dispute in a two-week arbitration in Boston.

  • In the longest civil jury trial in the history of St. Charles Parish, served as trial defense counsel in a suit alleging serious, permanent brain damage as a result of toxic exposures caused by his client, a chemical company. The jury returned a defense verdict.

  • Defeated class certification in the defense of over 20,000 toxic tort claims arising out of the capsizing of a tank barge in the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.

  • Prevailed on all liability claims in an action involving more than 17,000 claimants in a matter, which arose out of a tug and barge casualty in the Mississippi River.

  • Obtained a multimillion-dollar settlement for a pipeline owner for damages arising out of a drilling rig that punctured a pipeline after being cast adrift in a hurricane.

  • Following a two-week jury trial, he obtained a jury verdict in favor of the hotel management company facing racial discrimination claims brought when eight former employees of the hotel were terminated.

  • Obtained a directed verdict in a month-long, multi-party jury trial alleging serious personal injuries from a construction accident.

  • Prosecuted a claim for patent infringement on behalf of the manufacturer of an oil field tool.

"I've always been a trial lawyer…first, in oil and gas.  Then I was one of the founders of a maritime practice about 30 years ago at Liskow.  Eventually, I branched out into general civil litigation, often construction related.”

Involvement

Professional

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

  • Associate; Past President, Louisiana Chapter, American Board of Trial Advocates

  • Fellow, Louisiana Bar Foundation

  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

  • Master of the Bench, Judge John C. Boutall American Inn of Court

  • President, LSU Law Center Alumni Board of Trustees

  • Louisiana State Bar Association

  • Committee on Codes of Lawyer and Judicial Conduct (2002–2004)

  • Committee on Professionalism and Quality of Life (2005–2014)

  • LSU Law Center, Planning Committee, Annual Alvin B. Rubin Conference on Maritime Personal Injury, 2005 to date

  • Tulane University School of Law - New Orleans Maritime Seminar, Faculty and Advisory Committee, 1990 - 2005

  • Member, New Orleans, Louisiana State and American Bar Associations

  • International Association of Defense Counsel - Maritime and Energy Law Committee

  • Member, Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute

  • Member, Maritime Law Association of the United States

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Alvin B. Rubin, Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, 1973 - 1974

Community

  • Past President, Congregation Temple Sinai

  • Past President, University of Virginia Alumni Club of Louisiana

  • Captain, Louisiana Army National Guard, 1969-1978

  • High School Teacher, 1969 - 1970

Recognition

  • "Top Lawyer" in the area of Admiralty and Maritime Law,  New Orleans Magazine, 2015

  • Distinguished Maritime Lawyer Award,  New Orleans Bar Association, 2014

  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2001–2018

  • “Lawyer of the Year,”  Best Lawyers' Admiralty and Maritime Law, 2015

  • Louisiana Super Lawyers, 2007–2017, Top 50 Louisiana and New Orleans Lawyers

  • Leadership in Law Award,  New Orleans CityBusiness, 2009

  • "Top Lawyer," Bet-the-Company Litigation, New Orleans Magazine, 2014

  • Louisiana Litigator of the Year,  Benchmark Litigation, one of three finalists nominated, 2011

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Presentations

Gene often appears as a guest lecturer at the Louisiana State University Law Center.    

After Hours

"For fun?  I like to spend time with my family.  Plus, I'm a fix-it guy.  Which comes in handy, because we live in one of the oldest residences still standing in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.  I'm also a licensed private pilot."