Frank M. Pitre, a San Francisco native, earned his B.S., Cum Laude, in Business Administration and his J.D. from the University of San Francisco. While at USF, Pitre served a legal externship with the California Supreme Court.
Considered to be one of the outstanding trial lawyers in areas of personal injury/wrongful death, consumer fraud, mass torts and commercial torts, Pitre has won millions of dollars for victims of injustice.
His skill as a trial lawyer has earned him recognition among his peers who have elected him as a member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, American Board of Trial Advocates (Advocate), International Academy of Trial Lawyers, International Society of Barristers, and the National Board of Trial Advocacy. In 2018 he was honored by Consumer Watchdog with their Lifetime Achievement Award for his successful advocacy on behalf of consumers over more than three decades.
Since January 2018 he has served as Co-Lead Counsel on behalf of the victims of the North Bay Wild Fires to prosecute claims against PG&E for their mismanagement of electrical operations leading to 43 deaths, 100,000 people displaced, over 245,000 acres burned and more than 14,700 homes and structures destroyed. In Re: California North Bay Fire Cases, JCCP Action No. 4955. Concurrently, he served as a member of The Plaintiffs Executive Committee in statewide mass tort actions prosecuted against PG&E arising out of the Butte Wildfire. In Re: Butte Fire Cases, JCCP Action No. 4853.
Previous to that, he acted as Co-Lead Counsel, and secured one of the top 10 largest Shareholder Derivative Settlements in U.S. history against Officers and Directors of PG&E arising out of the San Bruno Fire & Explosion. Salman, et al. v. Darbee, et al., JCCP Action No. 4648.
He was selected by Federal District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer as one of twenty lawyers, among 150 attorney applicants nationwide, to serve as a member of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee to prosecute claims on behalf of a nationwide class of consumers against Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi over their diesel emissions scandal. The cases were pending in the Northern District of California in MDL 2672: In Re Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation.
He presently serves as one of ten members of the Plaintiffs Executive Committee selected by Federal District Court Judge Jesse Furman to lead litigation pending in the Southern District of New York on behalf of a nationwide class of consumers against General Motors for safety related defects in over 27 million vehicles. The cases are currently pending in MDL 2543: In Re General Motors Ignition Switch Litigation.
At present Pitre serves as a member of the Plaintiffs Executive Committee in the prosecution of cases against Boeing arising from the Ethiopian Airlines crash of a 737 Max 8 in Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019 which killed 149 passengers and 8 crew members. 19-cv-02170: In Re Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 Crash. He also serves as a member of The Plaintiffs Steering Committee in claims on behalf of numerous victims who lost their homes and loved ones in the Thomas/Woolsey Wildfires in Southern California. JCCP Action No. 4965: In Re Southern California Fire Cases. In addition he serves as a member of The Steering Committee in the prosecution of over 1,400 clients against So. Cal Gas arising out of the Porter Ranch gas storage facility failure. In Re: Southern California Gas Leak Cases, JCCP Action No. 4861.
He served as Plaintiffs Liaison Counsel spearheading the co-ordination of dozens of cases filed on behalf of injured passengers against Asiana Airlines and Boeing, arising from the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco on July 6, 2013. In Re: Air Crash At San Francisco, California On July 6, 2013.
In November 2013, Pitre was honored by the Consumer Attorneys of California as Consumer Attorney of the Year for his efforts in coordinating, prosecuting and resolving over 200 claims of injury, death and property destruction against PG&E. See link to In Re: San Bruno Fire Cases: JCCP Action No. 4648
Earlier that same year, Pitre served as Co-Lead Counsel for Economic Loss Class Plaintiffs in the Toyota Unintended Acceleration Marketing & Sales Practices Cases which successfully resulted in securing final approval of a $1.5 billion settlement on behalf of class members. In Re: Toyota Unintended Acceleration Marketing Sales Practices & Product Liability Litigation, MDL 2151JVS.
In 2011, Pitre recovered the largest individual wrongful death verdict in San Diego County history, when a jury awarded $17.4 million to the wife and three children of a high ranking U.S. Naval Officer, who was killed while riding his bike in a collision with an American Medical Response transport van. Mazurek, et al. v. American Medical Response, et al., San Diego Superior Court Action No. 10-83975 May 20, 2011. As a result, he was named a finalist for the 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of California.
In 2009, Pitre was recognized by the National Law Journal’s “Plaintiff’s Hot List” for his work as co-lead trial counsel in the In Re: Bextra and Celebrex Mktg., Sales Practices & Product Liability Litigation (MDL 1699), which culminated in Pfizer agreeing to pay $894 million to settle consolidated injury and class action cases related to its pain killers Bextra & Celebrex.
In 2006, Pitre obtained one of the largest verdicts in Sutter County history where he obtained over $45 million on behalf on an elderly minority shareholder who had been frozen out of participation in a lucrative family timber harvesting business. Siller v. Siller, Sutter County Superior Court Action No. CVCS01-1083.
He is a past president of Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), the 3,000-member group of lawyers dedicated to protecting and seeking justice for consumers. He has also served as a past president of the San Francisco Chapter of ABOTA, and presently serves as Treasurer of Cal-ABOTA.
Pitre served as liaison counsel and a member of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee in the Alaska Air Flight 261 air crash. In addition, he was a member of the Plaintiffs Executive Committee arising out of the Singapore Airlines Flight 006 air crash in Taiwan. Immediately prior to his committee appointments in Alaska Air and Singapore Airlines, he served as a member of the Plaintiffs Management Committee in the California Diet Drug Litigation where thousands of individuals were victimized by the diet pill combination Fen-Phen, which was condemned by the FDA for causing adverse health effects.
Pitre’s numerous jury trials include a multi-million dollar wrongful death verdict in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, California, against the State Department of Transportation, a highway contractor and a trucking company. The verdict, one of the largest of its kind for Orange County at the time, was affirmed on appeal, and as a result Pitre was a finalist for CAOC’s Trial Lawyer of the Year award (2004).
Pitre served as co-lead trial counsel for Consumers Union, obtaining a defense verdict in favor of Consumers Union in a product disparagement case where the plaintiff, Isuzu Motors of Japan, sought damages of multi- million dollars. His work in defense of Consumers Union earned him recognition as a finalist for Trial Lawyer of the Year Award 2000.
Pitre won a multi-million dollar verdict for the victims of a high profile San Francisco balcony collapse. He also secured a significant verdict for compensatory and punitive damages before a San Francisco jury which found the defendant to have wrongfully deprived the plaintiff of her partnership interest in a successful business. In addition, he served as co-lead trial counsel with Joseph W. Cotchett for E. & J. Gallo, winning a landmark trade dress infringement case for the winery.
His notable federal class action cases include Livingston v. Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., involving a nationwide antitrust class action under the Sherman Act by purchasers of more than three million Toyota vehicles.
His experience in mass tort cases began in 1987 with the PSA Air Crash Cases, representing numerous plaintiffs in wrongful death actions following the crash of PSA Flight 1771, where he served as a member of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee, and later as plaintiffs co-lead trial counsel for the six-week jury trial which established the defendants' liability. The success of the PSA Air Crash Cases led to his appointment as a member of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee in Carnahan et al. v. State of California, which successfully resolved hundreds of claims for personal injuries and damages against more than 100 defendants.
Pitre is the author of numerous articles, including “Abuse of Process,” California Tort Damages, California Continuing Education of the Bar, 1988; and “Tort Trends,” The Docket, San Mateo County Bar Association, 1989-1994. He is co-author of “Jury Instructions: A Practical Approach to their Use,” Civil Litigation Reporter, March, 1984; “Arguing Punitive Damages,” Civil Litigation Reporter, California Continuing Education of the Bar, 1991; “Effective Opening Statements,” California Litigation, Journal of The Litigation Section, California State Bar, 1991; “Jury Trial Tips: Witnesses,” California Litigation, Journal of The Litigation Section, California State Bar, 1991; and “Winning Through a More Effective Direct Examination,” California Litigation, Journal of the Litigation Section, California State Bar, 1991. Since 1998 he has served as the author of “California Personal Injury Proof,” published by the California Continuing Education of the Bar.
Pitre has served on the faculty of the Hastings College of Advocacy and the University of San Francisco Trial Advocacy Program. He also has served as the Co-Chair and presenter at several Masters In Trial programs sponsored by the ABOTA Foundation.
- Joe Cotchett and Frank Pitre Named to Distinguished List of Daily Journal’s ‘Top Plaintiff Lawyers’ in California for 202006.10.2020
- The New York Times, 05.15.2019
- Chicago and San Francisco Law Firms to File Wrongful Death Lawsuits and FAA Claims on Behalf of 10 Canadians Killed in Boeing Max8 Crash in Ethiopia04.29.2019
- Wrongful Death Lawsuit and FAA Claim Filed on Behalf of Young American Woman Killed in Boeing 737 MAX 8 Crash in Ethiopia2019
- Courthouse News, 03.04.2019
- San Francisco Chronicle, 03.01.2019
- Bloomberg, 06.11.2018
- Bloomberg, 06.09.2018
- Fox KTVU, 06.08.2018
- KQED, 06.08.2018
- The Mercury News, 06.08.2018
- Daily Journal, 11.15.2017
- KPIX CBS, 11.14.2017
- Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 11.14.2017
- SFBay, 11.14.2017
- SFGate, 11.14.2017
- Davis Vanguard, 11.14.2017
- KSRO NewsTalk, 11.14.2017
- The Recorder, 11.14.2017
- NBC Bay Area News, 11.14.2017
- SF Chronicle, 11.14.2017
- NBC Bay Area, 11.14.2017
- San Francisco Examiner, 11.14.2017
- Mercury News, 11.14.2017
- San Jose Mercury News, 10.31.2017
- KGO Radio, 10.18.2017
- The Press Democrat, 10.18.2017
- CBS SFBayArea, 10.18.2017
- San Jose Mercury News, 10.12.2017
- NBC Bay Area, 10.12.2017
- KTVU, 10.12.2017
- San Jose Mercury News, 10.11.2017
- Family Of Fallen Oakland Muralist, Tony Ramos, Files Lawsuit Against Immigration And Customs Enforcement08.03.2017
- WCCFTech, 10.20.2016
- The Guardian, 10.19.2016
- OC Register, 09.26.2016
- The Mercury News, 09.26.2016
- ABC 7 News, 08.09.2016
- ABC News, 06.03.2016
- San Francisco Chronicle, 06.02.2016
- CNN, 05.28.2016
- San Francisco Chronicle, 05.27.2016
- San Jose Mercury News, 05.27.2016
- ABC News, 05.27.2016
- The Wall Street Journal, 01.22.2016
- Two of State’s Top Consumer Lawyers Named Among Dream Team to Lead Nationwide Class Action Cases Against Volkswagen2016
- NBC Bay Area, 11.16.2015
- The Stanford Daily, 09.29.2015
- CPM Files Lawsuit Against Volkswagen on Behalf of Stanford Professors for Allegedly Using Software to Circumvent Emissions Testing09.25.2015
- ABC 7 News, 09.25.2015
- San Jose Mercury News, 2015
- Stanford Professors Sue Volkswagen, Allege Emissions "Defeat Device" May Have Come From Silicon ValleyNBC Bay Area, 09.25.2015
- San Francisco Examiner, 09.01.2015
- Huffington Post, 09.01.2015
- CBS News, 09.01.2015
- Relatives of San Francisco woman 'shot dead by undocumented immigrant' sue the city's sheriff for letting the gunman roam the streetsDaily Mail UK, 09.01.2015
- Los Angeles Times, 09.01.2015
- Pleasanton Patch, 09.01.2015
- San Jose Mercury News, 09.01.2015
- CBS SF Bay Area, 09.01.2015
- CNN, 09.01.2015
- Steinle Family Files Claims to Hold SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, ICE and the Bureau of Land Management Responsible for Daughter's Death09.01.2015
- San Francisco Chronicle, 09.01.2015
- ABC 7 News, 09.01.2015
- Kate Steinle's Family Files Claim Against San Francisco, ICE, Bureau of Land Management for Pier 14 ShootingNBC Bay Area, 09.01.2015
- Irish Hearld, 06.22.2015
- Pleasanton Weekly, 06.19.2015
- The Daily Californian, 06.18.2015
- Bay City News, 06.17.2015
- CBS Local SF Bay Area, 06.17.2015
- San Jose Mercury News, 06.16.2015
- The Center for Investigative Reporting, 03.09.2015
- Lawsuits Filed on Behalf of Individuals Who Had Counterfeit, Non-FDA-Approved Medical Devices Implanted
- San Francisco Chronicle, 08.05.2014
- Cotchett, Pitre, McCarthy and Jabagchourian Named to 2014 Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyers List07.09.2014
- CPM Files Complaint on Behalf of PG&E Against Its Officers and Directors for Breach of Their Fiduciary Duties09.23.2013
- NBC Bay Area, 08.09.2013
- San Francisco Chronicle, 08.09.2013
- San Jose Mercury News, 08.08.2013
- KTVU, 08.08.2013
- NBC Bay Area, 08.02.2013
- Reuters, 08.02.2013
- San Jose Mercury News, 07.26.2013
- AP, 07.15.2013
- Newsday, 07.14.2013
- California Personal Injury Proof, California Continuing Education of the Bar
- Consumer Attorneys of California Annual Seminar 1996
- Advocates for Justice, 03.09.2015
Honors & Awards
Honors & Recognitions
Recognized by Los Angeles/San Francisco Daily Journal as One of California’s Top 100 Lawyers
Selected by Los Angeles/San Francisco Daily Journal as One of California's Top 25 Plaintiff Lawyers
2014-2018 Selected as One of Northern California's Top 10 Lawyers by Super Lawyers
Selected by Best Lawyers as Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year for the San Francisco Bay Area
Honored by the San Mateo County Trial Lawyers Association as Trial Lawyer of the Year, 2006
Recognized as a Finalist for Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2000, 2004 and 2011
Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America each year since 2006
Ranked among the top 500 litigators in America by Lawdragon Magazine
Named a Northern California (Top100) Super Lawyer for each year since 2005, earning a Top 10 ranking in 2010
Recipient of Edward I. Pollock Award for his dedicated efforts on behalf of consumers (2010)
American Board of Trial Advocates, San Francisco Chapter, Advocate (President, 2016 San Francisco Chapter)
Cal-ABOTA, Treasurer (2019)
American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
International Society of Barristers, Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy, Member
Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), Past President
- Vice President 2002, 2004
- President 2005-06
National Trial Lawyers Association, Top 100
Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Member, Board of Directors 1996 to 2000
American Bar Foundation, Fellow
American Bar Association, Member
American Association for Justice, Member
Litigation Counsel of America, Member
San Mateo County Trial Lawyers, Member, Board of Directors 1996 to 2001
San Mateo County Barristers, Member, Board of Directors, 1984-1986
San Mateo County Bar, Member, Board of Directors, 1990-1992
Bar Association of San Francisco, Member
State Bar of California
University of San Francisco, School of Law, Board of Directors
University of San Francisco School of Law, J.D.
University of San Francisco, B.S., cum laude
- Legal externship with the California Supreme Court
- U.S. Supreme Court