William K. O’Brien

Of Counsel

Mr. O’Brien has been a trial lawyer for 50 years. While in active practice, he litigated in the following fields: negligence, product liability, auto, malpractice, Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA), franchise and contract, toxic torts, bad faith insurance litigation, wrongful termination, and criminal matters.

Mr. O’Brien received his B.S. at the University of San Francisco, then did graduate work at both Stanford and Yale in theatre and received his J.D. degree from San Francisco Law School.

As founding partner of O’Brien & Harrington in San Francisco, Mr. O’Brien practiced as both a defense lawyer and plaintiff’s lawyer although his emphasis was on representing injured plaintiffs.

As a defense lawyer, Mr. O’Brien represented Mobil Oil Corporation for over 20 years in negligence, product liability, auto, PMPA and franchise and contract matters. Reported decisions on Mobil’s behalf include Mobil Oil Corporation v. Superior Court (Benevento), 198 Cal. App. 3d 487 (1987), and Kreisher v. Mobil Oil Corporation, 198 Cal. App. 3d 392 (1998). These cases were decided in favor of Mobil.

As plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. O’Brien has tried and settled many cases of six and seven figures.

He concluded a piece of bad faith litigation on behalf of plaintiff by obtaining the seventh highest bad faith verdict in the state of California in 1975: Means v. United Insurance Company of America, reported in Punitive Damages In Bad Faith Cases, McCarthy, 1976 Edition.

Reported decisions on behalf of plaintiffs included Alcaraz v. Vece, 14 Cal 4th 1149 (1997) and Berman v. Bromberg, 56 Cal. App. 4th 936 (1997). These decisions were decided in favor of the plaintiffs.

In 2000, Mr. O’Brien was appointed as a Commissioner on the Workman’s Compensation Appeals Board. He served in that capacity until November 2007, when his term expired.

He has returned to active practice. Mr. O’Brien has been AV rated with Martindale-Hubbell since 1975.