HarrisMartin’s Northwest Asbestos Litigation Conference Faculty
Katherine Steele's civil litigation practice has, since 1981, emphasized representing defendants in product liability, construction defect, asbestos and toxic tort, wrongful death, personal injury, general maritime law, Jones Act, insurance coverage and related bankruptcy cases. She represents contractors, owners, engineers, manufacturers, suppliers and other businesses on a broad range of issues.
Katherine is currently the national counsel for a Northwest shipping company. For nearly 20 years, she served as National Asbestos Coordinating Counsel for the former Northwest Manville contractor and distributor, The E.J. Bartells Co. until its successful reorganization in 2001. During that time, Katherine developed and implemented strategy resulting in defense verdicts in 75% of the cases tried, smaller increases in filings, and lower settlement averages than similar asbestos defendants. The plaintiff verdicts all resulted in low verdicts, small fault allocation compared to co-defendants and no punitive awards.
Katherine has substantial experience designing databases to increase efficiency and track cases for clients, including a plaintiff database, an extensive searchable database of nearly all northwest industrial sites, a vessel database with pertinent information on nearly all West Coast naval vessels, and many merchant vessels and a document/exhibit database referencing an extensive exhibit library including most major northwest job sites and trade publications.
Matthew Bergman is an attorney, philanthropist and entrepreneur. He serves as senior partner of the firm, the Board Chairman of Neural IQ and a trustee of Reed College.
Following law school, Matt spent two years as Law Clerk to Judge Baldock of the United States Court of Appeals – Tenth Circuit. His legal career began at the firm Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe in Seattle, Washington. His practice at this time primarily focused on environmental litigation, Indian law and insurance coverage litigation.
In 1995, Matt left Heller Ehrman and began representing asbestos victims with Brian Weinstein, at Weinstein & Bergman, P.S. Matt then founded his own firm, Bergman Draper Oslund, which has grown to become the Northwest’s premier asbestos litigation firm.
Matt is nationally known for his work on behalf of asbestos victims. He has spoken at national and international seminars on asbestos litigation. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on asbestos legislative issues, as well as served on numerous creditors’ committees and trust advisory committees. He also fights for the rights of individuals and continues to work closely with local and international unions throughout the northwest.
Chandler H. Udo, Bergman Draper Oslund, Seattle