“There is no greater honor than standing in court and introducing the client that has chosen you as their representative,” explains Cesar Tavares, an attorney at Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas, LLP. “I chose to be a lawyer because, while serving as a Spanish-speaking missionary in San Francisco, I saw first-hand how the world can mistreat people that do not have money or prestige.” To Cesar, “being a lawyer is an absolute blessing because it allows you to fight and be a voice for someone who lacks the means, experience, or ability to do that for themselves.”
Cesar has litigated in courts throughout the country including Texas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He is admitted to practice law in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and numerous federal courts. He has represented captains, mates, able seaman, deckhands, engineers, oilers, cooks, longshoremen, harbor workers, cruise ship passengers, various types of offshore rig workers, and other individuals who work and play offshore, on navigable waterways, and ports.
Cesar’s family emigrated from Mexico when he was six-years old. They came here with two suitcases, faith, and hope. “My mom taught us not to squander the blessing of living in this amazing country and constantly encouraged us to go to school so that we could serve other people.” Cesar took his mom’s advice and attended Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, and finally Harvard Law School. He graduated with honors from all three institutions. Most of the time he was in school, he worked so as to provide for his family. Among his great joys are his wife and six amazing children.
Cesar has been able to obtain some fantastic results for his clients through trial and settlement. He has been involved in obtaining some verdicts that received national attention including a $76.6 million verdict and a $1.75 million verdict related to use of Risperdal that caused young boys to develop female breasts.
He has also had some great verdicts that didn’t get national attention but meant a great deal to his clients. For example, another lawyer and Cesar tried a case against a company that failed to maintain a crane on an offshore platform. A weight from that crane fell on the foot of Cesar’s client, a mechanic working on the crane. The weight seriously injured the client’s foot. The company tried to argue that the accident was the client’s fault, and they offered to settle the case only for a small amount of money and even withdrew that offer just prior to trial. Cesar prevailed and obtained a verdict of more than $2.9 million after prejudgment interest.
In another trial representing individuals that had neck and back injuries from fleeing a rig explosion, Cesar worked with another lawyer to obtain a verdict of more than $1.5 million after prejudgment interest which was multiples of what was offered before trial.
At another trial, Cesar cross-examined a witness to the point where the witness confessed he was lying on the stand. The judge stated that this was the first “Perry Mason moment” (where a witness admits he is lying as a result of cross-examination) he had seen in all of his years on the bench and practicing law. The case settled shortly after, before closing arguments, for a confidential amount.
Although he loves representing his clients in court, many cases settle before trial. Cesar has resolved many cases through settlement. In one case, He was able to represent a family that lost a father to a company’s negligence. The father left behind a beloved wife and his young children. The matter was settled for $10 million (attorney fees and expenses to the firm were $4,399,176.)
Cesar also represented an individual that contracted an infection while working on a vessel offshore that led to the loss of his leg. The company denied responsibility for the infection, so Cesar deposed the captain of the vessel, crew members and the officers of the company and located experts to establish that the infection was the company’s fault. The case settled for $3.995 million (attorney fees to the firm and expenses totaled $1,759,960.)
Although litigation is always risky and prior success does not mean you will necessarily have a good outcome, Cesar has been able to obtain many other settlements worth millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Cesar has been recognized by his peers for his success as a trial lawyer. He is rated as one of the Top 40 under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers and as Super Lawyers Rising Star.
Monetary success aside, Cesar started practicing law because he wanted to help people, so the most important thing to him is that his clients continue to consider him a counselor and a friend after their case is resolved.