It is with great personal sadness that I must inform you that my neighbor, friend, mentor, and ATLA past president Fred Baron passed away yesterday after a valiant struggle with cancer at the all too young age of 61.
Fred was someone who always put others first, whether it be his family, firm, clients, our Association or the Country. And we all remember his wonderful smile, enormous generosity and infectious positive attitude that will continue to inspire and make us all better people and better advocates for our clients.
Fred was one of the founders of asbestos litigation in the U.S. A trailblazer in toxic tort law since the early 1970’s, Fred helped build Baron & Budd into one of the largest and most successful plaintiff firms in the country. He was a life-long advocate of the environment, consumers and working people and served as lead counsel in complex tort cases involving exposure to asbestos, pesticides and lead.
And Fred was a fighter, twice convincing the U.S. Supreme Court to decertify abusive nationwide class action settlements that would have curtailed the rights of people who develop future asbestos-related illnesses. He was proud of his work representing children, farm workers and citizens who had been injured by pesticides, pollution and radioactive emissions from a nuclear plant.
Fred was committed to the fight for civil justice beyond the courtroom. By all accounts, Fred was one of the best presidents ATLA (now the American Association for Justice) ever had, launching Leaders Forum to support our efforts to protect the civil justice system. Fred kept on giving, stepping in at the critical moment, with John Eddie Williams, so we could purchase our new headquarters. And he helped found the Center for Constitutional Litigation that litigates access-to-justice constitutional cases and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (now Public Justice), the public interest legal services organization.
Fred played a large role in the public arena. A critical force in progressive politics, Fred helped elect Democrats to national, state and local office and founded the Texas Democratic Trust, which helped rejuvenate the Democratic Party in that state.
Fred lived life to its fullest. An avid golfer who loved to ski in the Colorado Mountains, Fred loved to travel with his wife, partner and fellow great trial lawyer, Lisa Blue.
But for so many of us, Fred was simply our friend, whose upbeat view of life, positive outlook and wonderful generosity touched us and helped us be better people.
Services will be held Monday at 4pm at the Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home in Dallas. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Texas Democratic Trust at http://www.texasdemocratictrust.com/ or the Lance Armstrong Foundation at http://www.livestrong.org/.
At this sad time our deepest sympathies go to Lisa, and to Fred’s children, Courtney Baron Singer and her husband Blair Singer, Andrew Baron, Alessandra Rose Blue-Baron, Caroline Claire Blue-Baron and Nathalie Martine Blue-Baron and his granddaughter Liza Singer.
Fred Baron touched many lives and all who came in contact with him will miss him greatly.
American Association for Justice