Mr. Aitken is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and founding partner of Aitken*Aitken*Cohn, in Santa Ana, California. He was the youngest president in the history of the State Trial Bar and is continually recognized by LawDragon Magazine as one of the "Top 500 Lawyers in America," and Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of "The Top 100," California's Most Influential Lawyers. He has been repeatedly designated a "Southern California Super Lawyer" and featured in Best Lawyers in America and The Preeminent Lawyers of America.
He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including: the "Franklin G. West Award" Orange County Bar Association’s highest award; Consumer Watchdog’s "Rage for Justice -Lifetime Achievement Award," Marquette University Law School "Lifetime Achievement Award;" American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)"Trial Lawyer of the Year;" OC Trial Lawyer Association "Top Gun Trial Lawyer of the Year" and "Business Trial Lawyer of the Year;" Hispanic Bar Association "Trial Lawyer of the Year;" and, Anti-Defamation League of OC/LB "Jurisprudence Award."
Mr. Aitken acts as board member or advisor to numerous professional organizations, including: State of California Task Force on Court Facilities (as appointed by two California Speakers of the Assembly); Federal Judicial Advisory committee member for the Central District (under appointment of Senators Feinstein and Boxer, which recommends the appointment of Federal District Judges); ABOTA member of the National Board of Directors; and, Trustee of ABOTA Foundation. He is a Trustee and Board President of South Coast Repertory Theater; Chair of the Board of Visitors of Chapman University Law School and a Trustee of Chapman University.
He is a graduate of Marquette University Law School (1965) where he was a St. Thomas More scholar and Associate Editor of the Marquette Law Review and sits on the Marquette Law School Advisory Board. His undergraduate work was in "OC" at Santa Ana College and Cal State Fullerton.
As an author, his articles have appeared in numerous law reviews and other legal publications; and he serves on the Jefferson's California Evidence Benchbook Editorial Board. He has also been a frequent guest on radio and television programs such as Larry King Live, Inside Edition, Michael Jackson Show, KABC Ronn Owens, OCN Prime Time, and KOCE Real Orange, among others.
Mr. Aitken has been trial counsel in numerous significant tort cases involving bad faith insurance practices, aviation, automobiles, product liability, business tort litigation and actions involving wrongful death and major personal injuries.
As appellate counsel, he has been involved in landmark insurance decisions such as: Boicourt v Amex Assurance Company, 78 Cal.App. 4th 1390 (2000); Neal v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, 21 Cal.3d 910, 148 Cal.Rptr. 389 (1978) and Gourley v. State Farm, 217 Cal.App.3d 111 (1990). As an active participant on the Amicus Curiae Committee of the Consumer Attorneys of California Trial Lawyers Association, he has argued numerous major tort actions to the Supreme Court.
Sample of Recent Accomplishments Include:
- $54,000,000 verdict awarded to 9-year-old girl (recognized as the highest individual injury award as against the Federal Government) following a trial against the U.S. government as a result of an auto collision that occurred when a federal employee ran a red light and broadsided the car in which she was riding.
- The resolution of a record breaking (award estimated by the LA Times in the sum of $25 Million) wrongful death action for a 34-year old man and the severe disfigurement of his wife due to the dislodgment of a metal cleat on Disney’s Sailing Ship Columbia at the Disneyland theme park. This high profile matter sparked a national debate and implemented changes in California law to ensure the safety of theme parks (and was followed by a wrongful death action brought by the family of a 21 year old son who was killed on the Big Thunder Mountain ride).
- $23,500,000 verdict which was awarded to an "exceptional" 13 year old boy by an Orange County, California jury, for significant brain injuries as a result of an automobile collision. The trial of this matter involved complex and ground breaking legal theories regarding the accountability of an employer for actions of its employee (during the course and scope of employment).
- $17,000,000 verdict- fire insurance bad faith case including $15,000,000 in punitive damages awarded to protect insurance consumers in the future (which involved principles set forth in Neal vs. Farmers, infra, a California Supreme Court case holding which affirmed a punitive damage award on behalf of auto consumer).
- $5,000,000 verdict: Medical malpractice awarded to a young man who sustained a hypoxic brain injury during ankle surgery which resulted in permanent blindness and brain damage and which established methods of payment to protect health care victims.
- $2,500,000 verdict against the County of Orange arising from a Mountain lion attack on a 5 year old girl permanently damaged by a mauling which sparked a national debate regarding the safety of parks and which triggered implementation of safety measures at county and state parks.
As a consumer advocate, Mr. Aitken developed bilingual consumer protection brochures, brochures on lawyer selection and he has served on college and charitable foundation boards and select commissions involving justice issues such as court congestion and justice facilities.