Gary A. Cerio

Gary Cerio maintains an active litigation practice that emphasizes the representation of manufacturers in product liability and personal injury litigation, as well as commercial and business tort litigation.

He has defended manufacturers of numerous kinds of products, from automobiles and forklifts to power equipment, in lawsuits asserting strict liability, negligent product design and manufacture, breach of warranties, and related claims.  His experience in commercial and business tort litigation includes a wide range of matters, from breach of contract, to insurance and indemnification disputes.  Gary also has substantial experience in mass tort litigation involving exposure to silica and asbestos.  His extensive experience in all phases of litigation includes pre-litigation investigation, pleading and motion practice, written discovery, fact and expert depositions, arbitrations, and trials in both state and federal court.

Prior to joining Keller, Sloan, Roman LLP, Mr. Cerio was an associate at Glynn & Harvey, handling professional liability actions, and at Sedgwick, LLP, where he specialized in product liability litigation.


  • University of San Francisco School of Law, J.D.(1981)
  • Case Western Reserve University, B.S., magna cum laude, in Accounting (1978)

Admitted to Practice

  • California State Courts (1981)
  • U. S. District Court, Northern District of California (1981)
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (1988)

Professional Affiliations and Activities

  • American Bar Association (Section: Litigation)
  • State Bar of California
  • Bar Association of San Francisco (Sections: Litigation; Legal Malpractice)

Notable Engagements

  • Defense of national sandblasting equipment manufacturer, a target defendant in mass tort litigation, alleging its sandblasting products were defective, allegedly causing silica-related disease; obtained dismissals of most cases for no monetary payment. Aggressive defense of this manufacturer in these cases caused plaintiffs’ firms to decide not to file thousands of threatened new cases in California.
  • Obtained dismissal of major auto manufacturer in multi-party, multiple-case litigation, arising out of claim the defective vehicle experienced “sudden acceleration,” causing it to crash into retail storefront, injuring building occupants.
  • Defense of dry cleaning equipment manufacturer from a massive ground water pollution case, in which plaintiff sought damages of tens of millions of dollars for contamination of dozens of water wells all over California; obtained dismissal for no monetary payment.
  • Defense of national forklift manufacturer in product liability case brought by injured warehouse worker, which settled for cents on the plaintiff’s original multi-million dollar demands, after investigation and discovery demonstrated equipment had been significantly altered.
  • Obtained dismissal of dealer lawsuit seeking defense and indemnity against major forklift manufacturer, after successful motion to dismiss or stay California lawsuit due to forum selection clause in dealer’s agreement with manufacturer.
  • Defense of major auto manufacturer in product liability lawsuit brought by driver rendered quadriplegic in a rollover accident, successfully bringing motion to transfer lawsuit due to forum non conveniens from Orange County to rural Trinity County, California, causing settlement for less than plaintiff’s out-of-pocket litigation costs.
  • Defense of small, out-of –state gasket manufacturer in multiple California asbestos lawsuits, obtaining its dismissal from all cases for no monetary payment, and agreement of plaintiffs’ law firm never to sue the company in California again.
  • Defended major domestic and foreign manufacturing clients and their distributors and dealers in numerous product liability and personal injury cases of all types, including automobiles, medical devices, medical products, construction and recreation equipment, and industrial and retail machinery.
  • Defended dozens of professionals, including physicians, attorneys, real estate agents, accountants, and architects, against lawsuits for negligence, fraud, and related claims.
  • Defended many companies involved in mass tort litigation, including lawsuits arising out of asbestos and silica exposure.


  • Contributing Author, “Moot Court Cases: Transcripts, Bench Memoranda & Comments,” University of San Francisco (1980)

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