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After more than four decades of legal practice as one of the most respected lawyers in Minnesota, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Fred Pritzker, our mentor and friend, on January 10th, 2022.
Fred Pritzker was the founding partner of Pritzker Hageman. A law firm he created to help injured people obtain compensation and justice. His passion for protecting his clients, for finding justice for them and their families, and the profound responsibility he felt towards them is what drove his practice of the law. Many of Fred’s clients became his life-long friends.
Fred was a pioneer in cases where people ended up seriously injured or lost their lives from pathogenic microorganism and toxin contamination in food and water. Pritzker Hageman is one of the few law firms in the country that has a significant practice in the area of foodborne illness and Fred was nationally known for his deep experience and many significant legal successes in foodborne illness cases. His trial verdict on behalf of a child with E. coli poisoning is the largest of its kind and the team he put together at Pritzker Hageman has been credited with obtaining the largest foodborne illness settlement of any kind in American history. He devoted much of his time to educating the public and fellow attorneys about product safety and advocating for positive change in food safety laws.
Fred was also well known and widely respected for his leadership and impressive results in cases involving people injured in fires and explosions all over the United States. In addition to his legal advocacy on behalf of clients, Fred has also been a significant supporter of, and advocate for, burn injury survivors and the wider burn injury community. He has provided financial support for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and authored the book Legal Action After a Burn Injury.
Fred’s interest in science and human factors often drove the types of cases he became involved with. In addition to foodborne illness and fire and explosion cases, Fred created legal teams at Pritzker Hageman to handle cases involving Legionnaires’ disease, motor vehicle collisions, defective medical products and other injuries involving complex legal and scientific elements.
We represent people, not corporations or insurance companies, who suffered life-changing injuries from which they will never fully recover. Because of our experience, resources and the bonds we form with our clients, we’re able to take on and win complex cases. In every one of them, the goal is the same: protect injured people, guide them through the complexities of the legal system and make sure they are fully compensated for all the harms and losses they’ve experienced.Fred Pritzker
Fred was selected for inclusion in the The Best Lawyers in America for almost two decades and was named a “Super Lawyer” by Minnesota Super Lawyers magazine every year since the inception of the award. He was also named 2011, 2014 and 2015 Attorney of the Year by the Minnesota Lawyer newspaper. He was a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a former president of the Minnesota Association for Justice and a former governor of the American Association of Justice.
Fred was passionate about protecting and expanding the rights of people with disabilities and defending the civil rights of all Americans. He was an officer and director of the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, and ARC Minnesota, among others. He and his wife, Renee, endowed the Jacob E. Pritzker Fund to support the University of Minnesota Law School and the Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC) and help underwrite the Angelman Syndrome Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital. Fred and Renee also fund new scientific research into the gut microbiome in Angelman Syndrome. Fred was also a long-time board member of the Minnesota ACLU Foundation.
My 35-year-old son is physically and developmentally disabled. He lives at home and my wife and I are his primary caregivers. Making sure his life and the lives of other people with disabilities are safe, happy and fulfilling is my passion. It affects everything I do, including how I practice law and the way in which I relate to my clients, many of whom are struggling with their own injuries and disabilities. Here’s what I’ve learned: in one way or another, we’re all ‘disabled’ to some degree. But we are not defined by our disabilities. We deserve to be loved, have friends, have fun, do interesting things and be accepted for who we are rather than what we can do. Raising a child with disabilities is a challenge, but the love we share and the lessons we’ve learned transcend everything else.Attorney Fred Pritzker
Fred obtained his B.A. with honors from Northwestern University in 1972 and his J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1976.
- Fred’s Obituary
- Star Tribune Story About Fred
- Pioneer Press Story About Fred
- University of Minnesota Law School Obituary
- Minnesota Lawyer Story About Fred
“Here’s what I’ve learned: in one way or another, we’re all “disabled” to some degree. But we are not defined by our disabilities. We want to be loved, have friends, have fun, do interesting things and be accepted for who we are rather than what we can do.”Fred Pritzker
Why Fred Founded Pritzker Hageman
“We tell the stories of our clients.”
“The most remarkably satisfying thing about practicing law for me is to be able to help my clients overcome physical, emotional and legal problems and successfully move on with their lives.”
Leadership In Law
Fred was selected for “Attorneys of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer in 2011, 2014, and 2015. In addition, Fred received the Circle of Excellence Award in 2014 in recognition of being selected for “Attorneys of the Year” on more than one occasion.
Fred Pritzker was also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America and had the distinction of being named a “Super Lawyer” every year since the inception of the award until his passing in 2022. Fred was a Lifetime Achievement selection to America’s Top 100 Attorneys®, reserved for less than one-half percent (0.5%) of attorneys in the U.S.
Fred was a former president of the Minnesota Association for Justice and a former governor of the American Association of Justice.
Fred and his wife, Renee Pritzker, have been passionate about the rights and health of people with disabilities. He was an officer and director of the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, and ARC Minnesota, among others. He and Renee endowed the Jacob E. Pritzker Fund to support the University of Minnesota Law School and the Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC).
Fred In the News
- Fox News 9: Fred was interviewed by Fox News 9 about a lawsuit involving an explosion at a Minnesota school.
- Star Tribune: “Fred Pritzker, an attorney representing Berg’s family, said he was only aware of the two Master Mechanical employees being at the site that day, but no supervisors from CenterPoint. Pritzker said the explosion could have easily been prevented, ‘just by shutting off the gas stream.’”
- San Diego Union Tribune: “‘It ultimately comes down to a resource allocation situation. The government has a limited amount of dollars and has to make choices,’ said Fred Pritzker, a Minneapolis-based attorney who specializes in hepatitis A and food-borne illness lawsuits” (Davis, Kristina. “Could the city be sued over a hepatitis A outbreak?” San Diego Union Tribune. 02 Oct. 2017).
- Star Tribune: “This is not the type of thing that happens in the absence of negligence: Somebody screwed up big time,” Pritzker told the Star Tribune. “Whenever you’ve got an older building, you’re always looking to see if these were capped off lines and if they were pressurized” (Jany, Libor, et al. “NTSB: Workers were moving gas meter during fatal explosion.” Star Tribune. 4 Aug. 2017).
- Minnesota Lawyer: Fred Pritzker was featured in an article about his $7.55 million jury verdict for a young child who contracted E. coli poisoning and developed kidney failure. In the article he said this about his client to explain the size of the verdict: “She is also more prone to heart attack or stroke and has an increased risk of cancer” (“E. coli stricken girl awarded $7.5 million verdict.” Minnesota Lawyer. 8 Dec. 2016).
- Star Tribune: In reference to a criminal case against a corporate CEO involved in the sale of peanuts that were tainted with Salmonella bacteria, Fred said, ““Plenty of companies have been cavalier [about food safety], but nobody has put it in writing like [Parnell]” (Hughlett, Mike. “Sentencing set for tainted peanut butter case that killed 3 Minnesotans.” Star Tribune. 18 Sept. 2015).
- Minnesota Lawyer: Fred discussed the case that resulted in his being named “Attorney of the Year”. He said, “It was complicated because the disease these kids developed was never presented, never seen, in that kind of presentation before. And worse, the underlying condition is common to young children. Just by virtue of being a young child you can get this illness. So we had to tease out how the illness was not the result of their youth but because of the product” (Jossi, Frank. “Attorneys of the Year: Pritzker Trial Team.” Minnesota Lawyer. 20 Feb. 2015).
- MPR News: “The family is determined to ‘hold accountable those who caused this drowning to occur,’ Pritzker said.” Fred told ABC “They cannot accept that ‘accidents happen,’ under circumstances such as these. A tragedy like the death of a child in a middle-school swim class should simply never be allowed to happen” (Yuen, Laura. “Prosecutors will not press charges in school drowning.” MPR News. 11 Apr. 2014).
- Eating Dangerously: Fred was extensively quoted in the book. In one passage about a Salmonella linked to eggs, he said, “This is willful negligence. It’s kind of like being a drunk driver, or a careless driver – I’m not trying to hurt anybody” (Booth, Michael, and Brown, Jennifer. Eating Dangerously: Why the Government Can’t Keep Your Food Safe … and How You Can. Rowman & Littlefield, 16 Mar. 2014).
- The Washington Post: “For instance, in Tennessee, whose 69 cases and nine fatalities are the highest of any state, patients have only one year to file against an involved party,” said Fred Pritzker, a Minneapolis-based attorney who is counseling about 40 clients from various states. “Tennessee lawmakers also recently capped economic or punitive damages in such suits at $500,000, and damages for pain and emotional suffering at $750,000,” Pritzker said. “Minnesota has no caps.” Fred told the Post, “The range of laws and the effect on cases is huge. It’s a free-for-all, frankly” (Aizenman, N.C. “Lawsuits piling up against New England Compounding over meningitis deaths.” The Washington Post. 21 Oct. 2012).
- The New York Times: “Ms. Turnidge’s lawyer, Fred Pritzker, said he was considering suing the hospital and might sue Medtronic in a Minnesota state court, where he has filed claims for other Sprint Fidelis patients. He said the Supreme Court ruling made it likely that a state judge would reject such cases” (Meier, Barry. “Lawmakers seek to return right to sue device makers.” The New York Times. 19 Feb. 2009).
- The New York Times: “Fred Pritzker, a Minneapolis personal injury lawyer, recalled a case in which restaurant customers got sick after eating tainted parsley. Mr. Pritzker said he sued the restaurant on behalf of his client; the restaurant sued the distributor, who sued the wholesaler, and so on until they ended up at a farm in Mexico.” Fred said, “In these situations, the restaurant says, ‘Mr. Food Seller, you pay me, and then we’ll get out of the picture and you can fight over who will pay you.’ Inevitably, the franchisee is in a better position to fight this out” (Martin, Andrew. “Left holding the bag in the Land of Fast Food.” The New York Times. 20 Feb. 2007).
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We obtained this settlement for a person with severe injuries.
Our client suffered an injury after eating a food product.
Our client was burned and suffered a TBI in a gas explosion.
We represented seven children who suffered intestinal injuries as a result of a defective food product.
Our client suffered burn injuries in a factory explosion
We won this verdict for a child with kidney damage from E. coli.
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