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Gerson H. Smoger, JD, PhD

Position: Board Member
Gerson H. Smoger, JD, PhD

For over three decades, Gerson H. Smoger, JD, PhD, has worked both within the US and internationally on behalf of people suffering from systemic, neurological, and cognitive injuries as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals, including various pesticides, herbicides, dioxin, lead, and tobacco. He has served as lead counsel for Vietnam veterans exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange, the evacuated residents of the dioxin-laden town of Times Beach, and the lead-contaminated children of Herculaneum, the location of North America’s largest lead smelter. He has also been one of the leaders in the fight against the fraud of light cigarettes.

Dr. Smoger has been a frequent lecturer at national and international legal, scientific and medical conferences. He also consistently volunteers his time for the public health interest. He has regularly represented amici pro bono in cases involving the health impact of toxic substances before the US Supreme Court, including the AMA regarding tobacco (Altria vs. Good), the NEJM regarding the accountability of pharmaceutical manufacturers (Wyeth v. Levine), and many of the world’s leading marine biologists regarding the Valdez oil spill (Exxon v. Baker). He was also recently president of the Public Justice Foundation, the nation’s most diverse public interest law firm, serving on its Board since 1996. He received the Public Justice Foundation's 2012 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, which he shared with his team of four attorneys, for their work fighting for the survivors of an around-the-clock lead smelting operation in Missouri which was known by the company to be leeching lead into the local air and soil and exposing children in particular to stunted growth, kidney failure, and neurological disorders.

Dr. Smoger began his legal career working in the area of international human rights. He received his BA from Lycoming College (summa cum laude), his JD from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall), and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania (with distinction).  Dr. Smoger joined the PHR Board in 2010.