Firm History

Turner W. Branch graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1960 receiving a B.A. in Political Science. Turner began his career when he entered the U.S. Marines as a Second Lieutenant. In 1966, after completing law school at Baylor Law School, he opened his law practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He soon had a reputation as a successful litigator representing the victimized. From its humble beginnings as a one-lawyer personal injury firm, the Branch Firm has become a nationally recognized plaintiff’s firm with experience in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases.

Margaret Moses Branch graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1975 receiving a B.S. Margaret completed law school at the University of New Mexico in 1978. Margaret joined the Branch Law Firm in 1984; she and Turner formed a partnership of not only husband and wife, but a trial team that has achieved success for over 36 years. Turner and Margaret Branch have been involved in complex nationwide litigation, including their representation of the first person diagnosed in Santa Fe, New Mexico with EMS (Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome). This case led to the formation of MDL 865, which was assigned to the United States District Court in Columbia, S.C.

Named Baylor Law School Lawyer of the Year, Turner Branch has also been instrumental in shaping New Mexico law. His landmark case Hicks v. State of New Mexico involved a busload of children killed due to a tragic accident on a poorly designed bridge in Southern New Mexico. This landmark case overturned sovereign immunity in the State of New Mexico and allowed victims to sue the State of New Mexico in other municipalities for negligence. Before 1976, individuals could not sue the State of New Mexico because of sovereign immunity. The Branch Law Firm was instrumental in having that holding overturned. More recently, the Branch Law Firm argued before the NM Court of Appeals, that the discovery rule should apply to the statute of limitations governing product liability and medical malpractice cases. This is now state law.

In 1992, Turner W. Branch was one of the seventeen founding members of the Castano Litigation and served on its Executive Committee. The Branch Law Firm was one of only two law firms in New Mexico selected by the Attorney General for the State of New Mexico to represent the State in what is referred to as the Attorney General Tobacco Lawsuits. Turner W. Branch served as vice chairman of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in that litigation which *was brought to a successful conclusion approximately ten years later. *When these lawsuits were concluded on Nov. 23, 1998, the State received a record $1.2 billion award.

More success for this New Mexico law firm soon followed. Tamara Stiver, of The Albuquerque Journal, won a Pulitzer Prize for making the connection between the neurological disease, known as EMS, and the ingestion of a bio-engineered amino acid, L-Tryptophan. Turner served as Vice-Chair of the L-Tryptophan Plaintiff’s Steering Committee whose task was to nationally litigate the billion-dollar resolution against the Japanese company Showa Denko.

Turner W. Branch served as co-chairman of MDL 1208 in the Eastern District of Texas in the Norplant contraceptive litigation brought against American Home Products. *More than forty thousand victims were compensated when the litigation was successfully concluded in 1999. Turner Branch and the rest of the Branch Law Firm Pharmaceutical Litigation Team are amongst the leaders in the nationwide Baycol litigation, and Mr. Branch was elected to the trial team that tried one of the first Baycol cases nationwide.

Turner W. Branch was admitted to practice on all Vioxx cases before all courts in the state of New Jersey by the Supreme Court of New Jersey and still holds that designation. Turner Branch and the Branch Law Firm are extremely active and instrumental in working on the submission and settlement of the cases they are handling for and on behalf of several 100 clients nationwide. The Branch Law Firm participated in the scientific studies conducted by the PSC, headed by Attorney Weinberg, to determine the causal connection of injuries suffered by Vioxx clients. The Branch Law Firm further participated in the designation and causal connection standards of over 1,000 Vioxx victims.

Margaret Moses Branch is also a very accomplished attorney. Voted one of New Mexico’s “most influential women” by New Mexico Women Magazine, Margaret Branch was one of five attorneys in the United States who negotiated the settlement of one thousand cases to the benefit of women who had not been properly warned about silicone breast implants. The breast implant litigation resulted in a 2.4 billion dollar settlement. In 1990, Margaret Branch, with two other Albuquerque lawyers, founded the New Mexico Women’s Bar, which currently has more than three hundred members.

Margaret’s interest in women’s medical health issues has led her to represent many victims of medical malpractice. Margaret successfully represented a client in a medical malpractice case involving the misdiagnosis of an infant with elevated bilirubin leaving him brain-damaged. She also took on Presbyterian Hospital in a case involving a baby who was not delivered timely resulting in severe brain injury. Both cases resulted in million-dollar settlements.

Margaret recognizes the rise in automobile accidents across the state of New Mexico. She has represented hundreds of people who have been a victim of a car accident due to careless and negligent drivers. Protecting New Mexicans from careless and negligent drivers is a critical issue for Margaret. She believes firmly in providing knowledgeable and experienced representation for victims of all automobile accidents, including but not limited to cars, trucks, big rigs, and motorcycles.

Currently, Margaret is pursuing litigation for hundreds of clients in the IVC filter litigation, a product that was supposed to cure blood clots but instead has caused injury and deaths to hundreds of patients. She also is currently actively litigating the baby powder; litigation against Johnson & Johnson; baby powder has been associated with ovarian cancer.

Turner and Margaret also took on Walgreens on behalf of a young man, who suffered injuries due to receiving the wrong prescription medication from the pharmacy. As a result, Turner and Margaret received one of the largest settlements in the State of New Mexico’s history for their client.

In another case involving a pipeline explosion in Southern New Mexico that killed an entire family, Margaret and Turner successfully resolved the case for the grandfather of their client resulting in one of New Mexico’s largest settlements in history.

The Branch Law Firm took a lead role in the discovery and settlement of damages from Omniflox, an inadequately tested synthetic antibiotic that caused liver damage and bodily harm. *This case was successfully concluded in 1999.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Branch Law Firm represented more than fifty households in Northern New Mexico whose water supplies were contaminated by methane. The firm proved that drilling by large oil and gas companies into the Fruitland Coalbed caused methane formation contaminated area aquifers. Two of these cases were tried separately and appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both cases were affirmed by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. *The Branch Law Firm assisted the households in resolving their water contamination.

In 1998, Branch was one of five firms in the United States selected to represent the State of New Mexico in massive Superfund cleanup and damage litigation. The first lawsuit was filed on behalf of the State in October 1999, for what is referred to as the South Valley Superfund cleanup site.

Branch Law Firm attorneys represented approximately seven hundred men and women for whom the anorexia-inducing drug known as Fen-Phen was prescribed. Most, if not all, of these drugs, were sold under the brand names Pondimin or Redux and were formulated, manufactured, sold, and distributed by American Home Products and their wholly-owned subsidiary, Wyeth-Ayerst.

The Branch Law Firm was also involved in representing clients nationally over the pedicle screws used mainly in back surgery (back plate cases) and in litigation against Telectronics over defective wiring in pacemakers.

For over five years, the Branch Law Firm represented several hundred men and women for whom the diabetic drug known as Rezulin was prescribed. Manufactured, sold, and distributed by the defendant, Warner-Lambert which was subsequently purchased by Pfizer in 2000, this drug caused severe liver damage. These cases were consolidated as MDL No. 1348 under Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, USDC SDNY. The Branch Law Firm participated in multiple depositions and researched volumes of documents in connection with the successful settlement of this litigation.

Turner W. Branch and the Branch Law Firm were active participants in the MDL Number 1657 Vioxx Product Liability Litigation Settlement. Mr. Branch was appointed by the Honorable U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallen as the state liaison counsel for New Mexico, and then went on to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee before the Honorable Judge Higbee of Atlantic City, New Jersey on more than 500 cases that are pending in the state of New Jersey.

The Branch Law Firm has been instrumental in working with experts, cardiologists, internists, and general practice physicians in their continued quest to prove the relationship between Vioxx use and injuries (including death). The quest and challenge carry on as The Branch Law Firm readies its cases for global settlement submission on behalf of their clients. Also, Turner W. Branch has spoken to attorneys throughout the U.S. about Vioxx and has attended all hearings in New Jersey with The Honorable Judge Carol Higbee who is overseeing the New Jersey Vioxx cases. He has attended MDL 1657 PSC meetings in the Eastern District of New Orleans and had a member of the firm living in New Orleans, Louisiana so as to enable her geographical presence to be in attendance at the MDL hearings in which negotiations regarding the Vioxx global settlement were finalized during 2007 and 2008. The Branch Law Firm continues to pursue and to look at the various phases of the settlement, the settlement itself, and the interrelationship of the Canons of Professional Responsibility, as well as all other ethical requirements, rules, and regulations in virtually all 50 states. It is a bare-bones summary of The Branch Law Firm’s participation and activity in Vioxx litigation over the past six years. The time, work, and effort continues to be enormous, as well as expensive.

Branch Law Firm members take an active role in the American Association for Justice and the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association. With over 250 jury trials to his credit and thousands of past clients, Turner Branch has fueled the Branch Law Firm to its current standing as a pre-eminent law firm as selected by Martindale-Hubbell (derived from a survey of New Mexico attorneys).

The Branch Law Firm has offices in Albuquerque New Mexico and Santa Fe.

The Branch Law Firm now and always will stand for excellence in the field of personal injury.

* Past successes cannot be an assurance of future successes because each case must be decided on its own merits.