The “Why” Behind
PUNEET K. GARG, ESQ.
“I’ve had many major car accidents in my life and I did not want people to make the same mistakes that I did.”
I have been practicing law since 2006. Before law school, I thought I was going to be an accountant — as that was my nerdy “dream” since I was about 14 years old when I met an Arthur Andersen partner for the first time. Little did I know that things would eventually change.
During college, one of my accounting professors suggested that I apply for law school given that she thought I was a creative writer. It instantly became my father’s idea — who has both accounting and law degrees as well. I applied and got accepted to UNLV Law thinking that I would do transactional or tax law some day.
During my last year of law school, I was involved in a car accident. I did not think much of it. Within weeks, I started feeling pain and stiffness. I started conservative treatment and maintained to myself that I was wasting my time with treatment and care and in pursuing “Justice.” I made every mistake that I tell my clients now every day to not make.
After law school, I was preparing myself to seek a LL.M. degree in taxation. Somehow or another, I decided to veer off track and decided to clerk for my old law school professor who was now a bankruptcy judge — Hon. Bruce A. Markell (Ret.). I was never a “top” student, but he offered the job to me twice (the first time I bizarrely declined after I had not passed the bar exam on my initial try, which was a blessing in disguise). During this clerkship, I was offered another opportunity that I could not pass by — to clerk for Justice Michael L. Douglas of the Supreme Court of Nevada.
I still thought that I would become a transactional or tax lawyer some day after clerking for these honorable courts. I was again wrong.
I was hired by Greenberg Traurig to be an appellate attorney — as I liked to write. Within days of starting at GT, I realized that I had somehow been transitioned to become a litigator, even though I had no desire to appear in the courtroom. After representing Fortune 500 clients for a few years and having some depositions and summary judgment hearings under my belt, I took a “sabbatical” from the corporate world and worked for a small personal injury law firm.
I was not very fond about how this law firm operated, and within months of being on my “sabbatical” went back to working at a different commercial litigation firm. During that timeframe…
“I established a healthcare practice representing hospitals, medical groups and physicians. I truly enjoyed representing physicians because of their individual call of duty to help people with wellness and care.”
Plus, I enjoyed such engagements given that I had exposure to healthcare my whole life, as my father was in that industry his whole working life (such as being CFO over three Dignity Health hospitals). I wanted to do something similar to my physician clients and felt some disdain over not helping people individually.
While having only a few months of experience in plaintiff’s personal injury (I had done some defense work on bus accident matters previously at GT), my commercial litigation firm felt that I had enough experience to help out on a rare personal injury case that they engaged upon.
They asked me to help comedian George Wallace in his efforts to pursue a case against the Bellagio and HSBC Bank after he tore his Achilles tendon at a private event he was performing at for HSBC Bank at the Bellagio — as a result of improperly coiled wiring placed under an audio box on stage. I got to second chair the jury trial with a legend, Dominic Gentile, who taught me to be creative at “theatrical performances” such as jury trials. In this case, there were only $9,800 in medical bills (which somehow included a surgery done by a surgeon contracted by the Atlanta Falcons).
“My first jury trial gave me the confidence to be even more and more creative. Despite the limited medical specials, the jury verdict we obtained was $1.3 million (on a case with no evidence of future pain and suffering and a case being made for economic loss during the Great Recession).”
This was fun, but I still wanted to do healthcare law and represent physicians.
During the same timeframe, I was working also with another trial legend at my commercial litigation firm, Neil Galatz (Bar No. 3). Neil had chaired the MGM Fire and Las Vegas Hilton Fire cases in the 1980s. He asked me to help out three GI doctors who had been partners with Dr. Desai (who had eventually been convicted of homicide for causing someone to die from Hepatitis C). The “endoscopy” cases were in the thousands, and in the midst of the pending cases, the GI doctors’ professional liability carrier decided to not only deny coverage, but they also decided to no longer tender defense counsel for these doctors.
Neil and I acted as “Cumis” counsel and successfully sought a “temporary” restraining order against the carrier (which got extended and lasted over six months), whereby the carrier was restrained from not tendering defense counsel to these GI doctors.
The uncertainty of insurance coverage assisted with closing out many of the thousands of pending cases against the GI doctors for costs (which as a result were not reportable to the NPI database). Neil mentored me, and in his final days, Neil showed me a path to live a better stress-free life.
Having more and more confidence, I started my own law firm in 2014 — the Garg Law Firm. I still focused on healthcare, despite having that lurking feeling of wanting to only help individuals. But, this time, I also had 10 car accident matters to work on.
“I was a one person shop. I was the lawyer, paralegal, legal assistant, receptionist and the janitor.”
Doing car accident work as a solo was nearly impossible for me. Within a year, I got lucky and partnered with Tony Golden — who had a robust employment law practice at Fisher Phillips.
During our initial years of the Garg Golden Law Firm, we had only a handful of car accident matters. We dabbled in plaintiff’s employment law and immigration law. We were not passionate about those lines of work. By 2017, we realized that car accident work was our calling. Our brand “Anthem Injury Lawyers” was then launched. I found myself being able to completely empathize with car accident victims, especially with the multiple accidents that I had endured myself since I was a child.
“I’ve had many major car accidents in my life and I did not want people to make the same mistakes that I did.”
I also no longer wanted people to repress memories of bad accidents, such as I had done for at least two decades regarding a car accident when I was four years old when I had been ejected out of a car window after the car I was in had hit a tree. The paramedics had found me in the nearby grass with no physical injuries. My parents had their heads banged up pretty badly and my dad had bruised ribs. “No one” wore seatbelts then, and there were no air bags. It was apparently “normal” to have a child to sit in the front seat in the lap of their mother, unrestrained.
As time passed, our passion for car accident work was paying off. We grew and grew our personal injury practice. We had over more and more team members with other attorneys at our law firm by 2020.
Well, 2020 turned into a horrible year. I lost my mother in large part to COVID-19 (in her dementia she could not understand why she was secluded from all of us), my wife was hospitalized for eight days on oxygen and had to undergo Remdesivir treatment, and my father and I were isolated for multiple weeks — with my children being placed 300 miles away with extended family. Despite the adversity, we persevered at Anthem Injury Lawyers.
Both Tony Golden and I realized that we had to bring our own personal experience into our representation of clients. We could use our own life events to empathize with what our clients are going through. We had to come up with our “why.”
“In still maintaining connections with former physician clients, we realized that our law firm was uniquely positioned to coordinate the BEST wellness and care for our car and truck accident clients.”
We realized that we could help individuals with seeking “justice” — which not only meant financial recovery, but to allow our clients to seek the best medical care possible. Justice also meant to educate our clients about not making the same mistakes that most people would make after a car accident, such as I did when I was 24 years old. Justice also meant to keep educating ourselves on how to seek more and more justice for our clients.
“All in all, it took me decades to realize my calling. I did not need to work for the corporate world. I want to make my individual clients whole, who are unable to do the same without passionate counsel.”
That’s why I am proud to be a founding partner of Anthem Injury Lawyers and am exceptionally proud to follow our “why”/calling: “Care, Compassion and Concern for our Clients, Colleagues and our Community.
SOME CASE RESULTS
- $10 million recovered on behalf of an injured client.
- $1.3 million dollar personal injury jury verdict while serving the second chair at trial on behalf celebrity performer against the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
- $337,500 settlement in a wrongful death case on behalf of the decedent’s estate and surviving family members.
- Successfully defended group of former employees of a security company from a preliminary injunction being entered, allowing them to continue operating a competing security business with limited restrictions.
- Successfully sought judicial review of a motor vehicle agency decision on behalf of a celebrity client who purportedly had an inappropriate personalized license plate.
BAR & COURT ADMISSIONS
- District of Columbia
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States District Court, District of Nevada
- Washington State
- UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law, J.D. (2005)
- University of Arizona – Eller College of Management, B.A. Business Admin. (2002)
ACCOLADES AND DISTINCTIONS
- The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 – Civil Plaintiff
- Rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Rated by Avvo as Top Attorney 10.0 Superb
- Named by Desert Companion Magazine as one of the Top Lawyers in Litigation
- Named by Vegas Inc. Magazine as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Professionals
- Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by Asian American Group of Las Vegas
- Selected by Nevada Business Magazine as one of the Legal Elite Top 150 Attorneys
- Named by Vegas Inc. Magazine as one of the Top Lawyers in Lawsuits/Disputes
- Inducted in the “100 Hours Club” by Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada
- Selected by Nevada Business Magazine as one of the Legal Elite Top 100 Attorneys
- Selected by Nevada Business Magazine as one of the Top 20 Up and Coming Attorneys
- Consistently ranked as a Rising Star by Mountain States Super Lawyers
- 2023 Mountain States Super Lawyers
- 2022 Mountain States Super Lawyers
- 2020 Mountain States Rising Stars
- 2019 Mountain States Rising Stars
- 2018 Mountain States Rising Stars
- 2017 Mountain States Rising Stars
- 2016 Mountain States Rising Stars
- 2015 Mountain States Rising Stars
- 2014 Mountain States Rising Stars
- 2013 Mountain States Rising Stars
- 2012 Mountain States Rising Stars
- 2011 Mountain States Rising Stars
- 2010 Mountain States Rising Stars
- American Inns of Court – Howard D. McKibben Chapter — Barrister
- Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada — Former Board Member
- Friends of India – Las Vegas — Former Board Member
- Real Autism Difference — Founding Board Member; Treasurer; and Legal Counsel
- South Asian Bar Association of Las Vegas — Past President
- South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABANA f/k/a NASABA) — Former Board Member
- State Bar of Nevada Appellate Litigation Section — Founding Member and Past Treasurer
- Supreme Court of Nevada Liaison Committee, State Bar of Nevada Appellate Litigation Section — Past Chair
- UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Alumni Association — Former Board Member
- Shaq Foundation – Large Contributor
- Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada – Pro Bono Attorney with the Children’s Attorney Project (at various times) and Large Contributor