Kenneth Rosengren

Kenneth Rosengren, a prominent attorney, died on Feb. 9, 2012. He was 91 years old.


He received his education at Stanford University and the University of Arizona Law School, and Mid-Shipmen School in South Bend, Ind. During World War II, he was in command of an amphibious ship in the South Pacific. He participated in The Battle of Peleliu, which was a bloody affair for the U.S. Marines, with thousands dying.


After one week of fighting, the U.S. Windsor had only seven Japanese prisoners. When the island was secured, Kenneth worked with the soldiers and Marines in rebuilding the Island facilities. When President Truman ordered the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese surrendered and the war ended precipitately. Rosengren received on Nov. 20, 1945, a certificate of satisfactory service signed by the Secretary of the Navy for the President.


In the early 1950s, during the Korean War under the Truman administration, he was offered by the Attorney General of the Navy, an opportunity to act as counsel for the contracting officer at the Naval Base at Port Hueneme, Calif. The Navy Department purchased supplies and material for the Army, Navy and Marines. Billions of dollars were spent in pursuit of protecting the Marines in Korea as well as all the supplies and materials. Rosengren continued to stay as attorney for the contracting office in Port Hueneme for two years. After two years and under a new general counsel of the Navy, he was offered the opportunity to open a new office in Madrid, Spain.


In the early ’50s, it was feared that the Soviet Union under Stalin, was planning to invade Western Europe and take over the whole of Western Europe. The Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan had prepared the Spanish fleet and secured their harbors. In World War II, Spain had been blockaded and the American Ambassador withdrawn. Spain had been in a terrible civil war in the 1930s where several millions of Spaniards had been killed, and the country was in hardship. The treaty provided the U.S. would do the architectural contract work in building the bases. In order to help Spain, indigenous labor was used while the U.S., headed by the major general, established an organization in Spain but the contracting office was the U.S. Navy. The contract work was done and the Spanish contractors had to make their bids and contracts by the competitive bidding. The treaty provided that the U.S. would employ the five largest architectural corporations in America and the five largest general contractors in America as joint ventures to handle the job.


When Rosengren arrived in Spain, he was able to work with Brown and Root of Texas, which was the company assigned to do all the contracts for the job. Rosengren was able to coordinate all of the work with Brown and Root executives to get everything accomplished that would be compatible with government legal standards.


After two years in Spain, the general counsel requested that he open an office in New York City. That office had jurisdiction over all U.S. military contractors on the eastern seaboard. A sampling of these corporations that had billions of dollars of contracts with the U.S. included Grumman, Pratt Whitney and Lockheed Martin. He accepted the invitation and worked in New York for three years in the administration of all contracts handled that would affect the military. After three years, Rosengren resigned and returned to Phoenix to practice law.


On his return to Phoenix after seven years, he was asked to try cases that were tort law cases. He enjoyed the work and for the rest of his professional life he was involved in personal injury law.


In the ’70s, Rosengren entered into malpractice law exclusively and found a person who was well informed in medicine and had a photographic memory. The person was Norman Herring, now deceased. For 10 years, they sued hospitals, doctors and the U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claim Act.


Awards bestowed upon him are: President of the American Board of Trial Advocates in 1967 and Diplomat in 1967, which indicated he had been involved in a great many tort law cases. Some years ago, he received a special award of honor from the State Bar of Arizona in recognition and in appreciation for more than 50 years of service to the legal profession and to the citizenry and community of the State of Arizona. The plaque reads, "It is fully fitting that this honor be bestowed by the profession to which this lawyer has contributed so admirable and for so long."


In 2003, The Newberry Bar Association, in a ceremony, labeled him King of Torts, which stated, "Thanks for your professionalism and dedication to our profession." Rosengren stated that King of Torts was somewhat erroneous and that the honor belonged to the late Melvin Belli of California.


Kenneth Rosengren was an avid reader and thoroughly enjoyed tennis and golf. Always a charitable man, it was extremely important to him that he help those less fortunate. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 20 years, Louise Rosengren.



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