Attorney Brian Virag specializes in suing hotels and apartments when guests and tenants are bitten by bedbugs. He has won a string of big-dollar verdicts and is considered an expert on bedbug cases. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Brian Virag, 49, is an Encino-based attorney who specializes in suing hotel and apartment owners when guests or tenants have been bitten by bedbugs. His string of jury verdicts in bedbug cases in the last few years has made him a leading expert on bedbug lawsuits.
Specializing in ‘Ewwww!’
When Virag first meets someone and he tells them that he files lawsuits on behalf of victims of bedbug bites, the first reaction is to say, “Is that really a thing?” he said. Yes, it is such a thing that the attorney has expanded from a one-man law office to a thriving legal practice.
“I only see this continuing to grow so that we can represent as many people as possible,” he said.
Like father, like son
Virag grew up in the San Fernando Valley, the son of a lawyer and a stay-at-home mom. Virag’s dad was a generalist who took whatever cases came through the door of his one-man firm. While attending Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, Virag worked for the corporate legal department at Universal Studios but decided he wanted to argue cases in front of a jury. He opened his practice in a one-room Encino office and took whatever cases walked through the door — just like his father.
“I did everything from criminal to family law to immigration to car accidents and everything in between,” he said.
Crime doesn’t pay
During the first 10 years of his career, Virag said, he was successful as a criminal defense attorney but soon learned that regardless of his victories in court, criminal defendants often skipped out on paying him.
“It was a little disheartening,” he said.