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LATEST TRIAL RESULTS

 

The cornerstone of our success as a litigation firm is our ability to try a lawsuit.  Brief summaries of some of our latest victories follow:

The U.S. subsidiaries of a German multinational wanted $3 million in insurance coverage for a product that was recalled from the marketplace, and sued our client in U.S. District Court to collect.  The dispute arose because of a gap in coverage, and centered on the trigger of coverage for a "batch clause", and the distinction between "claims made" and "occurrence reported" coverage.  We prevailed on a motion for summary adjudication with respect to the breach of contract and bad faith causes of action.  The claims for reformation, waiver and estoppel were tried to the court.  The result:  Our client won.

 

The plaintiff had objectively verified brain damage, and asked the jury for $17.8 million.  In this complex automobile accident, we represented the sole defendant at trial, which went forward in Central Civil West (affectionately referred to as “the bank” by the plaintiffs’ bar) over a one-month period.  Our client had $3 million of insurance coverage available; anything above this would have been his responsibility.  We were able to discredit plaintiff's liability and damages experts, as well as plaintiff (through the use of sub rosa filming).  The result:  Our client won and recovered costs of suit.

 

Our client, owner of two industrial properties worth $10 million, wanted to sell, and entered into an exclusive listing agreement with a commercial real estate brokerage in order to do so.  When one property was withdrawn from sale, the brokerage sued, claiming that under the listing agreement it was entitled to a full commission on the withdrawn property pursuant to the “withdrawal from sale” clause.  We disagreed.  The matter was tried to the court, once again in “the bank”.  The result:  Our client won, and was also awarded attorneys fees and costs of suit.

 

We represented a national insurance carrier in an insurance bad faith action in San Diego, where plaintiff, a 35-year insured, sought significant punitive damages.  The action arose out of an alleged failure to settle an underlying UMBI claim for a reasonable value before an otherwise required arbitration.  We were able to persuade the jury that the plaintiff's case respecting both liability and damages was totally without merit.  The result:  Our client won and recovered costs of suit.

 

A major petroleum company was required to defend environmental claims at 33 sites across the U.S.  Our client, the petroleum company's insurer, agreed to defend the actions, but disputed the Cumis counsel rates sought by the petroleum company's lawyers.  The matter went to binding arbitration.  The arbitrator awarded the petroleum company reimbursement at the same rate we had offered prior to the commencement of litigation (and $120.00 per hour less than the petroleum company was seeking).  The result:  Potentially millions of dollars saved for our client.

 

In an action arising out of an auto vs. auto collision, plaintiff alleged that he had sustained multiple-level lumbar disc herniations and a knee condition which required a total knee replacement and which caused the loss of his chiropractic practice.  Plaintiff made a settlement demand of $1.5 million.  We represented the defendant driver.  Through formal discovery, and by cross-examination at trial of plaintiff (who appeared at trial in a wheelchair) and various of his experts, we were able to prove that plaintiff had significant pre-existing medical conditions, and that the accident had not caused his injuries.  The result:  We obtained a defense verdict in this rear-end accident.

 

In a construction defect case which arose out of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the plaintiff, a government agency, owned an apartment building next to a multistory parking garage constructed by our client.  There was a gap of only eight to twelve inches between the two buildings.  Plaintiff alleged that the contractor left extensive debris between the two buildings which, when the earthquake struck, caused extensive damage that would not have otherwise occurred but for the debris, and made more than 20 units uninhabitable.  Plaintiff made a settlement   demand   of   $450,000.    Our client offered nuisance  value  only.   Trial   ensued. The result:  We were able to obtain a non-suit on all of plaintiff's causes of action against our client.

 

In a wrongful death action brought by the six children of decedent, arising out of an automobile vs. pedestrian accident, we represented the teenage driver of the vehicle who struck the decedent in a crosswalk.  Plaintiffs demanded the policy limits of $300,000.  Our client rejected the same, and plaintiff argued that the policy was no longer limited. Through proper selection of our experts, and our cross-examination of plaintiffs' experts before the jury, we were able to demonstrate that defendant was not negligent.  The result:  Our client won.

             

Plaintiff, a young factory worker, sustained third degree burns and significant permanent scarring over twenty-five percent of his body when, through no fault of his own, an electrical panel exploded while he was working nearby.  Plaintiff contended that the explosion was the fault of two electrical contractors who had recently repaired the panel, one of which was our client, and asked the jury for an award in excess of $2 million dollars.  The other contractor joined with plaintiff in blaming our client for this accident.  We contended that our client did nothing wrong, and that this accident was caused solely by plaintiff’s employer. During a two week trial we were able to seriously discredit the liability experts retained by both the plaintiff and the other defendant.  The result:  Our client won. 

 

We represented a long haul trucking company and its driver in a rollover accident.  The plaintiff, a 30-something, Master degreed school teacher/author/semi-professional volleyball player claimed to have sustained permanent brain damage and significant permanent physical and mental disabilities when her vehicle flipped end over end after having been “cut off” by our big rig.  We properly admitted liability, but when plaintiff insisted that her claim was worth multiple millions of dollars we insisted on a jury trial.  The San Luis Obispo county jury awarded only a small fraction of plaintiff’s demand, but even then we learned that the verdict was due in significant part to juror misconduct.  We then  promptly  made  a   motion  for  new  trial,  which was  properly  granted.  The result:  The matter soon settled for a fraction of the amount of the tainted verdict.

 

We were retained by the Regional Human Resources Manager of a national restaurant chain to sue them after she was herself unceremoniously and, we maintained, wrongfully terminated from her position in direct contravention of existing company policy, said termination following her having received the Human Resources Manager of the Year Award and numerous Excellent Service Awards.  The company saw the case differently, claiming they had a “good term” here, and offered us nuisance value only.  Trial ensued and we were able to prove to the satisfaction of an Orange County jury that the termination was in fact wrongful, without good cause, and done on a pretextual basis.  The result:  Our client won, was completely vindicated, and was awarded back pay, front pay, interest and costs of suit. 

 

Our clients, a foreign, publicly traded tele-communications company and certain of its majority shareholders, were sued by certain minority investors for millions of dollars claiming breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duties and securities violations in the sale and offering for sale of certain of the company’s common stock.  We denied all of plaintiffs’ allegations and mounted a vigorous defense.  Trial ensured and we were able to convince the Downtown Los Angeles jury that what plaintiffs were in fact seeking was an investment “do over” to which they were not entitled.  The result:  Our clients won, and were also awarded attorneys fees and costs of suit.

 

The owners of a shopping center, a group of lawyers, retained us to represent them when they were sued by an anchor tenant for significant monetary damages, the anchor tenant claiming it had been wrongfully evicted from the center in violation of a master lease and allegedly applicable California law.  We respectfully disagreed and forced plaintiff to its proof at trial.  The result:  Our clients won, and were also awarded attorneys fees and costs of suit.

 

We represented a fabric manufacturer and several of its senior officers who were sued by an employee for thirteen causes of action, among them national origin discrimination, disability discrimination, harassment, retaliation, Labor Code violations, and wrongful termination.  Plaintiff sought not only significant back pay, front pay, and emotional distress damages, but also significant punitive damages to punish our clients for all of their claimed bad acts.  We denied each and every one of plaintiffs claims, mounted a vigorous defense, and were successful in establishing to the satisfaction of a unanimous Downtown Los Angeles jury that our clients had at all times properly treated and accommodated the plaintiff.  The result:  Our clients won.

 

We were again retained by a national insurance carrier to defend them in a bad faith action, this time in Downtown Los Angeles, where the plaintiff, another long-time insured, was suing for significant punitive damages.  The action arose out of an alleged failure to settle an underlying UMBI claim for a reasonable value before an otherwise required arbitration.  We maintained that the underlying claim had been properly handled in all material respects, and offered the plaintiff nothing in settlement of his suit.  The result:  Our client won and recovered costs of suit when a unanimous jury returned a defense verdict in fifteen minutes.

 

We again represented a national insurance carrier in an insurance bad faith action in downtown Los Angeles, where plaintiff, a 57 year-old longtime insured, sought significant punitive damages.  The action arose out of an alleged failure to settle an underinsured motorist claim for a reasonable value before an otherwise required arbitration.  We were able to persuade the jury that the carrier’s handling of the underlying claim was properly handled, and that the plaintiff’s case respecting both liability and damages was totally without merit.  The result:  Our client won and we recovered costs of suit.

 

In point of fact, of the last fifteen contested liability cases our firm has tried, we have ultimately “won” all but one of them.  While we do not intend to imply that we hardly ever lose, we simply try hard not to lose.  We believe that is what our clients pay us for.