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Trials Digest
Trials Digest Chart


Spine Twist

Verdict:  $5,212,208

Plaintiff was descending a ladder and reportedly stepped down into a hole in the concrete slab surface and twisted his spine causing spinal injuries requiring  laminectomy, discectomy and  fusion surgeries (Melanson v. S.J. Amoroso Inc., San Francisco County Superior Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Allan M. Tabor).

Femur Fracture

Verdict:  $1,633,622

Plaintiff contended the defendant designed its theater with 48-inch-wide aisles but then constructed it with 47-inch-wide aisles, which would not allow for a center hand rail under the building code. Verdict reduced 58 percent for plaintiff's fault (Piazza v. AMC Entertainment  Inc., San Diego County Superior Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Warren B. Treisman).

Car v. Car v. Ped

Verdict:  $3,751,969

A left-turning vehicle which allegedly entered the intersection on a red light hit another vehicle allegedly speeding causing the latter to lose control, travel up the wheelchair apron, and strike the plaintiff, cyclist, who was standing with his bicycle on the sidewalk. Jury found 100 percent liability against the left-turning defendant (Bermudez v. Ciolek; Heacox, Orange County Superior Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Robert B. Gibson).

ADA Violation

Settlement:  $7,500

Plaintiff, a paraplegic man who used a wheelchair, reportedly suffered violation of his civil rights, embarrassment and emotional distress when he attempted to use a restaurant restroom but was unable to do so because it could not accommodate his wheelchair. Defendants agreed to complete corrective work on the property and to pay $7,500 to settle the claims (Delson v. The Barron Egg Shop, Northern District Federal Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Paul L. Rein).

Family Killed

Verdict:  $150,750,000

In closing arguments, plaintiff asked for total damages in the sum of $130 million for the wrongful deaths of a mother, father, and two brothers. The jury awarded an additional $20 million above and beyond what plaintiff had requested (B.A. v. Ortiz, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Brian Brandt).

Post-Op Bleeding

Verdict:  Defense

A patient alleged that defendant physician failed to consider his medications, causing bleeding and anemia requiring transfusion. The defendant claimed it was appropriate to evaluate plaintiff with a gastric mapping procedure, biopsies were required, and it was within the standard of care to perform biopsies while plaintiff remained on anticoagulation therapy (Confidential v. Confidential, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Defense Attorney:  Robert C. Reback).

Dietary Supplements

Settlement:  $4,225,000

After several weeks of ingesting defendants' dietary supplement, Epio-Plex, plaintiff allegedly developed acute liver and kidney failure and underwent combined liver and kidney transplant surgery at John Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore (Lineberger v. Max Muscle Marketing, Orange County Superior Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Thomas M. Moore).

Dangerous Design/Condition

Settlement:  $1,490,000

Plaintiff alleged that driver error and a dangerous design and condition of a drive-through entrance used for drop-off and pick-up of dry cleaning caused a fatality (Horton v. Mulligan; Casa De Oro Dry Cleaner's; Moon; Ray,  San Diego County Superior Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Daniel S. Rosenberg).

Ankle Fracture

Verdict:  $1,371,225

Plaintiff alleged that the successor-in-interest to the general contractor and subcontractor who had poured and created the sidewalk in question was responsible for her fall because the sidewalk area violated the Uniform Building Code. Defendant contended plaintiff and plaintiff's employer bore responsibility and denied the extent of plaintiff's injuries (Kolbe v. Balfour Beatty Construction LLC, Santa Clara County Superior Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Andrew C. Bryman).

Car v. Peds

Settlement:  $1,200,000

Plaintiff Lee settled for $1,100,000 for blunt force trauma to her head with bleeding of the brain, a collapsed right lung, a left femur fracture, a lacerated liver, a rib fracture and emotional distress; plaintiff Shin settled for $100,000 for a nose fracture, sore legs, and emotional distress from his injuries and from witnessing his mother being severely injured (Lee; Shin v. Desouza, Alameda County Superior Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Jim Larsen).

Police Officer Mistreatment

Settlement:  $400,000

A female reserve officer alleged failure to pay wages, infliction of emotional distress, sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Settlement for $400,000 and plaintiff became a full-time police officer with defendant (Greenwalt v. Twin Rivers Unified School District, Sacramento County Superior Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Mary-Alice Coleman).

House Fire

Decision:  Defense

Plaintiff  insurer alleged strict product liability against defendant claiming that a scheduled shut off and re-energizing of the area by defendant caused the insured’s house fire; defendant contended there were many potential causes for electrical problems in the home, all of which were more likely explanations for the fire than a power surge caused by defendant (Allstate Ins. Co. v. Southern California Edison Co., Los Angeles County Superior Court, Defense Attorney:  Patricia A. Cirucci).


Asbestos Bystander Exposure

Verdict:  $27,515,000

An adult plaintiff was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma allegedly due to exposure from asbestos dust from the work clothing of his father from products manufactured by defendant; a jury determined the defendant was 60 percent at fault and non-party defendant Eaton Corp. was 40 percent at fault (Panza v. Kelsey-Hayes Company, Ohio - Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas , Plaintiff Attorney:  Gary M. Paul).

Tire Blow Out

Verdict:  $16,520,000

Plaintiff alleged that defendant Michelin North America Inc. defectively designed and manufactured a tire that failed on a 15-passenger van, resulting in a death; jury allocated 80 percent of the fault to defendant Michelin and allocated the other 20 percent to the van driver. The judge reduced the recovery from defendant Michelin to $6,891,000 (Chhetri v. Michelin North America, Georgia – DeKalb County State Court, Plaintiff Attorney:  Jeffrey R. Harris).

Editors Note: California Bar Journal publishes this abbreviated summary of important trials provided by Trials Digest. To report your case results, go to or call 415-344-3952.