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Trials Digest

Trials Digest Summary of trials, awards, settlements, arbitrations

Water intoxication

Verdict: $16,577,118

Twenty-eight-year-old mother of two died from hyponatremia during a radio station’s contest that offered a prize to the person who could drink the most water (Strange v. Entercom Sacramento LLC, Sacramento County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Roger A. Dreyer).

Age discrimination

Verdict: $25,916,917

Sixty-four-year-old Kmart employee was terminated shortly before becoming eligible for a full retirement pension (Hawkins v. Kmart Corp., Riverside County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Gregory A. Lutz).

Medication overdose

Verdict: $16,331,024

Overdose of morphine in post-surgical patient resulted in a three-day coma and residual brain damage (Pritchard v. Coram Healthcare Corp. of Southern California, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Kenneth M. Sigelman).

Photographer injured

Verdict: $4,026,000

Photographer hired to work on a film in Namibia suffered leg fractures as a result of being struck by a stunt plane (Barry v. 20th Century Fox Film Corp., Plaintiff attorney: Lars C. Johnson).

Wrongful conviction

Settlement: $2,900,000

Nineteen-year-old man was wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder and incarcerated for 14 years before his conviction was vacated (Goff v. City and County of San Francisco, Northern District Federal Court, Plaintiff attorney: Randolph E. Daar).

Bad faith

Arbitration: $2,263,289

Pool of insurers for K-12 school districts in Northern California sued its re-insurer for refusal to indemnify for covered reimbursements (Northern California Regional Excess Liability Fund v. Insurance Company of the West, Unfiled Arbitration, Plaintiff attorney: Craig E. Farmer).

Patient death

Verdict: Defense

Eighteen-year-old man died from a pulmonary embolism several hours after being released from a hospital’s intensive care unit (Buchanan v. Ulloa-Michaelis, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Defense attorney: Yuk K. Law).

Pedestrian death

Settlement: $1,125,000

Mayor of Emeryville struck and killed a pedestrian on a rainy night as he was driving home from a community meeting (Lopez-Smela v. City of Emeryville, Alameda County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Daniel M. Crawford).

Worker electrocuted

Verdict: $1,484,000

Worker hired to remove copper pipes from roof of apartment building was electrocuted when a pipe fell on a live power line (Marquez v. 1305 Ingraham LLC, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Ramin R. Younessi).

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