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Trials Digest

Helicopter fatality

Verdict: $10,000,000

A passenger was killed when a helicopter's pilot negligently flew the craft into power lines shortly after take-off (Goble v. Pike, San Bernardino County Superior Court, Plaintiff's attorney: Michael S. Danko).

Drunk driving

Verdict: $49,644,252

A CHP officer standing on the shoulder writing a ticket was severely injured and the driver of the stopped vehicle was killed when a drunk driver plowed into them (Pedeferri v. White, Ventura County Superior Court, Plaintiff's attorneys: Erik B. Feingold and C. Michael Alder).

Concrete mixer

Settlement: $3,500,000

A 46-year-old worker's legs were amputated after a concrete mixer he was inside cleaning accidentally energized (Naranjo v. Columbia Machine Inc., Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff's attorney: Adam Shea).

Air bag

Verdict: Defense

A driver alleged the failure of his air bag to deploy in an accident was the cause of his brain damage (Hastings v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., Orange County Superior Court, Defense attorney Matthew R. Rogers).

Ethnic discrimination

Verdict: $167,730,488

An Armenian-American physician assistant alleged she was subject to harassment, termination, and retaliation primarily because of her ethnic origins (Chopourian v. Catholic Healthcare West, Eastern District Federal Court, Plaintiff's attorney: Jean K. Hyams).

Medical malpractice

Verdict: $7,624,318

An undiagnosed and untreated abnormal mass on the spine of a 13-year-old girl eventually resulted in paraplegia (Hairston v. Regents of University of California, Sacramento County Superior Court, Plaintiff's attorney: C. Brooks Cutter).

Lending practices

Verdict: $3,352,072

A jury found Wells Fargo Bank discriminated against home loan applicants from predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods (Jones v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff's attorney: A. Barry Cappello).

Retaliatory termination

Verdict: $5,417,993

An employee who reported the sexual harassment of a co-worker alleged he was terminated in retaliation for his complaints (Tran v. United States Mineral Products Company, Central District Federal Court, Plaintiff's attorney: Douglas W. Perlman).

Hit and run

Verdict: $2,655,240

A 73-year-old man sitting in his front yard sustained severe injuries, including a leg amputation, when a driver lost control of his vehicle, crashed through the man's fence, and then fled the scene (Coronado v. Barajas, Riverside County Superior Court, Plaintiff's attorney: Shelly L. Zeise).

Bar fight

Verdict: Defense

A bar patron who sustained head injuries in a fight alleged that his injuries were negligently treated, as a result of which his condition significantly deteriorated (Hotz v. Liker, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Defense attorney: David J. O'Keefe).

Bus v. pedestrian

Settlement: $2,250,000

A 72-year-old pedestrian sustained numerous injuries when he was struck and knocked to the ground by the side-view mirror of a passing bus (Schneider v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Agency, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff's attorney: Gregory R. Vanni).

Slip and fall

Verdict: $1,077,063

A 67-year-old grocery store patron sustained a hip fracture requiring a hip replacement when she slipped and fell on a liquid on the floor of the market (Jong v. Tawa Supermarket Inc., Alameda County Superior Court, Plaintiff's attorney: Joseph E. Tomasik).

Editors 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.