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Trials Digest

Trials Digest

Profit dispute

Verdict: $269,431,798

Creators of game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” sued the Walt Disney Company for money it alleged it was owed, blaming Disney’s accounting methods for the underpayment (Celador International Ltd. v. The Walt Disney Co., Central District Federal Court, Plaintiff attorney: Stanton L. Stein).

Vehicle deaths

Verdict: $15,000,000

Despite knowledge of the recall for defects, a car rental company rented two sisters in their twenties a PT Cruiser, resulting in their deaths in a ball of flames when the engine caught fire (Houck v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co., Alameda County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Lawrence P. Grassini).

Hypoxic brain injury

Settlement: $1,700,000

Patient allegedly suffered brain damage, followed shortly by death, as a result of negligence on the part of her anesthesiologists prior to a kidney transplant (Yerikyan v. Lee, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Bruce G. Fagel).

Fatal fall

Settlement: $17,000,000

A fall from a defective balcony left a hotel guest with multiple fractures and a traumatic brain injury (Greer v. Confidential, Confidential Venue, Plaintiff attorney Nicholas C. Rowley).

Bicyclist killed

Settlement: $2,750,000

Twenty-two-year-old college triathlete was struck and killed on her bicycle by a big rig while on a training ride on a narrow mountain road (Payne v. Almaguer, Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Gary A. Dordick).

Propane explosion

Settlement: $4,850,000

Fifty-nine-year-old high school teacher was fatally burned when two 100-pound propane tanks exploded in the back of his pickup shortly after being refilled (Confidential v. Durnall & Campora Propane Inc., San Joaquin County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Timothy G. Tietjen).

Leg amputations

Settlement: $4,000,000

Driver involved in a car crash alleged that the injuries he sustained resulted in the amputation of both his legs two years after the accident (Confidential v. Gonzalez, San Bernardino County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Shahab Sean Shamsi).

Construction accident

Verdict: $3,711,795

Flagman's foot was run over and severely injured by a concrete truck at a construction site (Vargas v. Paramount Scaffold Inc., Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Bruce Fishelman).

Fall from pickup

Settlement: $17,500,000

Seventeen-year-old student suffered a traumatic brain injury when she fell from the back of a pickup participating in a school-sponsored Fourth of July parade (Confidential v. Gustine Unified School District, Merced County Superior Court, Plaintiff R.J. Waldsmith).

Excessive force

Settlement: $300,000

Counselor at a residential facility alleged he was injured by police officers while he was attempting to follow a resident who left the facility with suicidal intentions (Knapps v. City of Oakland, Northern District Federal Court, Plaintiff attorney: James B. Chanin)

Rollover accident

Settlement: $5,600,000

Four people were injured when the dune buggy in which they were riding was rolled by an allegedly intoxicated driver (Holland v. Confidential, Orange County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Christopher R. Aitken).

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.