Becky Burch suffered brain damage and is confined to a wheelchair after her car was struck by a truck owned by Children's Hospital of Orange County. The issue was the appropriate level of attendant care Becky needed for the rest of her life. The defense argued for $3,000,000. Eventually, they offered $25,000,000 of their $50,000,000 insurance policy to settle. The offer was rejected. The resulting jury verdict was the largest in the history of California.
Three-year-old Nichole Fortman suffered paralysis and brain damage when she was ejected from a Jeep equipped with an after-market top incorporating rear-hinged, "suicide" doors. In a precedent shattering trial, the manufacturer of the mold for the top was held accountable for the injury. The Court of Appeal affirmed the largest personal injury award in the history of the United States.
Doe plaintiff was riding his bicycle down the steep slope in the bike lane. A driver for a construction company parked his truck in the bike lane to walk across to the company's staging area. The plaintiff ran into the rear of the truck and is now a quadriplegic. The company's insurer refused to offer its $20,000,000 policy limits to settle the case.
After a fire destroyed their market in Lancaster, Mr. and Mrs. Kasparian turned to their insurers, Fremont Indemnity Insurance, for business interruption benefits while they rebuilt the market. Fremont disputed the amount of monthly benefits and the length of time during which these should be paid. By the time contractual arbitration determined the amount and time period, the Kasparians' had lost their market to creditors. The Kasparians' insurance was designed to keep their business viable until it became operational. Instead, they lost their business. Because Fremont Indemnity caused the loss, the Kasparians were awarded a settlement in a bad faith lawsuit.
Metromedia, Inc. destroyed all videotapes of the popular television shows starring famed ventriloquist Paul Winchell after Winchell refused to give up syndication rights. After fourteen years of litigation, the California Court of Appeal affirmed what was then the highest punitive damage award in the state's history. The Supreme Court rejected Metromedia's challenge to the award.
Late in the evening, a driver knocked a street light pole into the curb lane. A resident reported the situation to the Department of Water and Power, who sent a crew to the wrong location and then "wrote off" the incident because they didn't find the pole. Several hours later, Cindy Kim's bicycle hit the pole and her resulting head injury caused permanent brain damage. In March of 1995, she received the largest personal injury judgment ever awarded against the City of Los Angeles.
Tutor-Saliba was hired to repair and renovate the Los Angeles Coliseum following the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Mike Francios worked for a fencing company which was hired as a sub-contractor by Tutor-Saliba. Tutor-Saliba was pushing to complete the work before the football season started. Mike's employer failed to provide him with safe scaffolding or fall-safe protection. As a result, he fell 16 feet and was rendered a quadriplegic. While California law prevented the employer from being sued, new legal doctrines were employed to fasten liability on the general contractor, Tutor-Saliba. Critical witnesses were uncovered and new damage theories were asserted. The result was the largest verdict ever awarded to a quadriplegic in California.
Our goal is, and our cases allow us, to force corporate America to make changes that protect and preserve a safer environment for consumers. In 2010, the firm represented a couple who lost their two daughters when Enterprise Rent-A-Car rented the girls a car knowing it was subject to a safety recall. When that case went to trial and the shocking story finally came out, there was national press. As the direct result of this trial and the exposure of Enterprise's egregious acts, the California legislature enacted the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2011.
Michael Smith and his family were leaving church and headed for a family outing. They were driving on Palmdale Highway when a car pulled out from a side street and struck the Smith vehicle, causing it to overturn. Michael was rendered a quadriplegic. Our extensive investigation revealed that the City, while closing down a right-turn lane temporarily, placed so many inappropriate signs, markers, pylons and saw horses that the driver of the vehicle was prevented from seeing traffic on Palmdale Highway. The case presented countless legal obstacles and endless legal maneuverings.
The Plaintiff's new boss started making sexual advances to her, promising her promotions if she would sleep with him. She refused and resisted. The boss retaliated by taking all of her responsibilities away from her and re-assigning her to a small basement office with no desk and no work. The trial ended with the largest sexual harassment verdict at the time. On appeal, Grassini, Wrinkle & Johnson were able to create new law in several areas important to victim protection.
The 59-year-old Plaintiff had worked for Carnation for 35 years. Instead of a gold watch as an expression of gratitude for 3½ decades of loyal service, they brought in a new manager, forced the Plaintiff into early retirement and replaced him with a younger man. The new manager was "tired of seeing Holthaus sitting around, smoking a pipe." The jury disagreed and found Carnation guilty of age discrimination and determined that the Plaintiff was entitled to punitive damages because Carnation's conduct was malicious and despicable. Hopefully, that was the end of age discrimination at Carnation.