© 2023 by Masserman & Ducey LLP

 
 
 

RECENT TRIAL RESULTS

Below are summaries of recent trial results for defendants we represented.

The 21-year-old decedent’s mother filed suit against our client, who owned a property where her daughter died of a heroin overdose.  In two consolidated cases, plaintiff also sued three of her daughter’s health care providers, a drug treatment center, a drug interventionist and a celebrity who, like our client, allowed plaintiff’s daughter to stay at her home.  The trial proceeded in Pasadena Superior Court against our client, the other homeowner and the interventionist.  Plaintiff sought $24 million in damages at trial.  On February 11, 2019, after a 19-day jury trial and three days of deliberations, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of our client and the celebrity homeowner, and a majority defense verdict in favor of the interventionist.  Plaintiff has appealed the judgment on the jury's special verdict.

Our client is a manufacturer and seller of lighting equipment used in amateur photography, which was sued in 2015 by a competing company for a declaration of invalidity of our client’s patent on a lamp holder used as part of a photography lighting kit.  Our client filed a cross-claim for patent infringement.  In late 2017, we were brought in as trial counsel.  The jury trial commenced on May 21, 2019.  After a 5-day trial and 2 days of deliberations, the jury unanimously found in favor of our client that the competing manufacturer infringed our client’s patent and there was willful infringement, awarding our client the full amount of its damages sought for lost profits in the sum of $138,363.00.  On our post-trial motion for treble damages, the Court granted the motion and awarded $415,089.00 in treble damages.  On our post-trial motion for attorney's fees, the Court granted the motion and awarded attorney's fees in the sum of $496,123.90.  As part of the judgment, the Court also granted our cost bill, pre-judgment interest, and post-judgment interest, bringing the total judgment in favor of our client to over $1 million.  The competitor is not appealing the judgment.

The plaintiff was inspecting a trellis in the backyard of the defendant’s property when he fell from a ladder provided by the defendant, who was out of the country.  The plaintiff claimed that the ladder was dangerous and defective causing his fall.  The plaintiff sustained an open right ankle fracture and underwent surgery for fixation of the ankle leaving residual scarring.  The plaintiff sought $550,000 at trial.  After a 5-day trial the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict.  The case, decided by the jury on April 26, 2018, was the first state court trial conducted in the Spring Street courthouse. Read more >>

The plaintiff was a United States Postal Service worker delivering mail to the defendant homeowner’s property, when a dog owned by the defendant tenant, the homeowner’s mother, burst out the front door and caused the plaintiff to fall.  The plaintiff sustained a left wrist fracture and scaphulate ligament tear necessitating surgery, and orthopedic injuries.  We prevailed on a motion for summary adjudication for the owner and trial proceeded between the plaintiff and the tenant/dog owner.  The plaintiff requested $350,000 at trial.  After a 6-day trial the jury returned a verdict of $30,000, and reduced the recovery to $16,800 by allocating negligence at 56% to the defendant and 44% to the plaintiff.

The plaintiff was a realtor who fell on wet paint on the sidewalk of a property owned by an investment company whose manager was also sued.  We admitted liability for the entity and denied liability for the manager.  The plaintiff sustained severe coccyx and low back injuries and underwent a back surgery and two rhizotomies.  The plaintiff claimed $290,000 in medical expenses and sought $800,000 at trial.  The Court granted our motion for nonsuit on behalf of the manager.  After an 8-day trial the jury returned a verdict against the entity for $48,669, including $8,669 in economic damages and $40,000 in noneconomic damages.

The plaintiff was driving on the I-101 freeway when he was rear-ended by the defendant, who was driving a vehicle owned by his business.  Liability was admitted.  The plaintiff claimed injuries to his back, neck, arms and hands, both knees, and ongoing headaches.  The plaintiff sought over $110,000 in medical expenses and loss of earnings.  After our motions in limine were granted excluding the plaintiff’s experts from testifying at trial, the plaintiff settled on the first day of trial for a minimal amount.  After the plaintiff refused to sign the settlement agreement we filed a successful motion to enforce the settlement.

The plaintiff was an older woman who lived next door to the defendant.  She was injured when she stepped out of her vehicle in a commonly-owned driveway and fell when her cane went into a fence post hole on the defendant’s property.  The plaintiff claimed orthopedic injuries and required a future right knee arthroscopy and partial lateral meniscectomy.  The plaintiff requested that the jury award $873,000, including future surgery and a life care plan.  After an 8-day trial the jury awarded $20,835 in past medical expenses and $5,000 in past noneconomic damages, and found the plaintiff 75% negligent to arrive at a total verdict of $6,458.75.

The plaintiff was a tenant living in a residential property owned by the defendant.  She was walking from the front porch of the property when she was struck by an overhead beam that fell from the eaves over the porch.  The plaintiff claimed that the beam struck her with 3,800 pounds of force and caused her to sustain a mild traumatic brain injury.  The plaintiff sustained a deviated septum requiring surgery, and experienced severe headaches, a compressed neck, back and shoulder injuries, facial scarring, memory impairment, vision impairment, tinnitus, depression and anxiety.  The defendant contended the plaintiff did not sustain a mild traumatic brain injury and acknowledged she sustained a severe nose injury and would benefit from future counseling and psychological treatment.  The plaintiff sought $2.2 million from the jury.  Following a 10-day trial the jury returned a verdict of $90,101, consisting of $10,630 in past expenses, $69,471 in future medical expenses, and $10,000 in past noneconomic damages.

Please reload

RECENT PRE-TRIAL RESULTS

Some cases warrant termination before trial.  Below are recent cases we have successfully gotten dismissed prior to trial.

Summary judgment granted in favor of a homeowner when a guest slipped and fell on food spilled on the floor at a dinner in celebration of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.

Summary judgment granted in favor of a homeowner when a worker picking up building supplies at the home was on the bed of his pick-up truck and fell when the owner allegedly closed the garage door on the worker.

Summary judgment granted in favor of homeowners when a child died of “secondary drowning” after attending a children’s birthday pool party at the home.

Summary judgment granted in favor of an owner/landlord when a tenant was assaulted and injured by another tenant on the premises.  Judgment upheld on appeal.

Summary judgment granted in favor of an owner/landlord when a tenant tripped and fell on a broken tile on the front steps to the home.  Judgment upheld on appeal.

Demurrer sustained without leave to amend in a fraud and breach of fiduciary duty case brought by a series of shareholders who sold their interest in a fabric company to a successor owner alleging a fraudulent stock sale transaction.

Motion for dismissal of an action in which multiple bankruptcy stays were in effect based on the plaintiff’s violation of Code of Civil Procedure § 583.310 requirement to bring a case to trial 5 years after the action is commenced.

Motion for terminating sanctions granted in favor of an owner/landlord when two tenants sued for alleged harassment by the owner’s property manager and property damage arising out of a fire on the property.

Voluntary dismissal of a case filed by a roof worker against a homeowner after the worker fell off the roof of the property.

Please reload

OTHER RECENT RESULTS

Most cases warrant resolution.  Below are examples of types of cases we have recently settled successfully

to our clients’ satisfaction.

Multiple settlements of premises liability cases for nuisance value, in which the claimed damages exceeded by 10 times or more the actual settlement amounts.  These include cases in which tenants and invitees have slipped or tripped and fallen on driveways, interior and exterior staircases, a swimming pool deck, interior floors, public sidewalks and parking lots, and building common areas.  Also cases involving the death of a tenant shot with a bow-and-arrow; a fall through a skylight on a rooftop of a condominium building rendering the condo owner a paraplegic; a beating of one youth by other youths at a New Year’s Eve party; a dog-bite case in which a boy’s ear was bitten off; severe burns sustained after a fire started in a kitchen when a young man was cooking meth on an allegedly defective stove; a concrete tile that allegedly fell from a roof of a rental property striking a tenant; and a severe burn sustained by a visitor to a property after the owner spilled hot tea.

Multiple successful settlements in motor vehicle negligence cases involving automobiles, motorcycles and bicycles at figures far below the value of the cases.  These include a bicyclist whose left leg was amputated in a collision with our client’s motorcycle; rear-end accidents, some admitted liability and some not; a head-on motorcycle collision in the Santa Barbara wine country in which a rider’s lower leg was amputated; and a mild traumatic brain injury case in San Francisco in which a rider in a taxicab struck his head on our manufacturer client’s mount used to support credit card readers.

Settlement for nuisance value of dozens of habitability cases in which one or more plaintiffs have sued their landlords for alleged defective conditions in and around their properties.

Multiple settlements of neighbor cases involving land subsidence, tree cutting, various nuisances, and water and mold intrusion into condominium and apartment units.

Resolution of cases, corporate services, and entry of judgments after trials and default for approximately $500,000.00 for a franchise of a national transportation company.

Ongoing issues related to renovation, construction, and resolution of adjustment and property damage issues after a February 2017 hotel fire in Baldwin Park.

Please reload

EDUCATION LAW RESULTS

We are selective in cases we take in this area of law.  As our firm’s education law practice has grown,we have teamed up with clients to reach very successful outcomes in over 50 matters.  Below are examples of cases we have resolved.

Contract buy-outs and settlements for private and public secondary school teachers.

Buy-out and transition of employment for a community college Superintendent/President.

Settlement of a lawsuit filed against a high school by a senior based on bullying by an Athletic Director and administrators, many of whom were asked to leave the school after the allegations emerged.

Representation of professors, teachers, and administrators in administrative settings such as School Board hearings and Board of Trustee meetings.

Resolution of attendance issues raised by a high school to permit an aspiring singer to develop her professional career.

Representation of students accused of disciplinary infractions in professional school and secondary school settings.

Settlements involving Individualized Education Programs (IEP’s) for special needs students.

Please reload