Case Results

Jury Verdict

$52 Million

Propane Explosion Causing Wrongful Death & Personal Injury

The Walkup Melodia burn injury team represented a family devastated by the effects of an explosion that destroyed a motor home. A fire cause and origin investigation traced the source of the explosion to a liquid petroleum gas leak. The explosion happened when the father attempted to light a stove-top burner. The subsequent fireball completely destroyed the 8 by 26-foot travel trailer, the family was using as a residence while they completed construction on a new home adjacent to the explosion site. The fire killed a young girl and severely burned her parents and brother.

Through expert analysis, the attorneys of Walkup Melodia argued that the only explanation for this explosion was that the defendants had defectively installed the propane system on this trailer by failing to protect the venting system from the elements. After three difficult years of litigation, the jury finally agreed with us and awarded the family more than $50 million.

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Settlement

$42 Million

Property Defect – Quadriplegia

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Jury Verdict

$38.6 million

Myrick v. Hansa – Failure To Diagnose Stroke

Walkup Melodia’s medical malpractice team obtained a record $32 million jury verdict in Superior Court on behalf of an 18-year-old man whose doctors failed to get him prompt care when was admitted to the hospital with signs and symptoms of a stroke. The doctors and nurses who saw him admitted him for observation instead of getting him immediate specialized stroke care. As a result, he became paralyzed and lost his ability to communicate. Walkup malpractice lawyers showed through expert testimony that his lifetime of disability was avoidable had proper care been given.

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Jury Verdict

$33.1 Million

Failure To Treat Stroke

A Walkup neuro-injury trial team obtained this verdict on behalf of a 19-year-old man against a Bakersfield doctor. The Walkup team obtained this verdict in 2013 in San Francisco Superior Court when it proved that an attending physician failed to take prompt action in the face of symptoms suggesting a stroke. As a result, brain-saving care was delayed and the young man suffered massive injury, destroying his ability to speak, work or care for himself. Our client benefited from a Walkup trial team that included a licensed physician.

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Settlement

$29 Million

Worksite Injury

In Worker v. Telecom Companies (confidential case number and venue) Khaldoun Baghdadi, Sara Peters and Joseph Nicholson, negotiated a confidential settlement in excess of $29 million for a telecommunications worker who suffered catastrophic electrical shock and thermal burn injuries requiring amputation of an arm. The plaintiff was in an elevated aerial bucket splicing a non-electrified communications cable. While working, he made contact with one of the defendants’ high voltage electrical power line which was strung above him, but not attached to, the utility pole he was working on. State regulations specify the minimum safe clearance distances that must be maintained around such uninsulated high voltage lines to protect non-electrical workers like the plaintiff. The Walkup team was able to show that not only was the power line sagging too low at the time of injury, but also that the responsible party had identified the dangerous condition at this precise location more than a year earlier, and failed to fix it. As a result, the plaintiff suffered third and fourth degree burns to more than one-third of his body, resulting in chronic pain and disability. In seeking to establish comparative fault, the multiple defendants argued that the plaintiff either ignored the obvious hazard of the overhead power line or was not properly trained by his own employer. The multi-party settlement included contributions by various contractors that either inspected or worked on the site prior to plaintiff and failed to remedy or warn of the hazard.

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Settlement

$26 Million

Property Defect – Traumatic Brain Injury

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Jury Verdict

$23.2 million

Rogers v. AMC Clinic – Obstetrical Negligence Leading to Cerebral Palsy

In a birth injury jury trial brought for a child with spastic quadriplegia, the Walkup medical malpractice trial team received a $23.2 million jury verdict. The 2½-year-old plaintiff suffered cerebral palsy, quadriplegia and cognitive impairment when her mother’s doctor failed to recognize and act on the warning signs of fetal distress during her birth. As a result, a timely cesarean section was not performed. The child was deprived of oxygen for 28 minutes before an emergency C–section could be completed.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy resulted, and the child now has multiple health problems, including a permanent tracheotomy, g–tube, spastic cerebral palsy, cortical impairment, and seizures. The jury award included $1.7 million for past health care expenses, $10 million for future health care expenses, $10 million for past and future pain, disability, and emotional distress, and $1.5 million for loss of earning capacity.

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Settlement

$20 Million

Negligence – Wrongful Death

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Jury Verdict

$17 Million

Mason G. v. Bell Sports Inc. – Bicycle Product Liability Causing Brain Injury

Our bicycle accident attorneys handled this catastrophic injury case on behalf of a 52-year-old bicyclist. While riding his bike to work in San Jose, using the bike lane, the defendant cut off our client, throwing him into her windshield and onto the ground. He immediately lost consciousness and was confused upon waking up. Brain imagery soon showed internal bleeding, and doctors diagnosed him with a permanent brain injury that left the plaintiff wheelchair-bound and unable to work.

Our bicycle accident specialists focused both on the driver of the vehicle as well as on the maker of the helmet. We proved that while the driver was inattentive, the helmet the plaintiff was wearing should have protected him in the collision. After trial, the jury returned a $17 million verdict.

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Settlement

$15 million

Cyclist v. Forest Products Distributor – Big Rig Negligence

The Walkup bike lawyers represented an East Bay special education teacher who was run over by a National Forrest Products delivery truck, causing major leg and pelvis injuries. Our client spent months at Stanford University Hospital undergoing many operations to save her legs from amputation. Her medical bills exceeded $2 million. We proved that the truck driver was inattentive, poorly trained, and inexperienced in providing the right of way and safe passage to bicyclists.

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Settlement

$15 million

18-Wheeler Sideswipes Bicyclist

We represented a young woman who was sideswiped while cycling on her way to work in Berkeley, California. The rear dual wheels of the tractor-trailer rolled over her, causing severe injuries to both of her lower extremities. She required months of hospitalization and more than 10 surgeries to help save her legs from amputation. Our lawyers showed that the commercial truck driver had been driving too long and was not paying attention to the right lane of traffic when he made a right turn, driving over our client. The truck driver claimed that our client was in his “blind spot.” Walkup liability lawyers showed through accident reconstruction and visual read creation that the cyclist could have been seen if the driver had been paying attention.

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Settlement

$14 Million

Industrial Injury

In Technician v. Hazardous Waste Disposal Company (case number and court confidential), Doris Cheng and Andrew McDevitt negotiated a confidential settlement including third party and workers’ compensation benefits with a present value in excess of $14,000,000. The injury arose from a Northern California industrial workplace fire and explosion in which our client suffered disfiguring burns to his face and hands. The Plaintiff was a 50-year-old technical engineer involved in the fabrication of semiconductors. As part of his job he was required to clean flammable product residue from fabricating equipment. In order to protect himself from flash fires, plaintiff consulted the product’s manufacturer and the hazardous waste disposal company which serviced his employer’s factory.  The defendant manufacturer knew that there was no safe way to perform cleaning on the machine but did not disclose that fact or provide any useful information that the [plaintiff could use to protect himself. While performing routine cleaning. a major explosion occurred. The client sustained major burns to his face and hands. In their defense, defendants alleged that the injury was entirely the fault of the injured plaintiff for creating an unsafe cleaning protocol. The multi-party settlement was contributed to by both defendants as well as the workers compensation carrier for the injured plaintiff.

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Settlement

$13.5 Million

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Settlement

$12.5 Million

Product Liability

In Auto Passenger v. Aftermarket Accessory Manufacturers ( Court and County confidential ) Michael Kelly and Andrew McDevitt negotiated a $12,500,000 global resolution on behalf of a student who suffered a paralyzing neck injury during a single vehicle rollover crash. Our client rode as a belted front seat passenger in a vehicle driven by a schoolmate. When the driver navigated through a series of tight turns on a rural road, the back end of the vehicle began to fishtail. The SUV rolled and came to rest on its roof. Michael and Andrew filed suit against the auto manufacturer and multiple equipment and the aftermarket component suppliers as well as the selling dealership and driver. Vehicle occupants testified that the driver had been speeding and proclaimed that he was going to get the vehicle “sideways” minutes before the event. The defendants all denied responsibility, arguing that the driver was 100% at fault. Our attorneys established that the added aftermarket optional equipment made the already unstable vehicle even more prone to rollover. They also showed  that the post-sale equipment seller failed to test the product consistent with accepted industry practices. The matter was settled in four stages against various categories of defendants after multiple mediation sessions.

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Jery Verdict

$12.2 Million

Pedestrian Injured by Dangerous Roadway Causing Brain Injury

Our attorneys obtained a jury verdict against Caltrans for a dangerous roadway. The award, in excess of $12 million, was returned on behalf of a 17-year-old girl injured in San Mateo County when she was struck by a slow-moving vehicle while walking across a dark, marked crosswalk. As a result of this collision, she sustained a catastrophic brain injury that has left her in a permanent vegetative state.

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Jury Verdict

$12 Million

Pedestrian Struck By Car

Walkup’s traffic accident team represented a young woman rendered brain damaged by the driving of an inattentive South San Francisco motorist who failed to see her as she crossed a major thoroughfare in San Mateo County. Our auto accident team worked with engineers and produced a sophisticated reconstruction and visibility study to prove the fault of the driver. The damages recovered included the cost of future care as well as a lifetime of lost earnings.

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Settlement

$11 Million

Trucking Liability

In Traveler v. National Trucking Co. (No. Cal. Sup. Ct. case no. confidential), Rich Schoenberger, who was associated to prepare and try this catastrophic injury case after initial attempts at resolution had failed, negotiated an $11,000,000 pre-trial recovery on behalf of a central coast motorist rendered quadriplegic in a head-on collision with a semi-truck and trailer. Before Rich’s involvement, the case had been filed and managed by a skilled referring attorney who sought Walkup’s assistance for trial. At the time of the collision the driver for a long-haul trucking firm suddenly crossed over a center median strip into oncoming traffic. His big-rig flipped over on top of the plaintiff’s passenger car. The defendant driver and his employer claimed that an unforeseeable and sudden medical emergency had caused the collision, thus absolving them of all liability. Rich and his co-counsel retained qualified experts in the fields of stroke neurology and radiology to dispute that there was no warning of the event. Discovery revealed that earlier in the day the driver had twice sat down to rest while loading his trailer because he had felt “dizzy”. His past medical records revealed a history of uncontrolled high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a poor diet, and a long smoking history. These facts combined to support the argument that the driver should have foreseen the potential for a cerebral-vascular event such as a TIA. The matter was concluded at mediation after expert disclosure and discovery were completed.

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Settlement

$10.5 Million

Construction Site Injury – Wrongful Death

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Settlement

$10 Million

United Rentals Industrial Machine Failure Causing Wrongful Death

The Walkup Melodia product liability and industrial machine failure team negotiated a $10 million settlement on behalf of the surviving wife and children of a 46-year-old real estate management consultant who was killed when a self-propelled man lift on which he was riding tipped over. The decedent was inspecting work that was being performed on an industrial facility. He was testing the man lift for its suitability for inspecting work at the site when it rolled into a pothole and tipped over. Walkup’s wrongful death lawyers retained and worked with engineers who demonstrated that the design of the industrial machine was faulty and should have included outriggers and a wider wheelbase to preserve its vertical stability.

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Settlement

$9.5 million

Cyclist v. Alameda County – Defective Roadway

Our attorneys achieved a settlement on behalf of a 29-year-old amateur cyclist whose front tire became wedged in the broken grates of a storm drain cover. The claim was brought against Alameda County. Our client was traveling at roughly 10 mph when he was propelled over the handlebars as his bike came to an abrupt stop. He landed on his head and fractured his neck.

The action was brought against the city and county for violating provisions of the California Government Code requiring that public property be kept in a safe condition. Our attorneys were able to find other citizens who had complained about the problem in the past, thereby putting the city on notice. The settlement included both lump sum and future annuity payments to provide for the increase in cost of attendant care throughout our client’s life.

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Jury Verdict

$9.4 million

Dahl v. Stone, M.D. – Delayed Diagnosis of Abscess

Our paralysis trial team obtained a jury verdict in the amount of $9,480,820 on behalf of a 29-year-old Sonoma County laborer who suffered permanent paraplegia from the navel down as a result of an untreated spinal epidural abscess. The defendant had been treating the plaintiff for skin infections for approximately two months when our client began to develop unremitting pain in his back. The defendant charted a suspicion of an epidural abscess but never ordered the appropriate diagnostic tests to confirm his suspicion.

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Settlement

$9 million

Twins v. Fertility Center – Negligent Failure to Diagnose Cystic Fibrosis

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Settlement

$9 Million

Medical Negligence

In Doe Infant v. Healthcare Facility (Court and County confidential) Khaldoun Baghdadi negotiated a combination cash and annuity settlement with a present value of $9,000,000 on behalf of a severely disabled 4 year-old child and her parents. The child was born with severe congenital disabilities. The matter was prosecuted as a wrongful life case per CACI 512 and premised upon the failure to conduct follow up prenatal diagnostic testing which was indicated according to the standard of care. Pursuant to the holding in Turpin v. Sortini (1982) 31 Cal.3d 220, the parents sought recovery of the economic damages required to care for their daughter. The child’s ongoing medical needs were substantial. She required treatment and medication for seizure management and attendant care for activities of daily living including feeding, bathing and toileting. The child was unable to walk or provide for her own needs. In addition to the customary experts in the fields of physical medicine and rehabilitation and life care planning, liability experts in the field of radiology and obstetrics were retained to testify in the case. By utilizing a special needs trust in conjunction with structured annuities and a substantial cash payment, Khaldoun was able to help the parents maintain their daughters right to receive public benefits, thereby maximizing the benefit to the family of the negotiated settlement.

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Jury Verdict

$8.8 Million

Child Suffered Head Injuries From Automobile Accident

Our child injury lawyers represented a 16-year-old girl injured in a high-speed automobile accident on the night of her high school graduation. She suffered major head injuries with resulting hemiplegia and cognitive dysfunction. The verdict was returned in Sacramento County against the rental car company that owned the car being driven by the defendant.

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Settlement

$8.75 Million

Premises Liability

In Pedestrian v. Parking Contractor, (No. Cal. Sup. Ct., court and number confidential) Richard Schoenberger and Matthew Davis negotiated a $8,750,000 settlement on behalf of a 59-year-old woman who sustained a traumatic brain injury when she was struck by a vehicle driven by a parking lot attendant in a commercial parking garage. The defendant’s employee  was retrieving a car, driving at high speed, in reverse, when he struck the pedestrian at three to four times the garage’s posted speed limit. The force of the impact caused complex skull fractures, a massive subdural hematoma with a midline shift, and multiple orthopedic injuries. The acute trauma and residual brain injury destroyed our client’s physiological and emotional quality of life. The defendant conceded negligence but alleged significant comparative fault on the part of the plaintiff for failing to see and react to the moving vehicle. The benefit package negotiated by Rich and Matt ensures the plaintiff will receive necessary care throughout her life.

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Jury Verdict

$8.7 million

Auto Accident Causing Brain Injury

Our traumatic brain injury (TBI) trial lawyers obtained a jury verdict in Sacramento County in the amount of $8,775,000 on behalf of a 21-year-old woman who suffered massive brain damage after her car was struck by a rental car driven by an unlicensed and unauthorized driver. Our attorneys brought suit against both the driver and the rental company. The jury verdict compensated our injured client for severe brain damage and loss of independence, lost wages, and costs of rehabilitation and future medical care. After an initial period of coma, our client was left with memory impairment and permanent left-side weakness.

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Jury Verdict

$8.35 million

Defective Man Lift on Construction Site

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Jury Verdict

$8.35 million

Defective Artificial Hip Manufactured by ASR/DePuy

Our trial lawyers tried the very first successful case against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics for injuries caused by the ASR metal-on-metal hip prosthesis. The record-breaking jury verdict in that case was $8.35 million.

Prior to trial, the settlement offer had been less than $200,000. The case demonstrated the various defects in the device and has forced Johnson & Johnson and DePuy to take steps to resolve the more than 9,000 cases pending nationwide.

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Settlement

$8 million

Clergy Abuse

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Settlement

$7.75 million

Big Rig Rollover Caused by Dangerous Highway Merge

Our big rig liability team obtained this multimillion-dollar settlement in a combined wrongful death and injury case for a Stockton couple forced off the road by a fatigued and improperly licensed big rig driver. The Bay Area couple was forced to correct their SUV toward the soft dirt shoulder on the left side of the roadway, where it overturned when the big rig driver made an unsafe lane change into their lane. The couple was traveling next to the semi when it began to merge into their lane. The wife who was riding as a passenger lost her leg in the tragedy.

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Settlement

$7.5 Million

Medical Negligence

In Silicon Valley Executive v. Regional Clinic (confidential case number), Michael Kelly and Sara Peters successfully resolved a medical negligence / failure to diagnose case on behalf of a 32-year-old Silicon Valley communications and marketing executive in the amount of $7,500,000. The plaintiff, his wife and young son had recently relocated to Silicon Valley. Out of the blue he began having daily headaches, sometimes associated with dizziness. He had no previous history of headaches. He visited the local clinic where he was reassured that his symptoms were likely due to changes in blood pressure. No brain imaging (which would have shown a resectable lesion) was carried out. Four months later, the aneurysm ruptured and proceeded to bleed into the plaintiff’s brain, causing irreparable harm. Emergency surgery saved the client’s life but residual cognitive impairment altered both his personality and his ability to function. Mike and Sara were able to demonstrate that the client’s earning capacity was unique in the Silicon Valley market and that based upon sums earned by his peers, and probable future promotions, his lifetime earnings loss would be in excess of $10,000.000. General damages were limited to the MICRA cap on pain and suffering in the total amount of $250,000.

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Jury Verdict

$7.36 million

Car Accident Causing Wrongful Death

The wrongful death trial lawyers at Walkup Melodia represented the parents of an 8-year-old girl who was killed in a Redwood City car accident. The crash also injured the girl’s mother and 10-year-old sister.

The evidence presented during the four-week trial indicated that the at-fault driver was intoxicated and traveling around 85 mph at the time of the accident. Although the at-fault driver had the right of way, the attorneys at Walkup were able to prove that the accident would not have happened if the driver had been obeying the speed limit.

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Settlement

$7+ Million

Adult Cyclist v. City of Saratoga

Venued in Santa Clara County Superior Court, Michael Kelly, Matthew Davis and Andrew McDevitt represented a 47-year-old tech company VP who sustained paralyzing injuries when struck by a left-turning car while bicycling on the path of a popular Peninsula bike route.  Eight years earlier a local newspaper labeled the location where the crash occurred as one of the most dangerous intersections in the county for bicyclists. In response, the City asked its on-call traffic engineers to propose changes to improve safety.  A modification plan was proposed and, following review by State of California engineers, was thereafter revised by two engineering firms. Modifications pursuant to the approved design were completed in 2012.  Plaintiff’s injury occurred two years later.  Read more

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Settlement

$7 million

Utility Pole Explosion (Electric Short)

Our San Francisco burn injury trial and settlement team represented a utility worker who sustained first-, second- and third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body when he was nearly electrocuted at a job site. The client was performing routine telephone line replacement when a Pacific Gas & Electric pole fractured, causing 12,000 volts of electrical current to contact him. We proved that PG&E inspectors had recommended replacement of the pole many years before the injury, but had done nothing to remove it or make it safe in the interim. Our lawyers obtained compensation for our client’s physical pain and suffering as well as reimbursement for his past medical expenses and lost wages and the future cost of scar revisions and plastic surgery to help remediate the scars.

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Settlement

$7 million

Front-end Loader Strikes Workman on Construction Site

Walkup Melodia’s work site injury team negotiated an all-cash settlement in the amount of $7 million on behalf of a laborer who was run over by a front-end loader when its operator inadvertently put the machine in reverse while the plaintiff was directing traffic at a job site. The machine ran over the plaintiff’s left side, causing permanent nerve damage to his left shoulder and arm as well as a fractured pelvis, multiple fractured ribs and lacerations of the spleen, kidney, and bladder. Medical expenses exceeded $900,000. The 47-year-old plaintiff was rendered totally disabled and unable to return to his occupation as a laborer and light-equipment operator.

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Settlement

$7 Million

Civil Rights

In Dorger v. City of Napa (U.S.D.C. No. Dist. Calif.), Khaldoun Baghdadi and Andrew McDevitt represented the family of a 60-year-old registered nurse who was shot and killed by the Napa Police Department while in a state of severe mental crisis.  After a complaint from a neighbor, the deceased was contacted by the Napa PD. He agreed to come out of his residence for what was characterized as a “welfare check.” When the he walked out of his home he put his hands in the air as directed. Once outside he was approached by officers armed with AR-15 assault rifles, pistols, a Taser, a Sage weapon, and a bean bag shotgun. Drunk and disturbed, he became upset when he saw the officers with their weapons pointed at him. The commanding Sergeant broadcast a go-ahead to shock him with a Taser. One of the officers then yelled “Taser, Taser, Taser.” At the same time a second officer fired his AR-15 striking the deceased in the head, instantly killing him. Officers claimed the decedent provoked the shooting by reaching for a gun in his waistband. No gun was ever found. Prior to trial, the City of Napa agreed to a $700,000 settlement with the decedent’s family. In addition, the city agreed to provide crisis intervention training to all patrol officers and supervisory personnel. The training will include an overview of mental illness and teach tactics to be employed to de-escalate situations where persons with mental illness are in crisis.

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Settlement

$7 Million

Vehicle Negligence

In Pedestrian v. Bus Service Operator, (confidential case number and venue) Richard Schoenberger and Douglas S. Saeltzer recovered $7,000,000 on behalf of a 32-year old man who was injured while crossing an urban street in a marked crosswalk. Rich and Doug established  that the defendant Bus driver ran a red light at a high rate of speed while using a handheld device. Plaintiff suffered fractures in both lower extremities, a lacerated spleen, and other injuries which did not require surgical intervention. He also suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. Prior to the accident plaintiff worked as a security guard earning approximately $27,000 per year. Past medical specials totaled $657,000 with a past wage loss of $37,029. Plaintiff claimed he could no longer work in any occupation, and that the injury occurred at a point in time when he was planning to launch into a more lucrative career. He also alleged the need for multiple future orthopedic procedures as well as an increased susceptibility to infection as a result of his splenectomy. The defendants vigorously disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s future damages and claimed that he could return to work without restriction at his former occupation. The case settled following expert disclosure at a mandatory judicial settlement conference.

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Settlement

$7 Million

Vehicular Negligence

In Pedestrian v. Airport Shuttle Service (San Mateo Sup. Ct.), Richard H. Schoenberger and Douglas S. Saeltzer negotiated a $7 million recovery on behalf of a Bay Area pedestrian who was struck by a distracted airport shuttle bus driver. On New Year’s Eve 2014 at approximately 4:30 PM the defendant driver was driving above the posted speed limit at 40 miles per hour on Airport Boulevard in South San Francisco. In-vehicle video shows her looking first at her cell phone and then at a large electronic tablet. External cameras on the bus show the plaintiff ahead of the bus, entering a marked crosswalk when his light turned green, and the driver’s light turned red. Completely ignorant of road conditions, the driver remains focused on her electronic devices and strikes our client propelling him more than 100 feet in the air where he lands on the asphalt sustaining multiple fractures, internal organ damage and traumatic brain injury. The client’s persistent and continuing investment in rehabilitation resulted in a remarkable recovery, but still left him with cognitive dysfunction and brain injury. This horrifying experience underscores the hazards associated with distracted driving. Appropriately, the shuttle driver was later convicted of a crime for her conduct, but the criminal conviction is of little benefit to the plaintiff who remains saddled with the harms and losses caused by the driver’s negligence.

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Settlement

$6.9 Million

Vehicular Negligence

In Laborers v. Grading Company (court and case confidential ) Richard Schoenberger, Michael A. Kelly and Conor M. Kelly obtained a cash and annuity settlement having a present cash value $7,900,000 on behalf of two undocumented ranch laborers  injured in a head-on vehicle crash in rural Northern California. The night time collision occurred on a dark two-lane highway which was undergoing road resurfacing. The plaintiffs were driving northbound when a southbound pickup truck crossed into their lane and struck them head on. The defendant truck driver claimed he was unable to determine his position in the roadway at the time of the crash because temporary pavement markings (intended to replace the solid double yellow line which was previously painted on the highway) were missing. In discovery our team, developed evidence that the paving and grading company had paved over the lane markings. On the morning following the collision, the defendant sent a crew to replace the temporary reflectors. The construction company claimed all blame rested with the truck driver who crossed the double yellow line. Rich, Mike and Conor retained a comprehensive team of technical experts to create a powerful visual animation depicting the condition of the roadway on the night of the accident in comparison to how the road should have looked with adequate lane markings. The most seriously injured plaintiff was driving without automobile insurance at the time of the crash and was limited solely to the recovery of economic damages. He suffered a traumatic brain injury which required constant supervision. His passenger sustained orthopedic injuries and developed severe PTSD. The defendants vigorously disputed each plaintiff’s damage claims. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs had received little treatment after their acute hospitalizations. The case settled after the commencement of trial with $6,900,000 of the total settlement being paid to the cognitively impaired uninsured driver and one million-dollars to the passenger.

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Settlement

$6.5 Million

Minor v. Valley HMO – Negligent Neurosurgery Causing Personal Injury

Our brain injury specialists represented a 7-year-old child who underwent pediatric neurosurgery for correction of a suspected spinal abnormality. During the procedure, which our team claimed was unnecessary, the child suffered a brain stem infarct, with resulting paralysis and ventilator dependency. The action, brought against a national health plan, was litigated in the health plan’s arbitration system for two years. Our brain injury attorney team presented evidence on the cost of a future life care plan, including rehabilitative needs, occupational and speech therapy needs, attendant care, past and future medical expenses and future wage and benefit loss. After multiple sessions of mediation with a retired judge, a settlement having a present cash value in excess of $6 million was negotiated. Under the terms of this settlement, both cash and annuity payments were made, and a provision for future expenses to cover adaptive equipment needs, attendant care, future medical care, and housing modifications was agreed upon.

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Settlement

$6.5 Million

Vehicular Negligence

In Pedestrian v. Trucking Broker (Court and Case number confidential) Michael A. Kelly, Richard Schoenberger and Conor M. Kelly recovered $6,500,000 on behalf of a 26-year-old man who sustained serious head injuries when struck by a falling traffic signal pole. The injury occurred when the rear of a 48-foot tractor-trailer rig drove up onto the sidewalk during a right turn, shearing the pole off at its base. The plaintiff was standing on the corner waiting to cross the street. Suit was brought against multiple defendants including the labor broker and trucking company responsible for the trucks operation, and the public entity and construction firms responsible for construction intersection. Post-accident investigation revealed that the traffic light had been struck by right turning vehicles on prior occasions. The trucking operator defendants argued that traffic light was too close to the street and that the intersection constituted a dangerous condition of public property. Throughout discovery the truck driver refused to answer questions about the accident by invoking the Fifth Amendment. The issue of his immunity claim was the subject of multiple law and motion hearings. After the case had been called for trial during the motion in limine process, the Walkup team attorneys worked with the local District Attorney and Attorney General to secure immunity for the driver from criminal prosecution. The trial judge thereafter granted a motion conveying immunity, and compelled the driver to give deposition testimony. In that deposition (the third he had given), the driver admitted he was talking on a handheld cell phone at the time of the crash. The matter resolved shortly thereafter prior to jury selection. The faultless plaintiff sustained multiple facial fractures and a traumatic brain injury. The settlement included contributions from seven different parties including the public entity.

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Settlement

$6.35 Million

Kaiser- Negligently Performed Pediatric Neurosurgery / Quadriplegia

In a recent case involving a six-year-old girl rendered a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic, Walkup’s Kaiser attorneys negotiated a settlement of 6,350,000 after a Kaiser doctor misdiagnosed a spinal cord injury and performed high-risk neurosurgery on the young girl causing her permanent paralysis.

Kaiser attempted to claim that the surgeon was not acting as an employee of Kaiser when the treatment was rendered. The Walkup team won legal motions establishing that Kaiser was liable for the young girl’s injuries, and Kaiser subsequently sought to negotiate a settlement. The settlement was reached after two days of mediation and included both upfront cash and a long-term annuity to pay for the ongoing medical care for the young girl.

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Settlement

$6 Million

Vehicle Negligence

In Survivors v. Parking Valet Co. (Nor.Cal.Sup.Ct.) Douglas Saeltzer and Spencer Pahlke negotiated a $6 million policy limits settlement in a wrongful death claim arising from a traffic collision along the San Francisco Embarcadero. Plaintiffs husband and his wife, were in San Francisco to watch a Giants game. At a busy parking lot entrance along the Embarcadero, the husband attempted to turn left into the lot but got stuck mid-intersection in traffic. While stranded, defendant’s valet driver entered the intersection at a high rate of speed, striking the clients’ car broadside, inflicting fatal injuries to the wife. Survivors included the husband and two adult children. Doug and Spencer prosecuted the case on multiple theories including those of dangerous intersection, premises liability and negligent vehicle operation. An analysis of video retrieved from a passing Muni Railway vehicle was instrumental in demonstrating absence of comparative fault on the part of the surviving husband given the congested and confusing nature of the intersection and the excessive speed of the valet driver.

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Settlement

$6 Million

Seat Belt Defect

Our product liability spinal cord injury lawyer specialists negotiated a combination cash and annuity settlement with a present value of $2 million and ultimate payments in excess of $6.4 million on behalf of a 19-year-old high school student, passenger in the rear of a full-size General Motors vehicle that was involved in a 35 mph head-on collision, was restrained only by the lap belt provided by the manufacturer, flexed forward over the belt at impact, exerting knifelike pressure on his abdominal organs and causing an L2-3 fracture that required stabilization with Harrington rods. Our lawyers claimed that the vehicle was defective because it failed to incorporate a three-point restraint for the middle rear-seat passenger. Our spinal cord injury lawyers sought and recovered economic damages to compensate our client for his inability to engage in the competitive workforce, to provide for attendant care in his later years, and to make certain that his medical and equipment needs are met over the course of his lifetime.

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Settlement

$6 million

Delayed Cesarean Section/HIE Causing Birth Injury

Our lawyers resolved this case for a badly damaged child who developed distress during labor at a point when no doctor was available to consult or do an emergency surgical delivery. The obstetrician left the hospital to run a personal errand and was not available to perform an emergency C-section.

The obstetrician believed labor was progressing adequately when he departed. After he left, contractions were too strong and too frequent, putting stress on the baby. The labor and delivery nurse did not summon another physician. By the time the baby was finally delivered, he had suffered permanent hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

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Settlement

$6 Million

Workplace Injury

In Arborist v. Bay Area Crane Service (Sonoma Co. Sup. Ct.) Rich Schoenberger and Matt Davis obtained a $6 million settlement on behalf of a 33-year-old employee rendered a paraplegic during a tree removal project at a Sonoma County home. The defendant crane company was hired by the plaintiff’s employer to hoist and move sections of cut trees over a residence and place them into a “safety zone” where the plaintiff was to cut the sections into smaller pieces. During the work a large limb broke free from the crane’s rigging and fell on the plaintiff. His employer was in charge of the jobsite and he was cited by Cal-OSHA for safety violations. Suit was brought against the crane operator and his employer. During depositions evidence was developed showing numerous safety violations by the crane operator. The defendants moved for summary judgment on the ground that the crane operator was a “special employee” of the plaintiff’s employer and therefore the suit was barred by the exclusive remedy rule and the holding in Privette v. Superior Court and its progeny. In support of their motion the defendants pointed to the contract that defined the crane operator as a “special employee” of the arborist company. Rich and Matt developed evidence showing that the crane company and operator retained control over how the crane was operated during the job and prevailed at the summary judgment hearing citing case law holding that the facts of how a job was actually run are more important that what is written in the contract. The court denied the defense motion and the case settled for the crane company’s policy limits shortly thereafter.

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Settlement

$6 Million

Vehicular Negligence

In Tennis Coach v. Local Trucker (Sacramento Sup. Ct.) Douglas Saeltzer and Conor Kelly obtained a $6,000,000 settlement on behalf of a 25-year-old tennis instructor who suffered major lower extremity injuries against a driver who collided head-on with the plaintiff’s vehicle. The client was returning home after providing tennis lessons at a club on the Sacramento Delta. The defendant driver was returning to his company’s headquarters in Rio Vista in an F-250 pickup truck. The crash was unwitnessed. After the collision the defendant denied crossing into plaintiff’s lane of traffic, and told police that the plaintiff had caused the collision. Because of his injuries, the plaintiff had no recollection of the collision. Doug and Conor obtained cell phone records which showed defendant making two separate phone calls in the minutes preceding the collision. Analysis of the physical evidence also established the collision occurred on plaintiff’s side of the road. Past medical specials totaled $963,000. Following the accident plaintiff returned to college retaining his tennis scholarship. The case settled following factual depositions, with a policy limit demand supported by four expert reports demonstrating future damages in excess of $3,000,000.

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Settlement

$6+ Million

Cycling Injury

In Cyclist v. Colliding Defendants (No.Cal.Sup.Ct.) Matthew Davis and Spencer Pahlke obtained a settlement in excess of $6,000,000 on behalf of a badly injured bicyclist who was struck head-on after a collision between a food delivery vehicle and a taxi cab. The initial accident occurred at a busy SOMA intersection when the food delivery driver jumped the change in his red light to green. At the same time, a taxi driver approaching from the east, traveling 15 miles per hour over the speed limit to catch the last seconds of a stale yellow, violently broadsided the delivery car. Post-impact the taxi careened toward the plaintiff, who was stopped, sitting atop his bicycle waiting for his light to turn green. The force of the impact threw the plaintiff to the ground and launched his bike over a nearby fence. Our client suffered blunt force trauma to the head causing a traumatic brain injury. Previously liked and likeable, and interested in literature, art, and music, after his brain injury the plaintiff suffered personality changes and became disagreeable. Many friends testified at length about the considerable before-and-after changes observed. The recovery was in the full amount of the available policy limits of all defendants.

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Settlement

$5.8 Million

Medical Negligence

In Family v. Teaching Hospital and Surgeon (confidential settlement), Michael Kelly and Melinda Derish resolved a medical negligence wrongful death claim for $5.8 million on behalf of the widow and children of a young executive who died after routine back surgery. The patient was kept postoperatively for pain management with narcotic medications administered via an intravenous pump, and the plan was for him to go home the next day. When the surgeon rounded that evening his patient had an elevated pulse rate (tachycardia) so he summoned a hospital resident to transfer the patient to the ICU and obtain a cardiology consult. The surgeon left the hospital and the resident thereafter asked another resident to see the patient. Neither resident transferred the patient to the ICU. The patient went on to suffer a cardiorespiratory arrest. The two residents claimed that the surgeon had not made it clear that he wanted the patient transferred to the ICU. They also claimed that they telephoned a cardiologist who told them they did not need to transfer the patient. All defendants claimed the patient had not received enough narcotic to cause a respiratory arrest. Mike and Melinda proved that the hospital violated its own narcotic policies by failing to retain the records of how much narcotic had been administered. The general damage recovery for the widow and three children was limited to a total of $250,000 by the unfair and barbaric MICRA cap.

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Jury Verdict

$5.8 million

Defective Seat Belt Design

Our California wrongful death trial lawyers obtained a jury verdict in Los Angeles Superior Court of $5,769,000 on behalf of the surviving wife and two children of a 43-year-old man killed when his seat belt failed to properly restrain him in a low-speed accident. At impact, his seat belt fractured his ribs, punctured a lung and lacerated his spleen.

Using experts in the field of car engineering and design, forensic economists and medical experts, our wrongful death trial lawyers showed that the design of the car was faulty and caused the wrongful death. The verdict followed a three-week trial and at the time was one of the largest in California for an automobile seat belt defect. The recovery included compensation to the heirs for the loss of the love, care and society of the decedent, as well as a sum to compensate them for his lost future earnings.

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Settlement

$5.75 million

Motorcycle Collision Causing Paraplegia

Walkup Melodia proudly represented a 25-year-old crane mechanic who sustained a spinal cord injury when he was injured riding his motorcycle in San Leandro. The plaintiff was struck by a car making a turn across five lanes of traffic at a blind curve. The driver initially denied liability for the collision, arguing that the plaintiff, who was driving on a suspended license, was at fault because he was driving in excess of the 40 mph speed limit. Additionally, the defendant faulted the plaintiff for failing to timely apply his brakes. He sustained fractures to his T2, T3, and C1 vertebrae and was rendered a paraplegic.

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Settlement

$5.65 million

Postoperative Pain Medication Error

The Walkup medical malpractice team of attorneys successfully sued a doctor and a hospital for failing to recognize and correct signs and symptoms of a postoperative drug reaction. The decedent’s pulse became tachycardic and his blood pressure dropped in the hours after surgery. Nurses and doctors on duty failed to correct these problems and the decedent went on to suffer respiratory arrest, which caused fatal brain damage. The settlement represented the lost future earnings and benefits that the decedent’s surviving wife and children sustained.

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Settlement

$5.6 Million

Vehicular Negligence: Pedestrian v. Motorist

A confidential settlement was reached by Matthew Davis and Joseph Nicholson on behalf of a 69-year-old woman who suffered serious injuries when she was run over by a car as she walked her dog in Sausalito. The defendant driver was clearly at fault, but only carried $100,000 in insurance coverage.

The driver worked as a cook and was driving from one restaurant job to another restaurant where he had a second job. Normally, the “going-and-coming” rule holds that an employer is not legally liable if its employee injures someone while driving to or from work. However, Matt and Joe developed evidence showing that both of the restaurants derived some benefit from the defendant using his car to drive between his jobs, and that one of the restaurants helped underwrite the cost of his commute. Both restaurants contributed to a global settlement of $5.6 million.

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Jury Verdict

$5.5 Million

Highway Safety Verdict

Following three weeks of evidence and argument, we are pleased to report that Rich Schoenberger and Joe Nicholson obtained one of the largest verdicts in San Luis Obispo County history in the amount of $5,510,000 arising out of a poorly designed highway construction project. Rich and Joe were associated into the case just two months before trial in the face of a zero settlement offer. Their verdict is a victory for all motorists who are forced to navigate construction zones on California’s public highways.

The Cuesta Grade project was planned and executed under CalTrans’s authority and supervision. The general contractor Telfer subcontracted with defendant Anrak Corporation for the asphalt grinding portion of the work.  Read more

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Settlement

$5.5 million

Motor Home Manufacturer Product Defect Causing Wrongful Death

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Settlement

$5.5 million

Delay In Diagnosing Infection

Our specialists in medical liability obtained a cash and annuity settlement with a present cash value of $5.5 million on behalf of a 56-year-old physician who suffered paralysis after his HMO health care providers failed to timely recognize and treat an evolving spinal infection. The plaintiff called the defendants’ office with complaints of back pain and fever. A nurse suggested he not go to the ER, but come and see his physician instead. The client suffered irreversible paralysis from the chest down as a result of the delay.

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Settlement

$5.5 Million

Medical Negligence

In Delivering Mom v. Obstetric Hospital (California State Court, court and case number confidential), Michael A. Kelly and Melinda Derish represented a 38-year-old woman who sustained a major brain hemorrhage due to untreated preeclampsia (high blood pressure). The client was admitted to the hospital for induction of labor with Pitocin. During the last three hours of labor the nurses stopped measuring her blood pressure. Suddenly the patient developed signs of a stroke. A CT scan revealed an acute hypertensive brain hemorrhage. All nurses and doctors claimed the brain hemorrhage was not preventable. During depositions Melinda developed evidence that each defendant contributed to a systematic breakdown of communication between the obstetric team members. The obstetrician’s orders required the nurses to notify him for any systolic blood pressure greater than 140, but when the patient’s blood pressure spiked above 140, none of the  nurses notified the obstetrician. The Hospital’s policies required the nurses to measure the blood pressure every 15 minutes during the induction of labor, but the nurses ceased measuring the blood pressure because the patient had become uncomfortable wearing the blood pressure cuff. The case settled after the completion of fact discovery for $5,500,000.

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Jury Verdict

$5.4 Million

Vehicular Negligence

In Kim v. Zarour, et. al. (San Mateo Sup Ct. #CIV-527935) Michael Kelly, Richard Schoenberger and Conor Kelly obtained a $5.4 million jury verdict on behalf of the spouse and children of John Kim, a retired restaurant owner who died following a multi-vehicle collision on Interstate 101. The Kims’ car was rear-ended while in the slow lane by a tourist exiting SFO. Their car then travelled across three lanes of traffic where it was T-boned by a SuperShuttle van. Mr. Kim was fatally injured. Mrs. Kim was in the car with her husband and suffered serious injuries. At trial, the tourist conceded fault for the initial collision, but argued that she was not liable for the death because the violence of the second collision caused all of the injuries. The SuperShuttle driver argued that there was no time for him to avoid the collision. Our team established through lay and expert witnesses that both defendants were negligent causes of the accident. Using the “blackbox” data from the SuperShuttle, they showed that the SuperShuttle driver was driving in excess of the posted speed limit and that he failed to respond in a timely manner to slowing traffic conditions. After a three week trial, the jury returned a verdict of $5.4 million in favor of the plaintiffs. The verdict was more than three times the defendants’ final pre-trial settlement offer.

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Settlement

$5.25 million

Family v. Motor Home Retailer – Mismatched Car and Trailer Causing Wrongful Death

Our product liability lawyers negotiated a cash and annuity settlement having a present value of $5.25 million on behalf of the surviving widow and two minor children of a 42-year-old fire captain who was killed when his SUV rolled over on Highway 50 while pulling an “ultralight” travel trailer. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant motorhome retailer inappropriately sold the family a trailer that was too large to be safely pulled by their small SUV.

The defendants claimed that had the decedent read the owner’s manuals for his vehicle and the trailer, he would have observed warnings in both manuals regarding overloading and that by weighing the vehicles, he could have avoided the situation that produced his death. The settlement was reached after three medications.

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Settlement

$5.1 million

Patient v. Medical Device Manufacturer – Dangerous Surgical Device/Medical Malpractice

Our medical device lawyers obtained a settlement in the amount of $5,125,000 on behalf of a 54-year-old university teacher who underwent treatment with a surgical device, recently designed and introduced on the market, to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (also known as heartburn). The surgery was to be “minimally invasive,” but instead the medical device caused significant burning and scarring of our client’s esophagus.

She went on to suffer esophageal rupture, sepsis and major organ failure and lapsed into a coma. The maker of the device claimed that it could not be sued because the device had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Our attorneys prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in the trial court, and the case was then resolved by way of settlement just before trial.

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Settlement

$5.1 Million

Vehicular Negligence

In Survivors v. Transportation Provider ( Northern California Sup.Ct.)  Khaldoun Baghdadi and Doris Cheng negotiated a wrongful death settlement of $5,100,000 on behalf of the surviving family members of a 70 year-old woman who died after being stuck in a crossway by a tour bus.  The defendant tour company attempted to prove that the decedent was partially at fault in failing to try to avoid the collision. However, the reconstruction experts retained by Khaldoun and Doris were able to locate and utilize security video footage from adjacent businesses which captured the events leading up to and through the incident to prove that all false rested with the bus operator. The case settled following mediation, where our team of attorneys produced and showed a narrated video which illustrated the life of this family before their loss.  The settlement documentary successfully showed the horrific nature of this tragedy, while at the same time affording the dignity to the decedent which the family deserved.

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Settlement

$5 million

Ramirez v. Anonymous Health Plan – Medical Malpractice/Birth Injury Causing Cerebral Palsy

Our medical negligence lawyers obtained a settlement having a present cash value of more than $5 million on behalf of a 6-year-old girl who sustained brain damage and cerebral palsy as a result of injuries during birth. The defendant in the case was a national health maintenance organization. The obstetricians employed by the HMO failed to correctly analyze or appreciate signs of fetal distress as reflected in fetal monitoring tapes. Experts in obstetrics and perinatology testified that a timely cesarean section, occurring 45 minutes or more before the actual birth, would have prevented the child from sustaining anoxic brain damage and resulting cerebral palsy.

The defendant HMO claimed that the obstetrical care provided by its doctors was appropriate and within the standard of care. Attorneys for the HMO attempted to prove that the child’s cerebral palsy was not the result of oxygen deprivation during the labor process, but rather the result of an infection that the mother experienced one month before delivery. The settlement amount, when combined with available benefits provided by private insurance and government programs, assured that the child’s medical and special needs would be met regardless of her life expectancy.

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Settlement

$5 million

Child v. Doctor – Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress Causing Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Walkup attorneys negotiated a cash and annuity settlement with a present cash value in excess of $5 million on behalf of an infant born with severe developmental delay, spastic quadriparesis and permanent neurological injuries after doctors and nursing staff failed to monitor the mother and deliver the baby quickly when fetal heart monitors indicated severe distress. The child will remain fully dependent for all of her care needs for her entire life.

She is not expected to develop beyond the level of a 1–month-old infant. Liability was based upon the failure to aggressively monitor the mother and fetus post-administration of antibiotics and failure to deliver the baby when infection was first suspected.

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Settlement

$5 million

Propane Gas Explosion – Third-Degree Burns And Wrongful Death

Our San Francisco wrongful death team, working in association with our fire and burn injury lawyers, obtained a $5 million settlement arising from a propane gas explosion at a Lake Tahoe area ski condominium. The blast occurred as a family of five was enjoying a ski vacation. The explosion killed the husband and one of the children. The settlement included cash payments as well as annuities for the surviving children. Our burn injury attorneys alleged that there was negligence in the design and construction of the condominium and that the decision to route the propane gas supply in areas where large quantities of snow could be expected to slide off of the roof was below accepted construction practices.

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Settlement

$5 Million

Child Brain Damage

Our catastrophic injury specialists negotiated a cash and annuity settlement worth about $5 million on behalf of an infant born with quadriparetic paralysis after doctors and nursing staff failed to monitor the mother and deliver the baby quickly when fetal heart monitors indicated severe distress. About eight hours after being admitted to the hospital, the mother presented with a fever. The doctor on call administered antibiotics and said he would check back in an hour. Nearly three hours later, fetal heart rate monitors showed a dangerous drop in the fetus’s heart rate to 85 and 90 (normal is 140), and it remained there for about 10 minutes, prompting a frightened nurse to call for a doctor. The infant was born an hour later by emergent vacuum extraction with no heart rate. An MRI showed severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The child will be totally dependent on others for all of her care her entire life. She is not expected to develop beyond the level of a 1-month-old infant. Walkup Melodia lawyers used life care specialists in pediatric rehabilitation to map out a lifetime plan of medical and attendant care.

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Settlement

$5 million

Defective Computer-Controlled Lathe

Walkup Melodia’s wrongful death team represented the widow and six children of a computer-controlled lathe operator who was killed when a piece of metal that he was machining came free from its high-speed spindle and broke through the viewing port of the CNC lathe. The decedent was struck by the debris and suffered massive head injuries. He was hospitalized for months before finally passing away as a result of a respiratory infection. The Walkup wrongful death team retained experts in the fields of machine design, industrial safety and machine guarding. They proved that a safer alternative design was possible. The recovery included funds to replace the decedent’s lost income as well as a sum to compensate for the loss of care, comfort and society.

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Settlement

$5 million

Mismanagement Of Anesthesia

Our team of medical malpractice wrongful death attorneys negotiated a multimillion-dollar settlement on behalf of the husband and daughter of a 33-year-old woman who died as a result of the mismanagement of anesthesia. The deceased was suffering from gastric pain and sought medical care from a gastroenterology group. Despite the woman’s history of complications with sedation during ERCP procedures, the GI doctors did not consult an anesthesiologist about safe sedation procedures. During the surgery, the sedation nurse failed to monitor the woman’s airway. As a result, the woman suffered cardiac arrest. The surgery team failed to administer timely resuscitation and did not attempt to defibrillate the patient until the Code Blue team arrived. This failure to respond resulted in a loss of oxygen to the brain, irreversible brain damage, and death.

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Settlement

$5 Million

Vehicular Negligence

In Cyclist v. Caltrans Contractor (Bay Area Sup. Ct., confidential court and case number) Michael A. Kelly and Conor M. Kelly negotiated a cash and annuity package having a present value of $5,000,000 on behalf of a 30-year-old school janitor who was injured while riding his motorcycle home from work on northbound Skyline Boulevard. The roadway was under construction and the plaintiff’s direction of traffic had been tapered from two lanes into one.  As the plaintiff entered the construction zone, he collided with a commercial street sweeper. Mike and Conor alleged that the street-sweeper was performing an illegal turn at the time of the collision. Defendants argued that the plaintiff was speeding and driving recklessly. Mike and Conor retained experts in accident reconstruction, human factors and traffic engineering, and created an animation showing that the plaintiff was driving below the speed limit. The plaintiff suffered fractures to his left hip, ankle, foot and arm. He underwent four surgeries and was left with permanent activity limitations which prevented him from returning to work as a janitor. Prior to settlement the parties attended a full day unsuccessful mediation and multiple failed judicially supervised settlement conferences. Ultimately, the case settled following motions in limine.

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Settlement

$4.9 million

Obstetrical Malpractice

The Walkup malpractice trial team settled a birth injury action on behalf of a mother and infant in the amount of $4,875,000. Following prolonged labor, the child was neurologically depressed at birth and required resuscitation. Her medical providers had induced labor with Pitocin for more than 24 hours without any progress. Although nurses charted worrisome changes in the fetal heart monitor, they continued to increase the doses of Pitocin to unusually high levels. The attending obstetrician ordered the mother to begin pushing in the face of ongoing fetal heart rate decelerations. The baby girl was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and right-sided hemiplegia.

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Settlement

$4.85 Million

Auto Product Liability: Servicemen v. Foreign Automaker

In this confidential action, Michael A. Kelly, Andrew McDevitt and Valerie Rose represented two passengers of a sedan that crashed into a tree in central California, suffering enhanced injuries when the car’s rear seat passenger restrain system failed resulting in orthopedic and residual brain injuries. The case settled for $4.85 million during expert discovery following two unsuccessful mediations. The defendant driver had only minimal coverage, and our team sued the vehicle manufacturer and the seatbelt supplier. On the evening of the collision, it was raining and roadway warning signs suggested a speed of 45 mph for the curve where the driver lost control. Plaintiffs each asked the driver to slow down through the curve. The driver, a fellow armed services member, maintained a speed of 65-70 mph until his vehicle lost traction and slammed into a tree head-on. During the impact, the rear passenger side seatbelt broke.

One plaintiff pitched forward, causing the top of his head to strike the back of our front seat client’s skull. The head-to-head impact fractured the front passenger’s skull. The rear occupant sustained multiple leg fractures, a broken clavicle and a burst fracture in his spine. The vehicle manufacturer and seatbelt supplier argued that the driver’s irresponsible conduct was solely to blame for plaintiffs’ injuries. In light of the high-speed impact, defendants argued that plaintiffs would have suffered similar injuries regardless of how the restraint system performed. Defendants vigorously challenged both liability and damages, particularly challenging the claim of residual brain injury for the front seat passenger, and deposing more than 10 treating doctors to establish that no brain injury existed.

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Settlement

$4.75 Million

Product Liability- Heirs v. Equipment Rental Center

In Heirs v. Equipment Rental Center (No.Cal.Sup.Ct.) Doris Cheng and Andrew McDevitt represented the wife and five adult children of a retired 62-year-old man who died after being thrown from a rented mini-tractor. Following an unwitnessed roll-over, the machine was found overturned with its loader arms fully extended. The decedent was assisting one of his children in evacuating a home storm water drainage pit. The decedent visited a local equipment rental facility to obtain a mini-excavator for the project. The rental yard selected the piece of equipment for the job. The machine’s manufacturer originally designed the machine as a walk-behind device, adding a stand-on option years later. The stand-on platform allowed the operator to “ride” on the machine but triggered the risk of ejection. While using the excavator to dig out the drainage pit, the machine pitched forward and catapulted the decedent into the pit causing fatal head injuries. Plaintiffs alleged that the device, when equipped with a platform, was defective. Defendants denied fault and instead blamed the decedent, alleging mis-use and failure to follow instructions. Two weeks prior to trial, after extensive discovery and following three sessions of mediation and a judicially supervised settlement conference, a global settlement in the amount of $4.75 million was reached.

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Settlement

$4.5 million

Lack of Supervision at School

Our San Francisco child injury lawyers obtained a combination cash and annuity settlement on behalf of a Central Valley 13-year-old who suffered permanent paralysis as a result of unsupervised horseplay before practice for his sophomore football team. In the course of roughhousing, one team member jumped on our injured client, severing his spine. The school district claimed that fault for the incident rested with the child and his schoolmates. The settlement included a cash payment of $2.75 million, with the balance directed to multiple annuities providing for increased levels of support and assistance throughout the child’s life as his needs increase. Our attorneys demonstrated that the conduct of school officials in failing to properly supervise the children during a school-sponsored activity violated the California Education Code.

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Settlement

$4.5 million

Defective Elevator

Walkup Melodia’s premises liability lawyers obtained a $4.5 million settlement on behalf of an 80-year-old woman who attempted to board an elevator and tripped because the floor had “misleveled” and was higher than the floor of the adjacent lobby. She fell forward and struck her head on the back of the elevator and suffered partial paralysis as a result. With workers’ compensation benefits, our client’s total recovery was $5.3 million.

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Settlement

$4.5 million

Defective Industrial Metal Forming Machine

We successfully represented the interests of a 42-year-old metal worker who suffered a catastrophic brain injury after a 50-pound piece of metal was ejected from a metal-forming lathe manufactured by the defendant, a Japanese corporation. On behalf of our brain-damaged client, our attorneys demonstrated that the lathe had been manufactured and sold without analyzing all possible failure modes and without including protection for workpieces or chuck components to be contained within the chamber of the lathe.

Our attorneys were able to prove that the manufacturer knew of at least two similar lathe accidents, but had taken no remedial action. Under the terms of the settlement, approximately 75 percent was paid in cash, and 25 percent was dedicated to the purchase of multiple annuities to help pay for ongoing medical costs and to provide financial support for the wife and children of our injured client. As part of the settlement, a workers’ compensation lien in excess of $1 million was also compromised and waived.

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Settlement

$4.5 million

Motorcycle Collision Causing Loss of Leg

Our Walkup motorcycle accident lawyers recovered this settlement in the amount of $4.5 million on behalf of a 50-year-old attorney who suffered a left leg below-the-knee amputation when he was struck by a left-turning semi-truck. Our motorcycle liability team demonstrated through the testimony of both experts and nonparty witnesses that the headlight of the motorcycle was on at the time of the accident, the defendant’s view of the street on which the plaintiff was approaching was clear and unobstructed, and that the post-impact trajectory of the plaintiff’s motorcycle conclusively proved that he was not speeding.

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Settlement

$4.5 million

Child Brain Injury from Car Accident

Our team represented a 14-year-old boy riding as a rear-seat passenger in a car that was involved in a head-on collision in Bakersfield, California. As the car entered a rural intersection, the driver found the roadway flooded. No warning signs had been erected. Although it had been raining earlier, it was not raining at the time of the collision. The flooded roadway caused the car to hydroplane and rotate, crossing into oncoming traffic and colliding head-on with a car traveling in the opposite direction. Our young client sustained a major head injury, including coma. He also sustained fractures of his left leg and right arm. His medical bills exceeded $500,000. Because of his brain damage, experts forecasted that he would be unable to be self-sufficient in the workplace. His future wage loss was estimated at more than $800,000. Our attorneys achieved a settlement of $4.5 million against the defendants, including the local county water district, the county road department and the opposing driver.

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Settlement

$4.45 Million

Delayed Diagnosis Of Appendicitis, Brain Damage

Our pediatric medical malpractice specialists negotiated a settlement in this catastrophic injury case in the amount of $4.45 million on behalf of a 2-year-old boy who suffered a delayed diagnosis of a perforated appendix, which led to peritonitis, metabolic acidosis and ultimately cardiac arrest, which deprived his brain of oxygenated blood. Our young client’s original symptoms began a week before his anoxic episode, and during this period his father brought him for outpatient treatment to the defendant clinic on three separate occasions. He was finally hospitalized two days before the arrest occurred. After the arrest, he was resuscitated and was hospitalized for almost five months. He suffered extensive brain damage, which resulted in blindness, impaired cognition, and spastic quadriplegia. The amount of the recovery was capped by California’s MICRA law. The child requires around-the-clock care. Approximately $2.95 million of the settlement was paid in cash, and $1.5 million was used by the defendant to fund future structured payments to cover the cost of ongoing attendant care and nursing needs.

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Settlement

$4.3 Million

Disabled Driver Strikes Pedestrian

Our attorneys handled a pedestrian liability claim on behalf of a 30-year-old woman who sustained severe pelvic and lower extremity fractures as a result of being struck by an automobile. The vehicle was being driven by a disabled driver who had no function in his lower extremities. He had contracted with the defendants to install a hand-control device in his vehicle, to enable him to brake and accelerate. The defendants included the negligent operator, the manufacturer of the hand control device, the installer and the dealership that facilitated the original sale of the defendant’s car.

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Settlement

$4.2 million

Defective Folding Bicycle

Our consumer product liability group recovered$4,173,975 on behalf of a 53-year-old man who was rendered a quadriplegic. The plaintiff was riding his folding bicycle and as he approached a wide and busy intersection, he entered the intersection just as his light turned green.

Unbeknownst to the plaintiff, a taxicab was still clearing the intersection. Once he saw the taxi, the plaintiff slammed on his brakes, flew over the handlebars of his bicycle and the hood of the taxicab, and landed on his head, causing quadriplegia. The design of the bicycle placed the rider’s center of gravity very high and his body very close to the handlebars, making the bicycle unstable and the rider prone to flipping over.

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Arbitration Award

$4.1 million

Newborn v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan – Medical Malpractice Leading to Birth Injury

In a case involving cerebral palsy, our attorneys obtained a binding arbitration award following a two-week arbitration having a present cash value of $4.1 million on behalf of a 3-year-old boy afflicted with multiple neurological injuries as a result of negligent delivery.

Attorneys from Walkup Melodia were able to prove that the infant endured a period of oxygen deprivation during birth when his mother’s uterus ruptured. The uterine rupture was due to an attending midwife’s failure to properly manage the mother while in labor. Walkup attorneys also proved that obstetrical nurses left the mother unattended prior to the rupture of her uterus and for that reason failed to appreciate ominous signs of the baby’s distress as reported on a fetal heart monitor.

Prior to the first day of arbitration, Kaiser had made no settlement offer.

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Settlement

$4 million

Cardiologist’s Failure to Diagnose Cardiomyopathy Causing Brain Injury

Our medical malpractice brain injury team represented a 12-year-old boy in a claim against Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. After demonstrating signs of possible cardiac insufficiency, including fainting spells and seizures, the young man sustained a myocardial infarction (heart attack) that resulted in cessation of blood flow to the brain. As a result, global hypoxic anoxic encephalopathy left the child globally brain-damaged and wholly dependent upon others for support. Our brain injury attorneys, with the assistance of specialists in the fields of neurology, pediatric cardiology, neurosurgery, life care planning, economics and vocational rehabilitation, brought a claim against the health plan, which was ultimately settled for a combination of annuities and lump sum cash having a present cash value in excess of $4 million.

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Settlement

$4 million

Car Vs. Pedestrian Accident

Our team negotiated a cash and annuity settlement having a present cash value of $4,050,000 on behalf of a recent business school graduate who suffered a brain injury after being hit by a car while in a crosswalk.

The impact caused bleeding inside his skull and the increased pressure damaged his brain. The driver had a limited personal insurance policy ($50,000). She was employed by a large Silicon Valley company and she gave conflicting accounts as to what she was doing when the accident occurred. She told police that she was headed from one company campus to another. She later said she was going home. The company agreed to contribute $4 million toward the settlement after our team uncovered evidence showing that the driver was still on the clock when the accident occurred and that she sometimes used her car to run company errands.

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Settlement

$4 million

Brain Damage Due to Machine Failure

Our traumatic brain injury team negotiated a cash and annuity settlement with a present cash value of $4 million on behalf of a 47-year-old metal worker who suffered a catastrophic brain injury after a 50-pound piece of metal was ejected from a metal-forming lathe that was manufactured by the defendant corporation. Walkup attorneys demonstrated that the maker manufactured the lathe without analyzing and protecting against all possible failure modes. Our lawyers showed that the defendant was aware of at least two similar lathe accidents. Under the terms of the settlement, approximately $3 million was paid in cash and $1 million was dedicated to the purchase of multiple annuities to pay for ongoing medical costs. Our TBI attorneys also resolved a workers’ compensation lien in excess of $1 million, which was compromised and waived.

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Settlement

$4 million

Runaway Cable Car

An empty cable car crashed into a cable car carrying our client, a tourist from Vancouver, British Columbia. He was one of seven people hurt in the collision. He was trapped between the two cable cars for 90 minutes. Doctors had to amputate our client’s left leg below the knee. His right ankle was also damaged. Our cable car negligence lawyers successfully represented the plaintiff in his MUNI railway negligence case, achieving a settlement that exceeded $4 million.

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Settlement

$4 million

Failure To Treat Infection

We negotiated a $4 million settlement on behalf of a young man who was left in a permanent vegetative state after hospital physicians and nurses failed to treat worsening sepsis and pneumonia and overdosed him with intravenous tranquilizers, causing ischemic brain damage. The plaintiff, a 27-year-old restaurant worker, presented to the emergency room with vomiting, shortness of breath and pleuritic chest pain. Blood tests and a chest CT scan proved consistent with sepsis and pneumonia.

The ER physician started intravenous antibiotics and transferred the patient to the intensive care unit, but no ICU physician assumed responsibility for his care. Finally, after 20 hours without evaluation by a physician, the patient became obtunded and his breathing slowed.

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Jury Verdict

$4 Million

$4 Million Verdict Returned Against L.A. Transit District

As we went to press, Doug Saeltzer and Doris Cheng obtained a multimillion dollar jury verdict against the Los Angeles County Municipal Transit Authority (LACMTA), on behalf of the mother of 21-year-old bicyclist who was hit and killed after changing lanes in front of a moving bus. All experts agreed that the turn was too abrupt to give the MTA bus driver enough time to react and avoid the collision, but Doug and Doris proved that the driver should have seen and avoided the cyclist long before he changed lanes, showing he was alongside the left hand side of the bus for 15-16 seconds before impact. By the bus driver’s own training and experience, she was taught to have used her mirrors to see cyclists and let them pass in such a circumstance.

Just prior to the collision, the bus had been stopped at a designated stop, blocking the right lane of travel. The on-board video from the bus showed that the bus operator, once a passenger boarded, departed the bus stop without checking her mirrors or her surroundings. The bus driver was obligated to identify the bicyclist, and permit him to pass her and return to the right lane, before leaving her stop. She testified she never saw the bicyclist prior to impact. The cyclist was riding a fixed gear bicycle (also known as a “fixie”), which did not have an independent mechanical brake. Nor was he wearing a helmet, although a helmet would not have saved his life in this instance. Read Full Case Summary

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Settlement

$3.9 million

On-Campus Sexual Assault

Walkup public entity liability lawyers obtained a seven-figure settlement on behalf of a teenager who sustained serious physical and emotional injuries when assaulted at school, showing that the courtyard where the rape occurred was dangerous, unlit and unprotected. Principals, teachers, and parents had asked for security measures, including lights, fences and working surveillance cameras. The district promised to install these items, but never did.

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Jury Verdict

$3.76 million

Polaris Design Defect

Our product liability trial lawyers obtained a jury verdict in Napa County Superior Court in the amount of $3.76 million on behalf of a 42-year-old woman who received serious and life-altering abdominal injuries when she fell from the rear of a Polaris model SLH-700 personal watercraft.

The injury, which occurred on Lake Berryessa, was the result of a high-pressure jet stream from the rear of the watercraft flowing into our client’s lower intestinal tract. She sustained damage to her bladder and sacral plexus, cosmetic scarring over her abdomen, and serious orifice injuries. Prior to trial, the maker of the personal watercraft had offered only $100,000 in settlement. The verdict is one of the largest in the history of Napa County.

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Settlement

$3.65 million

Brain Damage During Birth

Our obstetrical negligence lawyers obtained a cash and annuity settlement having a present cash value of $3.65 million on behalf of a Central Coast infant who suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy at birth. The hypoxia caused cerebral palsy and permanent brain damage. During labor, the baby became stuck in the birth canal because of an anatomic obstruction in the mother’s pelvis. As the mother’s contractions became more frequent and stronger in intensity because her uterus was being hyperstimulated with oxytocin, the child’s reserve was exhausted. Attempts to deliver the child via vacuum-assisted delivery failed and a prompt cesarean section was not ordered.

Walkup attorneys filed suit against both the nurses and physicians who failed to properly respond to the baby’s nonreassuring fetal heart monitoring changes. The settlement proceeds were paid into a special needs trust to maintain the infant’s legal right to continue to receive local, state and federal government assistance.

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Settlement

$3.5 Million

Premises Liability

In Tenant v. Owner and Property Manager, et al. (S.F. Sup.Ct.) Richard H. Schoenberger, Matthew D. Davis, and Jeffrey A. Clause recovered $3,500,000 on behalf of the surviving husband and parents of a 27-year-old San Francisco resident who experienced a “night terror” and fell from the fourth floor window of her San Francisco apartment in the middle of the night. Plaintiffs included both the surviving husband and the decedent’s parents.

The Walkup team argued that the window sills were too low to the ground and created an obvious fall hazard which the property management company should have recognized and remedied. At the time the apartment building was constructed, building codes allowed window sills to be 18 inches from the floor. Because such low window sills led to a significant amount of falls, the California Building Code was amended in 2013 to require that no window sill be lower than 36 inches from the ground, unless certain safety devices that prevent the window from opening more than four inches were installed. Though the building code changes did not apply to this particular property. Rich, Matt and Jeff argued that industry standards mandated that the property owner and management company modify the windows for safety reasons. Had the defendants met these industry standards, the decedent would be alive today.

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Settlement

$3.3 Million

Burn Injury – Summer Home Fire

Walkup lawyers recovered this amount on behalf of a 19-year-old who sustained second- and third-degree burns over 85 percent of his body and endured dozens of surgeries following a fire and explosion in a vacation home in the Sierra foothills. The property owners (who were also the sole shareholders of a contracting corporation that had built homes on properties purchased by them) had only $300,000 in liability coverage and had declared personal bankruptcy. We brought suit against the contracting corporation under the theory that the bankrupt shareholders and their closed corporation were a joint venture, which, if proved, would render the company vicariously liable for the acts of the individual defendants.

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Settlement

$3.25 million

Cardiac Malpractice Causing Wrongful Death

Our Kaiser cardiac medicine team obtained a pre-arbitration settlement in a 7-figure amount on behalf of the surviving spouse and adult son of a 49-year-old San Mateo County husband and father who suffered a fatal heart attack after his Kaiser physicians delayed in carrying out appropriate diagnostic studies and definitive treatment for symptoms suggesting an impending heart attack.

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Settlement

$3.25 million

Parents v. Sonoma County Group – Obstetrical Negligence Causing Birth Injury

Nurse error: We obtained a $3.25 million settlement for a child who suffered cerebral palsy, cortical blindness and other complications at birth. The attending nurses ignored signs of fetal distress, despite the high-risk nature of the pregnancy.

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Recovery

$3.25 million

Streetcar Hits Pedestrian On Embarcadero

Our public transportation team of lawyers obtained this $3.25 million recovery against the San Francisco Municipal Railway arising from a pedestrian vs. streetcar collision. The initial investigation by the San Francisco Police Department placed all blame on the injured plaintiff for allegedly stepping in front of a moving MUNI F-Line train.

Walkup lawyers developed evidence showing that the streetcar’s operator entered the accident crosswalk against a burned-out red streetcar signal at an excessive speed. The city highly disputed all claims of negligence and dangerous conditions. The plaintiff sustained significant brain injury requiring extensive physical and cognitive rehabilitation.

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Settlement

$3.2 million

Bell Helicopter Crash Causing Wrongful Death

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Annuity Settlement

$3.2 million

Kaiser – Undiagnosed Cardiac Tamponade / Brain Damage

A combination cash and annuity settlement having a present cash value of $3,200,000 was recovered on behalf of a 49-year-old man who developed a cardiac tamponade four days after undergoing open heart surgery. The problem was neither timely diagnosed nor treated, and cardiopulmonary arrest ensued. By the time he was resuscitated, the patient had sustained severe anoxic brain damage. As a result of injury to the brain, he suffers from spastic quadriparesis, cortical blindness, dysarthria, cognitive impairment, loss of bowel and bladder control, and dysphagia. Because of impaired swallowing, and the risk of aspiration pneumonia, he must be fed through a gastrostomy tube. After one year in a residential care facility, the member was discharged home to the care of his family (spouse and siblings) who, despite limited financial resources, sacrificed to provide quality home care and round-the-clock nursing. Under the terms of the agreed-upon settlement, an annuity was funded to provide $15,000 per month for life, increasing by 4.5% per annum, to offset the cost of attendant and nursing care. In addition, $1,563,000 was paid in cash.

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Jury Verdict

$3.15 Million

In-Office Anesthesia Overdose

Walkup’s team of medical malpractice wrongful death attorneys brought suit in Superior Court on behalf of the surviving wife and children of a San Francisco man who suffered cardiac arrest after an in-office plastic surgical procedure. The attending plastic surgeon was shown to have been negligent in leaving the man in the care of an inept nurse after surgery. The nurse failed to summon help when the man’s postoperative course deteriorated. The jury’s verdict was upheld on appeal.

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Settlement

$3.1 million

Patient v. Hospital – Medical Malpractice Causing Personal Injury

The Walkup medical liability trial team obtained a jury verdict in the amount of $3,156,000 after a six-week trial on behalf of a 17-year-old boy who suffered ARDS, osteomyelitis, hip fusion, and chronic pain because of a failure to diagnose a soft tissue staph infection. The minor’s orthopedic surgeon failed on two separate occasions to conduct necessary diagnostic tests to identify a staph infection that had seeded in his thigh following a minor injury at football practice. Over time, the infection worsened, the child became septic, went into septic shock, developed ARDS and multisystem organ failure, and required 11 surgeries to debride the infected musculature of the left leg. Ultimately, the infection progressed to the bone, producing osteomyelitis and necrosis of the hip joint, requiring two fusion surgeries. Future medical care costs sought at trial exceeded $500,000.

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Settlement

$3 million

Dangerous Property Condition

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Settlement

$3 million

Defective Airplane Component

Our team obtained a $3 million settlement on behalf of the widow and two surviving children of a 45-year-old missionary who died in a plane crash in Mexico. While the man was traveling on a missionary relief effort, the camshaft gear broke in the plane that he was piloting. The Walkup wrongful death litigators successfully brought a wrongful death claim against the manufacturers of the engine, demonstrating that it contained both design and manufacturing flaws.

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Settlement

$3 million

Railway Negligence

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Jury Verdict

$3 million

Failure to Diagnose Skull Fracture Causing Wrongful Death

Our medical malpractice wrongful death trial lawyers prevailed in a case brought on behalf of the parents of a 29-year-old man who died of an undiagnosed head injury. The young man presented to the defendant emergency room physician with a head laceration after being struck with a surfboard. Ignoring the possibility of a head injury, the defendant doctor neglected to order a CT scan or palpate the wound and merely sutured the laceration and discharged the patient with a prescription for Vicodin.  At trial, Walkup wrongful death lawyers demonstrated that palpating the wound would have resulted in discovery of the skull fracture and the institution of timely life-saving care. The jury agreed, awarding the plaintiffs a total of $3 million in damages for the loss of their son.

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Settlement

$3 million

Baby Anthony v. Pediatrician – Hospital Negligence Causing Birth Injury

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Jury Verdict

$3 million

Ethier v. Poindexter – Medical Negligence Causing Personal Injury

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Settlement

$3 million

Senior Citizen Injured by Negligent Transit Bus Driver

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Settlement

$3 million

Vehicle Collision Caused by Highway Defects

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Settlement

$3 million

Woman Struck By Salinas Transit Bus

Our pedestrian safety lawyers represented a 66-year-old Monterey resident struck while crossing a downtown Salinas street in a marked crosswalk. The bus driver originally claimed that the injured plaintiff “darted out” in front of him. Walkup’s legal team proved (using exterior camera footage) that the pedestrian was almost two-thirds of the way across the street when she was struck. Our client sustained a serious closed head injury that produced personality changes and required her to employ a caretaker.

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Settlement

$3 million

Fatal Bus Accident – Salinas-Monterrey County Transit

Our client received a $3 million settlement for injuries suffered in a bus accident at a Salinas intersection. As our client, a 59-year-old woman, attempted to cross a street in the crosswalk, a Salinas-Monterrey County Transit bus driver accelerated through a left-hand turn, not seeing our client. The front of his bus struck our client head-on, knocking her to the ground and causing catastrophic and permanent brain injuries.

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Settlement

$3 Million

Premises Liability: Patron v. Propane Fire Pit Maker

In a Yolo County Superior Court action, Walkup attorneys Matthew Davis and Spencer Pahlke recovered a global resolution of $3,000,000 on behalf of a young woman who suffered burn injuries while visiting a winery where she is a member. During a wine tasting event, plaintiff sat down at a barrel shaped wine table. A winery employee subsequently opened a door on the side of the barrel, turned on the gas, and lit a decorative flame. As wind gust pushed the flames down through the barrel and out the still open side door, plaintiff’s dress caught on fire. Flames quickly spread, causing second-degree burns on her legs and hands.

Matthew and Spencer sued the winery, which had the obligation to provide its patrons a safe premises. This resulted in an initial $1,000,000 policy limit settlement with the winery. A second suit was prosecuted against the manufacturer of the fire table. Through expert discovery, our attorneys identified several provable defects. Document and investigative discovery showed these defects resulted from poor manufacturing and design practices, compelling the manufacturer to pay its $2,000,000 policy limits, for a global resolution in the amount of $3,000,000.

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Settlement

$3 Million

Medical Negligence

In Patient vs National HMO (confidential venue) Doris Cheng resolved a medical negligence action on behalf of a 56-year-old man who suffered permanent damage to his heart during a minimally invasive cardiac procedure. Plaintiff was placed on cardiopulmonary bypass during heart surgery for eight hours. Doris alleged that patients should not be on the bypass machine for more than 90 minutes. The prolonged time on bypass during the surgery caused heart damage, resulting in multi-organ injury. The plaintiff now requires a heart transplant and has a shortened life expectancy. Capped by the provisions of California’s antiquated and unfair MICRA law, a recovery of $3,000,000 was achieved on behalf of Doris’ client.

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Verdict

$3 Million

Premises Liability

In Belo v. Bally Hallinan Properties LLC (S.F.Sup.Ct. CGC-16-552777) Conor M. Kelly teamed with outside counsel to obtain a $3,000,000 jury verdict for the wrongful death of a 55-year-old woman. The decedent, Lorraine Belo, died from complications of smoke inhalation after a fire started in her San Francisco apartment in June of 2014. The decedent’s 29-year-old daughter who lived in Arizona, sued the decedent’s landlord alleging that the unit in which her mother lived contained a faulty electrical outlet which started the fire. The defendant denied liability and refused to engage in any reasonable settlement discussions. Conor was associated on the case for trial the week before jury selection. At trial, the defendant disputed that the fire had started in an electrical outlet and suggested that the decedent had herself started the fire. The defendant also argued that the surviving daughter had not suffered any damages because she and her mother were in a dispute at the time of the fire and had not seen each other for more than a year. After a three week trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff and awarded $3,000,000 in non-economic damages.

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Settlement

$2.975 Million

Government Liability

In Disabled Student v. South Bay School District (Santa Clara Sup Ct.), Michael Kelly and Spencer Pahlke resolved a negligent supervision claim on behalf of a wheelchair-bound high school senior. Notwithstanding his disability, the plaintiff sought to be involved as fully as possible in high school activities. While participating in cross-country practice in his wheelchair, the plaintiff became separated from the team as they ran through city streets. Passing through an intersection roughly one mile from campus, he was struck by a motorist who did not see him. In discovery, Mike and Spencer established the cross-country coach had misled his supervisors about the extent of the plaintiff’s participation, and more importantly, they showed that neither the district nor the high school had done anything to evaluate how to safely accommodate the plaintiff’s disability while incorporating his participation in school activities. The school district moved for summary judgment based upon primary assumption of risk and a waiver signed by the student’s parents. In opposition, Mike and Spencer retained experts in the fields of school supervision and disability rights, and successfully demonstrated that a triable issue of fact existed regarding whether or not the school was grossly negligent in its management of the plaintiff’s disabilities. Following denial of the summary judgment motion, the case settled at mediation for $2,975,000.

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Settlement

$2.9 million

SUV Rollover Caused by Defective Design

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Verdict

$2.875 Million

Vehicular Negligence

In Disabled Citizen v. City and County of San Francisco (S.F. Sup. Ct.), Matthew D. Davis and Douglas S. Saeltzer obtained a $2,875,000 settlement on behalf of the surviving parents of a 37-year-old unmarried woman who was killed while crossing Market Street within a marked crosswalk. Due to a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta the decedent used a motorized wheelchair. Despite her medical condition, she was successful in her career and lived independently. At the time of her death she was commuting from her home in the East Bay to her job in San Francisco. A left turning vehicle being driven by an employee of the City and County of San Francisco struck her as she legally crossed at 7th and Market Streets. With only limited exception, left turns from 7th Street onto Market Street are prohibited. Doug and Matt alleged that the defendant did not fall into any of the exceptions to this rule. Defendant claimed that based on plaintiff’s statements at the scene she entered with only three seconds remaining on the pedestrian flashing red hand countdown, and the City’s driver actually entered the intersection prior to the decedent. The victim and her family fled Vietnam when she was an infant. The family was extremely close and the deceased spoke to her parents every day.

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Settlement

$2.85 Million

Pedestrian Struck By Bus

In Surviving Parents v. MUNI (San Francisco Sup. Ct.), our MUNI Bus team negotiated a wrongful death settlement of $2,850,000 on behalf of parents whose 23-year-old daughter was struck and killed by a MUNI bus as she walked through an intersection in the Castro district of San Francisco in a marked crosswalk. The MUNI operator failed to appropriately scan the roadway for hazards and never saw the decedent, who was more than half was across the intersection when he ran her over. MUNI sought to limit the introduction of evidence of its institutional negligence by moving for summary adjudication on plaintiffs’ theories of negligent training and supervision. Our attorneys defeated MUNI’s motion, prompting a second mediation and the settlement.

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Settlement

$2.8 million

Negligent Spinal Surgery Causing Brain Injury

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Settlement

$2.75 million

Improper Supervision at School

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Settlement

$2.75 million

Car Accident Caused by Defective Highway Design

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Settlement

$2.5 Million

Defective Hot Tub – Fatal Burns

Our San Francisco, California, product liability burn injury attorneys mediated resolution of a tragic wrongful death case on behalf of the surviving parents of a 4-year-old girl who was burned over 80 percent of her body when she jumped into the family hot tub. The parents had purchased the hot tub from a local retailer for use by the family. The child was scalded before her mother’s eyes. She survived for 61 days following the incident. Our burn experts were able to prove that the thermostat failed to function properly and that the wiring for the automatic safety shutdown did not conform to manufacturing specifications.

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Settlement

$2.5 million

Dangerous Drug

Our pharmaceutical injury lawyers successfully recovered $2.5 million on behalf of a 63-year-old Sacramento woman who was prescribed a diabetes drug that resulted in liver failure. The drug had been approved by the FDA, but was later recalled.

The manufacturer initially claimed that the drug was safe. However, our attorneys were able to demonstrate that the manufacturer knew about problems with impaired liver function, but never adequately warned doctors or the public about this side effect and limited any mention of possible liver damage to the “fine print” of its package insert. Because of the manufacturer’s failure to tell prescribing doctors about the problem, our client’s physicians were unaware that her liver failure was due to the drug.

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Settlement

$2.5 million

Woman Injured in Boat Accident

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Settlement

$2.5 million

Airport Shuttle Accident

Our airport shuttle negligence team negotiated a settlement in a personal injury/wrongful death case involving an airport shuttle bus accident. Our client and his wife were riding in a shuttle bus from SFO to San Francisco when the shuttle collided with a fixed object, injuring our client and killing his wife. He suffered 12 displaced rib fractures, lacerations, a degloved finger and nerve damage. As a result of his wife’s death, he also experienced overwhelming grief. Past and future economic damages were estimated to exceed $1 million.

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Settlement

$2.5 Million

Worksite Injuries

In Electrician v. Utility Company (Ala. Co. Sup. Ct.) Michael A. Kelly, Matthew D. Davis and Jeffrey A. Clause recovered $2,500,000 on behalf of a 36-year-old man who suffered a traumatic brain injury at a worksite. The plaintiff was an employee of a contractor hired by the defendant property owner, fell from a work space greater than seven feet above the ground. No one witnessed the accident, and plaintiff had no recollection of his fall. He was hospitalized for several months and will never return to work. Matt and Jeff argued that the design of the facility did not accommodate the use of any fall protection equipment, work positioning equipment, or travel restricting equipment, and that the defendant prohibited the plaintiff from using any fall protection equipment. Had he been allowed to use such equipment, he would not have sustained any serious injuries. In addition to the monies recovered in this third party case, Matt and Jeff collaborated with plaintiff’s workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that funds from both cases were deposited into a special needs trust to provide for the plaintiff for the remainder of his life.

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Arbitration Verdict

$2.4 million

Kaiser – Death Resulting from Advice Nurse Error

The Walkup arbitration team obtained a $2,400,000 arbitration award after a one-week long trial in Alameda California on behalf of the husband and two surviving children of a 42-year-old mental health professional who died from overwhelming infection. Before her death, the decedent had made three calls to the Northern California advice nurse center, but she was misdiagnosed over the phone, and when she finally spoke to a doctor, he incorrectly diagnosed her with the flu without ever seen her. Our lawyers demonstrated that the Kaiser advice nurse system included a host of flaws that prevented doctors from learning the information which advice nurses obtain over the phone. Kaiser representatives admitted in sworn testimony that doctors were not given information about the history provided by patients. There was no settlement offer before the arbitration because Kaiser claimed that its advice nurse system was without any flaws or problems. susceptible to infection

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Settlement

$2.4 million

Wrongful Birth

Two Walkup partners obtained this settlement with a present value of $2.4 million in a wrongful birth claim on behalf of twin infants born with Down syndrome. The children’s parents alleged that the defendant medical center failed to offer or perform specialized invasive prenatal testing, which would have diagnosed the condition. The twins were conceived by way of in vitro fertilization and underwent preimplantation genetic diagnostic testing. The defense contended that prenatal testing (amniocentesis) was offered, but refused by the parents.

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Settlement

$2.25 million

Parents v. Muncipality – Drowning Causing Wrongful Death

The Walkup public liability team represented the parents of a 14-year-old eighth-grader who drowned in a public pool when three lifeguards on duty failed to see him submerged in 6 feet of water. The pool, operated by the local park district, provided professional lifeguards. The incident occurred during a junior high school year-end picnic.

At the time, dozens of eighth-graders were in the pool. In spite of industry standards obligating lifeguards to scan their assigned zone every 30 seconds, none of the three lifeguards saw the young man sink below the surface – even though he was directly in front of them. At deposition, none of the lifeguards was able to explain how the drowning occurred. One of the students, and not a lifeguard, was the first person to notice the young man beneath the surface of the water. The decedent was the oldest of five children.

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Settlement

$2.25 million

Failure To Recognize Neonatal Hypoglycemia

Walkup attorneys obtained a mediated settlement of $2.25 million on behalf of a male infant who now suffers from blindness, developmental delay and cognitive deficits, and who also had his pancreas removed after nursing staff failed to follow proper protocols when the infant showed signs of hypoglycemia.

An MRI revealed evidence of posterior cerebral artery infarction, consistent with the diagnosis of severe hypoglycemia. Ultimately, nearly all of the infant’s pancreas had to be removed. As a result of his cerebral injury, he was left blind, with developmental delay and cognitive deficiencies.

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Settlement

$2.25 Million

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Michael A. Kelly and Conor M. Kelly recovered $2,250,000 in a Federal Tort Claim Act lawsuit venued in the Middle District of Tennessee on behalf of three minor children whose mother died from carbon monoxide poisoning while she slept in a rented RV during a weekend long music festival in Clarksville, Tennessee. The RV was powered by a gas powered generator. When the generator was initially set up, it was placed several feet away from the RV to ensure fumes did not enter the vehicle. However, on the last night of the festival an unknown person moved the generator within inches of the RV. The generator produced carbon monoxide exhaust through the night which leaked into the RV. The RV was equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, but the alarm did not sound because the rental agency had not checked to make sure it had operable batteries. The RV had been rented from a nearby US Army equipment retailor. Mike and Conor brought suit alleging that the Army had negligently rented the RV without a functioning carbon monoxide detector. The Army’s policy required that all life safety devices were be inspected before renting to the public. The plaintiffs’ experts testified that the Army breached industry safety standards by renting the RV without a functioning alarm. The government disputed that it was negligent and argued that a functioning alarm would not have woken the occupants of the RV even if it had sounded. The settlement was reached after the completion of expert depositions and following an all-day settlement conference. The settlement included both cash and the purchase of annuities to provide for the minor plaintiffs’ educational needs.

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Settlement

$2.25 Million

Medical Malpractice

Michael Kelly and Emily Polcari recovered a pre-arbitration settlement in the amount of $2,250,000. Mike and Emily represented the surviving widow and two small children of a 47-year-old sales director at a private Silicon Valley technology company who died two months after seeking medical attention for symptoms of coronary artery disease. He had presented to his primary care doctor with complaints of chest pain. Given his height, weight, gender and laboratory results, the standard of care required a work up for coronary artery disease, which would have led to an urgent bypass surgery and saved his life. Instead, his physician attributed his symptoms to “anxiety” and did no further work up. General damages for the loss of a husband and father’s love, care, comfort and society were capped by the unfair and barbaric $250,000 general damage limits of MICRA. The balance of the recovery represented the present cash value of future lost wages and household services. Future structured payments to fund the college education of the minor children were approved as part of the minors’ compromise.

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Settlement

$2.25 Million

Premises Liability

In Commercial Guest v. Auctioneer (Northern California Superior Court), Khaldoun Baghdadi and Valerie Rose recovered $2,250,000 on behalf of a 30-year-old auto auction attendee. Our client was injured when he was struck by a truck operated by one of the auctioneer’s employees, sustaining major crush injuries to his legs and pelvis which required five different surgeries. As a condition of attending the auction, the defendant included a preprinted waiver and assumption of risk agreement on the back of a  “Guest Pass” required for entry to the property. A motion for summary judgment based upon the terms of the waiver was filed by the defendant. Khaldoun and Valerie opposed the motion on the basis that the terms of the waiver did not absolve the defendant of its own negligence, that the document was misrepresented as a “Guest Pass,” and that the waiver was not properly explained to the plaintiff, a Spanish-speaker who did  not understand or read English. The matter was mediated while the summary judgment motion was pending.

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Settlement

$2.1 Million

Premises Liability – Office Building Trip-And-Fall

Our commercial property premises liability team concluded a premises liability case in the amount of $2.1 million on behalf of a 46-year-old professional who suffered traumatic brain injuries after falling 15 feet into an open elevator shaft. The fall occurred in a commercial building where the plaintiff rented an office on the second floor. At deposition, it was revealed that the building owner’s uncertified “handyman” performed negligent repairs to the elevator in violation of the California Labor Code. Rich and Conor proved that the elevator maintenance company should have recognized problems with the freight elevator and taken remedial action months before the plaintiff’s fall.

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Settlement

$2.09 Million

Cable Car Derailment

Our client was a tourist from Texas who was injured on the Powell Street cable car line. At the intersection of Mason and Washington, the cable car lost momentum in the turn and became stuck. Instead of calling for assistance from a MUNI tow truck, the cable car operators decided to push it by hand. Once the cable car was free and moving, they reboarded, only to discover that the front door was jammed closed, blocking access to the car’s main brakes. The runaway cable car picked up speed heading down Washington Street before derailing in the turn onto Powell. The derailment ejected our client onto the street, resulting in a badly fractured right leg. Our client required two surgeries and developed a non-union at the fracture site. As part of the settlement, MUNI agreed to pay our client’s outstanding medical bill of $345,000.

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Settlement

$2 million

Senior Citizen Pedestrian Injured by San Francisco Streetcar

Our pedestrian injury team negotiated a settlement in the amount of $2 million on behalf of a 90-year-old woman who was struck by a Municipal Railway N-Judah streetcar at the intersection of 9th and Irving Street in San Francisco. The plaintiff, a Holocaust survivor, was unable to clear the path of the streetcar, which turned left against a red light. The settlement was achieved at private mediation, following the compilation of a documentary video that detailed the extent of our client’s injuries, as well as the devastating impact on her life and family.

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Settlement

$2 million

Pedestrian Injured by San Francisco Light Rail

Walkup attorneys negotiated a combination cash and annuity settlement having a present value of $2 million on behalf of a 16-year-old girl who was struck by a San Francisco Municipal Railway train. In the collision, the teen sustained amputation of her left lower leg below the knee. At the time she was struck, she was crossing the street with a green light. The settlement was paid on behalf of the municipality. Although the defense attempted to prove that the child should have heard the approaching vehicle, our attorneys demonstrated that the plaintiff had done nothing wrong and that the injury was entirely the fault of the Municipal Railway driver.

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Settlement

$2 million

Construction Worker Site Fall Causing Wrongful Death

Our construction litigation team obtained a cash and annuity settlement with a value in excess of $2 million on behalf of the survivors of a sheet metal worker who fell four stories to his death through a defective scaffold railing at a construction site near San Francisco. The decedent was working as an independent contractor on a reroofing project at a large private residence. Our attorneys demonstrated that the building, which had been entirely scaffolded by a subcontractor, was in an unsafe condition. Using experts in construction site management, scaffold erection and forensic economics, our wrongful death attorneys proved that the scaffold and its cross arms had not been properly secured and that this error resulted in the decedent’s death. The recovery included economic damages exceeding $1 million, representing the loss of future salary, benefits and household services of the decedent.

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Settlement

$2 million

Alaska Airlines Commercial Air Crash Causing Wrongful Death

Our airline wrongful death litigation team obtained a settlement in excess of $2 million on behalf of the grandparents of a 7-year-old child who died on Alaska Airlines Flight 261 when the plane crashed en route from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to San Francisco. Our wrongful death lawyers, working in conjunction with attorneys for other plaintiffs in the case, proved that Alaska Airlines did not perform required maintenance and overlooked signs of potential problems, thereby assuming responsibility for the deaths.

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Settlement

$2 million

Defective Pool Heater

We obtained a $2 million settlement on behalf of the surviving mother of a university student who was killed when the family’s pool heater generated excessive amounts of carbon monoxide, which entered the student’s bedroom via forced-air heating ducts. Although advertised as including “fail-safe” components that would prevent the generation of excessive amounts of carbon monoxide, the heater malfunctioned when installed, in a way contrary to the instructions.

The installer, who was uncertified, failed to vent the unit to the outside air. When the heater malfunctioned internally, burning a too-rich mixture of fuel and air, the improperly vented system recirculated CO-filled air that had already become contaminated, further elevating the CO levels to ultimately fatal limits.

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Arbitration Award

$2 million

Kaiser – Negligent Care

In one of the largest arbitration awards ever returned against Kaiser, our firm obtained a binding award in excess of $2,000,000 on behalf of a 52-year-old woman who suffered a respiratory arrest and precipitous drop in her blood pressure two days after undergoing abdominal surgery at Kaiser Walnut Creek. The arrest occurred shortly after an epidural catheter, which had been used for post-operative pain control, was replaced. Paul proved that the procedure resulted in a “high spinal.” High spinal anesthesia is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication of epidural anesthesia. Typically, the first signs of a high spinal block are a drop in blood pressure, a slowing of the heart rate, and difficulty in breathing.

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Settlement

$2 million

Crane Truck Hits Senior Citizen

Walkup truck litigation attorneys settled a wrongful death claim on behalf of the heirs of a vibrant 72-year-old woman who was walking to work in the SOMA district when she was struck by a large industrial truck. A vigorous woman for her age, the decedent helped support her daughter and two grandchildren. The operator of the rig failed to yield as the decedent crossed the street with the right of way. Without substantial economic loss, the focus in the case was on establishing and proving the unique, close bond the adult plaintiff shared with her mother. At mediation our attorneys offered extensive interviews with co-workers and friends of the decedent, describing the tight-knit family relationship.

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Settlement

$2 million

Big Rig Head-On / Fatal Collision

Our truck accident team negotiated a settlement in the amount of $2 million on behalf of the surviving wife and two children of a 42-year-old man who died when his automobile was struck head-on by a semi-truck on State Route 65 outside of Lincoln, California. Our clients sought recovery for future and lost earnings as well as for the loss of love, comfort, and society of their husband and father. As part of the settlement, our attorneys also worked with the workers’ compensation carrier for the decedent. The case was settled after being filed in Sacramento County Superior Court.

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Settlement

$2 Million

Medical Negligence

In Heirs v. Bariatric Surgeon (court and case number confidential), Melinda Derish negotiated a $2 million policy limit settlement on behalf of the family members of a 54-year-old corporate executive who died after being prematurely discharged after weight reduction surgery. The surgery was performed in the morning and the patient was stable during the afternoon but in the early evening hours his recovery room nurses noted he had low oxygen levels that required a steadily increasing oxygen supply. The nurses notified the defendant bariatric surgeon, who did not come to see the patient until he was awake and his oxygen levels had normalized. The surgeon discharged the patient, giving him a prescription for oral narcotics. The patient slept heavily that night and the next morning his wife could not awaken him. Paramedics were summoned but the patient experience a cardiac arrest, which caused brain death. Melinda argued that the patient’s low oxygen levels when he was monitored in the hospital were caused by obstructive sleep apnea, a common condition in overweight patients. Death was preventable had the surgeon kept the patient in the hospital for monitoring and treatment with oxygen and a CPAP machine until his breathing patterns were back to baseline. The narcotic pain medication exacerbated the condition and in combination with postoperative pain caused progressive de-oxygenation and arrest.

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Settlement

$2 Million

Medical Negligence

In Professional v. General Medical Group (No.Cal. case and court confidential), Sara Peters negotiated a $2,000,000 recovery on behalf of a young professional woman whose healthcare providers failed to make a timely diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The patient, a single mother who was working long hours to support both her child and her extended family, had been seen by her OBGYN for abdominal pain and symptoms. A blood test revealed that she had elevated tumor markers, and an imaging study showed abnormal findings. Despite these red flags, and despite her concern that she might have ovarian cancer, her doctor reassured her that she had nothing to worry about. Three months later, physicians discovered ovarian cancer that had metastasized and was no longer curable. The defendant argued that a three-month delay in treatment, even if negligent, would not have made a difference to the outcome.

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Settlement

$1.975 Million

Medical Negligence

In Infant vs OB/GYN Group (No. Cal. Sup. Ct.) Doris Cheng concluded a medical negligence action on behalf of a 4 year-old child who suffered Erbs Palsy as a result of shoulder dystocia during her birth. The plaintiff’s mother was 37 weeks and 4 days into her pregnancy when she went into labor. At the hospital, the attending obstetrician  grossly underestimated the fetal weight, but determined that the fetus was macrosomic. The doctor started the mother on Pitocin to increase contractions and then handed off the medical care to a second member of his group. The second OB/GYN never assessed the fetal weight. As the baby failed to descend during labor, the second OB/GYN did not recognize that the fetus was too large to safely pass through the birth canal. A Cesarean section should have been performed, but the second obstetrician never offered that choice to the parents until the baby’s shoulder became stuck. Multiple maneuvers were performed until the baby was finally delivered vaginally. By then, the baby had suffered severe traction injury and neurological deficit. The OB/GYN group paid $1,975,000 in settlement of the claim.

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Settlement

$1.9 Million

Kaiser – Failure to Diagnose Spinal Cord Abscess / Permanent Disability

The medical negligence attorneys at Walkup obtained a $1,950,000 settlement after Kaiser failed to timely diagnose an abscess compromising a man’s spinal canal, resulting in partial permanent disability. He requires twenty-four-hour care and will most likely be confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life and be dependent on others for most of his needs. The settlement provided for his medical care and needs, his loss of income, and his wife’s loss of consortium.

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Settlement

$1.95 Million

Brain Damage – Bus Vs. Pedestrian (Government Liability)

Our MUNI Railway team negotiated a settlement having a present cash value of $1,950,000 on behalf of an 81-year-old San Francisco woman struck by a MUNI bus while crossing the street. The impact of the collision knocked her to the ground, where she sustained a left parietal skull fracture, a subarachnoid hemorrhage, and a subdural hematoma. The City focused on plaintiff’s pre-accident diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and claimed that in light of her ailment a substantial amount of her medical and nursing care would have been required in the absence of the collision. The settlement was structured in a manner to allow the plaintiff to maintain her public benefits, and comply with Medicare’s statutory set-aside requirements.

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Settlement

$1.75 Million

Error In Treating Blood Clots

Our lawyers concluded a wrongful death claim against a health maintenance organization on behalf of the husband and four children of a 42-year-old municipal bus driver who died after the flawed insertion of a medical device intended to prevent pulmonary embolism. The patient developed a deep vein thrombosis that caused a pulmonary embolism.  Although chest and abdominal CT scans revealed the filter had migrated to the heart, which requires prompt removal, the patient’s physicians did not remove the filter.

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Settlement

$1.6 Million

Motorcycle Accident — Head And Spinal Cord Injuries

Our attorneys represented a 26-year-old Marine who was injured in a motorcycle accident in Southern California. He sustained significant head and spinal injuries when he was struck by a vehicle. The opposing driver claimed that the motorcyclist was speeding and not positioned in the correct place on the roadway. Using experts who specialize in motorcycle reconstruction issues, we were able to reconstruct the accident in such a way as to demonstrate that the motorcyclist was fault-free.

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Settlement

$1.6 Million

Premises Liability – Fall Over Faulty Railing

Our property owner negligence trial lawyers recovered $1.6 million on behalf of a year- Marin resident who fell from a second-story balcony while visiting a friend’s cabin near Lake Tahoe. The plaintiff leaned against a deck railing to speak to his friend below and it gave way. He fell more than 20 feet, landing on his feet and sustaining a severely comminuted calcaneus fracture and a spinal compression fracture. During discovery, it was revealed that the defendant had installed the deck railing shortly before the incident, but had not properly secured it. Within days of the fall, the plaintiff underwent surgery to repair the calcaneus fracture. He underwent a second surgery a year later to remove the hardware placed during the first surgery. He claimed past medical expenses and the cost of future surgery. Medical expenses were $140,000. Lost wages were in excess of $200,000.

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Settlement

$1.5 million

Dump Truck Brake Failure / Fatal Collision

We settled a wrongful death case on behalf of the two adult children of an 80-year-old University of California-Berkeley professor who was killed when a runaway dump truck careened down a hill and struck her while she was on her way to work. The decedent, a nationally known educator, had a particularly close relationship with her adult children. They continued to receive financial support from her and looked to her for guidance and inspiration. The defendants claimed that because the children were fully emancipated, their loss was modest. Further, given their mother’s advanced age, the defendants claimed that her shortened life expectancy would have resulted in her death from natural causes in a relatively short time.

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Settlement

$1.5 million

Police Misconduct/Dog Bite

Our government liability team settled a federal civil rights case for $1.5 million on behalf of the estate and heirs of an 89-year-old man who died two months after being mauled by a police department K9 dog. During a neighborhood search for robbery suspects, police officers hoisted a K9 over a fence and into a residential backyard where the dog bit the innocent decedent on the leg. He developed gangrene and underwent an above-the-knee amputation 10 days later. The decedent endured significant pain and suffering and died of heart failure two months later.

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Settlement

$1.5 Million

Premises Liability – Residential Fire

Our premises liability team represented the mother and father of a 23-year-old college student who needlessly and tragically died when the rented apartment in which he slept, owned by a Bay Area landlord, burned because the landlord negligently left a sofa over a floor furnace and failed to equip the home with functioning smoke detectors. Our attorneys proved that the landlord, who owned more than 60 properties, had failed to make required and proper inspections and to make certain that smoke detectors were working. After the fire, our attorneys, through investigators, demonstrated that not a single operational smoke detector was present on the second floor of the dwelling where our clients’ son perished. The settlement, in the amount of $1.5 million, was paid by the insurance company for the property owner.

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Settlement

$1.5 Million

Vehicular Negligence: Mom and Toddler v. Driver

In a Sonoma County Superior Court matter, Spencer Pahlke negotiated a policy limit settlement in the amount of $1,500,000 on behalf of a mother and 17-month-old son who were struck by a left-turning car while crossing a street in downtown Petaluma. Plaintiff, a licensed psychologist, was on a walk with her young son in a stroller when they were struck, causing the mom to strike the ground and sustain a concussion. While her son remained in the stroller, the force knocked the stroller over, causing abrasions and bruises.

The primary challenge in the case was to fully understand and prove the extent and nature of a modest TBI. Great effort and attention was focused on developing full neuropsychological and vocational rehabilitation evaluations, coupled with an economic analysis. Through competent expert testimony Spencer successfully negotiated a policy limit settlement in the amount of $1,500,000.

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Settlement

$1.5 Million

Maritime Injury

In Fisherman v. Recreational Boater (San Mateo Sup. Ct.), Doug Saeltzer and Matt Davis negotiated a $1.5 million settlement on the eve of trial on behalf of two surviving minor children of a fisherman who was killed on the bay when the defendant’s yacht ran over the decedent’s small fishing skiff. The defendant was at the helm of his yacht at the time of the collision and claimed that the fishing skiff had driven erratically into the path of his vessel. Expert retention and analysis included accident recreation and seamanship. Based upon the expert analysis, Matt and Doug conducted discovery against the yacht owner which they shared with the San Mateo District Attorney who brought criminal charges against the defendant and a jury convicted him of misdemeanor manslaughter. The case settled for the owner’s insurance policy limits as well as a substantial contribution from the yacht owner’s personal funds. In the criminal action the yacht owner was ordered to pay restitution to the mother of the children who had not been married to the decedent.

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Settlement

$1.5 Million

Government Liability

In Minor v. City Camps (No. Cal. Sup. Ct.), Douglas Saeltzer and Matthew Davis obtained a global $1,500,000 recovery on behalf of a disabled 7-year-old child injured at one of the defendant’s summer programs. The injury occurred when a camp counselor was pushing the young plaintiff in her wheelchair during a game of duck-duck-goose. The wheelchair tipped over, causing the child to strike her head on the ground. She sued the municipality and a contractor alleging the camp counselor was negligent. The defendants denied any liability, asserted a written waiver as a complete defense and filed a cross-complaint against plaintiff’s parents. The defendants further alleged that the minor plaintiff had fully recovered from her head injury and was doing well in school at her expected grade level. The case involved five law and motion matters, including a motion for summary adjudication affirmatively brought to eliminate the City’s ability to assert waiver as an affirmative defense. Over 20 depositions were taken in the case. The case resolved following two mediations.

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Settlement

$1.4 million

Dangerous And Defective Urological Surgical Instrument

Walkup medical product liability lawyers negotiated a $1,409,999 settlement on behalf of a 41-year-old plaintiff who underwent a urethrotomy to dissect scar tissue. During the procedure, the tip of the surgical instrument fractured. The surgeon used a surgical grasper to retrieve the piece of the fractured blade. He then attached a second blade and attempted to cut through the scar tissue once again, only to have the second blade fracture as well.

This time, the fracture fragment immigrated behind the pubic symphysis, making an open procedure and wide exploration necessary to remove the broken piece. The retrieval surgery lasted more than five hours. The plaintiff suffered significant blood loss intraoperatively. His kidney function deteriorated and he required dialysis following surgery. He remained in the hospital for three weeks. The surgical wounds behind the scrotum and abdomen took months to heal, requiring the plaintiff to miss work for almost one year.

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Settlement

$1.4 Million

Civil Rights

In Ellison v. Lesher, et al. (U.S.D.C. Arkansas), Doris Cheng, working in association with the Laux Law Firm, negotiated the settlement of a wrongful death case venued in the Federal District Court of Arkansas for $1,400,000, plus non-monetary consideration including a memorial bench in a public park, a public ceremony in the victim’s honor, and a written apology from the public entity to the family. The settlement represents the largest amount ever paid for an excessive force claim against police officers in the State of Arkansas. On December 9, 2010, Eugene Ellison, a 67-year-old African American male, was shot and killed by a Little Rock Police Officer, Donna Lesher, in his own home. Lesher and another Little Rock police officer were providing security services under private contract to a property management company at the victim’s apartment complex when they saw his front door ajar and illegally entered his home. Alone in his apartment and not requiring any assistance, Mr. Ellison told the officers to leave, but they refused. The officers alleged that Mr. Ellison became combative and that they could not contain him with soft hand controls or a baton. When they saw him reach for his walking cane, Officer Lesher shot him twice in the chest, killing him. The case settled on the day trial was to begin.

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Settlement

$1.3 Million

Bicyclist Injured By Dangerous Railroad Crossing

When our client was attempting to bike near the South Bay City of Saratoga, he came across a railroad crossing along his route. As he attempted to cross the tracks, which were badly worn down, his front tire got trapped between the rails and the pavement. With his bike’s momentum halted, he flew over the handlebars and suffered a brain injury when he hit the ground.

Our bicycle accident specialists diligently worked in discovery to prove that both the City and the railroad company had actual notice of the dangerous condition. Thanks to their efforts, they found specific proof that the defendants knew about the condition, but did nothing to fix it. The end result was fair compensation for our client.

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Settlement

$1.3 Million

Kaiser – Failure To Diagnose Bladder Cancer / Wrongful Death

Walkup’s Kaiser Malpractice attorneys negotiated a settlement in excess of $1,300,000 on behalf of a widow and two surviving children of a man who over a period of more than two years, was repeatedly misdiagnosed with urinary tract infections instead of cancer.

The man reported to his primary care Kaiser physician complaining of frequent, painful, and bloody urination. Although his symptoms suggested the possibility of bladder cancer, however, his Kaiser physician was convinced the problem was related to aging and an enlarged prostate. Kaiser sent the man home with medications to help with the patient’s symptoms. Over the next two years, he repeatedly returned to Kaiser with no improvement in his bladder condition. Kaiser was given repeated opportunities to diagnose and begin treating the man’s bladder cancer, which was developing at a rapid rate. By the time doctors finally diagnosed the man’s bladder cancer it was in stage IV and had already metastasized to his other organs. The settlement was reached prior to mediation and consisted of both an annuity and lump sum cash payment.

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Settlement

$1.2 Million

Kaiser – Delayed Diagnosis of Thoracic Disc Disease / Paraplegia

We negotiated a $1,225,000 settlement on behalf of a fifty-six-year-old man who became paraplegic due to delayed diagnosis and treatment of severe and progressive thoracic disc disease. The man went to Vallejo Kaiser complaining of patches of numbness on his feet. His doctor believed he had peripheral neuropathy and recommended a neurology consultation. At that consultation, the neurologist erroneously settled upon a diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome, which is in fact a medical emergency, yet immediate action still was not taken. If proper diagnostic testing had been conducted, a correct diagnosis would have been made at this time and it would have prevented his paralysis. While he waited for appropriate diagnostic tests, his numbness worsened and he eventually needed a wheelchair. An MRI ultimately showed multiple herniations of the thoracic spine causing central cord impingement and neuro foraminal narrowing. Still, nothing was done. It was another two weeks before emergency surgery was performed. After undergoing two surgeries he was completely paralyzed.

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Settlement

$1.19 million

Defective Catheter

Our lawyers concluded a medical negligence wrongful death case for $1.19 million on behalf of the family of a 44-year-old husband and father who died after undergoing heart surgery. The patient had presented to the defendant hospital following an abnormal stress echocardiogram and an episode of cardiac arrhythmia. His physicians performed coronary artery bypass grafting on four coronary vessels.

The decedent developed an aortic dissection intraoperatively that resulted in multiorgan failure and his death. The plaintiffs contended that the aortic dissection was caused by an experimental catheter that was being tested by the defendant medical device company in clinical trials at the defendant hospital.

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Mediated Settlement

$1.1 Million

Kaiser – Misdiagnosis of Aortic Dissection / Amputation & Brain Damage

Walkup attorneys obtained a mediated settlement of $1,100,000 on behalf of a 56-year-old real estate broker who suffered brain damage and required amputations of both legs below the knees after Kaiser Richmond Emergency Room doctors misdiagnosed his aortic dissection as angina, delaying treatment of this surgical emergency.

The settlement, which included both cash and annuity payments, included the full MICRA amount for non-economic damages, as well as lost past and future earnings, and compensation for past and future medical expenditure.

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Settlement

$1 million

Bicyclist Suffers Spinal Cord Injury In Accident Caused By Taxi

In this tragic case, our client was biking eastbound on Geary Street, approaching the intersection at Divisadero Street, when a taxi pulled out in front of him, forcing him to hit the brakes and take evasive action. Though the cyclist avoided hitting the taxi, the force of braking and swerving threw him to the ground. He suffered a fractured spine, which left him permanently paralyzed (quadriplegia).

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Settlement

$1 million

Dangerous Public Park – Visitor Killed By Falling Tree

We negotiated a settlement in the amount of $1 million on behalf of the surviving heirs of a woman killed when a 30-foot length of a diseased pine tree fractured and fell, striking and killing her at the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove. Our dangerous condition attorneys were able to prove that at least six pine trees, each more than 100 tall, had been tagged three years earlier for removal because of the very risk that resulted in the woman’s death.

The plaintiffs included the son and daughter of the deceased and three of her grandchildren. The son and grandchildren witnessed the event and had claims for both emotional distress and wrongful death.

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Settlement

$1 million

Dangerous Roadway Results in City Settlement

Walkup lawyers obtained a $1 million partial settlement on behalf of a 17-year-old girl who sustained brain injury as a result of being struck in a crosswalk. The plaintiff sued the negligent driver who struck her, the state of California and Caltrans as the owner of the roadway, and the city of Millbrae, which had a duty to maintain the vegetation along the roadway.

The evidence established that an overgrown tree obscured a pedestrian warning sign intended to alert drivers (such as the defendant) to the presence of pedestrians as they approached the subject intersection. The city of Millbrae and plaintiff reached the $1 million settlement.

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Settlement

$1 million

Defective Apartment Heater / Carbon Monoxide

Our premises liability attorneys prosecuted an action against a residential landlord for cognitive impairment suffered by a mother and her adolescent son following chronic carbon monoxide exposure in their rented apartment. Our clients experienced daily exposure at injury-producing levels of CO as a result of a malfunctioning gas-fired apartment wall heater. The landlord of the rental dwelling failed to regularly inspect, maintain and repair the heater in the Oakland apartment. The apartment did not have a carbon monoxide detector. As a result of the chronic carbon monoxide exposure, our clients suffered mild irreversible brain damage, including deterioration in executive function, concentration and emotional damages. Walkup Melodia’s lawyers settled the action prior to trial in the full amount of the landlord’s liability insurance of $1 million.

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Settlement

$1 million

Passenger Falls From Motorized Cable Car

Our San Francisco cable car accident lawyers represented a 26-year-old man who was thrown from a motorized cable car, suffering serious head injuries. Our client was one of about 30 people on a “party bus” on which alcohol was served. Walkup attorneys were able to prove that there was not enough room on the bus for all the passengers allowed on board, which greatly increased the risk of injuries.

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Settlement

$1 million

Vehicular Negligence: Grandmother v. Construction Company

In this San Francisco Superior Court case, Sara Peters represented a senior citizen from El Salvador who was run over by a construction company truck outside of her grandson’s elementary school. Plaintiff sustained major injuries including brain damage due to loss of blood. There were no witnesses, and our injured client could not recall the accident. The driver said he never saw our client and first realized something was wrong when he felt his truck tires go over a “bump” mid-block.

The police determined, based on the location of our client, the blood, and the truck, that she had been jay-walking and the collision had occurred mid-block. We argued that, to the contrary, she had been in the crosswalk and had been carried down the street by the accelerating vehicle. The matter was resolved by settlement in the amount of $1,000,000 prior to expert discovery.

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Settlement

$1 million

Vehicular Negligence

In Jogger v. United States of America, (USDC No. Dist.) Douglas Saeltzer and Justin Chou obtained a $1,000,000 cash settlement on behalf of a 39 year old woman who was injured while on her morning pre-dawn jog when she was struck by a left turning vehicle being driven by an employee of The Presidio Trust. The accident occurred at an intersection controlled by a 4-way stop in a residential area of San Francisco. Our client was struck in a marked crosswalk as she jogged across the intersection. She testified that she was well into the intersection and did not see defendant making his left turn until the moment before impact. The defense argued that plaintiff darted out from the curb without checking for traffic. Plaintiff suffered a fractured wrist and fractured ankle, both requiring surgery. Doug and Justin retained  experts in accident reconstruction, biomechanics, human factors and forensic animation to create a computer animation depicting the visibility of plaintiff as she left the curb and jogged into the crosswalk. The case settled following expert depositions.

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Settlement

$1 million

Medical Negligence

In Rural Patient vs. Emergency Group (Sonoma Co. Sup. Ct.), Valerie Rose successfully concluded a wrongful death case on behalf of the surviving husband and two children of a 46-year-old Sonoma County woman who died from a systemic infection secondary to an infected IUD. The decedent became ill shortly before Christmas 2014. Three days later, she visited a local emergency room and reported symptoms consistent with a severe infection, including abdominal cramps, body aches, chills, and a history of fever. Although in the ER for over five hours, hospital staff only recorded her temperature twice – once when she arrived (it was normal), and once right before she was discharged home at which time she had spiked a fever to 102.3 degrees. Knowing that her temperature was abnormal, the ER doctor nonetheless failed to evaluate or document her remaining vital signs. Instead, he entered an incorrect diagnosis of degenerating fibroids and sent her home. An OB/GYN specialist was available in the hospital, but the ER doctor made no attempt to obtain a consultation. The OB/GYN later testified that had she been consulted she have would hospitalized the decedent. The defendant moved for summary judgment on the issue of causation. Valerie obtained an opposing opinion from a highly qualified Stanford infectious disease specialist that the decedent would more likely than not have survived if she had been hospitalized on the date of her emergency room visit. The motion was withdrawn after this declaration was filed. The case settled at a private mediation for $1,000,000 shortly thereafter.

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Settlement

7-Figure

Sisters Burned In Van Vs. Auto Collision

The Walkup burn injury specialists represented sisters who suffered third-degree burns over 40 percent of their bodies when a church camp van in which they were riding collided with another vehicle and burst into flames. The accident happened in Butte County, and the case was litigated in Butte County Superior Court. Our clients sought recovery from the other driver, as well as the church camp operator, for general damages and future costs of medical care, reconstructive surgery and counseling.

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Settlement

7-Figure

Chemical Burns To Scalp

The Walkup team negotiated a confidential settlement on behalf of a minor who suffered burn injuries to her scalp after undergoing bleach treatments at a neighborhood salon. The chemical burns produced by the treatment were full-thickness and the resulting scars will require future surgical revision. The defendant disputed liability, claiming the plaintiff had a rare and unpredictable allergic reaction for which it could not be held responsible.

Deposition testimony established that the salon failed to follow industry practices in guarding the skin when applying caustic chemicals and failed to react promptly once the plaintiff complained of pain. The settlement was approved by the Superior Court with a portion of the proceeds dedicated to multiple single-premium deferred annuities. The structured settlement will provide a combination of lump-sum, annual and monthly payments in excess of $2 million over the course of the plaintiff’s lifetime.

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Settlement

7-Figure

Kaiser – Delayed Diagnoses of Breast Cancer

Walkup’s Kaiser malpractice attorneys obtained a seven-figure settlement on behalf of a fifty-one-year-old woman who experienced a two-year delay in the diagnosis of breast cancer. Twenty four months prior to her diagnosis claimant felt a lump in her breast and made an appointment with her gynecologist. Her Permanente Group physician performed a “bedside ultrasound” with a portable ultrasound machine and assured her that the lump represented benign fibrocystic changes. She was not offered a diagnostic mammogram, formal ultrasound or fine needle biopsy. Later, during a routine screening mammogram, the radiologist found a lesion in the same area where the plaintiff previously identified the lump. Further diagnostic evaluation, including an ultrasound and ultrasound-guided biopsy revealed stage IV breast cancer.

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Structured Settlement

7-Figure

Kaiser – Failure To Diagnose Heart Attack

Our Kaiser cardiac medicine team obtained a pre-arbitration settlement in a 7-figure amount on behalf of the surviving spouse and adult son of a 49-year-old San Mateo County husband and father who suffered a fatal heart attack after his Kaiser physicians delayed in carrying out appropriate diagnostic studies and definitive treatment for symptoms suggesting an impending heart attack. The decedent, who had been a Kaiser member for many years, made complaints to his primary Permanente Group physician three weeks before his death of chest pain and shortness of breath. That doctor’s examination and subsequent testing revealed that the decedent had already probably suffered a small heart attack and was at high risk for another heart attack. An angiogram was scheduled for the future, and nitroglycerin tablets were prescribed to the patient. The decedent continued to have chest pain, but repeated telephone calls to the advice nurse were unsuccessful in getting him seen on an urgent basis. His fatal heart attack occurred the day before the scheduled angiogram was to have been performed.

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Settlement

7- Figure

Medical Negligence

In Wife and Children v. Private Provider (mandatory arbitration, confidential venue), Michael Kelly and Spencer Pahlke obtained a confidential seven-figure MICRA-capped mediated settlement on behalf of the family of a vibrant 74-year-old man who died after undergoing an endovascular aneurysm repair. The decedent agreed to have surgery to treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm based upon his physician’s advice that he was a proper candidate, that the surgery was minimally invasive, and that the surgery would result in only a short hospital stay. Intraoperatively the surgeon twice performed angiography to ensure that the patient was not bleeding internally. Both times, the defendant physician wrongly concluded there was no extra-vascular bleeding. The decedent extravasated two days post-op. Plaintiffs’ retained experts testified that both angiograms clearly showed that the decedent was bleeding internally and that prompt repair was feasible and would have saved his life. Although in his 70s, the decedent was still working at the time of the procedure. Mike and Spencer produced evidence that he would have continued working for at least another five years. The claim for future loss of earnings, benefits and household services accounted for the recovery in excess of the $250,000 MICRA cap.

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Settlement

$999 K

Wrongful Death In Taxi Collision

Walkup taxi accident lawyers joined forces with another San Francisco lawyer to represent the parents of a 25-year-old man killed when a taxicab ran a red light. We worked with an accident reconstruction expert to show that the young man — unlike the taxicab driver — was following the rules of the road when the accident occurred.

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Arbitration Award

$947 K

Kaiser – Failure to Appreciate Results of Blood Pressure Test / Death

Walkup attorneys obtained a binding Kaiser arbitration award in the amount of $946,616 on behalf of the surviving heirs of a Kaiser member who suffered a heart attack at age 48.  His survivors contended that Kaiser Walnut Creek physicians should have followed up with Holter monitor test results that the decedent underwent immediately and that a proper workup, including a thallium treadmill examination, would have resulted in a diagnosis of severe coronary artery disease and permitted timely bypass surgery. Kaiser disputed liability, claiming that the findings reflected on the Holter monitor tracings were not diagnostic and were, in fact, insignificant. Kaiser also claimed that bypass surgery would not have prevented the fatal heart attack. The case was arbitrated for five days before a panel of three arbitrators.

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Settlement

$900 K

Government Negligence

In Patient v. Regents (Sacto. Sup. Ct.), Andrew McDevitt and Christian Jagusch represented a 46-year-old woman who developed stage 4 cancer after a one-year delay in treatment. In June of 2014, the patient discovered a lump in her left breast. Pathology results of a biopsy were inconclusive. Soon thereafter, the patient switched to the defendant’s health care system. In September of 2014, she followed up with a surgical oncologist employed by U.C. Davis, who excised the lump. The pathology results revealed angiosarcoma, an aggressive soft tissue cancer. Defendant claimed that her primary care physician at U.C. Davis conveyed the results to her. The patient denied being told about the cancer by any of her doctors. She claimed that she did not learn about the malignant mass until more than one year later when she changed health insurers. By then, the mass had doubled in size. She developed metastatic cancer. Defendant retained a renowned surgical oncologist, who opined that there was no breach in the standard of care and that plaintiff had an incurable form of cancer, which would not have benefitted from earlier treatment in any event. Andrew and Christian proceeded to trial alleging the defendant’s failure to inform plaintiff of her diagnosis 13 months earlier fell below the standard of care and caused her to suffer and sustain a diminution in her life expectancy and earnings. After jury selection, the case settled for $900,000.

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Settlement

$899 K

Government Liability

In Victim v. State of California (Santa Clara Sup. Ct.), Sara Peters and Justin Chou negotiated a settlement in the amount of $899,000 on behalf of a displaced person who was struck by a Caltrans tractor/loader during the cleanout of a homeless encampment adjacent to Highway 280 near San Jose. During an encampment cleanout in 2015, California CHP and Caltrans personnel failed to do a thorough job of ensuring that all the site’s residents had been removed before they drove a heavy tractor/loader through the area to remove the makeshift shelters and debris. In the process of the operation, the bucket of the tractor/loader picked up the client who was asleep under a canvas sheet. The bucket of the loader shattered both of her hips, her sacrum, and also caused facial injuries. Initially, the State claimed that the plaintiff had not been sleeping-but instead had run back to the encampment while the cleanout was ongoing. Sara and Justin proved through non-party witnesses that this claim was false. The case was resolved at mediation following the completion of discovery.

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Settlement

$875 K

Failure to Diagnose Down Syndrome

Failure to diagnose Down syndrome: We obtained an $875,000 settlement in a wrongful birth case after the medical center failed to offer prenatal screenings for a high-risk pregnancy.

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Settlement

$875 K

Premises Liability – Trip-And-Fall On Sidewalk Defect

Our trip-and-fall injury specialists obtained a mediated resolution of this fall case in the amount of $875,000 on behalf of a 62-year-old gynecologist who fell at a city parking lot that was under renovation. The defendant city had hired a private contractor to perform construction work at a downtown location. The work included installation of in-ground planting containers adjacent to the pedestrian walkway, which gave egress for the parking area. In-ground excavated planting areas, which incorporated a 3½-inch drop-off, were left unfilled and unplanted during the last phase of construction. Neither of the defendants protected against the hazard. He fell and fractured his right wrist, preventing him from performing standard obstetrical procedures.

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Settlement

$850 K

Kaiser – Heart Catheterization Mistake / Death

Walkup attorneys negotiated an $850,000 settlement of claims brought by a deceased patient’s wife and two adult children for the wrongful death of a 56-year-old engineer following arterial rupture during a routine angioplasty. The patient presented to Kaiser South San Francisco’s ER complaining of chest tightness and chest pressure. He received nitroglycerin, quickly stabilized and was determined to be a suitable candidate for cardiac catheterization, which was performed later that day at Kaiser San Francisco. The patient elected angioplasty procedure over bypass surgery. The stent did not expand fully against the vessel wall, though, so the doctor replaced the balloon with a slightly larger, non-compliant type, and inflated it to a higher pressure. This attempt was also unsuccessful, as was the second effort to expand the stent. A third effort was made, after which the patient began complaining of chest pains. Some 10 minutes later, a perforation in the left anterior descending coronary artery was recognized, and the patient’s vital signs collapsed. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. The member alleged that the stent used in the procedure was too large and that the doctor doing the procedure did not have adequate experience. The settlement, in this case, included the statutory maximum amount allowed under MICRA for non-economic damages, as well as compensation for lost wages.

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Settlement

$800 K

Motorcycle v. Left-Turning Auto

We recovered this settlement on behalf of a motorcyclist who was forced to “lay down” her cycle in the face of a left-turning BMW. The defendant BMW operator had turned left in front of the plaintiff to enter a garage located midblock. His view of oncoming traffic was obscured by a stopped MUNI bus. He claimed that he had “inched out” so as to avoid contact with any oncoming vehicles. She sustained multiple fractures and intraabdominal injuries, incurring medical bills in excess of $150,000.

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Settlement

$750 K

Bicycle – San Francisco Market Street Collision

Walkup bike lawyers negotiated a $750,000 settlement on behalf of a 28-year-old woman who was struck by a fully loaded Ford F-450 pickup truck as it made a right turn from Market Street onto the Central Freeway on-ramp at Octavia Street in San Francisco. The collision took place as the plaintiff was traveling on her bicycle east in a designated bike lane. The defendant struck her while making an illegal right turn from Market Street onto the freeway. In the process, his vehicle pinned her against a retaining wall, resulting in more than 20 fractures to her ribs.

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Settlement

$750 K

Muni Bus Strikes Car / Wrongful Death

In Surviving Family v. MUNI (San Francisco Sup. Ct.), our MUNI attorneys negotiated a $750,000 settlement on behalf of the surviving husband and adult children of a 76-year-old woman who died after being rear-ended by a MUNI bus. The decedent and her husband had traveled to San Francisco from the Peninsula to attend a medical appointment. They arrived early and decided to grab food from a restaurant on Stanyan Street in the Upper Haight. Her husband slowed to allow a pedestrian to cross in front of their vehicle as they entered the restaurant’s parking lot. Rather than stop and wait for the vehicle to complete its turn, the MUNI bus driver maintained a speed of 20 mph while attempting a thread-the-needle passing maneuver. He miscalculated the turn and struck the back of the SUV. The decedent struck her head on the vehicle’s interior. She initially felt okay but her condition quickly deteriorated. Her husband rushed her to the hospital where imaging studies revealed a large brain hemorrhage. She passed away the following day.

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Settlement

$750 K

MUNI Train Strikes Truck

In this case, our MUNI light rail vehicle attorneys represented an elderly man driving through the Inner Sunset District. When he reached Judah Street, he had a green light and proceeded into the intersection behind two other vehicles. Inexplicably, a MUNI light rail vehicle entered the intersection from his right, blatantly violating a red light. The MUNI train struck our client’s truck, and threw it forward several feet, causing him serious injuries.

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Settlement

$745 K

Pedestrian Hit by Left-Turning Car

Walkup Melodia vehicle liability lawyers obtained a $700,000 settlement on behalf of a 62-year-old woman struck in a crosswalk by a left-turning car in San Francisco’s Richmond District. Our client suffered a comminuted left knee tibial plateau fracture requiring two surgeries. She also sustained a peroneal nerve palsy and foot drop. Her medical expenses were $60,000.

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Settlement

$735 K

Pedestrian Hit by Taxicab

Our personal injury team achieved a $735,000 recovery on behalf of a 42-year-old woman struck by a DeSoto taxicab while she was crossing The Embarcadero in a marked crosswalk. Our attorneys hired accident reconstruction engineers to prove that the cab was exceeding 50 miles per hour when it struck our client. The cab driver originally claimed that a phantom car struck our client first, knocking her into the cab. The cab driver also claimed that the injured woman was crossing against a red light. Our attorneys proved otherwise.

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Settlement

$725 K

Vehicular Negligence: Auto v. Auto

In a Napa Superior Court action, Joseph Nicholson negotiated a settlement of $725,000 for a young woman injured in an auto versus auto collision on a busy section of Trancas Street in Napa. The defendant, an elderly woman driving her daughter’s vehicle, attempted a left turn across oncoming traffic into a Safeway parking lot.  Plaintiff’s airbag deployed while she was honking her horn, shattering both the radial and ulnar shafts of her forearm near the wrist.

Though traffic in the oncoming center (No. 1) lane was backed up to the parking lot entrance from Jefferson Street, the oncoming No. 2 and 3 lanes had a green light and the queue from the stopped turn lanes did not impact their flow. Defendant, seeing the car in the backed-up oncoming No. 1 lane stop to allow access to the parking lot, started making her turn. Proceeding in the No. 2 lane, plaintiff’s view of the defendant’s vehicle was blocked by cars stopped in the No. 1 lane. When defendant’s vehicle came into view crossing in front of her, it was too late for plaintiff to stop and prevent a collision. Plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon, who installed fixation hardware to rebuild the forearm, described hers as one of the worst wrist injuries he had ever seen. The defendant denied liability in her deposition and continued to do so through a court-ordered settlement conference. The case ultimately settled for the limits of the defendant’s $250,000 auto policy and $475,000 from the umbrella policy of the vehicle’s owner.

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Settlement

$600 K

Kaiser – Failure to Timely Diagnose Lung Cancer / Metastatic Spread

Through mediation, Walkup attorneys secured a $600,000 settlement for a 50-year-old educator and aircraft mechanic whom Kaiser Sacramento doctors failed to diagnose with lung cancer. The patient first contacted Kaiser physicians 22 months before he was properly diagnosed, complaining of a persistent cough that kept him from sleeping. He was prescribed antibiotics over the phone.

The patient suffered through the next year, his condition worsening, believing that he had reactive lung disease. Finally, when he could no longer walk without suffering fatigue, the patient saw his primary care physician, who ordered x-rays, which revealed a large right pleural effusion. By this time, the patient’s tumor, which could have been resected at the time the first x-ray was taken, was completely inoperable. The settlement covered the patient’s personal injury claim, as well as his wife’s loss of consortium claim and any possible wrongful death claims.

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Settlement

$600 K

Vehicular Negligence: Parents v. Tow Truck

In this Santa Clara County case, Jeffrey A. Clause recovered $600,000 on behalf of the parents of an 18-year-old who was fatally struck from behind by a tow truck driver. Plaintiffs’ son was walking at 1:00 a.m. in the bicycle lane of a roadway beneath a major overpass. Although six overhead lights were installed, the City allowed the lights to stop working, causing the area to become unusually dark. The tow truck driver crossed the bicycle lane to merge onto the freeway, and in doing so, struck the decedent.

Defendants contended that the decedent was completely at fault for the accident for walking in the pitch-black roadway. The tow truck driver argued that he was driving within the speed limit, that he could not see the decedent prior to the collision, and that he did nothing wrong. The attorneys for the City argued that it had no duty to maintain the overhead lights and that the roadway was not dangerous. Walkup attorneys argued that the driver was driving too fast for conditions and that the City was at fault because it undertook the responsibility to properly maintain the overhead lighting.

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Settlement

$575 K

Kaiser – Failure to Monitor Following Brain Surgery / Death

Attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger obtained a settlement in the amount of $575,000 on behalf of the heirs of a 62-year-old Kaiser member who died due to a failure by Kaiser Redwood City nurses to adequately monitor his neurological status following brain surgery.

The member underwent a resection of the third ventricle to remove a tumor. He came through the procedure in stable condition but developed increased intracranial pressure during the night following surgery. Nurses failed to adequately monitor his neurological status as required by existing protocols, and the swelling of his brain was not reported to the member’s neurosurgeon until the following morning. That physician attempted to reduce the pressure caused by the swelling by performing an emergency shunt procedure, but it was too late, as the increased intracranial pressure had caused irreversible global brain damage. The member was comatose until his death three days later.

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Settlement

$500 K

Premises Liability – Mervyn’s Department Store Slip-And-Fall

Our premises team successfully concluded an action against Mervyn’s Department Stores on behalf of a 47-year-old woman who slipped and fell at a Mervyn’s Store on a piece of discarded cardboard. The packaging, which had been negligently left on the floor in violation of store rules and guidelines, was the same color as the carpeting and could not be seen easily by patrons shopping at the facility. Our premises liability team demonstrated that Mervyn’s personnel, responsible for supervising the area, had violated store policy by not making routine and periodic inspections of the sales floor. The settlement, in the amount of $500,000, compensated our client for a herniated lumbar disk and her resulting inability to continue in her occupation.

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Settlement

$500 K

Cycling Injury

In Road Cyclist v. Minivan (Tuolumne Co. Sup. Ct.), Jeffrey A. Clause recovered $500,000 on behalf of a 26-year-old bicyclist who sustained multiple fractures when he was struck by an oncoming car in a head-on collision. The injured plaintiff was riding his bicycle with three friends on a rural road. As the group began navigating a downhill right turn the defendant’s car came around the corner at an unsafe speed driving on the wrong side of the road. The injured plaintiff, who was the lead cyclist in the group, did not have sufficient time to avoid the collision and crashed into the side of the defendant’s minivan. He was airlifted by helicopter to a regional trauma center. His injuries included a concussion, hand fractures, internal derangement of his knee and severe road rash. Because the defendant motor vehicle operator had inadequate liability insurance coverage, Jeff identified and made claims upon the family primary and excess uninsured motorist policies which covered the cyclist because he was a relative of the named insured (his father), living in his parents’ home.  Of the $500,000 recovered, uninsured motorist coverage paid $450,000 of the settlement.

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Settlement

$425 K

Child Injury at Amusement Park

Our team of child injury attorneys negotiated a settlement in the amount of $425,000 on behalf of a high school student who was injured in the collapse of a water slide in Concord , California. The girl was attending her senior class picnic at the facility when the slide broke. Our attorneys demonstrated that the manager of the water park was negligent in understaffing the park and permitting teenagers to overload and “clog” the slide. The on-duty attendant was undertrained and inexperienced. Our client, who was an accomplished amateur tennis player, sustained a permanent injury to her shoulder when the slide collapsed. Her medical expenses totaled $50,000.

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Settlement

$425 K

Pedestrian Hit by Taxi

Our pedestrian accident attorneys represented a 29-year-old man in San Francisco Superior Court for the loss of a toe. His foot was run over by a driver who lost control of his car because of the actions of a negligent taxi driver. Our client was standing in the street at the corner of Duboce and Valencia when a taxi, traveling westbound on Duboce, made a left turn into oncoming traffic. A motorist traveling eastbound on Duboce swerved to avoid the taxi. The car skidded out of control and ran over our client’s left foot, crushing two toes. The cab driver denied making a left turn and argued that our client was negligent for standing in the street while waiting to cross. After mediation and three settlement conferences, we were able to conclude the case the day before trial for $425,000.

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Settlement

$421 K

Physician v Mercury Insurance

In Physician v. Mercury Insurance ( Binding Arbitration, Ins. Code Section 11580.1 ) Spencer J. Pahlke and Sara M. Peters represented  a radiation oncologist against Mercury Insurance.  In March 2011, the plaintiff was rear-ended at low speed  at a busy San Francisco intersection resulting in minimal property damage. The plaintiff hoped she had escaped injury and sought no immediate medical care. In the months thereafter, low-back pain overcame her.  The pain forced her to stay home for 6 months to recuperate.  After she returned to work, she had ongoing limitations and discomfort which limited her active lifestyle.  After a $100,000 policy-limit settlement from the third-party carrier, Spencer and Sara demanded arbitration under a $250,000 UM/UIM policy issued to her by Mercury. .  During that litigation, the defense argued aggressively that the plaintiff, its insured,  was a liar and exaggerator.  Before arbitration, the settlement offer was $25,000. At arbitration, witnesses, including physician colleagues,  testified that our client was the last person in the world who would try to avoid work.  The arbitrator, in an extensive opinion, concluded the plaintiff was telling the truth—and awarded her $421,389.22.

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Settlement

$410 K

Pedestrian Injured in Taxi Accident

Our personal injury attorneys achieved a significant settlement for a pedestrian who was struck by a taxicab while crossing the street outside the crosswalk. In cases like this, the State of California follows a doctrine called “comparative fault.” If the injured person was partially at fault, he or she cannot recover 100 percent of the damages. Instead, the plaintiff’s recovery is reduced by his or her share of the fault. In this case, while the plaintiff was partially at fault, so too was the taxi driver. Through vigorous argumentation at mediation, our client received fair compensation.

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Settlement

$400 k

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Conor M. Kelly obtained a $400,000 settlement on behalf of a veteran who sustained a mild traumatic brain injury and a fractured pelvis while riding with a group of three other cyclists on Skyline Boulevard when his front tire struck an area of uneven pavement. He lost control of his bicycle and fell to the ground striking his head and hip. Conor filed suit against the State alleging the roadway constituted a dangerous condition of public property. The State claimed that the road was not dangerous and that plaintiff was solely at fault for the incident. The State denied notice of prior accidents at his location, but during discovery Conor obtained documents which demonstrated Caltrans had been informed about problems with the pavement in the two years prior to the accident. During deposition, a Caltrans maintenance supervisor admitted complaints about the road were not promptly investigated as required by Caltrans policy. We retained experts who opined that the roadway was unsafe and that the plaintiff’s bicycle operation was reasonable. There was no wage loss claim and economic damages were limited to a VA lien for treatment at the San Francisco VA Hospital. The settlement was reached at mediation three weeks before trial.

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Settlement

$350 K

Kaiser – Fatal Administration of Antithrombolytic Agent / Wrongful Death

Walkup’s Kaiser team obtained a settlement of $350,000 for the wrongful death of a woman who died due to the administration of a drug contrary to Kaiser policies and protocols. At age fifty the deceased suffered a minor heart attack and was sent to the Kaiser Santa Clara emergency room. Two hours after her episode she was acting normally and barely felt any pain. Despite this, the on-call doctor, a kidney specialist, decided to administer the antithrombolytic agent tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), a blood clot dissolver used to prevent permanent heart damage immediately following a severe heart attack. According to FDA labeling and Kaiser’s own guidelines and policies for its administration, tPA must be administered within four hours of the onset of symptoms and should only be used to treat an acute heart attack. Bleeding, including intracranial bleeding, is a well-known and dangerous side effect of the drug. The house doctor, without informing the patient about the time parameters for administration of the drug, administered the drug over six hours after her symptoms began. This drug therapy caused a massive fatal cerebral hemorrhage.

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Settlement

$350 K

Taxicab-Pedestrian Accident

Our taxicab collision attorneys represented a 68-year-old woman who was hit by a taxicab while crossing Polk Street in the crosswalk. She suffered pelvic, leg, shoulder and bladder injuries in the collision.

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Settlement

$325 K

Disembarking Passenger Injured As Taxi Drives Away

Our client was vacationing in San Francisco. After visiting the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, he and his friends tried to take a taxicab back to their hotel. Before he was fully in the cab, though, the taxi driver drove off, spinning our client around and knocking him to the ground. He suffered a fractured hip that required an extended hospital stay.

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Mediated Settlement

$250 K

Kaiser – Delay in Diagnosis of Breast Cancer / Shortened Life Expectancy

Walkup attorneys procured a $250,000 mediated settlement for a 61-year-old wife, mother, and schoolteacher after doctors and nurse practitioners at Kaiser Santa Rosa failed to follow up when a lump was detected in patient’s right breast.

The patient, who conscientiously performed self-breast exams every month, reported the detection of a small lump to her gynecologist, who referred her to the breast clinic. A nurse practitioner at the clinic conducted a fine needle aspiration, but lab results indicated that the sample was too small to evaluate. Another sample was never ordered. Though the lump remained, it was not until two years later that the patient’s gynecologist suggested aggressive examination. A biopsy revealed that the lump was lobular carcinoma. The patient underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, but the delay in diagnosis of what could have otherwise been early detection of breast cancer effectively reduced patient’s five-year life expectancy to well below 50%.

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Settlement

$225 K

Taxicab-moped Collision

Our client was riding a moped in the Mission District when he was cut off by a taxicab driver attempting to make a left turn. As a result of the collision, our client suffered several fractured ribs as well as knee injuries that required surgery. Our taxicab collision attorneys demonstrated that none of the fault for the collision rested with our client. The taxicab driver was exclusively at fault.

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Settlement

$200 K

Premises Liability – Falling Store Merchandise

Our premises liability team negotiated a settlement with a value in excess of $200,000 on behalf of a 3-year-old child who was seriously injured when a display fell on her at the defendant’s home center. The managers of the store attempted to claim that the display collapse was the fault of the child or her parents for not supervising the youngster. Our team was able to successfully argue that in California, a child under the age of 5 is incapable of contributory fault. The display, which incorporated a door jamb and was advertising the availability of replacement home doors, weighed more than 100 pounds. The child’s injuries included severe lacerations that resulted in permanent scarring, notwithstanding plastic surgery.

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Settlement

$125 K

Premises Liability – Defective Restaurant Chair

Our premises liability team obtained a settlement exceeding $125,000 on behalf of a 36-year-old woman injured at a Lyon’s Restaurant when the seat she was sitting on failed, causing her to spill forward onto the floor. As a result of the fall, our client developed chronic back pain that was ultimately diagnosed as a herniated disk. The herniation was treated with minimally invasive surgery. The defendant restaurant claimed, originally, that the accident never occurred because it had not been reported. After extensive investigation, our team was able to identify a former waitress who confirmed that the bench from which our client fell had been broken for an extended period of time before the injury. Our client’s medical bills exceeded $12,000.

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Settlement

Confidential

Air Ambulance Crash

Our aviation team of wrongful death lawyers concluded a federal court wrongful death case on behalf of the survivors of a 40-year-old mother and her 1-year-old daughter who died 45 minutes after boarding a Cessna King Air ambulance transporting the child to a regional medical center. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all passengers and crew members. Walkup’s aviation lawyers argued that the pilot was not properly trained to fly the aircraft because he had only three hours of nighttime training.

Further, they argued that he had selected a dangerous departure route from the rural airport and, as a result, became spatially disoriented and flew the plane into the ground. The defense argued that the pilot was properly trained and the departure route was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Our wrongful death clients included the deceased mother’s heirs, including her siblings and mother. The case was concluded by way of a mediated settlement in a confidential seven-figure amount.

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Settlement

Confidential

Birth Injury – Improper Vacuum Delivery

Our birth injury team achieved a major confidential settlement on behalf of a 3-year-old Central Coast girl who sustained a hypoxic brain injury and cerebral palsy as a result of labor and delivery negligence. Walkup lawyers proved that the mother’s obstetrician recognized that the baby’s head was in a position that made vaginal delivery dangerous. An assistant who was less skilled and unfamiliar with the risks presented by the baby’s position attempted a vacuum-assisted delivery because the baby was demonstrating intermittent episodes of fetal distress. The assistant physician had no experience in delivery via vacuum for fetal distress.

Although the standard of care requires immediate delivery by cesarean section after failed vacuum, the assistant did not proceed to a C-section. The baby’s fetal heart rate crashed, but the hospital nurses did not invoke the “chain of command” to obtain the proper response to the situation. The child was ultimately born severely depressed, with permanent and significant neurological damage.

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Settlement

Confidential

Birth Injury – Delayed Hospital Admittance

Delayed hospital admittance: We negotiated a favorable settlement on behalf of a child who suffered brain damage and other complications when the mother’s uterus ruptured. A nurse negligently failed to advise the mother to come to the hospital in time.

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Settlement

Confidential

Uterine Rupture — Infant Death

Our medical malpractice lawyers resolved a birth injury case, in a confidential amount, on behalf of the parents of a 2-day-old infant who died after his mother’s uterus had ruptured during labor. The mother was admitted to the hospital with contractions but was sent home several hours later because the nurses felt she was not progressing. Once home, she began to experience severe abdominal pain.

By the time doctors realized that the infant was outside the uterus in the abdominal cavity, an emergency cesarean section was unsuccessful in delivering the baby before it suffered severe compromise. The child died two days later. Our attorneys demonstrated that the mother should never have been sent home from the hospital and that had she been monitored properly, her impending uterine rupture would have been recognized and a timely C-section would have been performed. Our clients’ claim sought damages for the wrongful death of their daughter as well as the mother’s personal injuries.

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Cash & Annuity

Confidential

High School Student Burned In Metal Shop

Our California government liability team, working with our burn injury lawyers, represented a Napa Valley High School sophomore who sustained second- and third-degree burns over his arm, shoulder, and torso when his clothing caught fire during welding shop. We were able to prove that there was inadequate supervision at the time of the injury and that the school district failed to provide adequate protective fireproof clothing. The school district argued that the child failed to follow directions, as specified by his teacher.

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Settlement

Confidential

Mother Burned By Fuel-Fed Vehicle Fire

Our automobile fire injury lawyers at Walkup Melodia represented a 41-year-old woman who experienced serious second- and third-degree burns over her feet, legs and torso attempting to extricate her daughter from a vehicle after it caught fire. Seven-figure settlement secured for our client.

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Settlement

Confidential

Rented Mobile Home Fire

The Walkup Melodia fire injury team negotiated a mediated settlement on behalf of a 57-year-old woman who sustained second- and third-degree burns when the trailer home she was renting from the defendant caught fire from unknown sources. Conor alleged that the defendant failed to adequately maintain the electrical outlets in the rented trailer, resulting in uninhabitable living conditions. The defendant alleged that the fire resulted from the plaintiff’s own negligence in installing and operating a cooking burner fueled by two small propane tanks inside the trailer.

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Settlement

Confidential

Defective Heart Stent

Our attorneys represented the surviving wife and children of a man who died after undergoing heart catheterization using a recently invented stent. The stent caused a massive blood clot, which resulted in a fatal myocardial infarction.

Our medical device team was able to find experts in the field who showed that the manufacturer’s premarket investigation and testing were inadequate and that the instructions given to operating surgeons regarding the use of blood-thinning medications in association with the device were not strong enough to adequately educate prescribing physicians.

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Settlements

Confidential

L-Tryptophan Lawsuits

Our product liability team represented 23 clients who had taken the over-the-counter supplement L-Tryptophan. They developed a wide variety of problems, including elevated blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Our drug product specialists negotiated multiple settlements ranging from $100,000 to well over $1 million.

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Settlements

Confidential

Vaginal Mesh Victims

Our medical product liability lawyers have represented many women who were implanted with defective Mentor and Bard urological incontinence devices that failed and caused serious injuries. Our medical product liability lawyers tried the very first OB tape case in California in 2008.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Failure to Diagnose Infection

Walkup attorneys prosecuted arbitration on behalf of the surviving children of a 34-year old male who went to the emergency room at Kaiser Oakland complaining of flu-like symptoms, fever, pain, and weakness so pervasive that he had difficulty walking from his car to the urgent care center. On arrival, a nurse, rather than a doctor, evaluated the patient. The nurse incorrectly determined that he was not in need of medical care and discharged him home without treatment. The next day the patient returned to the emergency room again, with worsening pain and weakness and a new symptom: unusual spotting on his fingers. He was again sent home with orders to report to the clinic that afternoon. When he returned as ordered, the doctor who saw him gave no significance to the odd spots and attributed all of the patient’s complaints to a viral illness. The member was discovered dead two days later. An autopsy demonstrated that he had been suffering from overwhelming sepsis, which should have been treated sooner with immediate medical attention and IV antibiotics. Walkup attorneys demonstrate that the Kaiser personnel who saw the decedent had breached the standard of care and caused economic loss to the surviving children, aged 9 and 8.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Wrongful Death

Our Kaiser wrongful death specialists brought a Kaiser Permanente Arbitration claim on behalf of the surviving husband and two adult children of a 58-year-old Permanente member who died from an untreated pulmonary embolism. The deceased Kaiser member had visited a South Bay Kaiser Emergency room complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. A blood test was elevated. After a referral from the emergency department to the cardiology department, a Permanente Group cardiologist performed a left heart catheterization that ruled out coronary artery disease but failed to perform the right heart catheterization which would have shown a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism. As a result, the patient’s pulmonary embolism was not diagnosed. Blood-thinning medications would have prevented death but were not given. She died leaving her husband and children unsupported.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser Emergency Room Negligence – Failure to Diagnose Epiglottis

Walkup attorneys obtained a settlement in a Kaiser Arbitration proceeding for the wrongful death of a man who suffered a hypoxic brain injury and died following a misdiagnosis at Kaiser Vallejo’s Emergency Room. The man arrived at the Kaiser emergency department complaining of a high fever, severe sore throat and difficulty swallowing and breathing. These symptoms suggested the possibility of supraglottitis, a serious inflammation of the upper airway. However despite the clear symptoms that the man represented a medical emergency, Kaiser’s emergency room triage nurse told the man his case was not severe enough for the Emergency Room and sent the man to an Urgent Care Clinic, where his condition worsened and eventually caused respiratory arrest. Despite resuscitation attempts, the man suffered severe hypoxic brain damage and died three days later. Walkup attorneys negotiated the maximum settlement available by law on behalf of the two surviving children left behind.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Fatal Failure to Diagnose Pulmonary Embolus

Walkup attorneys obtained a confidential settlement on behalf of the siblings of a 49-year-old man who died as a result of undiagnosed and untreated pulmonary embolism at Kaiser South San Francisco. The man had previously suffered a pulmonary embolism, and informed Kaiser of the history of pulmonary embolism when he reported to the emergency department at Kaiser South Francisco. In addition he presented with a heart rate of 120 and elevated pulse rate, shortness of breath and chest pain. Kaiser diagnosed asthmatic bronchitis despite the fact that the man had no history of asthma. He was given albuterol and no testing for pulmonary embolism was done. Walkup attorneys successfully argued that the man’s history of acute pulmonary embolism in conjunction with the man’s symptoms necessitated a differential diagnosis of pulmonary embolism.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Colon Perforation / Sepsis During Cholecystectomy / Death

A settlement in the maximum amount permitted for general damages was obtained for the heirs of a 77-year-old woman, following a routine laparoscopic cholecystectomy at Kaiser Walnut Creek. The decedent underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy in order to relieve abdominal pain resulting from gallstones. She was sent home following the procedure, only to return to the emergency department two days later, complaining of severe abdominal pain, inability to eat, and inability to walk due to pain.

She underwent two additional exploratory laparotomies, where bowel perforations were found. Decedent died in the hospital due to an abscess in her heart. Due to the original failure of the doctor who performed the laparoscopic cholecystectomy to discover the rents in decedent’s bowel and cystic leaks caused by slippage of the clips, the 77-year-old decedent was subjected to numerous surgeries, each of which rendered her increasingly weakened.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Failure To Do Genetic Counseling-Multiple Catastrophic Injuries

Our Kaiser genetic injury lawyers negotiated a multimillion-dollar confidential settlement on behalf of the parents of a disabled child who was born with severe congenital disabilities. The claim was based upon a failure to properly follow up on prenatal diagnostic testing. Under California law, in this circumstance, parents are permitted to bring a claim for the extraordinary costs of raising a disabled child, including the cost of special in-home care, equipment, therapy, special schooling, etc. The child was unable to walk or provide for her own needs. By utilizing a special needs trust in conjunction with structured annuities and a cash payment managed by a professional trustee, our team was able to assist the parents in maintaining their daughters right to receive public benefits while creating a sufficient stream of income to guarantee that she received optimal care throughout her lifetime.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Improper Placement Of IUD / Cerebral Palsy

The Walkup Kaiser obstetrical injury team represented a mother of four who sought birth control counseling from Kaiser. Her Kaiser physician placed an IUD without checking to see if she was pregnant, in violation of prevailing standards of care. When the doctor realized the patient was pregnant, an attempt was made to remove the IUD, the physician but could not do so safely. Our client refused to undergo an abortion, and carried her child to term. The presence of the IUD caused the development of an intrauterine infection and chorioamnionitis, which caused the child to suffer brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy. Under the terms of the confidential mediated settlement, a confidential multimillion-dollar cash payment, as well as tax-free future monthly payments guaranteed for the life of the child, were negotiated.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Failure To Diagnose Breast Cancer / Death

Walkup attorneys negotiated an undisclosed settlement after Kaiser failed to timely diagnose and treat breast cancer in a 56-year-old woman. By the time the breast cancer was discovered, it was in Stage III and the woman’s prospects for survival were grim.

The woman presented to Kaiser Oakland with breast lumps and was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer in two different locations in her left breast. She underwent treatment for one area of lumps, however, was discharged without any follow-up to the lumps in the other area of her breast. She saw several Kaiser physicians over the next two years, and although the lumps were recorded in her medical chart, no Kaiser physician ever followed up with her about them. Over this period of time, the breast cancer developed from a highly treatable Stage I to Stage III from where it eventually metastasized to her brain. In addition to the failure to follow-up on the previous findings of lumps, Kaiser also negligently misread a mammogram as negative during this two-year period.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Failure To Properly Conduct Heart Surgery / Permanent Heart Damage

Our Kaiser personal injury team represented a 56-year-old man who suffered permanent damage to his heart during a minimally invasive cardiac procedure. The patient was placed on cardiopulmonary bypass during heart surgery for eight hours. Our attorneys prove that the patient should not be on the bypass machine for more than 90 minutes. The extra time on the bypass machine during the surgery cost permanent heart damage, resulting in the need for a heart transplant. A confidential seven-figure settlement was achieved on behalf of the client.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser Permanente Brain Damage

The Walkup Kaiser team negotiated a settlement on behalf of a 51-year-old man who suffered a loss of vision, balance problems, hearing loss, headaches, cognitive impairment, and short-term memory loss when Kaiser South San Francisco personnel failed to timely diagnose and treat his transitory ischemic attacks (TIA). The patient suffered a massive stroke as a result.

The patient visited the Kaiser emergency room several times in the days leading up to his stroke. His symptoms included neck tightness, numbness in his hands and face, slurred speech, drooling, dizziness, and balance problems. Though a nurse practitioner suspected TIA and suggested a carotid ultrasound, none was ever ordered. When the patient presented to the ER the day before his stroke, Kaiser doctors delayed several hours in performing a CT scan and administered inappropriate medications. Walkup attorneys were able to show that timely diagnosis and administration of the proper medications could have prevented the patient’s stroke. The settlement included cash and annuity payments guaranteed to provide for in-home care for the member, as well as compensation for lost earnings. It also included the MICRA maximum amount for non-economic damages.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Delayed Diagnosis of Spinal Infection / Total Disability

Walkup attorneys negotiated a settlement on behalf of a man who suffered debilitating back injury because of Kaiser’s failure to diagnose and treat a spinal infection that developed after a decompressive lumbar laminectomy.

The patient then continued on for several more months while taking prescription pain medications to mask the pain. Finally, after several months he returned to Kaiser and was diagnosed with a staph aureus infection of the spine. Walkup’s team of Kaiser injury specialists argued the infection was present following the surgery, and that the permanent damage to the man’s spine was a direct result of Kaiser’s negligence.

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Undisclosed

Confidential

Kaiser – Failure to Diagnose Spinal Cord Compression / Paraplegia

In a case involving a patient rendered paraplegic due to a failure to diagnose a herniated lumbar disk, the Kaiser medical negligence attorneys of Walkup Melodia obtained a cash and annuity settlement in a confidential amount after Kaiser employees failed to properly evaluate and treat the client for neurological symptoms and spinal cord compression.

On two separate visits, the patient identified complaints which should have resulted in immediate hospitalization and timely decompression surgery, but nothing was done. On a third visit, he again made complaints of neurologic impairment which were ignored. Finally, on a fourth occasion, an evaluation disclosed disk herniation with cord compression requiring emergent surgical intervention.

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Cash & Annuity

Confidential

Kaiser – Delayed Diagnosis of Tethered Cord Syndrome / Paraplegia

The Walkup Melodia team of Kaiser health plan medical negligence attorneys obtained a cash and annuity settlement on behalf of a thirty-year-old woman with spina bifida after Permanente group doctors failed to timely diagnose tethered cord syndrome, resulting in permanent paraplegia. Although born with L-4 level spina bifida, our client was essentially independent in all activities of daily living. She then developed tethered cord syndrome, a known and treatable complication of spina bifida. Kaiser personnel ion Santa Rosa failed to correctly diagnose and treat her problem for over fifteen months. after the onset of symptoms of tethered cord. Due to this delay, she is now unable to walk, which places her at risk for new medical complications,. She requires assistance in activities of daily living, and her employability has been compromised.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Emergency Room Negligence

Our medical malpractice wrongful death trial lawyers obtained a major Confidential Settlement in a wrongful death case on behalf of the surviving wife and daughter of a 55-year-old contractor who died of an undiagnosed aortic dissection after spending 36 hours in the hospital without ever being seen by a cardiologist. The doctors who saw the patient failed to recognize that he needed an emergency evaluation to rule out aortic dissection. A cardiology consultation and echocardiogram would have made the diagnosis but were never ordered. Instead, the doctors continued to prescribe nitroglycerine and intravenous morphine for ongoing chest pain. The decedent died shortly after a stress treadmill test, which worsened the tearing of the aorta.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Failure To Diagnose Bleeding Aneurysm

Our Kaiser neurosurgery malpractice lawyers prosecuted and settled a medical negligence action against Kaiser and the Permanente Medical Group on behalf of a Silicon Valley electrical engineer, his wife, and children when the patient suffered catastrophic brain damage because of a delay in diagnosing and treating a leaking aneurysm. The Kaiser member had gone to the emergency department with complaints of a facial droop, changes in his speech and a feeling of numbness in his face and tongue. The emergency room doctor ordered a CT scan that showed a suspicious finding. She wanted to get additional tests, but she was overruled by her superiors. A non-emergent MRI of the brain was scheduled for ten days later. While the patient was waiting to get his test, the leaking aneurysm ruptured. The case was prosecuted in the Kaiser Arbitration System. A settlement was made up of both cash payments and future payments to replace the loss of income which the Kaiser member sustained as a result of his permanent brain damage. If the case had not been settled it would have proceeded to a binding arbitration. The settlement which our Kaiser team negotiated is sufficient to take care of the daily attendant care needs of the Kaiser member and to replace the income which his family has lost because of his permanent disability.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Medication Overdose

Our medical malpractice attorneys negotiated a major confidential settlement on behalf of a young man who was left in a permanent vegetative state after Kaiser Hospital physicians and nurses failed to treat worsening sepsis and pneumonia and overdosed him with intravenous tranquilizers, causing ischemic brain damage. The plaintiff, a 27-year-old restaurant worker, presented to the Emergency Room with vomiting, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Blood tests and a chest CT scan proved consistent with sepsis and pneumonia. The ER physician started intravenous antibiotics and transferred the patient to the ICU, but no ICU physician assumed responsibility for his care. The patient became obtunded and his breathing slowed. The physician who finally arrived at the bedside lacked the ICU skills to place a breathing tube to connect the patient to a ventilator.

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Arbitration Award

Confidential

Kaiser – Failure To Diagnose Compartment Syndrome In Child

Our Kaiser orthopedic surgery litigation team obtained a binding arbitration award, in the Kaiser Arbitration System, resulting from an orthopedic surgeon’s failure to recognize and treat compartment syndrome in a high school junior. The student suffered a tibia fracture during the first day of basketball tryouts. He went to the emergency room at the San Francisco Kaiser Hospital and was referred to the on-call orthopedist. That doctor decided to treat the broken leg by the use of a cast. After the leg was casted, the youngster began to experience severe pain, out of all proportion to the original injury. This should have been a sign of impaired circulation and reduce blood flow because of a cast that was too tight. The Permanente Group physician who was taking care of him failed to recognize the signs of compromised blood flow caused by the too-tight cast. This led to permanent muscle and nerve damage in the leg. At arbitration, our client recovered damages for pain and suffering as well as economic losses reflecting his potential loss of a college scholarship based upon his athletic prowess.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Treatment Delay / Child

Our Kaiser team obtained a major (multiple six-figure settlements) on behalf of a teenage girl who experienced delayed treatment of a vision-threatening but surgically treatable condition called pseudotumor cerebri. The previously healthy girl presented several times to Kaiser with the new onset of severe headaches and visual complaints, which began after she had received a tetracycline type antibiotic. Despite this classic presentation of pseudotumor cerebri, no ophthalmology evaluation was performed for two weeks. Once the diagnosis was finally made, the attending physicians failed to recognize the need for emergency surgical intervention, allowing her vision to deteriorate for three more weeks. By then, increased pressure on her optic nerves had caused permanent vision loss that could not be reversed.

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Settlement

Confidential

Kaiser – Failure to Diagnose Multiple Myeloma / Kidney

Walkup attorneys negotiated a settlement for a 56-year-old patient who developed kidney failure and required lifetime dialysis after Kaiser Walnut Creek doctors failed to take proper steps to treat what lab results and patient symptoms unequivocally indicated was multiple myeloma. The damage to the kidneys had become irreversible. Walkup attorneys proved that had the patient’s PCP made the appropriate diagnosis when it was first suspected, and followed the appropriate treatment protocols, the damage to the patient’s kidneys could have been reversed, and lifelong dialysis would not have been necessary. In addition, the patient’s need for dialysis made it impossible for him to seek treatment through new experimental medications. Included in the settlement was a separate payment for loss of consortium to the patient’s wife.

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Settlement

Confidential

Premises Liability – Fall From Hotel Window

Walkup’s premises liability team represented a hotel guest who fell from a third-floor window, obtaining a major settlement in a confidential seven-figure amount on his behalf. Our client was a visiting 39-year-old CEO who fell in the middle of the night. He sustained a comminuted grade III open fracture of the left ankle, a burst fracture in his spine at L-3 and a compression injury to the right ulnar nerve. The defendant argued that the design of the windows complied with all applicable building code(s). After mediation, the parties settled for a combination of cash and future tax-free monthly payments.

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Jury Verdict

Confidential

Wrongful Death Settlement In Muni Bus Case

On March 11, 2004, Betty White was hit by a MUNI bus while walking her dog in the Marina district after the bus ran a stop sign. She died of massive brain injuries the following day. Because of our work, MUNI agreed to place a permanent memorial bench in Moscone Park, in addition to paying a substantial monetary settlement to her surviving family. At the time of her death, she was lobbying for more stop signs on Chestnut at Webster and Buchanan, out of concern for the safety of young mothers and children crossing the street to Moscone Park.

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Settlement

Confidential

Failure To Diagnose Hyperbilirubinemia – Quadriplegia

Our neurologic injury specialists obtained a major confidential settlement having a present cash value in seven figures on behalf of a 9-year-old boy whose hyperbilirubinemia went undiagnosed during the first week of his life. As a result, he developed spasticity and partial paralysis and requires daily attendant care. Our neurological injury attorney team brought a claim against the hospital where the child was born, as well as against the child’s pediatrician, claiming that both ignored signs and symptoms of developing AB-O blood incompatibility. Walkup lawyers recovered economic damages, a substantial portion of which was dedicated to annuities to offset the cost of ongoing medical care and to provide for the child’s ongoing attendant care, special education, occupational therapy, and other needs.

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Settlement

Confidential

Wrongful Death – Medical Malpractice

In Family of Jane Doe v. Large HMO (confidential settlement), Richard Schoenberger and Conor M. Kelly represented the surviving spouse and children of a 34-year-old bartender who died following surgery to remove kidney stones. The patient had a history of painful kidney stones and in October 2012 was admitted to the hospital for a recommended a surgery known as percutaneous nephrostolithotomy. During the surgery an incision was made over the patient’s kidney and a catheter inserted into renal collecting system. The procedure was performed without apparent complications, but in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit she awoke and complained of severe pain. Her condition quickly deteriorated and she became non-responsive. A code was called and resuscitation measures were taken, but the patient passed away within a few hours. Lab results taken from the patient during resuscitation revealed evidence of hyponatremia or water intoxication. Rich and Conor demanded arbitration and, working with their experts, developed persuasive evidence that the patient died because a surgical nurse breached the standard of care by using water, instead of an isotonic solution such as Lactated Ringers, to irrigate the operative field during surgery. Large HMO disputed that water intoxication was the cause of the patient’s death and maintained the proper irrigation fluid was used. The case settled after the completion of fact discovery for $1,000,000. As part of the settlement, annuities were purchased for both of the patient’s young children which will pay guaranteed sums until the children are 34-years-old.

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Settlement

Confidential

Vehicular Negligence

In Motorist v. Local Taxi (S.F. Sup. Ct.), Matthew Davis and Spencer Pahlke obtained a seven-figure settlement on behalf of a young woman injured when she was struck by a San Francisco cab. On the evening of the collision our client was riding her scooter from the Mission to Potrero Hill. As she proceeded through the intersection where the collision occurred, a taxi approached from the opposite direction and made a left-hand turn in front of her. She struck the front-left side of the cab, flew through the air, striking the ground, suffering serious injuries. Matt and Spencer retained and used both liability and damage experts to demonstrate the driver’s inattention, and the extent and nature of plaintiff’s future disability. Given our client’s young age (mid 20s) particular attention was paid to how her injuries would affect her in the future. A $1 million dollar policy limit settlement was reached prior to the mandatory settlement conference.

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