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

$45 Million

Premises Liability: Commercial House Cleaners v. Residential Gas Supply

Matthew D. Davis, Spencer J. Pahlke and  Valerie N. Rose represented a couple who were cleaning a vacation rental home when leaking gas vapors ignited. Both clients suffered severe full thickness third degree burns in the ensuing explosion. Matt, Spencer and Valerie established that the defendants had violated a number of safety laws relating to supply piping and maintenance, and that these violations were a cause of the gas leak. The Walkup team developed evidence showing that the defendant had a history of violating these same safety laws, that there had been prior home explosions, and that the company had been warned future explosions were likely to occur in the event of continued violations. Matt, Spencer and Valerie argued that this history demonstrated a conscious disregard of the safety of the public justifying an award of punitive damages. The plaintiffs were non-English speaking legal residents who were rendered totally disabled by virtue of the full thickness burns, residual cosmetic disfigurement and functional limitations. The case settled at a judicially mandated settlement conference less than a week before trial for $45,000,000.

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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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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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Settlement

20 Million

Industrial Negligence: Family v. Agricultural Trust

Douglas Saeltzer and Spencer J. Pahlke represented the surviving wife and children of a man tragically killed by an irrigation siphon pipe in the San Joaquin Delta. The decedent, his family and friends were wakeboarding on the delta when the tow rope got caught in the boat’s propeller. Swimming under the back end of the boat, he slapped the side of the boat with his hand, signaling he was unable to resurface. Rescuers discovered his leg had been sucked into a 12” irrigation siphon. He drowned as his family and friends attempted to rescue him. Doug and Spencer elected to proceed under Maritime Law. Because the incident occurred on navigable waters, it could be filed in admiralty, permitting a recovery for pre-death pain and suffering. The team also obtained a preferential trial date based upon the age of one of the surviving children. In discovery, Doug and Spencer obtained admissions from the property owner’s manager and employees that this was an accident waiting to happen. The matter settled for $20,000,000 shortly before expert discovery was to commence.

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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

11.1 Million

Dangerous Crosswalk

Richard H. Schoenberger, Douglas S. Saeltzer and Jeffrey A. Clause recently obtained an $11,100,000 mediated recovery on behalf of a 6-year-old boy and two surviving heirs of his deceased grandmother following a tragic auto versus pedestrian crash. The boy and his grandmother were crossing the street in a marked crosswalk when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver.  The young plaintiff sustained severe orthopedic injuries and a traumatic brain injury. He spent more than 50 days in the hospital. His grandmother sustained fatal blunt force trauma.  She was survived by her two adult children.

The Walkup team argued that the underinsured hit-and-run driver, as well as the city which maintained the crosswalk, were both substantial factors in bringing about the tragedy.

As to the public entity which paid $11,000,000 of the settlement, Rich, Doug and Jeff demonstrated that the marked crosswalk located at a multi-lane, high speed, high traffic volume and uncontrolled intersection, negligently created a false sense of security which allowed pedestrians to feel safe in the absence of stop signs or stop lights. Several months before the collision the City had conducted a pedestrian traffic study of the intersection and confirmed that the marked crosswalk was potentially dangerous and actually increased the pedestrian crash risk.  As a result, the City undertook to remove the marked crosswalk by attempting to grind out the painted markings.  But the removal was negligently carried out – with the crosswalk remaining visible in the form of distinct grind marks and remnants of the white thermoplastic. Making matters worse, the City removed advanced pedestrian crossing warning signs as part of the removal project in violation of its own Design and Procedures Manual.  Thus, not only did the marked crosswalk arguably remain visible, but necessary warnings to drivers were eliminated.

Relying on a published federal study and the municipality’s own Pedestrian Crossing Guidelines, the Walkup team successfully survived summary judgment arguing that the defendant took an intersection that it knew was dangerous, and effectively made it even more dangerous. Had the City completely removed the crosswalk and left the warning signs in place, the young boy would not have been injured and his grandmother would still be alive today.

The case resolved at mediation shortly before trial.  It is believed to be one of the largest pretrial dangerous crosswalk settlements in Northern California history.

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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

CONFIDENTIAL 8-FIGURE SETTLEMENT

Medical Negligence: Homemaker v. Rural Emergency Department

Michael A. Kelly and Christian Jagusch M.D., J.D. reached an eight figure multi-million dollar confidential settlement on behalf of a mother of two who suffered the loss of both legs due to delayed diagnosis of sepsis. Plaintiff went initially to the office of her general practitioner for a skin irritation. He sent her home. Two days later she went to a hospital emergency room where her history of being on two immunosuppressant medications was ignored. She was diagnosed with “flu-like symptoms” and released. The next day she developed a fever and body aches and visited a second hospital emergency department. The admitting nurse correctly noted that she was on immunosuppressant medications but did not communicate that fact to the physician on duty who diagnosed “viral syndrome” instead of worsening infection. The plantiff decompensated into septic shock at home and was finally hospitalized near death with a massive Group A Strep infection. She remained hospitalized for two and a half months during which time her limbs suffered lack of blood supply and required amputation. All defendant health care providers denied responsibility. The plaintiff was the beneficiary of an ERISA medical insurance policy through her husband’s employment. The medical benefit provider asserted medical liens in excess of $2,000,000. As part of the case resolution a substantial compromise of the liens was achieved.

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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 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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Jury Verdict

$8.35 million

Defective Man Lift on Construction Site

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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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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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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

$5.1 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

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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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

$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

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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