Representative General Liability Cases
We successfully defended the Los Angeles Unified School District ("LAUSD"Ã‚Â) in the trial of a suit brought by the mother of an autistic boy on behalf of her son--a child attending a school within the LAUSD. Plaintiff alleged that LAUSD had negligently supervised the school premises by allowing the child’s Behavior Therapist to physically abuse him. The Behavior Therapist had been employed by a co-defendant but supervised by the school principal and classroom teacher. The Behavior Therapist was alleged to have screamed at the child in anger and slammed the lid of a plastic "pencil box"Ã‚Â on his hand, repeatedly and violently. The "pencil box incident"Ã‚Â was reportedly observed by the mother of another student as she passed by the classroom in which the event allegedly occurred. The child had also reported to the investigating police officers that the Behavior Therapist had yelled at him in the past and pushed him up against a wall. Three years after the alleged incident, the child newly claimed that the Behavior Therapist had also committed other acts of physical and verbal abuse for several weeks leading up to the "pencil box incident."Ã‚Â
The jury trial commenced on July 15, 2013, and lasted more than four weeks. We presented evidence to establish that the witness to the event had leapt to an understandable, but incorrect conclusion that she had seen an incident of abuse. Instead, we established for the jury that the witness had merely observed the child throwing a tantrum and an effort by the Behavior Therapist to calm him down. We also argued successfully that if the Behavior Therapist had committed the acts alleged, there would have been considerable injury to the child’s hand, but the police officers investigating the incident that day saw no evidence of any physical harm to the child. Plaintiff’s expert psychologist (a prominent UCLA doctor) testified for the plaintiff and claimed that the child was suffering from PTSD as a result of the alleged abuse. However, we successfully challenged the basis of his conclusions, and elicited testimony from the child’s prior treating physician, who testified to his pre-existing behavioral and anxiety issues, contradicting plaintiff’s assertions. The jury returned a defense verdict after deliberating for only one day. The jury voted 10-2 in favor of the LAUSD, finding no negligence in its supervision of the school.
- We represented an event production company in a case filed by an individual who suffered a fractured vertebra at a company picnic when he participated in a human sphere race. After establishing a likelihood of a defense verdict based upon the doctrine of assumption of the risk, and undercutting the factual allegations using mechanical engineering, we were able to negotiate a favorable settlement. Moreover, we asserted a cross-complaint for contractual indemnity against the company that employed the plaintiff and were successful in obtaining a substantial portion of the settlement amount back for our client's insurer.
- We represented a land owner in a case brought by a motorcycle racer who had suffered a catastrophic brain injury while riding his motorcycle on a track located on the client's property. During the case, we were able to demonstrate that the client's maintenance of its property did not cause or contribute to the accident, leading to an eventual voluntary dismissal of the client.
- We represented a restaurant in a case brought by a patron who claimed that he was injured when a pull-down staircase fell from the ceiling and struck him in the head. During discovery and depositions, we were able to demonstrate the falsity of plaintiff's factual assertions, leading to settlement for a nominal amount.
- We represented a construction company in a case brought by a pedestrian who asserted that he tore his Achilles tendon when he inadvertently walked into a trench spanning a public walkway. We demonstrated that there were barriers placed at the scene, and that it was unlikely that the accident happened as described by plaintiff. We eliminated the claims for lost profits and lost income based upon a lack of proof of such damages, and we thereafter negotiated a favorable settlement.
- We represented an apartment building owner in a case brought by an individual claiming to have fallen down an outside staircase that was in disrepair. Despite the documented poor condition of the staircase, through our investigation, we were able to demonstrate that plaintiff had fabricated his story, and that he was intoxicated and/or under the influence of illegal drugs at the time of the alleged accident. The case settled for a nominal amount.