Case News

Episode of Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, which featured the Columbo case Sunday 10/2/2016


Ferretti v. Pfizer

United States healthcare spending was $2.3 trillion in 2010 and more than any country in the world. The United States is the largest pharmaceutical market globally with 2012 pharmaceutical sales estimated to exceed the whopping $880 Billion spent in 2011. The competitive race to discover the next "miracle" drug often leads pharmaceutical companies to spend massive amounts of capital in the pursuit of profits and recognition. Although it is important companies be properly compensated for the expenditure and time in testing new drugs and developing them, the desire to earn profits and market share can also lead drug companies to mislead about test results, cherry-pick data in an effort to present the most favorable position, and cut corners while investigating the safety of new drugs. The results of such actions or inactions can ultimately put many people at risk of being catastrophically injured by new drugs.

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Brain Injury Case Settled for $2.1M

August 5, 2015

FACTS: Plaintiff Silvia Ayala-Salamat, 47, was injured when an unbolted post from a cyclone fence fell and struck her in the head while she was doing a closing property inspection in the course and scope of her employment with CBRE Property Management on May 2, 2011.

PLAINTIFF'S CONTENTIONS: On May 2, 2011, at 4 p.m., plaintiff met one of her supervisors, Virginia Unruh at the subject property. [REDACTED], JIT's owner, and [REDACTED], general manager, arrived shortly after. Between the time that the JIT employees left the building on Saturday night and the time of the inspection on Monday afternoon, no one had access to the building except for JIT employees. In one corner of the warehouse, the tenant that occupied the space prior to JIT had constructed a chainlink fence enclosure. Plaintiff contended there were two vending machines inside this enclosure. One could enter the enclosure inside the warehouse through the gate on the side of the cyclone fence. There was also an exterior door, through which one could enter from outside the building.

As the inspection proceeded into the warehouse, plaintiff was making notes of things that needed to be repaired. She was walking ahead of JIT's owner and Unruh. Plaintiff and Unruh testified that JIT's general

manager was not part of the inspection and was not with them as the inspection proceeded into the warehouse.

As plaintiff approached the fenced enclosure, she went to open what she thought was a gate to the enclosure to make sure it was working properly. It turns out that what she tried to pull on was an anchor post that had originally been adjacent to the gate to the enclosure, and that post had been unbolted from the concrete floor, moved approximately 120 degrees, and left standing in an upright position. It appeared to plaintiff and Unruh that it was actually a gate and there was no way to tell it was not bolted to the ground. When plaintiff tried to open what she thought was a gate, the unbolted portion of the fence fell toward her and the post struck her in the head. While she was dazed and stunned, she thought she was okay and, despite Unruh's request that she drive plaintiff to the hospital or home, plaintiff drove home. The inspection had nearly been completed and plaintiff does not remember the remainder of the inspection. Unruh testified that JIT's owner gave her the keys to the premises at the end of the inspection. Plaintiff contended that no one but JIT employees had access to the warehouse from the time that they cleaned up on April 30, 2011, to the time of the inspection.

Plaintiff contended the vending machines were too wide for the cyclone fence door or the exterior door, which entered into the fenced enclosure. Plaintiff claimed that it was JIT employees that unbolted the post in order to remove the vending machines and just did not bother to reattach the post. Plaintiff argued that they created a dangerous condition, particularly in view of the fact that JIT's owner and JIT's general manager knew that there would be a final inspection the following Monday with CBRE employees conducting the inspection.

DEFENDANTS' CONTENTIONS: JIT's general manager testified he did not recall who opened the building. JIT's owner testified that he had driven to the CBRE offices that Monday morning and turned in the keys, and that one of the CBRE women opened the building. JIT's owner and JIT's general manager testified that they had been moved to their new office and the vending machines were no longer at the property. JIT's general manager testified that he was with plaintiff and Unruh as the inspection proceeded into the warehouse.

INJURIES: Plaintiff claimed she suffered a lifealtering traumatic brain injury. Although plaintiff does not recall doing so, she drove herself home after the incident. Later that day, she claimed she experienced dizziness, nausea and vomiting and neck pain, which prompted her to go to the ER at Good Samaritan Hospital where a CT scan of her head was read as normal. Plaintiff attempted to return to work at some point but found she could not tolerate the workplace because of her inability to concentrate and focus and because of headaches and neck pain, and was therefore allowed to work at home four hours per day. In August 2011, her employer had to replace her. Plaintiff claimed she could not drive after the brain injury, which was a significant component of her job. Plaintiff claimed that she had no problem handling the multifaceted aspects of her job for the 20 years prior to her and the stunning lack of regulation of her brain injury, but now she was overwhelmed by it all. As a result of her traumatic brain injury, plaintiff claimed and continues to claim memory loss, inability to concentrate and focus, impaired speech, headaches, photophobia, imbalance, and sensitivity to noise. She claimed she no longer drives and had to move back in wither parents due to her losing her employment. She also claimed depression. The physicians who examined, evaluated and treated plaintiff following the incident uniformly concluded that she was totally disabled from work.

SPECIALS IN EVIDENCE: MEDS: $67,000 (workers' compensation) Future MEDS: $700,000 (disputed)

LOE: Plaintiff claimed approximately $1.6 million in wage loss.

RESULT: The case settled for $2.1 million, with $250,000 being contributed by the compensation carrier.


San Francisco Pays $725,000 Settlement in Whistleblower Retaliation Case Against Chief Suhr

April 27, 2015

"After a long and hard-fought struggle, she's finally achieved resolution of her case, and she's pleased with the results"- Randy Strauss - Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer attorney

In a resounding victory, our client Kelly O'Haire's case settled for $725,000 just as jury selection was about to begin in her trial for whistleblower retaliation against the City of San Francisco and San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Chief Gregory Suhr. The lawsuit was originally filed in San Francisco Superior Court on May 15, 2013. Ms. O'Haire was an internal affairs attorney for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). In 2009, Ms. O'Haire was assigned a disciplinary case against then Deputy Chief Greg Suhr. She reported to her supervisors that she believed Suhr had violated the Penal Code when he failed to promptly report and arrest a domestic violence offender. Suhr did not arrest the perpetrator or take the victim to get medical assistance even though the victim's collarbone was broken during the incident and the abuser was later charged with attempted murder. Although Suhr responded to the incident in a police vehicle, his involvement was not discovered until the SFPD was conducting its follow up investigation.

The City of San Francisco's Explanation for Kelly O'Haire's Wrongful Termination

Two and a half weeks after Greg Suhr was appointed Chief of Police in 2011, he fired Kelly O'Haire. The City contended that Kelly O'Haire was "dismissed" as part of budget cuts at the Police Department.

The City Attorney fought tooth and nail to have the case dismissed without a jury trial. After two unsuccessful demurrers, the City tried to have the case dismissed on summary judgment. Judge Ernest Goldsmith decisively refused to grant summary judgment of the lawsuit against Suhr and the City of San Francisco. Judge Goldsmith reasoned that a jury could come to a conclusion that Ms. O'Haire was a victim of retaliation and wrongful termination because, among other things involved in the case, "the timing of the termination decision was suspicious."

After failing to get the case thrown out without a jury trial in pretrial motions, the City finally agreed to settle the case.

City attorney Dennis Herrera's spokesman Matt Dorsey contended that San Francisco had agreed to the $725,000 settlement upon acquiring information that Ms. O'Haire, unlike other Police Department employees who had been fired or demoted at the same time, hadn't been allowed to stay at work for an additional period so that she could increase her retirement benefits. Dorsey further contended that Chief Suhr had no knowledge of the situation at the time and that he would have gladly accommodated Ms. O'Haire if he had known.

We have no idea what Mr. Dorsey is talking about and neither does Ms. O'Haire. She didn't want to increase her retirement benefits. She wanted to keep her job. Only three people were terminated pursuant to these alleged cost cutting measures, Ms. O'Haire, Jerry Tidwell and Richard Nichelman. Ms. O'Haire's former colleague Richard Nichelman, the SFPD's support services director, said in an interview last week that he was walked out of the SFPD without any advanced warning and told that he would have to leave his office that afternoon. This is the same story Ms. O'Haire related in her sworn declaration. According to Richard Nichelman, no one ever offered him a chance to increase his benefits by temporarily remaining at work. Mr. Nichelman summed up his dispute of the City's explanation for wrongfully terminating Ms. O'Haire:

"It had nothing to do with retirement. Nothing like that happened"

Courage Under Fire: Whistleblower Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

"It was an honor to represent one of the most courageous people I've ever met, who stood firm by her principles of honesty and integrity. I am more than pleased that she earned the settlement she deserves, which fully vindicates her and the important work she performed on behalf of the citizens of San Francisco."--Attorney Randy Strauss

"It takes a lot of courage to speak up against the people who are now in power, but Kelly O'Haire continued to fight for what she believed in and I am very inspired by her. Whistleblowers often do not fare well when they dare to speak out. Hopefully, Kelly O'Haire's courage will change that and encourage other would be whistleblowers to do the right thing." -- Attorney Jayme Walker

Vindication is the word that best describes the final outcome and settlement of $725,000 in favor of Kelly O'Haire. It is vindication that a dedicated employee for the City of San Francisco like Kelly O'Haire, sworn to uphold the law to the highest degree and who was tasked with investigating police officers and ranking officials, can do her job without fear of retaliation. And it is vindication that the tax-paying citizens, who financially support the SFPD, can and should expect their public servants and elected officials to be held accountable for their actions.


Wrongful Death Case Settled for $2 Million

January 26, 2015

RESULT DATE: Jan. 26, 2015 Nancy Lee, Monica Lee, Samantha Lee v. City of Oakland (RG12641451) 16­JV_95

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: Wrongful Death

SETTLEMENT: $2,000,000

ATTORNEY: Plaintiff ­ Steven R. Cavalli, Jayme L. Walker (Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer APC, Oakland). Defendant ­ Wendy M. Garbers (Office of the City Attorney, Oakland).

FACTS: On Sept. 24, 2011, Allen Lee, 52, was riding his bicycle with his cycling club when his front tire became caught in a large rut in the roadway while he was descending Grizzly Peak Blvd. in the City of Oakland. As Lee struggled to free his bicycle from the confines of the 6­8 foot long large rut, the bicycles momentum caused Allen to be thrown over the handlebars, across the centerline and into the path of an oncoming vehicle. He died almost instantly from massive head trauma. Decedent's wife and two daughters, ages 16 and 20, brought this action against defendant.

CONTENTIONS: PLAINTIFF'S CONTENTIONS: Plaintiffs claimed the City of Oakland was liable for allowing a dangerous condition to exist on public property despite actual notice of the dangerous condition in plenty of time to correct it before decedent's death. In March 2005, the City of Oakland responded to a cyclist's complaint acknowledging that they were unable to fix the potholes on one of the sections of Grizzly Peak and acknowledging the road's condition was a danger to cyclists.

In December 2005, Oakland City Councilwoman Jane Brunner forwarded a complaint from a civil engineer regarding the danger to hundreds of bicyclists on Grizzly Peak Blvd. because of cracks in the roadway. There are several emails back and forth between public works about advising as to the plan of action, but no plan of action to correct the dangerous condition.

Another complaint on March 20, 2007, indicated that two bicyclists had ended up in the ER because of the potholes on Grizzly Peak. The city replied that it was repairing streets but was limited by funding. The response acknowledged that the city was familiar with the condition of the road and even admitted that there likely were many bicycle collisions caused by the condition of the road that were unreported. On May 24, 2010, a cyclist called to complain about cracks on Grizzly Peak that the caller claimed was wide enough to fit a bicycle tire.

Six months prior to decedent's death, there was a complaint about potholes on Grizzly Peak between Lomas Cantadas and Claremont Ave. Nothing was done to resolve the complaint until Jan. 1, 2012, after decedent's death.

DEFENDANT'S CONTENTIONS: Defendant contended that decedent assumed the risk of riding his bicycle on Grizzly Peak because he was engaged in a sport with inherent risks. Defendant contended that because decedent was riding with an organized cycling club and preparing for a cycling competition that hitting potholes in the road was a risk inherent in that activity. Defendant claimed the city was unable to fix the roadway because it lacked the funds.

DAMAGES: Plaintiffs claimed approximately $500,000 in loss of household services.

RESULT: The case settled for $2 million.


Trial Set In Litigation Over Layoff At Lawrence Livermore Lab

January 26, 2015

On January 26, 2015, the claims of 10 of the 130 plaintiffs in Andrews, et. al. v. Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Case No. RG09453596 will be tried to a jury in Alameda County Superior Court, Department 20, before the Honorable Robert B. Freedman. This will be the third trial in the case.

The 10 plaintiffs were scientists and engineers, who had long and distinguished careers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They were laid off in May 2008, shortly after the lab's privatization by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), which is led by Bechtel Corporation, the multinational construction and engineering company based in San Francisco. In May 2009, 130 employees, represented by the law firm of Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer, filed suit against LLNS for wrongful termination, breach of contract, age discrimination and other individual claims.

In the Phase 1 trial in early 2013, a jury found that LLNS breached its contracts with five different plaintiffs and awarded more than $2.7 million in damages for their economic loss. In the Phase 2 trial in late 2013, a separate jury found that the layoff did not have a disproportionate impact on employees age 40 and over. Judgment is being entered this week on the five plaintiffs' claims. As the prevailing parties, the plaintiffs are entitled to recover their costs from LLNS. The plaintiffs will also seek attorneys' fees and prejudgment interest.

The parties will return to court on May 7, 2014, when the court will rule on the parties' post-trial motions and hold another case management conference.


Wrongful Death Bicycle Accident Settlement of $2,000,000

January 26, 2015

FACTS: On Sept. 24, 2011, Allen Lee, 52, was riding his bicycle with his cycling club when his front tire became caught in a large rut in the roadway while he was descending Grizzly Peak Blvd. in the City of Oakland. As Lee struggled to free his bicycle from the confines of the 68 foot long large rut, the bicycles momentum caused Allen to be thrown over the handlebars, across the centerline and into the path of an oncoming vehicle. He died almost instantly from massive head trauma. Decedent's wife and two daughters, ages 16 and 20, brought this action against defendant.

CONTENTIONS: PLAINTIFF'S CONTENTIONS: Plaintiffs claimed the City of Oakland was liable for allowing a dangerous condition to exist on public property despite actual notice of the dangerous condition in plenty of time to correct it before decedent's death. In March 2005, the City of Oakland responded to a cyclist's complaint acknowledging that they were unable to fix the potholes on one of the sections of Grizzly Peak and acknowledging the road's condition was a danger to cyclists.

In December 2005, Oakland City Councilwoman Jane Brunner forwarded a complaint from a civil engineer regarding the danger to hundreds of bicyclists on Grizzly Peak Blvd. because of cracks in the roadway. There are several emails back and forth between public works about advising as to the plan of action, but no plan of action to correct the dangerous condition.

Another complaint on March 20, 2007, indicated that two bicyclists had ended up in the ER because of the potholes on Grizzly Peak. The city replied that it was repairing streets but was limited by funding. The response acknowledged that the city was familiar with the condition of the road and even admitted that there likely were many bicycle collisions caused by the condition of the road that were unreported. On May 24, 2010, a cyclist called to complain about cracks on Grizzly Peak that the caller claimed was wide enough to fit a bicycle tire.

Six months prior to decedent's death, there was a complaint about potholes on Grizzly Peak between Lomas Cantadas and Claremont Ave. Nothing was done to resolve the complaint until Jan. 1, 2012, after decedent's death.

DEFENDANT'S CONTENTIONS: Defendant contended that decedent assumed the risk of riding his bicycle on Grizzly Peak because he was engaged in a sport with inherent risks. Defendant contended that because decedent was riding with an organized cycling club and preparing for a cycling competition that hitting potholes in the road was a risk inherent in that activity. Defendant claimed the city was unable to fix the roadway because it lacked the funds.

DAMAGES: Plaintiffs claimed approximately $500,000 in loss of household services.

RESULT: The case settled for $2 million.


Judge Rules Age Discrimination Claims Against CSAA Can Proceed In One Trial

January 28, 2014

On January 28, 2014, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Judith S. Craddick issued a ruling denying CSAA's motion to hold nine separate age discrimination trials of former sales agent's claims of age discrimination against the company. Instead, the claims will proceed to trial together on February 18, 2014. The trial will be held in the Contra Costa County Superior Court, Case No. C 10-03173, Estate of Charles Robert Fitzgerald, et. al. v. California State Automobile Association et al. CSAA's headquarters are located in Walnut Creek.

In the lawsuit, filed November 1, 2010, nine former insurance sales agents allege they were either forced to resign or fired by CSAA because of their age. One former agent, Robert Fitzgerald, died while the lawsuit was pending. CSAA subsequently agreed to settle his claims with his estate.

Each of the agents is at least 50 years old, and had long and successful careers with the company. According to the lawsuit, CSAA adopted a policy of forcing out older agents who had built up large books of business in order to avoid paying renewal commissions to those agents. Once terminated, these agents' books of business become house accounts, with no commissions owed. This potentially saves CSAA a lot of money in unpaid commissions. Instead of paying sales agents commissions, CSAA is driving new sales to call centers it has set up staffed by newer, younger employees who are not paid any commission.

This is the third time CSAA has brought a motion, asking the judge to separate the cases into separate trials. In her ruling today, Judge Craddick wrote that the claims should be tried together because the case involves "claims of a company-wide pattern and practice of discrimination that will involve evidence common across all plaintiffs." As such, Judge Craddick determined that "'the convenience of witnesses, the ends of justice and the economy and efficiency of handling the litigation are best served here by having plaintiffs' claims tried together."

Lead plaintiffs' attorney J. Gary Gwilliam commented on the ruling: "CSAA does not want these cases tried together because it serves to focus the spotlight on a company that has been engaging in illegal age discrimination for years. For the third time, the judge has told them that this trial will go forward as one case. This is an important ruling toward getting justice for these employees who were loyal to CSAA for years, only to be wrongfully fired just because CSAA thought they got too old, and made too much money."


Whistleblower Attorney Kelly O'Haire Sues Chief Suhr And The City Of San Francisco For Retaliation And Wrongful Termination

May 15, 2013

Kelly O'Haire, a whistleblower and former internal affairs attorney for SFPD, filed a lawsuit on May 15, 2013, in San Francisco Superior Court against Chief Suhr and the City of San Francisco for retaliation and wrongful termination. Chief Suhr terminated O'Haire less than a month after he became SFPD Chief in retaliation for her handling several of his prior disciplinary actions that could have resulted in his termination, including his failure to properly report and arrest a domestic violence offender. Plaintiff O'Haire is represented by the law firm of Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer of Oakland, California.

Ms. O'Haire worked in government service for over 27 years, including as a police officer and then an assistant district attorney. In 2006, she was hired by the SFPD as an internal affairs attorney and was responsible for investigating and prosecuting disciplinary actions against members of the police department. In this role, Ms. O'Haire prosecuted Suhr and brought a motion to bring his prior discipline into evidence in that action. This action could have led to termination of Suhr. Ms. O'Haire was threatened by Suhr's lawyers who told her she did not "know how this city worked," and that this was going to be a future employment problem for then-Chief Heather Fong, O'Haire and others involved. Ms. O'Haire's lawyers expect to call as witnesses many top officials in the city and county of San Francisco, including Mayor Ed Lee, District Attorney George Gascon (who was police chief prior to Suhr), and former Chief Heather Fong.

The Monty Show Podcast - June 2 2013, Hour 3: Attorney Kelly O'Haire joins Monty to discuss her case against San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr.


Jury Awards $2.7 M Against Lawrence Livermore Lab For Wrongfully Terminating Long-Time Employees In 2008

May 10, 2013

After two months of trial, on May 10, 2013, an Alameda County jury returned a verdict in Andrews, et. al. v. Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC., Case No. RG09453596 in favor of five plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that they were laid off in 2008 by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS) in bad faith violation of their employment contracts. These first five plaintiffs were selected by Judge Robert Freedman to be test cases in a lawsuit involving 130 plaintiffs with similar claims. All the plaintiffs are represented by Oakland's Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer.

All 130 plaintiffs also have claims for age discrimination, which will be tried in a later phase of the case. A hearing has been set for Thursday, May 16, 2013, to set a trial for the next phase of this case.

The jury found that plaintiffs Elaine Andrews, Marian Barraza, Mario Jimenez, Greg Olsen and James Torrice were unfairly selected for layoff under their contract with LLNS, a private entity headed by Bechtel and the University of California, which runs Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under a contract with the federal government. All of the plaintiffs have a contract that says they can only be terminated for "reasonable cause." During the hard-fought battle, plaintiffs' attorneys J. Gary Gwilliam, Randall E. Strauss and Robert J. Schwartz argued that LLNS did not have reasonable cause to select these particular employees under the lab's strict layoff rules, and that they acted in bad faith.

An Alameda County jury agreed and awarded:

  • Elaine Andrews: $242,711 for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing
  • Marian Barrraza: $443,299 for (1) breach of contract and (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing
  • Mario Jimenez: $853,010 for (1) breach of contract and (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing;
  • Greg Olsen: $704,234 for (1) breach of contract and (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing
  • James "Rocky" Torrice: $485,783 for (1) breach of contract and (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing

These awards represent compensation for past and future economic damages only. The court had previously decided to try these contract claims separately. The plaintiffs' age discrimination claims will be tried at a later date, including claims of emotional distress.

"Now that the jury has found that LLNS acted in bad faith and did not have reasonable cause to select these loyal, long-term employees for layoff, we expect to be able to prove that the entire layoff was unfair to the lab's older workers," said co-lead trial counsel Randall E. Strauss.


The Trial Of Five Plaintiffs vs. LLNS (Lawrence Livermore Lab) To Start In The Alameda Co. Superior Court: Department 20 - Case RG09453596

March 11, 2013

Following almost four years of intense litigation, five of the 130 plaintiffs in the case of Andrews vs. LLNS look forward to the opportunity to have their case heard at trial beginning March 11, 2013, in Alameda Superior Court, Department 20.

In 2008, 430 permanent employees were laid off by the lab shortly after the lab's privatization led by Bechtel Corporation, the multinational engineering company based in San Francisco. In May of 2009, 130 of the 430 employees, represented by law firm of Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer, filed suit against LLNS for wrongful termination, breach of contract and individual allegations ranging from age discrimination to retaliation.

The first five plaintiffs (Elaine Andrews, Marian Barraza, Mario Jimenez, Greg Olsen and James Torrice) of the 130 will proceed to trial on March 11, 2013. This is being called Phase One. These five plaintiffs allege breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and one plaintiff has a claim for retaliation.


Major Victory For plaintiffs In Age-Discrimination Lawsuit Against Bechtel-Led Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC

October 12, 2012

On October 12, 2012, Judge Robert B. Freedman of the Alameda County (California) Superior Court issued a ruling in a 19-page decision allowing 130 plaintiffs' claims of disparate impact age discrimination to proceed to trial. The defendant, Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, a private company made up of Bechtel and its partners, asked the Court to throw out the age discrimination claim, arguing that a layoff of 430 employees in 2008 did not target older workers. Under California law, employees over the age of 40 are protected against age discrimination. The plaintiffs in this case are 130 former employees whose average age is 54, and who worked for the Lab an average of 20 years. All of them were terminated during the mass layoff in May of 2008, just seven months after the Bechtel-led company won the contract from the Department of Energy to manage the national nuclear laboratory in Livermore.

Judge Freedman, in his October 12, 2012 order — made available on October 16 — ruled that plaintiffs had presented sufficient statistical evidence that the layoff had a disproportionate impact on employees over the age of 40, and that a jury will be permitted to decide whether the lab could have pursued alternatives to the terminations which would not have resulted in age discrimination.

This ruling follows three and one-half years of litigation, during which defendant has filed numerous motions, including demurrers, motions to strike, writs, motions for summary adjudication, motions to continue trial and motions for separate trials. The October 12, 2012, ruling means, once and for all, that plaintiffs' age discrimination cases will proceed to trial.

Lead plaintiffs' attorney J. Gary Gwilliam stated, "Our clients have waited a long time for this trial. We look forward to having a jury hear this case as soon as possible."

A hearing is scheduled for November 1, 2012, to schedule the trial date, which is expected to take place in December or January 2013.

The case is Andrews, et al. v. Lawrence Livermore National security, LLC. Case No. RG09453596.


Bicyclist Dies On Dangerous Oakland Roadway - Suit Filed By Family In Oakland Superior Court For Wrongful Death

September 24, 2011

The widow and children of deceased bicyclist, Allan Lee, filed suit today in the Alameda Superior Court against the city of Oakland. Allan Lee was killed tragically on September 24, 2011, when, while riding with a group of cyclists, the front wheel of his bicycle became stuck in a rut on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, propelling him over the handlebars and into the path of an oncoming car. Nancy Lee and her two children are seeking compensatory damages for the wrongful death of her husband. The lawsuit contends that the city of Oakland violated Government Code Section 835, failing to fix a dangerous roadway.

Grizzly Peak Boulevard, in the area where this incident occurred, has a long history of citizen and bicyclist complaints regarding unrepaired roadway gaps, ruts and grooves. In addition, on several occasions prior to the subject accident complaints about potholes, holes, cracks and disrepair of the subject roadway had been made to the Oakland Public Works Department. Despite these complaints, the roadway was in serious disrepair at the time of the accident.

Grizzly Peak Century is an organization which conducts a 100-mile bicycle race every year on East Bay roads, including Grizzly Peak Boulevard. A volunteer member of Grizzly Peak Century, Tom Buoye, had been complaining to the Oakland Public Works Department since 2009 about the area of the roadway where Allan Lee's accident happened, as well as other areas which posed hazards to bicyclists. As of March or April 2011, the section of road where the accident occurred was identified and spray-painted by Mr. Buoye, but it was only after the fatal accident that the roadway was repaired. The response he received was that the city of Oakland had established a five-year plan in 2007 which states:

Bicycle Master Plan

"Oakland will be a City where bicycling is fully integrated into daily life, providing transportation and recreation that are both safe and convenient."
City of Oakland, Bicycle Master Plan (2007)

Yet, as of January 2010, Jennifer Stanley, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Coordinator for the City of Oakland, in response to a complaint, acknowledged the dangerous condition of this roadway ... "being a bicyclist myself" ...

The roadway remained in horrible disrepair for years until after Mr. Lee was killed.

For more information on this breaking story see Oakland Tribune article, ABC News Story and our Personal Injury Blog.

View a Recent Video on NBC about dangerous road conditions in the Bay Area.


On May 30, 2012, Former DA Michael Gressett Files Civil Complaint In Superior Court Against 20 Defendants Including Public Entities And Private Individuals

May 30, 2012

On May 30, 2012, former Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Michael Gressett filed a civil lawsuit for a politically motivated malicious prosecution, false arrest, defamation and violation of his constitutional rights. The defendants include: Contra Costa County, the Contra Costa County District Attorneys' Office; the City of Martinez; the City of Martinez Police Department; the State of California; the Office of the Attorney General for the State of California; Former District Attorney Robert Kochly; Former Contra Costa County Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Paul Sequeira; Former Contra Costa County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Baker; Chief Investigator Gene Greenwald; Darryl Jackson; Paul Mulligan; Former Martinez Chief of Police Tom Simonetti; Eric Ghisletta; Jon Sylvia; Supervising Deputy Attorney General Joyce Blair; Deputy Attorney General Peter Flores; former judge and 2010 Contra Costa district attorney candidate Dan O'Malley; Tom McKenna and the O'Malley & McKenna Law Office.


Occupy Oakland Business Fraud Verdict: Oakland Jury Awards $9 Million Against Multi-National Corporation For Business Fraud And Breach Of Contract. On February 9, 2012, Judgment Entered To Bring Award In Excess Of $11 Million.

November 4, 2011

As the Occupy Oakland General Strike was raging outside the courthouse doors, local business owner Peter Allen was waiting for a jury to tell a large corporation that Oakland would not tolerate lies and greed in business dealings. Mr. Allen had been fighting a lawsuit against Texas-based corporation, Healthtronics, Inc., for three years. Closing arguments were given on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, the same day as the Occupy Oakland General Strike. On Friday, November 4, 2011, the jury returned a verdict in Mr. Allens favor for over $9.3 million finding that Healthtronics had breached the contract and made intentional misrepresentations to Peter Allen. Since the November trial, a judgment was entered on February 9, 2012, in Alameda Superior Court awarding plaintiffs' attorneys fees in the amount of $1.75 million, costs in an amount to be determined and interest on the entire judgment in the amount of 10 percent per annum from the date of the November verdict.


$2.15 Million Final Judgment After Verdict In Employment Retaliation Case

April 14, 2010

On April 14, 2010, Judge David B. Flinn of the Contra Costa County Superior Court signed a final judgment in the amount of $2.15 million in favor of plaintiff J. Steven Wiley. The judgment includes $1.03 million in attorneys' fees and $121,376.75 in costs, added to the jury's verdict of $1 million awarded on March 10, 2009. Case was appealed and confidential settlement was negotiated.