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Verdicts & Settlements

The following case profiles are examples of past cases handled by the lawyers at Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer.


Motor Vehicle Accidents

30 year old photographer sustained severe injuries to his major hand when the defendant ran a red light and broadsided the plaintiff's vehicle, causing it to roll over. Plaintiff suffered a degloving injury of the hand and partial amputation of the thumb with severe residual pain, yet returned to work full-time four months after the accident.
Result: $3.7 million jury verdict.

A family rented a van from Dollar Rent a Car in Dallas, Texas to journey to California for a family reunion. While crossing Arizona, the rear tire blew out causing the van to go out of control into the median and roll over. Injuries ranged from scrapes and abrasions to fractures. The baby of the family, who was riding in her mother's lap, was ejected and suffered a head injury that resulted in hemiparesis and possible developmental delay. Plaintiffs contended that the tire had been improperly repaired by the placement of a plug in the sidewall and that Dollar either performed the repair or failed to inspect the vehicle prior to renting the vehicle to the family.
Result: $3 million settlement.

15 year old passenger in pickup truck suffered severe closed head injury and brain damage when driver lost control of vehicle while passing a semi-truck and struck the mountainside. Plaintiff contended state highway was dangerously maintained and that the semi-truck driver failed to allow driver of pickup to pass before curve in the roadway.
Result: $2.1 million settlement with the State of California paying $1,100,000, the semi-truck driver paying $700,000, the driver of the pickup truck $50,000, and $250,000 paid by the plaintiff's insurance carrier for underinsured motorist coverage.

40 year old woman was run over by a bus in downtown San Francisco, suffering multiple orthopedic injuries with some scarring. She made an excellent recovery.
Result: $1.6 million settlement.

33 year old woman passenger in a car suffered multiple injuries in an intersection collision. Plaintiff contended the developer was negligent for failing to place a stop sign at the intersection of the new housing development.
Result: $1.4 million settlement.

59 year old man was killed when he drove his vehicle out from a stop sign only to be broadsided by a cab which was exiting the freeway in Oakland. Plaintiff claimed that the cab was speeding and that the intersection was dangerous.
Result: $1.35 million settlement.

35 year old man drove into the rear end of a stopped truck on a dark, unlit road. The plaintiff alleged that the truck's trailer did not have tail lights or brake lights visible to following traffic. Plaintiff had a .18 blood alcohol level although admission of the blood sample was disputed due to possible contamination. Plaintiff suffered severe, permanent brain injury.
Result: $1.25 million settlement.

45 year old school teacher was involved in a broadside collision when the defendant pulled in front of the plaintiff's vehicle from a stop sign. Plaintiff suffered a closed head injury without loss of consciousness, which caused him to leave his job three months later with an alleged permanent disability.
Result: $800,000 jury verdict.


Pedestrian Accidents

22 year old undocumented alien, having recently come to the United States from Mexico, was struck while walking in a marked crosswalk in the City of San Jose. The plaintiff suffered a closed head injury which impairs his memory and ability to work.
Result: $1.5 million settlement.

Settlement received by a widow and heirs of a man who was struck and killed by a U-Haul van as he was crossing the street in San Francisco.
Result: $1.45 million settlement.

85 year old woman walking home from grocery store was killed by a city streetsweeper while legally in a crosswalk. She left her 90 year old husband and 4 adult children as heirs.
Result: $650,000 settlement.


Bicycle Accidents

Our client was struck and killed by a motorcycle driver while riding his bicycle in the Oakland hills. We were able to obtain a successful settlement for the surviving heirs.


Truck Accidents

Wrongful death settlement for widow and son of a man who was killed when a big-rig crashed through a center divider and hit his vehicle head on.
Result: $3.2 million settlement.

53 year old outside salesman injured when rear ended on freeway by fuel truck, sustaining a herniated disc at L5-S1. After failing conservative treatment, the plaintiff underwent successful discectomy, but remains a candidate for fusion surgery. Plaintiff claimed ongoing pain and permanent disability. Defendants admitted liability, contested damages. Case was tried in Las Vegas, NV.
Result: $2,554,221 verdict.

Multi-car accident on Highway 880. The defendant's truck spun out of control and struck the plaintiff's vehicle. The plaintiff's vehicle was stopped facing the wrong way on the freeway. Plaintiff suffered a severely fractured right ankle and a closed head injury resulting in permanent brain damage and permanent disability.
Result: $2.55 million jury verdict.

Two unseatbelted women were ejected from their parked van when it was struck by a big-rig.
Result: $2 million settlement.

A 63 year old man, pulling a trailer on I 505 Woodland, was rear ended by a big rig, loaded with 40,000 pounds of sugar, when big rig driver fell asleep at the wheel. Plaintiff suffered injury to his mid back resulting in chronic pain and sustained a concussion and fractured rib. The plaintiff has not been able to return to work as a carpenter.
Result: $1.5 million dollar verdict with additional 552,000 in interest and costs.

A 39 year old mother of three was killed when her vehicle under rode the trailer of a big rig as it was attempting to make a left turn in front of the decedent. Plaintiffs contended that the truck driver was negligent for not having conspicuity tape properly located on the trailer and for violating the terms of a permit issued by the City of Livermore.
Result: The case settled for $800,000 just prior to jury selection.


Premises Liability - Dangerous Conditions/Slip/Trip/Fall

A 44 year old aircraft groomer, was struck and run over by the wheels of a passenger loading bridge (PLB) operated by a co-employee at the San Francisco Airport International Terminal. She sustained severe injuries to both legs, resulting in above knee amputation of her left leg and an extensive crushing and degloving injury of her right leg. She is disabled from her injuries.

Plaintiff contended that San Francisco Airport controlled and maintained a dangerous workplace and failed to discharge its non-delegable duties under the controlling Federal Air Regulations. ThyssenKrup, the designer and manufacturer of the PLB, knowingly supplied a defective and unsafe PLB in violation of SFO specifications and controlling standards. Read more.
Results: After 3 ½ days of mediation the case settled for a CONFIDENTIAL amount. In addition to the settlement of the civil action, the Worker's Compensation carrier waived its lien, and plaintiff retained her right to future worker's compensation benefits.

A 30 year old laborer was burned over 30% of his body when a high pressure gas pipeline exploded in Walnut Creek after being struck by a back hoe during digging operations. Our client contended the pipeline owner created a dangerous condition of property by failing to have proper maps locating the pipeline and mismarking the location of the pipeline for the dig.
Result: The case settled for $8,500,000.00.

6 individuals were burned in a propane gas explosion. Case involved negligence and product liability issues.
Result: $3 million partial settlement.

A young child was hit in the head by a softball as he watched a baseball game while sitting in his mother's lap. Child suffered a fractured skull with a good recovery. Plaintiff alleged the public entity was liable for having the baseball fence too low to protect against batted balls.
Result: $900,000 settlement.

65 year old escalator repairman killed while pulling a fuse out of an electrical power panel at a commercial building in downtown Oakland. Plaintiffs contended negligent maintenance of electrical service caused panel to be "hot" even though decedent shut off power.
Result: $900,000 settlement.

61 year old woman fell into an underground pit at an oil changing station, suffering a serious fracture of her hip. Plaintiff alleged failure to cover or provide warning of the open pit.
Result: $797,703 jury verdict reduced to $638,162 for 20% comparative negligence.

18 year old Napa High School student injured when Bonzai Pipeline waterslide broke during school clogging of waterslide. Student fell 30+ feet, suffering fracture of femur and compartment syndrome of left arm.
Result: $600,000 settlement.

In 2003 an 8 year old girl was struck on the head by a softball while playing in a playground with other children. The softball was hit by an adult member of the Church softball team practicing on an adjacent field owned by the Our Savior Lutheran Church in Livermore CA. The girl suffered a fractured skull and brain injury. The jury determined the field was not appropriate for use as an adult softball practice field and that the coach of the team had improperly configured the softball diamond on the date of the accident so that the team was hitting into the play area. The jury found the Church 90% liable and the coach 10% at fault.
Result: $217,000 verdict.


Unsafe Roads and Government Liability

5 year old girl sustained permanent brain damage when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street. Dangerous intersection claim against the County of Contra Costa for inadequate lighting and inadequate warning signs.
Result: $4 million settlement. $3 million paid by the County of Contra Costa and $1 million paid by the insurance company of the driver's employer.

30 year old woman, survived by her husband and two children, was killed when she pulled out from a stop sign in front of a truck. Dangerous intersection case where plaintiffs contended that the stop sign was placed too far back from the intersection.
Result: $3.7 million jury verdict, with City of Fremont 80% liable, the decedent 10% liable and the truck driver 10% liable.

15 year old girl, crossing a four-lane roadway in the City of Livermore, suffered permanent brain injury. Claim of dangerous design of the roadway against the public entity.
Result: $2.115 million settlement. $2 million paid by the City of Livermore, $100,000 by the driver who blocked the girl's view, and $15,000 by the driver who hit the girl as she crossed the intersection.

10 month old boy suffered traumatic brain injury and spastic quadriparesis when mother's vehicle was struck while turning left in an intersection under the elevated BART tracks in Oakland. Plaintiff claimed the BART pillars caused a sight obstruction to left turning vehicles at the intersection and that the city was aware of the condition since the early 1970s.
Result: $2.1 million settlement during jury selection.

Husband, wife, and granddaughter on their way to grandson's graduation were struck by an oncoming vehicle passing cars in the opposite direction. Dangerous roadway claim against CalTrans for allowing passing in area with known sight distance impairment. Wife, age 78 died. Husband and granddaughter had serious internal injuries.
Result: $1.825 million settlement.

40 year old woman was trapped in her car on the lower deck of the Cypress Freeway during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Plaintiff suffered a broken right leg and severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Plaintiff contended that the State of California was negligent in its construction of the freeway.
Result: $1.4 million settlement.

Young girl suffered traumatic brain injury when vehicle driven by her father ran off road striking a tree in Trinity County. CalTrans engineers identified curve as needing evaluation approximately one year prior to accident. Several months before the accident CalTrans performed ball-bank tests indicating the need for a speed advisory sign but delayed placing sign in curve until one month after accident.
Result: $950,000 settlement.

Plaintiff, a 43 year old termite inspector, lost control of his motorcycle while changing lanes on Interstate 580 eastbound when the front wheel of his bike slipped into a gap between lanes causing an uncontrollable high speed wobble. Plaintiff suffered multiple fractures when he hit the guardrail and was ejected from his motorcycle. Plaintiff contended that the road bed had been deteriorating for years and that CalTrans had made inadequate repairs despite knowledge of the dangerous condition.
Result: Case settled for $700,000.


Product Liability/Defective Products/Crashworthiness

A 44 year old aircraft groomer, was struck and run over by the wheels of a passenger loading bridge (PLB) operated by a co-employee at the San Francisco Airport International Terminal. She sustained severe injuries to both legs, resulting in above knee amputation of her left leg and an extensive crushing and degloving injury of her right leg. She is disabled from her injuries.

Plaintiff contended that San Francisco Airport controlled and maintained a dangerous workplace and failed to discharge its non-delegable duties under the controlling Federal Air Regulations. ThyssenKrup, the designer and manufacturer of the PLB, knowingly supplied a defective and unsafe PLB in violation of SFO specifications and controlling standards. Read more.
Results: After 3 ½ days of mediation the case settled for a CONFIDENTIAL amount. In addition to the settlement of the civil action, the Worker's Compensation carrier waived its lien, and plaintiff retained her right to future worker's compensation benefits.

29 year old man was rear-ended by a drunk driver, suffering quadriplegia. Plaintiff alleged products liability for defective design of the roof of his 1984 Corvette, which collapsed in the roll-over accident.
Result: $6.1 million jury verdict apportioned 80% to General Motors and 20% to the drunk driver.

19 year old man sustained severe injuries to both hands with permanent residuals to right major hand when the wine filter press machine he was operating malfunctioned. Plaintiff contended the machine was defective.
Result: $5.5 million jury verdict.

27 year old woman was rendered quadriplegic when a vehicle in which she was a passenger rolled over. Plaintiff was seat belted in the reclined front passenger seat taking a nap at the time of the accident. She ramped up the back of the seat, out from the seat belt and was partially ejected out of the right rear passenger door when it opened during the roll over. Plaintiff alleged the vehicle was defective in that a passenger could adjust the seatback past a point of safety, that the seat belt provided no restraint with the seat reclined, that the manufacturer failed to warn of the danger of riding with the seat back reclined, and that the vehicle door lock mechanism was defective allowing the door to open in a low speed roll.
Result: $2 million settlement.

A 38 year old man died when a control cable to an MD Helicopter he was piloting broke causing the aircraft to lose control and plummet to the ground. Plaintiff was hailed as a hero for bringing the helicopter down without causing injury to people on the ground. Survived by his elderly parents.
Result: $1 million settlement.

42 year old man had his right hand trapped in a conveyor belt at work resulting in serious crush injuries to his hand, including the loss of two fingers. Plaintiff claimed that the conveyor system was defectively designed and improperly installed.
Result: $1 million settlement.

38 year old wife and mother of three children burned to death inside of her 1991 Ford Aerostar van. Plaintiffs claimed that the fire started as a result of a defective ignition switch and that the switch was recalled less than 2 months after the death occurred.
Result: Substantial confidential settlement.

A pregnant woman at term was involved in a head-on accident as passenger in a vehicle. Plaintiff contended product liability, alleging a defective seat belt caused her injuries and inflicted serious permanent injuries on her child who was born shortly after the accident.
Result: Substantial confidential settlement.

A 15 year old was a passenger in a Honda Civic, which left the roadway and struck a telephone pole. She was seated in the front passenger seat, which utilized a passive restraint belt system. At impact, she slid forward in her seat catching her neck on the shoulder belt causing injury to her cervical spine and trachea. She suffered moderate anoxic brain damage.
Result: Case settled against the driver of the vehicle for policy limits and a substantial confidential settlement against Honda.

A 43 year old man suffered a brain injury when his 2001 Ford Explorer rolled over after it was struck on Interstate 880.
Result: Substantial confidential settlement

36 year old married, mother of 5 was tragically killed when a BigTex utility trailer broke loose from an on coming pickup truck, crossed over into her lane of traffic and struck the passenger compartment of her vehicle in Contra Costa County. Her husband and youngest child were passengers in the vehicle and sustained injury and emotional distress.
Result: Substantial confidential settlement against all defendants.


Construction Accident Claims

40 year old construction worker drove into a gate on construction premises, causing a pipe to penetrate through the cab of his truck and into his right leg, inflicting severe injuries to the leg and sciatic nerve.
Result: $3.6 million jury verdict lowered to $2.2 million after reductions for worker's compensation lien and employer and comparative negligence.

21 year old carpenter fell from a wooden scaffold and sustained a depressed skull fracture and brain injury. Plaintiff alleged negligence of general contractor.
Result: $3.5 million jury verdict reduced to $2.2 million after reduction for worker's compensation lien and comparative negligence.

Worker killed when roof constructed by his employer collapsed after co-employees wheeled portable welder on to the area of roof not supported by roof joists.
Result: $2,100,000 settlement.

39 year old construction worker received incomplete paraplegic injuries when the ladder he was working on slipped out from under him. Plaintiff contended general contractor was negligent.
Result: $1.5 million settlement.

A construction worker suffered a severe leg injury when he was crushed by a steel beam while working on a highway construction project. The plaintiff alleged negligence of general contractor and State of California as owner.
Result: $1.5 million settlement after jury selection.

In February 1999 there was a terrible fire and explosion at the Tosco Refinery in Martinez, California. Four workers were killed. One was seriously burned and almost died (he had over forty surgical procedures). Our firm represented him and the family of another worker and obtained substantial settlements against Tosco, their employer (overcoming a claim of workers compensation being their exclusive remedy).
Result: Substantial confidential settlement.


Medical Malpractice

36 year old pregnant woman died when her obstetrician failed to detect a tubal pregnancy on 2 ultrasound examinations.
Result: $1,636,570 jury verdict.

Landscape gardener suffered broken neck in motor vehicle accident. After surgery, patient was moving all 4 extremities. Cervical collar removed. During physical therapy, therapist forced patient's neck into rigid position tearing out plates, screws and bone grafts placed at surgery. Patient is now a quadriplegic.
Result: $1,600,000 settlement.

Mother underwent prenatal genetic testing which failed to detect the presence of inheritable genetic abnormality. Child was born with Cystic Fibrosis, but not diagnosed until his 4 th birthday. Claim was filed in arbitration to recoup the extraordinary cost of care related to his condition.
Result: Present value arbitration award of $641,570.00.


Birth Injuries

Child suffered severe brain injury at birth when mother's uterus ruptured during an attempt at vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). Doctor and hospital failed to recognize signs of impending rupture and delayed c-section until rupture of uterus. Child has severe Cerebral Palsy.
Result: $14,850,000 jury verdict.

34 year old married, mother of 3 underwent a tubal ligation. She was pregnant within four months of undergoing the operation. The child was born with severe genetic defects. Plaintiffs contended that the tubal ligation was performed improperly resulting in insufficient damage to the tube to prevent conception. Damages were claimed for wrongful life/wrongful birth.
Result: $1,050,000 settlement.

The fetus of a 30 year old pregnant woman sustained damage when the plaintiff's physicians prescribed medication without first testing her for pregnancy. Plaintiff was in a UCSF program for experimental drugs.
Result: $1 million settlement.


Brain Injuries

6 month old infant girl suffered a brain injury during swimming lesson. Plaintiff claimed public entity liability for negligent swimming instruction and negligent observation of near drowning.
Result: $1.5 million settlement.


Spinal Cord Injuries

35 year old construction worker was injured while working on an air compressed pipe in a trench. The pipe exploded throwing the plaintiff 30 feet and causing him spinal cord injuries that resulted in quadriplegia.
Result: $7.75 million third-party settlement exclusive of worker's compensation. Worker's compensation settlement resulted in waiver of $1.3 million lien and payment of an annuity of $19,000 per month for life, increasing at 3% per year. Total settlement value $14 million.

26 year old single, working man was injured when he dived into a swimming pool at a motel. Plaintiff claimed inadequate warnings of no diving. Defense alleged the plaintiff was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
Result: $2.5 million settlement plus worker's compensation settlement of payments in excess of $10,000 per month for life increasing at 2% per annum.


Assault and Battery

39 year old supermarket clerk was the victim of a robbery, which caused him severe psychiatric distress with permanent disability alleged. The defendant robbers were alleged to have been in conspiracy with the security guard who worked for plaintiff's employer. Plaintiff contended negligent employment of defendant security guard.
Result: $2.1 million verdict in court trial.

Two young brothers, aged 10 and 12, claimed they were sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest in the rectory of their church.
Result: $750,000 settlement.

A fan at an Oakland A's game against the Texas Rangers was struck in the face by a folding metal chair thrown by a Rangers pitcher. We sued the Rangers organization and three of their players and obtained a substantial confidential settlement for our client on the eve of trial. This case was highly publicized by the national media.
Result: Substantial Confidential Settlement.


Police Misconduct

46 year old man died in his backyard from a self-inflicted wound to his chest. Police responding to a crisis call fired 34 bullets at the man, after he allegedly fired the first shot. Plaintiffs contended police improperly handled the situation, ultimately provoking the man to shoot himself.
Result: $5.3 million jury verdict, reduced by 25% comparative negligence of the decedent, for a net verdict of $4 million. Court reduced the verdict to $2.1 million. Gary Gwilliam and James Chiosso nominated as 1996 Trial Lawyers of the Year by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.

A 35 year old woman was shot and killed in her home by the Union City Police Department in the presence of her daughter, father and brother. The City's investigation cleared the shooting officer of any responsibility. An Alameda County jury disagreed and awarded the family $1.9 million.
Result: $1.9 million jury verdict.

15 year old boy, survived by his mother, was shot and killed by the police while hiding in a store after committing a burglary. The mother alleged police misconduct. The officer contended he accidentally discharged his gun while trying to remove the decedent from his hiding place in a large cardboard box.
Result: $715,000 settlement.

15 year old boy was killed by Oakland police while allegedly threatening police with a BB gun. Plaintiff claimed police misconduct.
Result: $692,000 jury verdict. Total amount collected after attorneys fees and costs added was $1 million.


Legal Malpractice

Our clients had a birth injury medical malpractice case dismissed by a court because their previous lawyer had not filed the case within the statutory requirement of five years. They alleged that their previous lawyer had been negligent and we agreed. Our arguments effectively convinced the defendant's insurance carrier to settle the case for the full value of the defendant's $1 million policy limit.
Result: $1 million policy limits settlement.


Insurance Disputes/Bad Faith

41 year old woman with multiple sclerosis suffered a relapse and became wheelchair bound as a result of her insurer's denial of coverage for treatment it contended was experimental. Plaintiff contended insurance bad faith on behalf of her health care provider.
Result: $1.25 million jury verdict for compensatory damages. Trial court refused to allow case to go to the jury on the issue of punitive damages. Case settled on appeal for $1.8 million.

Eighty plaintiffs, alleging insurance bad faith, brought a consolidated action against their auto insurance company for failure to pay medical benefits under the medical payments provision of their policy.
Result: Confidential settlement although it was reported publicly to be in excess of $4 million. Gary Gwilliam nominated as Trial Lawyer of the Year by Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.


Business Fraud/Disputes

Plaintiff, a small corporation and distributor of medical products, sued a multi-national corporation. The defendant corporation had an exclusive distribution arrangement to market plaintiff's surgical laser. Plaintiff contended that rather than using its best efforts to market the laser to the entire medical community, the defendant corporation tried to maximize their own profits by entering into partnerships directly with urologists and others in the medical community. The jury found that defendant breached the contract with plaintiff and made intentional and negligent misrepresentations.
Result: Verdict of $9.3 Million plus judgment for attorneys fees results in an award in excess of $11 Million. Case settles on appeal after filing of opening brief. The judgment was accruing interest at a rate of 10% per annum. Plaintiffs' estimate the judgment was worth approximately 12.1 million at the time of settlement.

The plaintiff and defendant were friends who started a business relationship in 1988. According to the plaintiff, they were to share profits on a 50-50 basis. Plaintiff contended he was a silent partner with the defendant in the business to sell wire assemblies to Read-Rite Company, the plaintiff's former employer. In 1997, the defendant repudiated their oral agreement and contended that the plaintiff was only a commissioned salesman with no ownership interest in the business. Plaintiff sued for declaration of oral partnership, breach of oral contract, and fraud. Defendant offered $110,000 before trial. Plaintiff demanded $2 million.
Result: $8 million jury verdict.

Real estate development company claimed its apartment complex was defective and leaked due to construction defects. Partial settlement of two part construction defect/insurance bad faith case.
Result: $4.3 million settlement.


Employment Law/Discrimination/Retaliation/Harassment

32 year old African-American male was terminated from his job as a project manager because he was "the wrong color". Plaintiff alleged race discrimination and wrongful termination.
Result: $7.6 million jury verdict with attorneys fees and costs added for a total judgment of $8.85 million.

Age discrimination case against one of the largest law firms in the state on behalf of 7 former secretaries and a former human relations director. Plaintiffs contended that the law firm was guilty of age discrimination in forcing the plaintiffs to take an early retirement program.
Result: Substantial confidential settlement which was publicly reported to be in excess of $4 million.

A 58 year old man was retaliated against by his employer after he agreed to testify in favor of a co-worker in an age discrimination lawsuit against the company. The employer's retaliatory conduct forced the plaintiff to take a medical leave after the workplace stress caused his diabetes to go out of control. He was fired while on an approved medical leave.
Result: $1,000,000 jury verdict, plus attorney's fees and costs, for a total judgment of $2,150,876.75. Case was appealed and confidential settlement was negotiated.

Three minority vice-presidents of Bank of America alleged they were terminated by a top regional executive because of their race. Our legal team defeated three separate motions for summary judgment by Bank of America and negotiated a confidential settlement.
Result: Confidential settlement

A plaintiff sued her employer after experiencing severe sexual harassment by her supervisor. The supervisor thought she resembled a well-known pornographic actress. Prior to trial in 2010 a confidential settlement was negotiated.
Result: Confidential settlement


Wrongful Termination

Five plaintiffs, who were employees at Lawrence Livermore Lab, were laid off by the lab along with hundreds of employees in 2008. After two months of trial, on May 10, 2013, an Alameda County jury returned a verdict in favor of the 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 the judge to be test cases in the lawsuit involving 130 Plaintiffs with similar claims for wrongful termination. All 130 Plaintiffs also have claims for age discrimination, which will be tried in a later phase of the case.
Result: $2.7 million verdict.

Plaintiff was employed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and witnessed serious sexual harassment against a fellow worker. When the lawsuit was filed by the worker, The Plaintiff testified honestly in a deposition about the sexual harassment. The Lab immediately instituted retaliation during and after the deposition and within 2 months fired her. She then proceeded to litigate the case against them for over 8 years before it was finally resolved after 2 long jury trials and an appeal.
Result: The first trial resulted in a verdict in her favor of $1 million, although the case was reversed on appeal for a new trial. In the second trial, she obtained a verdict of $2 million plus attorney's fees and eventually the Lab paid over $6 million for her wrongful termination suit.

28 year old insurance adjuster, who had worked for the company for 15 months, was fired from her job after becoming pregnant. Plaintiff alleged pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination. Defendant contended poor performance was the reason for the termination.
Result: $2.7 million jury verdict of which $1.2 million was for emotional distress and $1.5 million was for punitive damages. Emotional distress damages reduced to $350,000 by trial court.

An Asian woman was denied tenure in the Architecture Department at the University of California-Berkeley. Plaintiff alleged race and sex discrimination as basis for denial of tenure. University contended poor performance.
Result: $1 million settlement.


Whistleblower

Two software engineers were contracted to work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in their nuclear test facility. They both observed serious violations of protocol and unsafe practices which they reported. They were immediately dismissed and escorted from the Lab. They filed a lawsuit under California Government Code § 8547, which is one of the strongest whistleblower statutes in the country.
Result: Their case was dismissed by a Judge in a ruling which virtually emasculated the reason for the statute. They appealed the matter all the way to the Supreme Court of California who, unfortunately, upheld the dismissal.


Intellectual Property and Trade Disputes

Our firm handles intellectual property matters, including such issues as trade disputes. Big companies sometimes steal new copyrights and inventions from small companies. This happened to a company called Ajaxo in an important published decision. Ajaxo v. E*Trade (2005) 135 Cal. App. 4th 21. Our firm has been associated to assist the plaintiffs in resolving this dispute and we remain open to continue to handle similar matters.


Nursing Home

An 89 year old Alzheimers patient was killed when he was allowed to wander away from the defendant assisted care facility and was struck by a vehicle while walking on Castro Valley Blvd. in Castro Valley. The plaintiffs were the adult son and wife of the decedent.
Result: The case settled at mediation shortly after the filing of the complaint, and before any discovery was conducted, for $580,000.


Prescription Malpractice

The step grandfather of our clients was admitted to the hospital for dehydration. He was given fluids and recovered. On the night prior to his discharge from the hospital a heart medication intended for another patient was erroneously given to him causing cardiac arrest. The gentleman suffered anoxic injury to his brain, was declared brain dead and died. The grandchildren, who were the only surviving heirs, all lived out of state but had close emotional ties to their grandfather.
Result: The case settled for an amount in excess of the MICRA limit of $250,000.


Plaintiff, a 50 year old woman was prescribed a hormone replacement by her physician. The pharmacy misread the prescription and supplied Haldol, a drug intended for treatment of schizophrenia. Plaintiff used the prescription for 9 months until she developed rhythmical involuntary movements of her tongue, face, mouth and jaw. She was diagnosed with Tardive Dyskinesia and it was discovered the medication had been erroneously filled by the pharmacy.
Result: The case settled for a confidential amount and a provision for continued neurologic care for the duration of her symptoms.

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Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso
Cavalli & Brewer, P.C.

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Oakland CA 94612

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In the News
  • Whistleblower/Attorney Kelly O'Haire Sues Chief Suhr/SF for Retaliation and Wrongful Termination.  Read more >
  • Jury Awards $2.7 M Against Lawrence Livermore Lab For Wrongfully Terminating Long-Time Employees in 2008.  Read more >
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