Major Appellate Victories

Multi-million-dollar judgments affirmed

  • $90 million judgment in rest-break class action affirmed. Trial counsel: Drew Pomerance and Michael Adreani. Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc. (2016) 2 Cal.5th 257
  • $58 million judgment in products-liability/wrongful death case affirmed in full. Trial counsel: Arash Homampour. Shinedling v. Sunbeam Products, Inc. (9th Cir. 2017) 692 Fed.Appx. 902
  • $15 million wrongful-death judgment affirmed in full. Trial counsel: Ricardo Echeverria. Paregien v. Perez (2015 Cal.Ct. App.) 2015 WL 1014194
  • $15 million judgment in civil rights judgment affirmed in full. Trial counsel: Joseph Avrahamy:  Harper v. City of Los Angeles (9th Circ. 2008) 533 F.3d 1010
  • $14 million judgment in insurance bad-faith case affirmed in full. Trial counsel: Arash Homampour. Madrigal v. Allstate Indemnity Co. (9th Cir. 2017) 697 Fed.Appx. 905
  • $7.5 million judgment in products-liability case affirmed in full. Trial counsel: Alan Laskin. Dunlap v. Folsom Lake Ford (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) 2018 WL 1127919
  • $7 million judgment in bad-faith claim affirmed. Trial counsel: Alan Laskin, David Lipsky. In re Estate of Prindle (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 119
  • $6.5 million civil right/wrongful death judgment affirmed. Trial counsel: Garo Mardirossian Zerby v. City of Long Beach (9th Cir. 2016) 637 Fed.Appx. 1008
  • $4.5 million verdict reinstated after new-trial order reversed, and judgment affirmed. Trial counsel: Steve Vartazarian. Warner v. Wright Medical Technology, Inc. (Cal. Ct. App. 2018)  2018 WL 1166588
  • $3.6 million verdict affirmed. Trial counsel: Simon Law Group, Sevy Fisher, Greyson Goody. Pebley v. Santa Clara Organics, LLC (2018) __ Cal.App.5th __

Landmark Cases

  • UNUM Life Ins. Co. of America v. Ward (1999) 526 U.S. 358, 119 S.Ct. 1380. U.S. Supreme Court holds that ERISA does not preempt California’s common-law “notice-prejudice rule”, strengthening consumer protections for more than 80 million Americans with health coverage through ERISA plans.
  • Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc.(2016) 2 Cal.5th 257. California Supreme Court holds that California law forbids employees from being kept “on call” during rest breaks.
  • Cabral v. Ralphs Grocery Co. (2011) 51 Cal.4th 764. California Supreme Court narrows ability of trial and appellate courts to dismiss negligence cases by finding that the defendant owed the plaintiff no duty of care.
  • Wilson v. 21st Century Ins. Co. (2007) 42 Cal.4th 713. California Supreme Court narrows scope of so-called “genuine dispute doctrine” in insurance bad-faith cases, making it more difficult for insurers to obtain summary judgment.
  • Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co. (2016) 63 Cal.4th 363. California Supreme Court holds that a trial court’s post-trial award of attorney’s fees can properly be relied on to support a punitive-damage award in an insurance bad-faith case.
  • Minkler v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America (2010) 49 Cal.4th 315. California Supreme Court holds that “severability of insureds” clause in insurance policy creates ambiguity that defeats application of policy exclusion for bodily injury arising from the intentional acts of an insured.
  • Pebley v. Santa Clara Organics, LLC (2018) __ Cal.App.5th __. Announced rule that injured plaintiffs who have access to health insurance are free to obtain their medical treatment from out-of-plan medical providers and cannot be said to have failed to mitigate their damages from not treating “in plan.”
  • Purton v. Marriott International, Inc. (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 499. Held that employer who served alcohol at annual holiday party could be held liable for injuries caused when employee who became intoxicated at party caused automobile accident, even though employee first went home from party before causing fatal accident.
  • Lichtman v. Siemens Industry Inc. (2017) 16 Cal.App.5th 914. Held that private contractor hired by City to maintain battery back-up system for traffic signals cannot rely on City’s statutory immunities and owed duty of care to plaintiff who was injured while attempting to drive through blacked-out traffic signal
  • Mintz v. Blue Cross of California (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 1594. Held that third-party administrator of health plan owes duty of care to plan members concerning manner of processing their benefit claims
  • Smith v. PacifiCare Behavioral Health of California, Inc. (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 139. First case to hold that, by operation of the McCarran Ferguson Act, California statutes requiring health plans to make certain disclosures about their use of arbitration are not preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act, and that failure to comply with statutes precludes enforcement of arbitration agreement.
  • 20th Century Ins. Co. v. Sup.Ct. (Ahles) (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 1247. Established the constitutionality of the California statute extending the statute of limitations for victims of the Northridge Earthquake to seek insurance benefits.
  • Hofler v. Aetna US Healthcare of California, Inc. (9th Cir. 2002) 296 F.3d 764 (9th Cir. 2002).First decision holding that bad-faith claims against Medicare HMOs were not preempted by the Balanced-Budget Act amendments to the Medicare Act.
  • Medeiros v. Superior Court (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 1008. Held that insurer who used on-line system to enroll employees was required to comply with California statutes regarding disclosure of arbitration clauses in health plans, and that failure to comply rendered arbitration clause unenforceable.
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. v. Superior Court (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 696. Held that HMO was not entitled to rely on section 425.13, statute requiring leave of court before plaintiff can plead claim for punitive damages against health care provider.
  • Harb v. City of Bakersfield (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 606. Held that defendant is not entitled to assert plaintiff’s pre-treatment/pre-accident negligence as a basis for comparative fault.
  • Lang v. Long-Term Disability Plan of Sponsor Applied Remote Technology, Inc. (9th Cir. 1997) 125 F.3d 794. First decision in Ninth Circuit holding that ERISA plan administrator’s conflict of interest tainted its decision, resulting in award of disability benefits for the applicant.
  • Kotler v. Pacificare of California (2005) 126 Cal.App.4th 950. First appellate decision in California holding that HMOs could be sued for bad faith for not providing timely care to their members.

Erroneous Rulings Reversed

  • Lederer v. Schneider (2018) 22 Cal.App.5th 508. Reversal of summary judgment in negligence claim based on error in computing accrual date of claim for purposes of statute of limitations.
  • Devitt v. Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) 2017 WL 2570661. Reversal of demurrer based on erroneous application of rules regarding “mandatory duties” under section 815 of the Government Code
  • Benn v. Fairmont Hotel Company-San Francisco L.P. (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) 2017 WL 4988169. Reversal of trial court’s refusal to set aside dismissal under section 473 of the Code of Civil Procedure where trial counsel filed dismissal form inadvertently dismissing wrong defendant.
  • Easterby v. Clark (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 772. Reversal of trial court order striking testimony of plaintiff’s expert at trial and granting nonsuit based on expert’s change in testimony between deposition and trial.
  • Ochoa v. Dorado (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 120. Reversal of trial court order precluding plaintiff’s treating physician from offering opinions on reasonableness of plaintiff’s medical expenses based on plaintiff’s failure to designate physician as “retained” expert.
  • Brehm v. 21st Century Ins. Co. (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 1225. Dismissal of plaintiff’s bad-faith claim on demurrer reversed, where plaintiff adequately alleged that defendant insurer deliberately used biased physician to perform medical evaluation of plaintiff.
  • Nazaretyan v. California Physicians’ Service (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 1601. Summary judgment in favor of health plan reversed where records showed triable issues of fact about whether plan engaged in prohibited post-claim underwriting and whether plaintiff made willful misrepresentation on application for coverage