Ehrlich Law Firm Significant Decisions

Total awards affirmed: Over $400 million


California Supreme Court denies review of $100 million personal-injury judgment.

On February 21, 2024, the California Supreme Court denied the defendant’s petition for review of the judgment in O’Malley v. Diamond Resorts Management, Inc., leaving the Court of Appeal’s decision affirming the judgment entirely undisturbed. Jeffrey Ehrlich and the Ehrlich Law Firm were lead appellate counsel in the case in the Court of Appeal and in the Supreme Court.


Jeffrey Ehrlich and the Ehrlich Law Firm, APC obtains affirmance of $100 million judgment in a personal-injury action.

Jeffrey Ehrlich and the Ehrlich Law Firm, APC were retained by Arash Homampour of the Homampour Law Firm and Matt Biren of the Biren Law Group to defend a $100 million judgment in O’Malley v. Diamond Resorts Management, Inc., Case No. G061459, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three. On November 7, 2023, the Court filed its opinion affirming the judgment in full.

In March 2014, Priscilla O’Malley checked into the defendant’s hotel in Dana Point, California. Around 6 p.m. that night she told her husband that she planned to have a glass of wine, watch the sunset, and spend the rest of the night in her room. About 30 minutes later, she suffered a brain aneurysm and collapsed on the floor in her room. Her husband attempted multiple times to reach her by phone that night. At 10:30 p.m., he phoned the hotel’s front desk and asked to have someone sent to the room to check whether Mrs. O’Malley was inside and okay. The desk clerk agreed to send a maintenance man. He failed to enter the room, but told the front-desk clerk that he had gone in and that no one was inside. This false information was then relayed to Mr. O’Malley, who stayed at the couple’s home, hoping that his wife would return his calls.

About 5:15 a.m., Mr. O’Malley drove to the hotel and entered the room, finding his wife in a coma on the floor. She survived but sustained a unique brain injury¬—the complete inability to form and store new memories. As a result, she needs constant 24-hour care and supervision. On appeal, the defendant raised a host of arguments to attack the judgment, but the Court of Appeal rejected all of them.

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Jeffrey Ehrlich and the Ehrlich Law Firm APC obtains reversal of directed verdict in products-liability action.

Jeffrey Ehrlich and the Ehrlich Law Firm APC obtains reversal of directed verdict in products-liability action. In Camacho v. JLG Industries, Inc. (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 809, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division 3, reversed the directed verdict in a published opinion. The court held that, in granting the motion, the trial court applied the wrong causation standard, and that the plaintiff’s evidence was sufficient to have the jury decide whether JLG’s scissor lift was defective because it lacked a self-closing gate with an integrated toe board to provide fall protection at the front of the lift.

Jeffrey Ehrlich and the Ehrlich Law Firm APC obtains an affirmance of a $10,000,000 judgment

Jeffrey Ehrlich and the Ehrlich Law Firm APC obtains an affirmance of a $10,000,000 judgment. In Little v. Singh, et al. No. F083989, the California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District affirmed a $10,000,000 judgment for the plaintiffs in a personal-injury and loss-of-consortium action, arising from a pickup truck vs. semi-trailer collision in Bakersfield, CA. The court rejected the defendant’s contention that the trial court erred in excluding proffered video-surveillance evidence of the plaintiff on the ground that probative value of the evidence was substantially outweighed by its potential to both mislead the jury and to consume undue amounts of time.

Jeffrey Ehrlich wins important public-immunities case in California Supreme Court.

On February 7, 2023, Jeffrey Ehrlich argued Tansavatdi v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes in the California Supreme Court. The issue in the case was whether the statutory defense of “design immunity,” which barred a claim against a public entity based on a danger created by the roadway design it approved, would necessarily also bar a failure-to-warn claim against the public entity, based on the failure to warn about that danger. On April 27, 2023, the Supreme Court filed its opinion in Tansavatdi v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes (2023) 14 Cal.5th 639, which adopted the position advanced by Ehrlich’s client, that design immunity does not necessarily bar a failure-to-warn claim. The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal’s reversal of a summary judgment for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, and remanded the case for trial.

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Denial of Petition to Compel Arbitration Affirmed

Nelson v. Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center, Inc. (2022) 77 Cal.App.5th 643.

Brandon Nelson checked himself into defendant Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center’s residential-care facility while experiencing the sudden onset of psychosis. Dual Diagnosis recognized that Brandon needed constant supervision, but failed to provide it, allowing Brandon to hang himself in his room the day after he was admitted. Dual Diagnosis sought to compel arbitration of the wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Brandon’s parents. The trial court denied the petition and the Court of Appeal affirmed, finding that the arbitration agreement was unconscionable.

Reversal of adverse jury verdict in insurance bad-faith case

Hollander v. XL America Group (Cal. Ct. App., June 16, 2022).

XL denied the plaintiff’s claim for damages to insured paintings. The jury awarded the plaintiff only $18,000 based on the trial court’s faulty instructions on what the insurance policy required the policyholder to do. The case has been remanded for a new trial on the bad-faith claim.

Affirmance of judgment in favor of Charlie Sheen

3 G.I. Corporation v. Sheen (Cal.Ct. App., 10/18/22).

Sheen obtained a favorable judgment against 3 G.I. Corporation, whom he had hired to provide security, and which tried to defraud him. The Ehrlich Law firm obtained an affirmance of the judgment.

Insurance bad-faith case settles after Ehrlich Law Firm obtains favorable tentative opinion

Jones v. Commonwealth Land Title Ins. Co. (Cal. Ct. App., 2/24/22) Plaintiffs obtained a substantial verdict against their title insurer in a badfaith case. After the Court of Appeal issued a tentative opinion to affirm the judgment, the parties settled.


$11 million judgment affirmed

Garcia v. Tri-Modal Distribution Services, Inc. (Cal. Ct. App., Feb. 17, 2021, No. B297452)
Plaintiff’s husband was killed when the van he was riding in collided with an improperly parked big-rig truck. The appellate court held that the defendant had waived all of the points it raised on appeal by failing to properly preserve them at trial.

$10 million judgment affirmed in a published opinion

Zuniga v. Cherry Avenue Auction, Inc. (2021) 61 Cal.App.5th 980.
Plaintiff was injured and her husband was killed while setting up a booth at a swap meet when a 28-foot pole holding an advertising banner came too close to an overhead power line. The owner of the swap meet was held liable for negligence for renting vendor spaces under the power lines without taking any precautions to avoid electrocutions.

$3.4 million personal-injury judgment affirmed in a published opinion

Hernandez v. Jensen (2021) 61 Cal.App.5th 1056
Plaintiff was hired by defendant to provide in-home care to defendant’s parents. Defendant knew that her father kept loaded guns in his home, but she made no attempt to see whether they were stored safely and did not warn plaintiff about them. Plaintiff suffered serious injuries when a loaded gun stored in a closet fell over and discharged.

Ehrlich Law Firm obtains affirmance of $3.5 million personal-injury judgment

Qaadir v. Figueroa (2021) 67 Cal.App.5th 790, review den. Nov. 10, 2021

Quaadir suffered back injuries in a truck accident and obtained a $3.5 million judgment. On appeal, the defense urged the Court of Appeal not to follow the rules for proving medical-expense damages adopted in Pebley v. Santa Clara Organics, an appeal handled by Jeffrey I. Ehrlich. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment and rejected the attack on Pebley, choosing instead to follow it. The insurance industry then urged the California Supreme Court to grant review to overturn Pebley or to depublish the Qaadir opinion. The Ehrlich Law Firm opposed review. The California Supreme Court denied review and left the opinion published.


$6.7 million verdict affirmed in tentative opinion; case settled before argument

Pacific, et al. v. A&C Trucking, et al. (Cal.Ct. App. Feb. 10, 2020, No. E070359)

Plaintiffs suffered injuries after the car they were in was rear-ended by a semi-trailer truck. The jury awarded one plaintiff nearly $700,000 in medical expenses and awarded both plaintiffs $3 million each in non-economic damages.

$21 million personal-injury judgment settles while on appeal

Case name and information withheld for confidentiality

The Ehrlich Law Firm was retained to defend a $21 million personal-injury award in the Ninth Circuit. The case settled on appeal.

$26.4 million wrongful-death judgment settles while on appeal

Case name and information withheld for confidentiality

The Ehrlich Law Firm was retained to defend a $26.4 million personal-injury award in the Ninth Circuit. The case settled on appeal.

$1.95 million punitive-damage award affirmed; California Supreme Court denies review

Albarracin v. Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (Cal. Ct. App., Aug. 13, 2020, No. B292895), review denied (Nov. 24, 2020)
Plaintiff was sexually assaulted by a superior while attending a company retreat. Her employer was held liable for, inter alia, intentional infliction of emotional distress and retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The jury awarded her $250,000 for past emotional distress and $1,950,000 in punitive damages. On appeal, the defendant challenged the punitive-damage award as unsupported by sufficient evidence and excessive. The Court of Appeal affirmed the award and the California Supreme Court denied review.

$1.3 million reduction in judgment reversed in published opinion; California Supreme Court denies review

Shuler v. Capital Agricultural Property Services, Inc. (2020) 49 Cal.App.5th 62, review denied (July 29, 2020)
Plaintiffs’ home and horse ranch were destroyed in a landslide precipitated by defendant’s negligent modifications to the slope above the plaintiffs’ property. Plaintiffs were awarded $1,756,499 in economic damages, but the trial court reduced this amount to $460,283 when it entered judgment, based on an improper application of doctrine of res judicata. The appellate court reinstated the full award and the California Supreme Court denied review.

Denial of class certification reversed

Wilmot v. First American Title Co. (Cal. Ct. App., Jan. 31, 2020, No. B289375)
Plaintiff sued First American Title Company for overcharging her and thousands of other customers for escrow services. The trial court denied her motion for class certification. The Court of Appeal reversed, directing the trial court to certify the class.


$21.5 million wrongful-death/personal-injury judgment affirmed

Cruz v. Mathenge (Cal. Ct. App., Feb. 26, 2019, No. B286067) 2019 WL 926498, reh'g denied (Mar. 22, 2019), review denied (May 15, 2019)
Affirmance of $21.5 million wrongful-death and personal-injury judgments for plaintiffs arising out of defect in Nissan QX 56 SUV.

$12.5 million retaliation/discrimination judgment affirmed

Pearl v. City of Los Angeles (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 475
Affirmance of $12.5 million judgment in favor of the plaintiff in a retaliation/discrimination lawsuit.

$10.8 million personal-injury judgment affirmed

Cobb v. County of Los Angeles (Cal. Ct. App., May 1, 2019, No. B287090) 2019 WL 1929976
Affirmance of $10.8mm judgment in favor of plaintiff who was run over with a forklift by a county employee.

$4.3 million breach-of-fiduciary duty judgment affirmed

Alkayali v. Boukhari (Cal. Ct. App., Apr. 5, 2019, No. E066230) 2019 WL 1499478
Affirmance of $4.3 mm breach-of-fiduciary duty judgment for plaintiff.

$1.6 million personal-injury judgment affirmed

Lewis v. Ukran (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 886
Affirmance of $1.6mm judgment for plaintiff. The case holds as a matter of first impression, that “in a contested case, a party (typically a defendant) seeking to reduce an award of future damages to present value bears the burden of proving an appropriate method of doing so, including an appropriate discount rate. A party (typically a plaintiff) who seeks an upward adjustment of a future damages award to account for inflation bears the burden of proving an appropriate method of doing so, including an appropriate inflation rate.”

$1.3 million personal-injury judgment affirmed

Lujan v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Cal.Ct. App., Sept. 11, 2019, No. B287730)
Affirmance of $1.13 million personal-injury judgment against the MTA by bus rider who suffered multiple displaced fractures of his ribs after being thrown across bus during a sudden turn.

Denial of Kaiser’s motion to compel arbitration affirmed

Brown v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (Cal. Ct. App., June 20, 2019, No. E069356) 2019 WL 2539179
Affirmance of trial court’s denial of Kaiser’s petition to compel arbitration of the plaintiff’s bad-faith case, on the ground that Kaiser’s electronic-enrollment system did not fully comply with Health & Safety Code § 1363.1.

Reversal of trial awarding plaintiff only nominal damages and finding for defense on loss-of-consortium claim

Pierce v. Gray (Cal. Ct. App., May 2, 2019, No. G055432) 2019 WL 1941625
Obtained a reversal of a nominal damages award for the plaintiff and a defense verdict on her husband’s loss-of-consortium claim, based on trial court error in excluding the testimony of her medical expert concerning her medical-expense damages.

Court of Appeal changes its tentative opinion based on Jeffrey Ehrlich’s oral argument

Ferradas Soliz v. City of Big Bear Lake (Cal. Ct. App., July 16, 2019, No. E067555) 2019 WL 3162453
The jury’s verdict awarded the plaintiff over $1 million for past and future medical expenses, but only $50,000 in past general damages and $0 for future general damages. The appellate court’s written tentative opinion was to affirm. Gary Dordick hired Jeffrey Ehrlich to handle the oral argument after the court had issued its tentative opinion. In his oral argument he convinced the court to change its ruling; its final opinion held that the verdict was inadequate as a matter of law and that the plaintiff was entitled to a new trial on damages.

Summary judgment reversed in food-poisoning case

Spellman v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 20, 2019) Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 20762, No. G.056221
Plaintiff sued Chipotle for damages suffered as result of food poisoning at Chipotle. The trial court granted summary judgment for Chipotle. Gary Dordick hired Jeffrey Ehrlich to argue the appeal. In a 2-1 decision, the Court of Appeal reversed the summary judgment.


Landmark insurance-coverage decision

Liberty Surplus Ins. Corp. v. Ledesma & Meyer Construction Co. (2018) 5 Cal.5th 216 [233 Cal.Rptr.3d 487, 418 P.3d 400], as modified (July 25, 2018)
Holds that the intentional conduct of an employee did not preclude potential coverage for employer on claims against it for negligent hiring and supervision. Clarifies that policies that promise coverage for “accidents” provide coverage for negligent conduct, because “accidents” are a subset of “negligence.” Rejects prevailing view in the California appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit that the unintended consequences of the insured’s intentional acts can never qualify as an “accident.”

Landmark personal-injury-damages decision; $3.6 million judgment affirmed

Pebley v. Santa Clara Organics, LLC (2018) 22 Cal.App.5th 1266 [232 Cal.Rptr.3d 404], review denied (Aug. 8, 2018)
Obtained affirmance of $3.6 million personal-injury award to plaintiff. Holds that injured plaintiff’s recovery of medical expenses is not limited to what the plaintiff’s insurer would have paid if the plaintiff had received care through insurance instead of from medical providers working on a lien. Rather, for the purposes of proving medical expenses at trial, a plaintiff who does not treat through his/her insurance should be considered “non-insured” and treated as if uninsured. The court rejected the defense argument that medical charges from providers who treat on a lien are inherently excessive because they exceed what health insurers would pay their preferred providers for similar treatment. In the Supreme Court, the defense bar and insurance industry filed over 20 amicus requests seeking review or depublication of the decision. The Supreme Court denied review and left the opinion published.

$7 million personal-injury judgment affirmed

Dunlap v. Folsom Lake Ford (Cal. Ct. App., Mar. 2, 2018) Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 20298, review denied (May 23, 2018)
Affirmance of $7 million products-liability judgment for plaintiff injured in negligently-serviced automobile that rolled over.

New-trial order reversed and original $4.5 million products-liability judgment reinstated and affirmed

Warner v. Wright Medical Technology, Inc. (Cal. Ct. App., Mar. 6, 2018)
Obtained reversal of new-trial order remitting $4 million verdict for plaintiff to $875,000 and $500,000 loss-of-consortium claim for spouse to $150,000; original $4.5 million total judgment reinstated and affirmed.

Defense verdict in employment-discrimination case reversed

Mateen-Bradford v. City of Compton (Cal. Ct. App., Apr. 17, 2018, No. B276236) 2018 WL 1804926
Obtained reversal of defense verdict based on defect in special-verdict form; reversal of the judgment also vacated a $200,000 award against the plaintiff for fees and costs; on retrial the plaintiff prevailed, winning a $600,000 verdict, with fee motions now pending.


$51 million wrongful-death judgment affirmed

Shinedling v. Sunbeam Products, Inc. (9th Cir. 2017) 692 Fed.Appx. 902, 903
Affirmance of $51 million wrongful-death judgment.

$14 million insurance bad-faith judgment affirmed

Madrigal v. Allstate Indemnity Co. (9th Cir. 2017) 697 Fed.Appx. 905
Affirmance of $14 million insurance bad-faith verdict in failure-to-settle claim.

Reversal of summary judgment in case brought by quadriplegic plaintiff

Lichtman v. Siemens Industry Inc. (2017) 16 Cal.App.5th 914 [224 Cal.Rptr.3d 725], reh'g denied (Nov. 28, 2017), review denied (Jan. 17, 2018)
Obtained reversal of summary judgment in favor of contractor whom City hired to maintain the City’s battery-backup system for traffic signals. Held that contractor owed plaintiff (and other drivers) a duty of care in maintaining the back-up system.

Reversal of dismissal of wrongful-death claim resulting from dog mauling

Devitt v. Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (Cal. Ct. App., June 14, 2017, No. B270577) 2017 WL 2570661, review denied (Sept. 20, 2017)
Obtained reversal of dismissal of plaintiff’s wrongful-death claim against L.A. County arising from its failure to impound pack of stray dogs that fatally mauled decedent, holding that County had mandatory duty under relevant ordinance, and was therefore not immune as a matter of law.

Reversal of summary judgment in case brought by client whose hand was caught in meat grinder

Ramirez v. ITW Food Equipment Group, LLC (9th Cir. 2017) 686 Fed.Appx. 435
Reversal of summary judgment in favor of manufacturer of meat grinder in products-liability action. Plaintiff’s hand was yanked into grinder when that failed to turn off when lid was lifted, despite having “failsafe switch” that was supposed to cut power.

Reversal of dismissal where plaintiff’s attorney inadvertently dismissed main defendant

Benn v. Fairmont Hotel Company-San Francisco L.P. (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 2, 2017, No. A147502) 2017 WL 4988169
Obtained reversal of trial court order refusing to set aside a voluntary dismissal that had inadvertently dismissed the main defendant, which was similarly named to the subsidiary defendants being dismissed.


Landmark rest-break case affirms $90 million summary judgment for plaintiff class

Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc. (2016) 2 Cal.5th 257
Obtained affirmance of $90 million summary judgment in favor of plaintiff class in rest-break class action, reversing adverse Court of Appeal opinion. The Supreme Court held that under California law, employers cannot required employees to remain “on call” during rest breaks.

Supreme Court allows court-awarded attorney’s fees to be included in punitive-damage calculus in insurance bad-faith cases

Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co. (2016) 63 Cal.4th 363
Held that Brandt fees awarded by trial court post-trial can properly be included in ratio of compensatory to punitive damages for purpose of federal due process review of punitive-damage award, reversing prior cases holding otherwise.


$15 million wrongful-death award affirmed

Paregien v. Perez (Cal. Ct. App., Mar. 5, 2015, No. F067517) 2015 WL 1014194
Affirmance of $15 million wrongful-death award to two children rendered orphans after truck ran over their mother.

Reversal of defense verdict for doctor injured by police failure to allow medical care

Harb v. City of Bakersfield (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 606
Plaintiff, a neonatologist, suffered a stroke and needed immediate medical care. Police negligently concluded that he was drunk and sent away ambulance, delaying care. He survived, but with mental status of a 4-year old. Obtained reversal of defense verdict based on instructional error. Court held, in a matter of first impression, that first responders in California cannot assert a comparative-fault defense against the plaintiff based on the circumstances that caused the plaintiff to require the first-responder’s assistance.