Appellate Counsel For California Trial Lawyers
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Ehrlich Law Firm Significant Decisions Since 2015

Total awards affirmed since 2015: Over $244 million

2020

$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.

2019

$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.

2018

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.

2017

$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.

2016

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.

2015

$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.

Appellate Passion: Jeffrey Ehrlich has helped set precedent, but he’s proudest of getting one man out of prison.
Los Angeles & San Francisco Daily Journal,
Monday, May 21, 2018

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