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Victories for Our Clients

SIGNIFICANT VERDICTS AND SETTLEMENTS

$2,000,000 Jury Verdict - Payne v. Pala Mesa Resort: Our firm obtained a $2 Million wrongful death jury verdict against a golf course operator. We represented the wife of the 65 year old real estate agent. He was killed when the golf cart he was operating went over a small curb and plunged down a 80 foot cliff. The golf course alleged the accident was his own fault because he made a U-turn on the cart path when there wasn't enough room to do so. We were able to prove to the jury that the curb was not high enough to act as a safety barrier and that the existence of the cliff was obscured by bushes and trees.

$2,150,000 Settlement - Confidential v. Confidential: Our firm recovered $2,150,000 from our clients insurance carriers arising out of the bad faith handling of an insurance claim regarding mold exposure. A pipe in our clients condominium was not properly repaired following a leak. The insurance companies, without obtaining a mold clearance, advised the family they could move back into their home knowing they had an immune compromised daughter. Our firm brought in scientific and medical experts from around the Country to establish the daughters exposure to the resulting mold growth exacerbated her condition and made her gravely ill. The case was settled on the eve of trial.

$5,300,000 Jury Verdict - Donahue v. Estate of Quinten, et al.: Plaintiff's vehicle was struck head on by a young driver who had been drinking. Mr. Schwartz alleged a novel theory of "civil conspiracy" against other participants in the at-fault driver's car and others for agreeing to drink, drive and party. The jury found a civil conspiracy and awarded damages in excess of $5 million.

$2,400,000 settlement - In re Gardner Trust: Our firm represented three adult daughters whose deceased Fathers third wife and her son allegedly conspired to deprive them of their inheritance through the manipulation of the family trust. The daughters alleged their step-mother was guilty of undue influence of their father who was chronically ill for a number of years. Following the transfer of trust assets, the daughters would be left with little to nothing. Our firm recovered $2,400,000 for the daughters.

$1,500,000 settlement - Flores v. Fidelity Health Care, et al.: Our firm recovered a $1,500,000 stipulated judgment against an uninsured Licensed Skilled Nursing Facility, and personally against the president of its corporate owner, for the wrongful death of a 76 year old father of two adult daughters. Our clients father, who suffered from dementia, was permitted to leave the facility unsupervised on two occasions. Although prior to the second incident the facility fitted the decedent with a Wander Guard bracelet designed to set off an alarm if he tried to leave, no alarm sounded the second time he left. Our clients father was killed when he wandered onto the freeway and was struck by a car. Discovery revealed that only two of the five exit doors had alarm sensors. In addition, the corporate president of the facility personally denied her own administrators request to alarm the doors six months before the tragic death.

pic-verdict-pi$800,000 settlement - Ramirez v. County of Riverside, et al.: Represented the family and estate of Gloria Ramirez in the so-called Riverside Mystery Fumes case. Cancer patient Gloria Ramirez was brought to Riverside General Hospital where she died while the ER was evacuated. The hospital claimed Ramirez emitted a substance from her blood which made the ER staff ill. The case attracted worldwide attention involving an elaborate autopsy and the refusal by the County to release the body without special precautions. The County, on behalf of the Hospital and Coroner's office, eventually paid the family over $800,000.

$1,500,000 Verdict - John Doe v. Doe Distributor: Plaintiff a newborn was circumcised at the hospital. Unfortunately, the pediatrician performing the procedure lacerated the organ with serious complications. The case was brought to trial against the clamp product distributor for manufacturing and design defects. At trial, the jury found defects in the clamp contributed to the injury. The jury awarded damages in excess of $1.5 million, which may be the largest recovery in the country for this type of injury.

$2,800,000 settlement - Dorman v. Head & Guild: Mr. Schwartz represented Mr. Dorman in the State Court of Beaumont, Texas. Mr. Dorman had a lower leg amputation and other injuries arising out of a construction site accident and the case was tried for several weeks before a jury. Most Texas lawyers at the time believed worker's compensation was the exclusive remedy under the facts. Defendants made little or no offer to settle prior to trial. The case settled before final arguments for $2.8 million.

$800,000 Verdict - Catellier v. Sioux Bee Honey: Our firm represented the plaintiffs in a landmark case in Los Angeles Superior Court for product liability where plaintiff, an 8 week old infant, consumed Sioux Bee Honey and developed infant botulism. She survived and did quite well physically, but she and her parents were awarded $800,000 by the jury for emotional distress. It has now been documented in textbooks and literature provided by the State of California and others that honey should not be fed to infants under one year of age. Almost every company, including Sioux Bee, now place warning labels on the honey containers, as requested by Mr. Schwartz and his expert witnesses. Ironically, several years before the verdict, the agricultural lobby persuaded Congress to deny the FDAs formal request for a warning label.

$4,200,000 settlement - Doe v. Roe Driver, Roe Manufacturer, Roe Automobile Dealer: Our firm represented a young airline ticketing agent and former Disneyland cast member. He was a passenger in a Suzuki Samurai S.U.V. when it was struck on the passenger-side by another vehicle at a relatively low speed, causing the vehicle to spin, roll-over and eject our client, resulting in severe head injuries. A lawsuit was brought against the automobile manufacturer for design and manufacturing defects (allowing for the roll-over and ejection of the passenger from the vehicle), as well as for negligence against the other driver. We recovered in excess of $4.2 million for our client.

$1,000,000 settlement - Schuster v. West Coast Electric: Our firm recovered $1 Million policy limits for the wife and children of a man who was electrocuted and died while fixing plumbing under his house. The defendant electrician had men working at the opposite end of the house around the same time. Defendants denied any wrongdoing; however, discovery revealed a worker pulled on a live wire which apparently came into contact with the metal pipe the homeowner was working on.

$940,000 settlement - Confidential v. Confidential: A national bank wrongfully foreclosed on our clients home. The family came to our firm and we sued the bank. As part of the settlement, we persuaded the bank to re-purchase our clients home from the foreclosure sale buyer and return title to the family. We made the bank waive the clients mortgage so that title was returned to them free and clear of any mortgages or encumbrances. In addition, the bank paid a substantial cash settlement. The total value of the recovery was $940,000.

$675,000 settlement - Doe v. Crown Plaza Resorts, et al.: When parents brought their children to a time-share presentation at the Hotel promoted as having kids activities available, they were unaware a large helium tank for filling balloons was left unsecured against the lobby wall. The tank fell over injuring the hand of their minor son. Neither the tank vendor, the owner of the premises or the time-share presenters would take responsibility. We won a $675,000 recovery for our clients.

$350, 000 settlement - John Doe v. Mariners Church, et al.: Our firm recovered $350,000 for a young man whose leg was broken while riding a banana boat being towed behind a speed boat at a church camp in the Sacramento River Delta. Despite the clients mother being required to sign four separate releases of liability for her sons participation in camp activities, we were able to show each of the releases was legally defective. Discovery revealed the camp staff member driving the boat did not hold a U.S. Coast Guard Captains license for operating a boat for paying customers. She intentionally created wake waves designed to launch the banana boat into the air when she towed it over the waves. Discovery also revealed Church leaders did not have medical training and refused to take our client to the doctor for several days, instead, they wrapped our clients broken leg in duct tape and hoped he would get better.

$325,000 settlement - Burckle v. City of Costa Mesa: Our firm recovered $325,000 from the City of Costa Mesa on behalf of our client whose leg was broken when his bicycle went out of control due to unmarked street repairs. The City had been re-paving a street. They completed about 3/4 of the width of the roadway and left for the day. There was a slight drop-off between the height of the two sections of roadway. The City workers left all of their caution signs up on the curb and didn't place them in the street where the danger was. Early the next morning our client was riding to work when the tire of his bike dropped off the unmarked edge causing him to fall.

$950,000 settlement - Doe v. Doe Company.: Our firm recovered $950,000 for a female executive who was demoted and terminated during a reorganization following her complaint to human resources that her supervisor was discriminating against her because of her status as a new mother.

Does v. Showa Denko of Japan, et al.: Mr. Schwartz represented six clients who became ill or died from a defective batch of the dietary supplement L-Tryptophan. Millions of Americans ingested dosages in pill form as a substitution for prescription sleeping pills. Mr. Schwartz was appointed by the Orange County Superior Court to be co-lead counsel for all thirty cases coordinated with a single judge. These cases obtained national attention since the illness diagnosed was a newly identified syndrome called EMS (eosinophilia myalgia syndrome) and the product was ultimately banned from sale in the U.S. In the cases Mr. Schwartz personally represented, the clients obtained among the highest recoveries in the country.

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PRODUCT LIABILITY

Catellier v, Sioux Bee Honey: Our firm represented the plaintiffs in a landmark case in Los Angeles Superior Court for product liability where plaintiff, an 8 week old infant, consumed Sioux Bee Honey and developed infant botulism. She survived and did quite well physically, but she and her parents were awarded $800,000 by the jury for emotional distress. It has now been documented in textbooks and literature provided by the State of California and others that honey should not be fed to infants under one year of age. Almost every company, including Sioux Bee, now place warning labels on the honey containers, as requested by Mr. Schwartz and his expert witnesses. Ironically, several years before the verdict, the agricultural lobby persuaded Congress to deny the FDAs formal request for a warning label.

Does v. Showa Denko of Japan, et al.: Mr. Schwartz represented six clients who became ill or died from a defective batch of the dietary supplement L-Tryptophan. Millions of Americans ingested dosages in pill form as a substitution for prescription sleeping pills. Mr. Schwartz was appointed by the Orange County Superior Court to be co-lead counsel for all thirty cases coordinated with a single judge. These cases obtained national attention since the illness diagnosed was a newly identified syndrome called EMS (eosinophilia myalgia syndrome) and the product was ultimately banned from sale in the U.S. In the cases Mr. Schwartz personally represented, the clients obtained among the highest recoveries in the country.

Doe v. Roe Driver, Roe Manufacturer, Roe Automobile Dealer: Our firm represented a young airline ticketing agent and former Disneyland cast member. He was a passenger in a Suzuki Samurai S.U.V. when it was struck on the passenger-side by another vehicle at a relatively low speed, causing the vehicle to spin, roll-over and eject our client, resulting in severe head injuries. A lawsuit was brought against the automobile manufacturer for design and manufacturing defects (allowing for the roll-over and ejection of the passenger from the vehicle), as well as for negligence against the other driver. We recovered in excess of $4.2 million for our client.

John Doe v. Doe Distributor: Plaintiff a newborn was circumcised at the hospital. Unfortunately, the pediatrician performing the procedure lacerated the organ with serious complications. The case was brought to trial against the clamp product distributor for manufacturing and design defects. At trial, the jury found defects in the clamp contributed to the injury. The jury awarded damages in excess of $1.5 million, which may be the largest recovery in the country for this type of injury.

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INSURANCE BAD FAITH

Confidential v. Confidential, et al.: Our firm recovered $2,150,000 from our clients insurance carriers arising out of the bad faith handling of an insurance claim regarding mold exposure. A pipe in our clients condominium was not properly repaired following a leak. The insurance companies, without obtaining a mold clearance, advised the family they could move back into their home knowing they had an immune compromised daughter. Our firm brought in scientific and medical experts from around the Country to establish the daughters exposure to the resulting mold growth exacerbated her condition and made her gravely ill. The case was settled on the eve of trial.

Cords v. Farmers Insurance - $900,000 settlement: This case was a good example of an insurance company breaching their "implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing." When our senior, retired clients were sued by a disgruntled tenant, the insurance company refused to provide a lawyer for them, as required by the policy, and to defend the case. As a result, our clients had to hire an attorney, who settled the case. The result was that, between attorneys' fees and settlement, our clients had to expend $10,000 which should have been paid for by their insurance company. On their behalf, we filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against Farmers and their subsidiary, Fire Insurance Exchange, alleging bad faith and requesting punitive damages, to set an example of their conduct and to deter other companies from acting in a similar fashion. After a hard-fought battle, on the eve of trial, we won a settlement of $900,000 for our clients.

Doe v. Doe Insurance Co./HMO - $1,000,000 recovered: Represented medicare/HMO member in a suit against nationally known Insurance Company that sold HMO healthcare policy to our client for their failure to advise our client that specialist doctors in the County where client lived would boycott treating senior HMO members (like our client), in the event they were injured, because of inadequate reimbursement to these specialist doctors. When our client was accidentally injured and needed surgery, the specialist doctors refused to provide service and a doctor who was unfamiliar with the facilities at the local hospital was brought in, resulting in serious complications and injuries to our client. We successfully recovered over $1,000,000 for our client.

Sicat v. Fire Insurance Exchange - $365,000 for Bad Faith: Our clients were forced to move out of their condominium after a toilet tank broke and water flooded their home. Their homeowners insurance carrier refused to pay for the approximately $4,000 additional living expenses they incurred (hotel and incidentals) while their home was being repaired, even though they had $20,000 in coverage. The insurance company claimed no coverage under the policy. Our firm found coverage and recovered $365,000 damages from the insurer for bad faith breach of the policy.

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CONSUMER FRAUD AND WRONGFUL FORECLOSURES

Confidential v. Wrongful Foreclosure: When a national bank wrongfully foreclosed on our clients home. The family came to our firm and we sued the bank. As part of the settlement, we persuaded the bank to re-purchase our clients home from the foreclosure sale buyer and return title to the family. We made the bank waive the clients mortgage so that title was returned to them free and clear of any mortgages or encumbrances. In addition, the bank paid a substantial cash settlement. The total value of the recovery was $940,000.

Rats Nest cost dealer $275,000: Our firm worked along with co-counsel and represented an elderly couple in a case where a car dealer fraudulently induced our clients into purchasing a new car, which they did not need, by falsely telling them that there was a "rats' nest" in the engine of their car (which they had brought into the dealership for service) and the rats had eaten up the wiring in their engine. We recovered $275,000 for our clients.

Adolph v. Coastal Auto Sales, Inc. dba Norm Reeves Honda Superstore Huntington Beach: When our client traded in her old car for a newer used car, the dealership promised her it would take care of releasing her from liability for her old car with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Liability was not released and our client began to receive parking tickets and bills for towing and impound fees totaling $2,700. After filing a consumer action and litigating the case, the dealership ended up paying over $100,000 in damages. The case resulted in a published appellate opinion in our clients favor. See Adolph v. Coastal Auto Sales, Inc., 184 Cal. App. 4th 1443 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 2010).

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SEXUAL ABUSE BY CLERGY

Jane Doe v. Confidential: Our firm recovered $100,000 against a massage franchise on behalf of our client who alleged the therapist inappropriately touched her during a massage.

Child Molestation cases: In child molestation church related/priest cases, as well as in cases involving molestation in daycare centers, resorts and private schools, we have recovered damages ranging from $500,000 to over $3.5 million dollars for our clients.

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ELDER ABUSE AND UNDUE INFLUENCE

Flores v. Fidelity Health Care, et al.: Our firm recovered a $1,500,000 stipulated judgment against an uninsured Licensed Skilled Nursing Facility, and personally against the president of its corporate owner, for the wrongful death of a 76 year old father of two adult daughters. Our clients father, who suffered from dementia, was permitted to leave the facility unsupervised on two occasions. Although prior to the second incident the facility fitted the decedent with a Wander Guard bracelet designed to set off an alarm if he tried to leave, no alarm sounded the second time he left. Our clients father was killed when he wandered onto the freeway and was struck by a car. Discovery revealed that only two of the five exit doors had alarm sensors. In addition, the corporate president of the facility personally denied her own administrators request to alarm the doors six months before the tragic death.

In re Gardner Trust: Our firm represented three adult daughters whose deceased Fathers third wife and her son allegedly conspired to deprive them of their inheritance through the manipulation of the family trust. The daughters alleged their step-mother was guilty of undue influence of their father who was chronically ill for a number of years. Following the transfer of trust assets, the daughters would be left with little to nothing. Our firm recovered $2,400,000 for the daughters.

Cords v. Farmers Insurance: This case was a good example of an insurance company breaching their "implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing." When our senior, retired clients were sued by a disgruntled tenant, the insurance company refused to provide a lawyer for them, as required by the policy, and to defend the case. As a result, our clients had to hire an attorney, who settled the case. The result was that, between attorneys' fees and settlement, our clients had to expend $10,000 which should have been paid for by their insurance company. On their behalf, we filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against Farmers Insured and their subsidiary, Fire Insurance Exchange, alleging bad faith and requesting punitive damages, to set an example of their conduct and to deter other companies from acting in a similar fashion. After a hard-fought battle, on the eve of trial, we won a settlement of $900,000 for our clients.

Doe Seniors v. Roe Dealership: Our firm worked along with co-counsel and represented an elderly couple in a case where a car dealer fraudulently induced our clients into purchasing a new car, which they did not need, by falsely telling them that there was a "rats' nest" in the engine of their car (which they had brought into the dealership for service) and the rats had eaten up the wiring in their engine. We recovered $275,000 for our clients.

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TOXIC CHEMICAL AND MOLD EXPOSURE

Mold at Day Care Center: Our firm recovered $1,848,000 on behalf of seven families who claimed their children developed respiratory problems after being exposed to toxic mold in a day care center.

Confidential v. Confidential - $480,000 Recovered: Our firm recovered $480,000 on behalf of a wife and husband whose apartment became unlivable due to a commercial hot water tank rupturing and sending water through their ceiling. The tenants alleged the water flowed through an adjoining storage locker containing improperly stored toxic chemicals. Our clients contended they suffered physical illness due to exposure to the resulting mixture. The defense contended the water did not contact the chemicals.

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