You must have thought I had given up on my Civil Jury Verdicts column for the Contra Costa Lawyer. I didn’t, but apparently lots of trial lawyers did, as I received no reports of trials, settlements or arbitration awards for a long time. However, recently I have received a number of reports. Thanks, folks, and keep them coming!
Andy Schwartz of Walnut Creek reported a big verdict he obtained in Federal Court in San Jose. The case involved a shooting by a Gilroy, California police officer of an individual by the name of Gurmit Singh. The officer claimed Mr. Singh charged the officer and tried to take his gun, when the officer was forced to shoot Mr. Singh. The officer was on his cell phone with a colleague at the time of the shooting.
The eight person Federal jury held that the officer violated Mr. Singh’s civil rights by using excessive force and by failing to render emergency medical care after the shooting. The jury awarded $1.275 million to the Singh family. The jury also found Mr. Singh was 50% liable for his own death. The award was not reduced by that 50% allocation, as the officer violated Mr. Singh’s civil rights.
The Richmond Police discrimination case went to trial in Martinez before the Honorable Barry Goode. Stephen Jaffe of San Francisco represented the Plaintiffs. Arthur Hartinger and Geoffrey Spellberg represented Defendants. Plaintiffs alleged discrimination against the Police Chief, the Deputy Chief and the City of Richmond. Plaintiffs sought in the neighborhood of $18 million in damages. The jury found for the defense on all counts.
The case of James Sappington vs. Henkel Corporation, No. CIVMSC09-02555, was tried before the Honorable Steven K. Austin. Beth Ann Huber of San Rafael represented the Plaintiff. Robert D. Eassa of Oakland, and Delia A. Isvoranu of Oakland represented Defendant.
Plaintiff was terminated from his job after a 27 year career as a production supervisor. He brought an action against the company. After extensive pleading practice and motions, five causes of action survived.
At trial the Court dismissed the negligence causes of action. Discrimination and wrongful termination survived. The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $200,000. It appears Plaintiff made a demand of $3.4 million. No information on a pre-trial defense offer was available.
Shahan vs. Shahan, Case No. MSP09-00599 was heard before the Honorable Charles B. Burch. Robert Riordan of San Ramon represented the Plaintiff/Petitioner. Joseph M. Morrill and Konstantine A. Demiris represented Defendant/ Respondent. The case involved a dispute involving The Shahan Family Trust, dated May 23, 1985. The complaint was filed on May 21, 2009. The complaint involved a petition to invalidate two amendments to the trust. The contest was based on the grounds the decedent lacked capacity, and undue influence.
Judge Burch found for the Defendant/ Respondent. No objections or proposed modifications of the judge’s Proposed Tentative Statement of Decision were filed. Therefore that decision became final by operation of law. Respondent submitted a Memorandum of Costs in the amount of $47,111.
Stock Trust Agreement, David Stock, Petitioner vs. Riley Stock, Respondent, Case No. MSP09-00299 was heard before the Honorable Charles B. Burch. Jone Lemos of Fort Bragg represented Petitioner. Matt Toth of the Pedder firm represented Respondents. The case involved a dispute among brothers as to the disposition of the family estate. Petitioner objected to the way in which the trustee distributed the parents’ personal property. He objected to the sale of the family residence. In addition, he objected to the expenditure of some of the trust funds by the trustee. After a four day trial, the respondent trustee prevailed on all counts.
As Stan Pedder stated in his report to me on the case: “You are not your brother’s keeper unless he is the trustee”.
In a local verdict which I read about in the newspaper, a Contra Costa jury awarded a woman $2.5 million for a chicken bone which was stuck in her throat, requiring multiple surgeries. I had to do a little work to get the case information. The Plaintiff Calla Felicity was injured when a piece of pizza with chicken strips contained a chicken bone fragment. The bone fragment became lodged in her throat causing severe injuries. She spent a number of days in the hospital and underwent a number of surgeries. A $2.5 million verdict in Contra Costa Courts is most unusual. I have no information at press time as to demands and offers prior to trial. If I get that information, I will get it to you next time.
Nick Casper of Walnut Creek reported an interesting settlement. Yes Nick is Stan’s son, and is obviously a chip off the old block, as he is handling a number of substantial plaintiff matters. The case of George
Perasso vs. Bay Counties Pitcock Petroleum, Inc., et al, Case No. C10-00382, was set for trial before the Honorable Judith Craddick.
The case involved a serious injury related to an attack on Plaintiff’s dog by an unleashed pit bull. The pit bull was owned by a man who was working at the time at a service station owned and operated by Pitcock Petroleum. Plaintiff was injured when he tried to protect his dog and break up the attack. Plaintiff injured his already surgically repaired right shoulder. He required two additional shoulder surgeries due to his injuries. Plaintiff’s medicals totaled approximately $58,000. He claimed a lost earning capacity of $550,000. The case settled for $300,000.
On a final note, I recently settled three substantial cases. However, due to the confidential nature of the cases and the settlements, I cannot tell you about them. Sorry about that.
Keep those cards and letters coming, and please write to me about those civil verdicts/settlements of any kind – You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Filed Under: News & Updates