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T.J. Murray and Jake Colvin prevailed in an admitted liability UIM case. The Claimant rejected the carrier’s $100,000.00 “new money” offer, demanding the $285,000.00 remaining on her UM policy and threatening a bad faith claim for failure to pay it. The arbitration award was $69,000.00, minus the $15,000.00 underlying settlement, for a net verdict of $54,000.00. Of note is that the carrier’s 100k new money offer came prior to expert discovery and Claimant deposed 6 treating physicians for testimony to be used at trial in addition to defense experts. Query whether his client received anything after these costs were deducted from the award.

T.J. Murray and Jake Colvin obtained a summary judgment in favor of the City of Merced. Plaintiff had purchased a home that the City had refurbished as part of its Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The City took over foreclosed homes, refurbished them, and then sold them to low income residents with loan assistance. Plaintiff was able to purchase the home that had new heater, water tank, floors, appliances, counters, windows, roof, a/c unit, etc. It was really nice. Two years later mold appeared from a leak in the a/c condenser. Plaintiff sued the City, proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished. The court granted the summary judgment as Plaintiff had signed all of the disclosures and rights of inspection that go with every home sale. Yet she had filed a verified Complaint saying she was a renter and that the City had a duty to maintain the premises as a Landlord. The court also awarded attorney fees pursuant to a provision in the sales contract but the City waived its claim thereto.

T.J. Murray and Dan Balich had a demurrer sustained without leave to amend in a Santa Clara County wrongful death case. In addition to the wrongful death cause of action against co-defendants, Plaintiff asserted a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress (“NIED”) against the employer of decedent alleging that employer deliberately withheld notice of the fatality from decedent’s family, the Plaintiffs. The Court agreed with Defendant’s arguments that the requisite duty for purposes of NIED was not established in Plaintiff’s Complaint and that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate any manner in which the Complaint could be amended to adequately support the finding of such duty.

T.J. Murray and Michelle Levinson obtained a summary judgment in favor of the City of Cupertino on a disability discrimination case brought by a former employee. The Court found that the City established that Plaintiff was unable to perform the essential job functions of his position and that the City had legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for terminating Plaintiff’s employment.

Phil Segal obtained a defense verdict against a plaintiff who claimed that defendant landlord’s negligence resulted in a fire in a commercial rental property causing Plaintiff to suffer catastrophic injuries including third degree burns and a spinal fracture. Plaintiff demanded $1.65 million, the jury awarded 0.

Daniel Balich obtained defense verdict against a Plaintiff claiming subrogation damages stemming from a rear end accident in San Francisco. Defendants, a landscaping company, argued that Plaintiff’s insured was negligent and the sole cause of the rear end accident. Plaintiff demanded $10,000.00, the jury awarded 0.

T.J. Murray obtained a defense verdict for the City of Cupertino in Santa Clara Superior Court after a one week jury trial. A homeowner exited his driveway and attempted to make a U turn across the westbound lane of Cristo Rey Drive into the eastbound lane. He collided with a motorcycle travelling in the westbound lane which caused serious injury to the motorcyclist. The homeowner settled with the motorcyclist then sued the cities of Cupertino and Los Altos for indemnity. The basis of the claim was that the curve in the road near the house had a limited sight line of westbound vehicles constituting a “dangerous condition” and that cities had notice thereof. The factual twist here is that the house and driveway were located within Los Altos but the street where the accident happened (in front of the house) was located within Cupertino.

T.J. Murray obtained a very favorable jury verdict in an admitted liability auto case.  Plaintiff’s pre-trial settlement demand was $1,000,000.00.  Plaintiff’s counsel requested the jury award $1.7 million at trial.  Defendant offered 100K to settle pre-trial.  Jury verdict – $46,000.00.  The cost bill was negotiated and final settlement was for $42,000.00.

Mike Thomas and T.J. Murray obtained a summary judgment in favor of their paving contractor client against the City of Lafayette.  Plaintiff bicyclist fell after hitting a “ridge” in an asphalt paved road.  Plaintiff sued the City and the City cross complained on an express indemnity claim.   The contract at issue was ambiguous in that it relieved the paving contractor from any 3rd party liability upon acceptance of the work by the City yet a separate indemnity provision called for indemnity arising out of any claim related to the paving work.  In this case the City had accepted the work 6 years prior to the accident at issue.  The court found in favor of the paving contractor given the City had accepted the work and any ambiguity was caused by the City, who drafted the contract at issue.  The cost bill for attorney fees (as provided for in the contract) is pending.

T.J. Murray obtained a defense verdict in Mendocino County in a Wrongful Death action brought by 5 surviving heirs.  Defendant was exiting a driveway and making a right turn onto a 4 lane road, with a middle turn (suicide) lane.  He was looking to his left, made the turn, and the decedent ran into his passenger door.  Decedent was riding a power scooter the wrong way down the adjacent bike lane, with no flag on the scooter. The jury found no liability on the part of Defendant.

Phil Segal obtained a defense verdict against three plaintiffs who claimed they had carbon monoxide poisoning and resulting brain damage from a heater malfunction and sued their landlord.  Offers of $7,500 were made to each Plaintiff, which were rejected.  Plaintiffs made a 1 million policy demand.  After that was rejected, Plaintiffs demanded 9.7 million before trial.  In response, Mr. Segal increased the offer to $50,000 with an indication of $100,000, which Plaintiffs rejected.  The jury returned a defense verdict, finding that the landlord was not negligent.  Mr. Segal negotiated an agreement to waive costs and in exchange, plaintiffs waived their right to file an appeal.

Mike Thomas prevailed on appeal.  Putative class action by tenants of multiple LA properties vs Multiple banks that became landlords following foreclosure.  Prior to bringing a motion to certify the class, Plaintiffs’ Complaints were jointly challenged by Defendant Banks on multiple Demurrers that were sustained.  Case dismissed following Orders sustaining Demurrers without leave to amend to 3rd & 4th Amended Complaints. Plaintiffs’ dismissed their appeal after receiving Mike’s opposition papers.

T.J. Murray recovered $180,000.00 plus attorney fees for KSM’s client on a breach of contract case. KSM’s client had shipped telecommunications equipment on an open book account secured by a Guarantor, the primary stockholder in Creditor corporation.

Mike Thomas and T.J. Murray defeated a Motion For Class Certification against KSM’s client. The separate claims of the class members for rent refunds for alleged habitability problems present a separate issue for individual liability determinations, at many different points in time, of whether or not a sufficient showing on non-habitability of one or more units is shown by those who chose (of necessity, presumably) to remain in such units despite their alleged condition.

T.J. Murray and Dan Balich had a demurrer sustained without leave to amend in Marin County.  Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging Negligence and other causes of action with respect to remedial work performed on a parcel of property.  Ironically, this work was being performed pursuant to a settlement agreement reached in a prior action.  Regardless, the work was done for a Nevada corporation that dissolved shortly after completion of the work.  A new corporate entity was formed who took title to the property.  Both entities filed suit approximately 2.5 years after completion of the work.  The demurrer was sustained without leave as to the dissolved corporation based upon lack of capacity to sue.  It was sustained as to the new corporation on the ground that it was not the real party in interest as the causes of action had accrued with the dissolved corporation.

T.J. Murray and Mike Thomas obtained a dismissal in exchange for a cost waiver after filing a Motion for Summary Judgment.  This case involved a scaffolding accident at a construction site.  The KSM client/defendant had installed floating floors that allowed for the running of fiber optic cable underneath and through various diffuser “holes” to allow building tenants to hook up their equipment.  KSM’s client had completed work in the area and installed covers on the diffusers.  Subsequent trades apparently removed the covers to thread the cable.  Plaintiff was on a scaffold installing acoustical ceiling tiles and “surfing” his scaffold in this active work area. His wheel hit one of the open diffuser holes and toppled.

T.J. Murray obtained a favorable verdict in Alameda County. Plaintiff’s last demand was in excess of $1,000,000.00 and the verdict against KSM’s client came to $198,000.00.  This case involved a motorcyclist who dropped his bike after running over a pothole on a road in Hayward sustaining significant injury.  KSM’s client was doing major renovation, redesign and repair on a 6 mile stretch of the road pursuant to a contract with the City of Hayward.

Mike Thomas prevailed on an indemnity claim brought by the carrier for a party that prevailed on a summary judgment motion against Plaintiff based upon Privette, et. al. line of cases.  The Court held that the contractual issues between the prevailing party and KSM’s client were not adjudicated in the MSJ vs. Plaintiff and that the ruling of “no duty of care” per Privette, did not translate to automatic victory on a cross complaint for indemnity.

Mike Thomas prevailed on Summary Judgment and the appeal thereof.   Plaintiff /tenant was injured while attempting to enter his rented apartment by traversing a second story exterior railing four inches wide leading to his back door when he accidentally fell and injured himself. He sued the owners of the building. Tenant contended that the court erred when it granted summary judgment in favor of the owners on the ground that they had no duty to take precautions that could have prevented this accident. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court that tenant’s use of the outer railing as a means of access to his apartment was unforeseeable and that the owners of the property were under no duty to take the precautionary measures that the tenant suggested.

Phil Segal and Mike Thomas prevailed on Summary Judgment and Trial in a fire case. Defense of 2 lawsuits (commercial tenants + Subrogation carrier)  Claims by two commercial tenants of shopping center.  Undisputed that fire originated over night in construction trailer used exclusively by client / general contractor during active construction / remodeling project.  Subrogation carrier’s expert theory was that fire in client / contractor’s construction site trailer caused by electrical short in power strip (allegedly resulting from a water intrusion event approx. 2 weeks before fire).  Power strip was not turned off over night.

Phil Segal obtained a defense verdict in an auto accident and products liability case following a bench trial in Alameda County.  The Plaintiff pursued a cause of action for negligence against Mr. Segal’s client as well as a cause of action for products liability against LG Electronics, Inc. for the injuries she sustained following a high speed auto accident in Pleasanton CA.  At the conclusion of Plaintiff’s case, Mr. Segal successfully argued a Motion for Judgment and obtained a defense verdict. Plaintiff’s demand was for $100,000. Defendant’s offer was for $10,000.00. Plaintiff also entered into a pre-trial stipulation to waive any appeal of the judgment.  Mr. Segal successfully opposed Plaintiff’s subsequent Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding Verdict and Motion for New Trial.

Phil Segal obtained a unanimous defense verdict in a case involving a Plaintiff who was a disabled passenger in a vehicle that was rear-ended, claiming that the deceased driver was negligent in failing to put on her seatbelt and in placing a walker between her legs.  She claimed neck injuries that required multiple fusion surgeries and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.  An offer of $15,000 was made, which was rejected.  Plaintiff demanded $500,000 which was reduced to $105,000 on the day of trial.  The offer before trial was $15,000.

In a classic motor vehicle accident case, plaintiff obtained a verdict of $25,716 in a case where plaintiff’s initial demand was $250,000.  At one point, the lowest demand was $65,000 and Mr. Segal offered up to $60,000 to settle the case, which was rejected.  After a battle of post-trial motions, the defense was awarded costs and Plaintiff’s motion for new trial was denied.  The final judgment obtained by the plaintiff was $12,717.60.