Mr. Thomas has participated in hundreds of mediations throughout California as a practicing attorney. He was invited to join the initial appellate mediation panel for the Third District Court of Appeals and served as a Settlement Officer in Department 59 in the Sacramento Superior Court. After years of having served on these panels and with his extensive mediation training, realized his passion and skill for resolving disputes. In 2018, after having tried in excess of 100 civil jury trials, he made a commitment to become a full-time neutral. His considerable experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants has earned him a reputation for being an effective mediator who can see a dispute from all angles. Based in our Sacramento office, he is available to mediate and arbitrate personal injury, business, professional malpractice, employment, and insurance coverage matters.
- All types of Personal Injury including Wrongful Death
- Elder Abuse
- Insurance Coverage/Bad Faith
- Professional Negligence
- Product Liability
In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf, bicycle riding, photography and woodworking.
- Neutral, Judicate West (2019-Present)
- Managing Partner, The Thomas Law Firm (2014 – Present)
- Mediator, Third District Court of Appeal, Sacramento (2008-Present)
- Settlement Conference Officer, Sacramento County Superior Court (2000-Present)
- Partner, handling civil litigation, Mason & Thomas (1984-2015)
- Attorney, handling civil litigation, Stumbos & Mason (1978-1984)
- Trial and appellate counsel for cases that resulted in five appellate court decisions: Menasco v Snyder (1984); Hernandez v Modesto Portuguese Pentecost Ass’n (1995); Pemberton v Compass Orthopedic (2018); Vasilenko v Grace Family Church (2017) [California Supreme Court]; Williams v Fremont Corners, Inc. (2019)
- J.D. University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (1974-1977)
- B.S., University of California, Davis (1970-1974)
- Third District Court of Appeal, Mediation Programs
- American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Member (1988-Present)
- Member, Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada (1980-Present)
- Member, Anthony M. Kennedy Inn of Court, with Emeritus Status (2005-Present)
- Cal ABOTA, Board of Directors, Member (2004-2007)
- Sacramento Valley Chapter of ABOTA, President (2004)
- AV “Preeminent” Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Directory
- Named, Best of the Bar, Sacramento Business Journal
- Named, Trial Lawyer of the Year, Sacramento Valley Chapter of ABOTA (2017)
- Recipient, Professionalism and Civility Award, Sacrament Valley Chapter of ABOTA (2008)
- Panel Member, Masters in Trial Programs, ABOTA (5 years)
- Named, “Top Lawyer” - Mediation, Sacramento Magazine (2022)
- Breach of commercial real estate lease contract involving LLP and individual guarantors. The lessee intended to use the leased premises for the development of a restaurant but claimed that Covid restrictions on the operation of a restaurant made the venture financially unviable.
- Commercial painting contractor sued property owner for breach of contract following owner's decision to remove contractor from property prior to work being completed. Owner filed cross-complaint claiming contractor performed shoddy work with unacceptable delay in completion of performance.
- A former employee allegedly recruited to a new company, claimed entitlement to his ownership interest as well as unpaid salary and vacation when he left the employment. The employer agreed the intention was to grant the employee an ownership interest with certain conditions precedent but the plaintiff refused to engage in detailed discussions and a written agreement was never agreed upon. The employer also cross-complained against the plaintiff for breach of fiduciary duty, claiming the plaintiff schemed to compete against the company.
- Heavy equipment lessor filed a suit to foreclose on mechanics lien based on unpaid rent and damage to property. The landowner filed a cross-complaint for breach of construction contract and indemnity against a subcontractor who rented the heavy equipment; the subcontractor filed a cross-complaint for breach of contract against the general contractor and landowner.
- Plaintiff manufacturer of specialty product claimed defendant manufacturer of competitive specialty product violated Lanham Act. Plaintiff claimed minimum damages of $6 million attributed to loss of customers as result of defendants fraudulent misrepresentations to potential clients about having received FDA approval for competing product.
- Two female medical doctors employed by the state agency responsible for accepting, modifying, or denying MediCal payment requests, claimed they were constructively forced to demote into lower-paying positions because the division's policies and practices constituted the illegal practice of medicine and placed their medical licenses in jeopardy. Both claimed they were harassed following repeated complaints they made about the practices and policies. The mediation extended across two sessions and over 16 hours.
- Two female physicians claimed constructive demotion and gender discrimination in retaliation for whistle-blowing activity at a State agency.
- A 56-year-old female corrections officer claims she was discriminated against her in retaliation for reporting misconduct by other officers and refused to accommodate her physical and emotional disabilities.
- Plaintiff was a 70-year-old Caucasian woman who was employed as the "scheduler" for an elected state official. She claimed her employment was terminated in part because of her age and race and that the official's chief of staff essentially set her up to fail at her job because she wanted to replace her with a younger person of color. Plaintiff presented eight separate circumstantial events which our courts have affirmed as demonstrating evidence of age/race discrimination. The state contended that the plaintiff was simply "in over her head" at this new position and she was terminated with good cause while still a probationary employee. The state also relied on undisputed evidence that the same officials who hired plaintiff were the ones who terminated her.
- Plaintiff is a 50-year-old African-American who was employed by the defendant public entity for 12 years. He was terminated by his new supervisor of one year. Plaintiff claimed he was terminated because of his race and/or age. Defendant's employer presented several written records documenting concerns with plaintiff's job performance including checklists for specific areas of improvement. Plaintiff did not comply with most of the items on the list. Defendant denied there was any racial animosity or motive behind the termination.
- A public entity employee of 20 years alleged he was denied promotion and career-enhancement opportunities due to his race and to engaging in protected activity related to discrimination complaints of other minority employees. Defendant county denied any discrimination or retaliation, claiming legitimate business decisions for denial of promotions and other perceived acts of unequal treatment.
- Sheriff's Sergeant was terminated for lying about the reason for not submitting the required weekly reports. Plaintiff claimed he was actually terminated in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment and because of his age. The defense denied these claims.
- A pubic entity supervisor claimed he was the victim of racial discrimination and retaliation when he was not considered or hired for a managerial position for which he was the most qualified candidate. Plaintiff argued the "Cat's Paw Theory" to establish the participation of the pubic entity's chief executive officer in the hiring decision.
- A 'probationary employee' with a public entity was released from his probation on the basis that his job performance did not meet expectations. Plaintiff claimed the reason for his termination was retaliation for his alerting OSHA to his job site accident in which he was severely injured and the employer county did not want to engage in discussions about future accommodation for his disability. Defendant claimed the decision to end the plaintiff's probation was made before the job-related accident and the notice of termination just happened to coincide with the time frame of the accident.
- Three African-American employees of public entity waste management department claimed they were victimized by racial discrimination in the form of failure to promote and failure to investigate complaints of discrimination. Attorney painted picture of historically discriminatory environment within the department and, in addition to testimony of three plaintiffs, offered "me too" evidence from other employees.
- Female Sheriff's Dept. detective claimed she was subjected to gender discrimination and harassment and subsequent retaliation leading to false accusations of dishonesty. She was terminated but a subsequent civil service administrative arbitration determined her conduct did not violate department policies. Defendant denied any harassing or discriminatory conduct and insisted she was terminated for a valid business reason.
- Hispanic employee of a public entity claimed he was harassed and discriminated against based on race and ultimately laid off in favor of less qualified Caucasian employee. Defendant denied any racial discrimination intended by supervisor's vocal support of Trump immigration policies and, in any event, plaintiff would have been terminated had employer known of after-acquired information of misconduct.
- A 21-year-old female employed by County as an animal control officer was sexually harassed by her male supervisor. Investigation corroborated plaintiff's complaint and the supervisor was demoted back to his position as animal control officer. However, there were no additional funded officer positions so the County HR Dept concluded that pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement, they had no choice but to terminate plaintiff's employment since she was still a probationary employee. The County alleged the sexual harassment was relatively minor and did not involve personal contact and that her termination was not in retaliation for filing the complaint but was just the unfortunate consequence of her supervisor's demotion.
- Plaintiff claimed that she was subjected to unwanted sexual harassment by her immediate supervisor over a period of several months and was wrongfully terminated shortly after reporting the harassment in retaliation for having made the complaint. Defendant employer contended that the plaintiff and her supervisor developed a social relationship outside of work that created an informal work environment and that plaintiff complained of harassment only after it became clear she was going to be terminated because she was habitually tardy/absent from work.
- A young woman claimed she was involuntarily subjected to quid pro quo demands from the male owner of a large clothing manufacturer. Highly suggestive and explicit messages and photographs were exchanged. Defendant claimed the relationship was consensual and independent of work. Plaintiff said she was promised an executive position and a high salary but only if she would play along with the owner's sexual fantasies.
Wage and Hour
- Plaintiff/employee claimed over $60,000 for unpaid overtime, failure to provide rest/lunch breaks, improper pay stubs, and various penalties and attorney fees. Defendant/employer conceded much of the claim based on poor record keeping or other documentation but claimed employee had embezzled over $35,000 she had received in cash deposits from customers who reserved banquet halls owned by defendant. The mediation was pre-litigation so neither side had the benefit of formal discovery.
- Plaintiff brought suit under the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights for unpaid overtime earned over four years. She was a live-in caregiver for a disabled woman. Plaintiff claimed she was an employee of dual employers. A significant issue was the ultimate collectible of a large judgment against the living employer and the trust of the deceased employer.
Wage and Hour Class Action
- Early mediation of class action suit against an interstate trucking company for wage/hour/break violations. Significant legal issues were raised by claims, primarily involving federal preemption of state labor laws. There was also a dispute between the parties regarding the proper modeling for damages claims.
- An account analyst who had been employed by a public entity for over a decade was laid off. Plaintiff claimed the expressed reason for her termination (loss of expected grant funding) was a pretext for the real motivation of her employer. She claimed her employer had worked for the last year to create a scenario to terminate her employment for cause when, in fact, it was her age and high salary.
- A police department sergeant alleged that he was not allowed to be promoted to lieutenant because of his race and because he spoke out against perceived police department misconduct. The explanations offered for the denial of promotion were entirely pretextual. The defendant's police department denied any racial or retaliatory motive for the denial of promotion and pointed to the plaintiff's history of disciplinary issues, his placing within the group of sergeants taking the lieutenant's examination, and lack of recommendations from other department officials.
- The plaintiff, a middle-aged lawyer, was standing under a large tree on a very windy day when the tree was blown over onto her and her car. She sued the city that was responsible for planting/maintaining the tree in a large concrete planter box located on a public sidewalk. She claimed she sustained mild brain trauma resulting in constant and permanent tinnitus and hearing loss.
- The plaintiff, a preschooler, was struck in the right eye by a stick wielded by another child. She claimed her teacher, one of several monitoring the playground, was negligent in not performing the required sweep of the playground for such foreign objects and by not taking more direct and affirmative action when she saw the student with the stick in hand. She also claimed the school improperly trained teachers/playground monitors. Plaintiff sustained a lacerated cornea and permanent disfigurement of the eye.
- Plaintiff's home was insured for fire loss and it was destroyed in the "Camp Fire" fire. Plaintiff had been moved out of her home and placed into elder care facility more than 60 days before the home was destroyed. The insurance company denied payment on the basis that an exclusion to coverage applied: the coverage did not apply if the house was "vacant beyond 60 days before the loss." Plaintiff claimed the exclusion was not operative because the loss occurred less than 60 days after the policy was issued. She also claimed the insurer had expressly waived enforcement of the exclusion. Plaintiff sued the insurance company for bad faith denial of coverage and sued her insurance broker for failing to obtain the appropriate coverage knowing she no longer lived in the home.
- UIM claimant who sustained ankle fracture requiring ORIF and subsequent hardware removal. Major issue during mediation was insurance carrier's position that its policy does not require payments for elements of loss that should be covered by workers compensation insurance. Claimant received final C & R for workers compensation claim but insurer claimed its insured did not seek recovery of compensation for injuries he was now claiming as part of UIM claim.
- Fire that started in the boiler expanded outside the flue pipe and destroyed a commercial building. Each side retained fire cause and origin experts who disagreed about whether substandard installation of flue allowed the fire to spread to the roof.
IP Trade Secrets
- The plaintiff janitorial supplier claimed defendant employees and competitors engaged in practices that violated its trade secrets and constituted unfair business practice. The primary trade secrets were detailed sales information contained on monthly commission reports that were provided to all sales employees and independent contractors. The defendants contended that the information did not have any economic value, and there was no evidence that the defendants actually used the information to take business away from the plaintiff.
- Cross-claims made by a former employee for wrongful termination and retaliation and by the employer for breach of contract and violation of Penal Code Sec. 502. Plaintiff was terminated either because she reported her concerns about the safety of the workplace or because she was discovered to have been web-searching for methods to copy the employer's hard drive. Following the telephone call during which the employee was terminated, she cloned the hard drive purportedly to have it available when sued the employer for wrongful termination.
- Plaintiff was admitted to hospital for MAZE procedure and developed heparin induced thrombocytosis There was a delay in the diagnosis of HITT and claimed delay in instituting and undertaking proper remedial care. Plaintiff lost left lower leg, right lower leg, and right lower arm by way of amputation.
- Medical Malpractice claim against an optometrist. Plaintiff claimed he went to the optometrist with eye irritation attributed to a small particle. The optometrist purportedly diagnosed and removed a small metallic sliver. Plaintiff had to have the affected eye removed one month later after suffering from a fungal infection. The claim was the doctor misdiagnosed the original eye irritation and that he should have prescribed medication to ward against fungus rather than an antibiotic that contained a steroid.
Professional Malpractice Legal
- Plaintiff was a physician who had his medical license revoked following a trial of an accusation by the Medical Board that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a patient and violated other ethical requirements. Plaintiff was defended against that accusation by a lawyer retained by and paid for by his employer. Plaintiff claimed the attorney violated a number of ethical requirements and that the quality of the legal representation fell below the standard of care. He lost his license due to the poor quality of legal representation. The attorney was insured through a policy with a relatively low indemnity limit which, itself, was subject to being reduced by attorney fees and costs.
- Legal malpractice claim arising out of failure to file and pursue a federal worker's compensation claim. Plaintiff also alleged fraud and intentional misrepresentation. He claimed loss of benefits, interest from date benefits could/should have been received, additional attorney fees to mitigate damages, emotional distress, and sought punitive damages. Defendant admitted professional negligence and liability for benefits, but denied, both factually and legally, any of the additional damages claims.
- Plaintiff claimed that their attorney in a Workers' Compensation claim was negligent in failing to obtain payment of annual increases in temporary disability compensation over a period of many years and charged him fees for work done to resolve issues created by other acts of negligence. Plaintiff also claimed his civil litigation personal injury attorney was negligent in failing to advise plaintiff, prior to signing a settlement agreement, that the promised Worker's Compensation subrogation claim was still being pursued. A major factor in the potential outcome of the malpractice action was the limiting evidentiary impact of the mediation privilege.
- Legal malpractice claim brought on behalf of elderly trustor against an attorney for failing to properly amend trust agreement to reflect wishes of the (now legally incompetent) trustor. The claim was that amendment to trust improperly disinherited grandchildren in favor of a niece.
- Legal malpractice was alleged by an elderly plaintiff who retained an attorney to represent him in a personal injury case against a public entity. Plaintiff alleged attorney failed to submit a government tort claim. Plaintiff injured low back in an accident and claimed damages for past medical care, loss of income, and future expenses for lumbar disc/fusion surgery. Defendant claimed plaintiff was comparatively at fault for causing the accident and that he had a long history of low back complaints and treatment.
Breach Of Contract
- Claim was for breach of real estate lease/purchase option agreement. The plaintiff property owner claimed that defendant lessee breached various material terms of the lease agreement and thereby waived his right to purchase the property. Defendant insisted he did not violate terms of the agreement, that property owner developed seller's remorse, and that property owner was harassing him with multiple unnecessary inspections.
- Plaintiff buyers of residential property claimed seller failed to disclose a number of material defects which, had they been disclosed, would have substantially impacted the purchase price. The defendant relied on disclosure questionnaire answers and the pre-purchase home inspection by the buyers' retained home inspection expert.
- Buyers of expensive house claimed that sellers failed to disclose known material defect leading to need for repairs.
- Plaintiff purchaser claimed that the defendant property owner failed to disclose material facts prior to the sale of the house. It was alleged that the house was subjected to water intrusion into the improved basement area which was known to have occurred by the seller. The seller attempted to cover up the visible damage with paint, and other damage was hidden by a wall.
- The plaintiff home purchaser alleged that the seller failed to disclose material facts in the required seller disclosures. The plaintiff also claimed that his real estate agent failed to disclose material facts she knew or should have known, and that the home inspector was negligent by failing to properly investigate and advise of potential flooding and drainage issues.
- Breach of contract case between owner of dairy farm and lessee with claim that lessee damaged property beyond normal wear and tear. Lessee defended on basis that owner cannot demonstrate condition of property prior to lease and that any provable property damage is the result of normal wear and tear.
- The plaintiffs are homeowners who claim their house foundation and structural support was compromised by defendant adjoining neighbor's use of heavy soil compaction equipment during reconstruction of neighbor's home. The compaction work was performed by a non-licensed heavy equipment operator who claimed he was acting as agent for a licensed contractor. The licensed contractor denied any knowledge of this project and claimed the operator fraudulently used his letterhead to contract for the job. Neither the operator nor the licensed contractor were insured. The defendant adjoining homeowners were insured but their policy had a limit several hundred thousand dollars less than the estimated cost of repair. Defendant disputed that the foundational/structural damages were caused by the compaction activity.
- Plaintiff's neighbor was given permission to cut branches off a very large old "heritage" tree that were overhanging her yard. Plaintiff claimed the neighbor's work (done through a tree trimming company) far exceeded the scope of the permission and the tree was "butchered". This tree has particular aesthetic value to plaintiff and the tree trimmer allegedly damaged surrounding area. Plaintiff claimed he is entitled to treble damages (per statute), including aesthetic and loss of use damages. Defendants asserted the trimming was done professionally and with full consent and knowledge.
- Plaintiff buyer of a residential home claimed that the defendant seller failed to disclose material facts that affected the value of the home. Defendant asserted the plaintiff purchased the home "as is" after being provided with multiple inspection reports obtained by the seller in anticipation of selling the house. Plaintiff declined to obtain own investigation which he justified because seller affirmatively misrepresented facts.
- Partition action between two co-owners of residential property with a claim by one party that the other obtained 50% interest through fraudulent misrepresentation. Each party expressed interest in either selling/purchasing the interest of the other.
Warranty of Habitability
- The plaintiffs occupied a rental home for a few months when they experienced water leaks with the first rain of the season. They subsequently discovered mold of various types located in the house and confirmed by air testing. They elected to permanently vacate the rental property and dispose of all personal property while the roof was being repaired. Plaintiff's sought damages for breach of the warranty of habitability including all rent paid to the time of leaving, the cost of replacing the personal belongings, and for personal injury resulting from exposure to the mold.
Assault and Battery
- Plaintiff was admittedly intoxicated when he entered the defendant's bar, and the bartender refused to serve him. It was disputed whether he became physically aggressive, but he claims he was pushed and struck by bar employees and fractured his lower leg. Defendant denied any of its employees were involved. Plaintiff alleged premises liability and negligent failure to train employees. The insurance carrier for the bar denied coverage based on an "assault and battery exclusion" but was providing a defense under reservation.
- Two workers received severe burns when the scaffold they were moving from one site to another contacted overhead electrical lines. The injuries involved amputations of limbs and severe burns to body. The construction company in charge of the site tendered its policy limit in the 7 figure range. The mediation was an effort to reach an agreement as to how the policy money should be allocated between the two injured workers.
- A middle-aged plaintiff, while visiting a rural theme park in the mountains, slipped in animal/bird "poop" on an improved walkway. The primary liability dispute was whether the theme park should have discovered the dangerous condition since there was a lapse of 6 hours between the last documented "sweep" and the accident. Plaintiff sustained a comminuted trimalleolar fracture of his ankle.
- During a group ride, an experienced bicyclist in their sixties slipped in automobile fluid left on road following a motor vehicle accident. The accident occurred on a road controlled either by City or County, which was in dispute. The city police officer responded to the accident and allegedly left the scene without assuring that fluid had been cleaned up.
- Plaintiff was "bouldering" in an indoor climbing facility when he fell from a height of 6 feet to a hard linoleum floor. The climbing route was set up in such a way that the final move was close to the end of the wall where the padded landing ended. Because his body was swaying away from the wall when he fell, plaintiff landed on the hard floor sustaining numerous fractures. The primary dispute was the effectiveness of the written waiver/release signed by plaintiff and the application of the assumption of risk.
- Elder physical abuse claim involving a 90-year-old woman of four children. Entered defendant's RCFE at high-risk fall resident with dementia. Claim was that resident was required to use a walker for all ambulation and then she fell when she was being assisted by a caregiver but without a walker. The resident fell and suffered C1 fracture resulting in her death 7 days later.
- Wrongful death and elder abuse claim arising out of the death of an 86-year-old woman brought by her only heir, her niece. The decedent was a resident at an RCFE for under a month with a care plan that required constant supervision while eating to prevent choking. Plaintiff claimed that, while unattended, the decedent choked on improperly prepared food and asphyxiated. Defendant claimed decedent died from a heart attack and that niece had very limited contact with her aunt.
- Elder physical abuse claim brought by heirs of an 85-year-old deceased mother against RCFE. Mother died as a result of complications from cancer but the claim was that the RCFE negligently allowed the development of pressure ulcers while a resident prior to final hospitalization.
- 11 year old female was bitten in face by friend's dog. She sustained several facial lacerations on and around nose. Minimal medical expenses and admitted excellent healing. Left with a couple of fairly minor but noticeable scars. Case settled for six figures.
- A teenager born without sight, hearing, or speech, and who had a near full spinal fusion and hip fusion, was attending special education school when he was being assisted by a teacher into a mechanical lift from his specially designed chair. During the standard process for doing so, according to the teacher, she lifted plaintiff from under his arm pits to allow the sling to be placed underneath his torso. She heard a loud snap in one of plaintiff's legs. Plaintiff's femur was fractured. The issue was whether the fracture was spontaneous as the result of severe osteopenia or whether the teacher was negligent in assisting with the transfer. The medical expenses were fairly small because the doctors decided surgery would not be effective to repair the fracture due to severe osteopenia. The fracture site did develop callous. The damages issue involved evidence as to the effect this fracture had on plaintiff's quality of life considering his very profound disabilities prior to the accident.
- Dog bite injury involving fracture of trigger finger of the dominant hand. Defendant claimed comparative fault because the plaintiff did not avoid close contact with a pickup truck parked in the adjacent spot.
- Plaintiff was bitten by two dogs owned by tenants of the homeowner defendant. The dogs' owners cannot be located and are not parties to the case. The primary dispute was whether the property owner knew the dogs had a "dangerous propensity" for biting and whether the incident actually occurred on his property or off the property. Plaintiff originally told emergency room personnel that she was bitten by dogs away from the property. Plaintiff claimed several witnesses could confirm the attack was actually in the kitchen.
- A woman was attacked and bitten in the leg by the defendant's dog. She claimed that in addition to several puncture wounds when the dog latched onto her leg, she twisted around to get the dog off. In so doing she sustained a displaced medial meniscus and an L4-5 disc herniation that is likely to require surgery in the future. Defendant claimed the plaintiff walked onto his property when the dog slipped out of its collar and defended him and the children against an apparent threat. Defendant also claimed that the plaintiff has preexisting low back pain and has not received any follow-up medical care following an MRI scan a couple of years before the mediation.
- Plaintiff owned two duplex units. A gas company and its contractor replaced an old gas pipeline with a new pipeline across the plaintiff's property and to the duplexes. This required the use of heavy equipment and trenching. Plaintiff claimed the contractor damaged most of the concrete pads, surrounding rock common drive, and most of the landscaping. Plaintiff was representing himself and the communication between parties was "problematic".
- A 55-year-old female office administrator/massage therapist slipped in grease on the concrete floor of a big box store. In addition to multiple soft tissue sprain/strain injuries, claimed that ever since the accident has had brain fog, lack of concentration, and frequent involuntary backward jerking of her head, all the result of a mild traumatic brain injury. The initial treating neurologist diagnosed only tension headaches. The second neurologist diagnosed brain injury following extensive EEG testing and symptoms.
- Slip and fall accident that occurred when plaintiff, on the property in the early morning hours prior to arrival of any customers to repair computer problems, allegedly slipped on wet floor. Plaintiff sustained a comminuted fracture of his left wrist that required open reduction and internal fixation.
- The plaintiff, an elderly woman, slipped on a pile of wet leaves in the parking lot of an apartment complex where she was visiting. She claimed that the condition of the property was unreasonably dangerous and was due to the negligence of either the apartment owner or the landscape/gardening company. Plaintiff sustained pelvic fractures and sciatica.
- The plaintiff stepped into a below-ground water meter box when the lid dislodged. The meter and box were owned by the city. The other three defendants played various roles in installing new water meter boxes and lids. Dispute as to cause for the lid to "flip" up when stepped on.
- Plaintiff tripped and fell when their foot struck a bolt embedded in concrete left in place following the removal of a video dispensing machine. Sustained severely torn rotator cuff and other shoulder joint injury. Plaintiff sued 5 business entities including the franchisor, franchisee, and three contractors for failing to remove the bolts or adequately warn or protect against a customer walking in the area. The case settled with an agreement among all five defendants to contribute to settlement in varying amounts.
- Disputed liability for side-swipe big rig truck vs. automobile accident in which plaintiff claimed neck and back injuries including herniated discs. Plaintiff underwent treatment by spinal surgeon including multiple injections. Defendant contended injuries were only aggravation of preexisting injuries from earlier automobile accident.
- 52-year-old plaintiff, a professional wedding photographer, involved in rear-end automobile collision, claimed she sustained bilateral carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome. She is able to perform her photography but now has to pay a third party to process all of the images at considerable expense to her. The physician witnesses agreed on the diagnosis but disagreed on whether the symptoms were caused by the accident.
- Motor vehicle vs. pedestrian accident that resulted in knee injury to plaintiff. Underwent meniscectomy and medial plica resection and low back pain with conservative treatment. Comparative negligence was disputed.
- 40 year old plaintiff who sustained two herniated cervical discs in automobile collision while in the course and scope of employment. Plaintiff received policy limit from adverse driver and received workers compensation benefits. Although a two-level discectomy and fusion were recommended by two treating spine surgeons, plaintiff had not had such surgery at the time of the mediation of this Underinsured Motorist claim, some five years following the accident.
- Father, mother and daughter were involved in a high-speed T-bone automobile collision. Father sustained a comminuted fracture of the distal humerus and underwent open reduction and internal fixation. Mother sustained head trauma resulting in neurogenic headaches.
- Plaintiff on motorcycle collided with left-turning automobile. There was a videotape recorded of the accident by a camera in a truck which the plaintiff had passed just seconds before collision. The defendant claimed the plaintiff was traveling at twice the posted speed limit on downtown street. Injuries were fractured wrist that required fusion, and aggravation of preexisting PTSD. Claim of 35 year old plaintiff that was permanently disabled from performing mechanical work.
- 45-year-old unemployed married plaintiff was injured when his small car was struck from the rear by the defendant's big rig. Substantial property damage to plaintiff's car. He suffered a depressed skull fracture with brain trauma. The primary issue was whether plaintiff had recovered from the mild TBI or whether he was, two years later, still experiencing personality and cognitive changes as consequence.
- Automobile accident was caused by a drunk driver who was, allegedly, in the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident. Plaintiffs were husband and wife each of whom sustained a fractured arm. In addition, the wife claimed she sustained a traumatic brain injury that disabled her from employment and required ongoing medical and psychiatric care. Defendants denied the driver was in the course and scope at the time time of the accident. They denied, through expert opinion, that the wife sustained any sort of brain trauma.
- 62 year old plaintiff, a surgical assistant, was involved in a rear end collision. The defendant driver was intoxicated and conceded liability. Plaintiff fractured her non-dominant arm and required internal reduction and fixation. She has some residual restricted range of motion. In addition, plaintiff claimed she sustained a mild traumatic brain injury that disabled her from continued employment. Plaintiff claimed the driver was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident since he had received notice of a work assignment for the following morning, was driving a company owned truck, and was on his way home to pick up his company assigned IPad for work the following morning.
- Plaintiff sustained mild traumatic brain injury and lumbar disc injury when struck by an automobile in the parking lot of a shopping center owned by defendant. Plaintiff claimed the parking lot was in an unreasonably dangerous condition because one of the overhead lights in the parking lot was inoperable at the time of the accident. Defendant shopping center claimed they inspected all of the overhead lights once per month and when last inspected 11 days prior to the accident, all lights were operating properly. Defendant acknowledged the closest overhead light was not operating properly when inspected two weeks following the accident. In any event, the lack of overhead light was not a contributing factor to the accident.
- Three vehicle accident resulting in one death and four personal injury claims. The defendant driver carried a policy limit of 250/500 and wished to settle all claims in a global resolution totaling $500,000. The dispute was among the various plaintiffs as to how much of the $500,000 each should receive. The matter was globally settled after extensive negotiations.
- Automobile versus bicycle collision. The auto driver was convicted of DUI. Plaintiff/bicyclist was a 55-year-old college professor who sustained a traumatic brain injury. Because of residual excessive accumulation of spinal fluid around the brain, a permanent ventriculoperitoneal shunt emplaced. Also diagnosed with PTSD.
- Injuries to two plaintiffs arose out of multiple car automobile accidents with each party blaming others for causing the accidents. Each plaintiff sued the other along with a third party so each was represented by two attorneys.
- Underinsured motorist claim following payment to claimant of $15,000 third party coverage. Claimant was a 65-year-old gentleman whose car was struck at a slow speed on the driver's door. Claimed injury to shoulder and neck and underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair capsulitis and adhesion.
- 69-year-old female plaintiff injured in an automobile accident. Plaintiff sustained significant facial, chest, and abdominal bruising but required limited medical care after discharge from the emergency room. The settlement value of the case was driven largely by the amount of medical bills the plaintiff would be entitled to recover. Her medical provider produced an itemized statement of benefits for emergency room care it considered reasonable and customary. Defendant disagreed that the medical provider's statement or services were reasonable and necessary.
- Plaintiff missed his exit lane from the freeway and suddenly slowed down to try to cross over the gore point to turn into the exit lane. Plaintiff's car was then struck from the rear by a big rig after an intermediate car swerved into an adjoining lane to avoid plaintiff. Plaintiff had a two-level cervical disc replacement three years post-accident. Defendant denied the surgery was necessitated by the accident but was the result of preexisting degenerative changes.
- Arbitration of UIM claim. Plaintiff claimed soft tissue sprain/strain of neck, shoulders, and back. Liability and economic damages were stipulated. The unique claim involved enhanced emotional distress because the adult claimant was responsible for providing all care and comfort for the disabled father suffering from severe physical limitations and dementia. The claimant was unable to provide the required care due to her own injuries. Her father died two months following the accident.
- Plaintiff was injured in a moderate impact rear-end collision and experienced low back and leg pain in the days following the accident. Plaintiff had an SI fusion and symptoms largely resolved, but incurred hefty, unpaid medical expenses. The defense medical examiner concluded plaintiff sustained moderate soft tissue sprain/strain and opined that SI surgery was unrelated to injuries sustained in the accident.
- The plaintiff was struck from the rear by the defendant's car at a very low speed. The plaintiff reported onset of right shoulder and neck pain with no previous medical history and underwent right shoulder arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum and two-level discectomy and fusion. Defendant claimed not possible to sustain this injury from a minor impact collision.
- The plaintiff was driving a pickup truck and struck by a commercial truck, resulting in substantial property damage to both vehicles. Liability was not disputed by the trucking company. Plaintiff underwent surgery 18 months post-accident and claimed recoverable medical bills, as well as a need for a second future surgery. The claim was mediated pre-litigation.
- Plaintiff's car struck the defendant's car from the rear on the highway. Plaintiff claimed the defendant made a sudden lane change from an "exit only" lane into the next "through lane" and at such a slow speed the collision could not be avoided. Defendant denied making a lane change and claimed that the plaintiff simply was inattentive and ran into her. Injuries were Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, right hip replacement, and aggravation of lumbar degenerative disc disease.
- A male plaintiff in his thirties was struck from the rear by the defendant's vehicle. Liability undisputed. Two-level cervical discectomy and disc replacements with good results. Primary disputes were the amount of recoverable medical expenses and compensation for future medical care, and future pain and potential disability considering the plaintiff's young age.
- Underinsured motorist claim arising out of two separate accidents that occurred within two weeks of each other. Plaintiff claimed he aggravated degenerative disc disease and presented a report from a spinal surgeon that the surgeon recommended disc replacement or fusion to two parts of the spine. Respondent presented evidence of two previous MRI scans that showed nearly identical degenerative changes to those shown on MRI scans taken following the subject accidents.
- Claim for underinsured motorist benefits by the plaintiff that at time of the accident, was receiving disability compensation due to chronic Complex Regional Sympathetic Dystrophy. He sought compensation for a T12 vertebral compression fracture. The respondent relied on a "red light" signal videotape to demonstrate that the accident was of minimal impact.
- A police officer sustained ulnar/radial fracture and displaced calcaneal fracture in a head-on automobile collision. He claimed he had to retire early because his residual physical limitations precluded his return to his duties as a police officer. The defense relied on QME performed for workers' compensation claim to assert that plaintiff was not disabled. There was a substantial workers' compensation lien asserted.
- An older male, physically active and working as a lifeguard, fractured the calcaneus bone in an automobile accident. The fracture required open reduction and internal fixation. However, the fracture site continued to cause pain with motion and, at the time of the mediation, he was scheduled for a second surgery in the form of a subtalar fusion. Plaintiff lost 9 months from work following the initial surgery and it was anticipated he will miss an equal amount of work time following the second surgery.
- Plaintiff and defendant were involved in an automobile collision in a parking lot. Defendant disputed liability and asserted plaintiff was comparatively at fault. The claimed injury was an aggravation of preexisting concussion symptoms. Plaintiff presented expert evidence that he was more susceptible to mild brain trauma because of a history of multiple concussions. Defendant denied the forces of the impact were sufficient to result in any brain trauma and, in any event, his post-accident history and neuropsychological evaluation indicated he did not have concussion symptoms.
- Plaintiff was struck head against a window in a motor vehicle accident. Claimed mild traumatic brain injury resulting in memory deficits, word-finding difficulty, chronic headaches, and depression. Damages included forecast for extensive future medical and psychiatric care.
- "Minimal impact" rear-end automobile accident evidenced by photographs depicting bumper dimpling. The accident occurred in a gas station. The plaintiff driver was bending across the passenger seat to reach into their purse for a credit card when the impact occurred. Claimed shoulder surgery a few years post-accident was caused by accident along with bilateral lumbar facet arthropathy requiring regular nerve ablation procedures.
- A driver of a vehicle was struck on the passenger side by a full-size pickup truck in a controlled intersection. The impact was substantial and the defendant admitted liability. Plaintiff claimed injury to neck, back, shoulder, and ruptured breast implant, along with potential traumatic brain injury. Plaintiff was the owner of a dog grooming business and claimed was not able to work to pre-accident capacity resulting in a substantial loss of income. Defendant disputed all injury and damage claims other than typical soft tissue sprain/strain. Mediation conducted prior to any depositions or defense medical examinations.
- A county Sheriff's deputy was attempting to make a rapid turning movement in her car to respond to a request for assistance from another deputy. The rear of her car struck the plaintiff who was riding his bicycle in a designated bicycle lane during daylight hours. The deputy insisted she was aware of a collision but did not realize she had struck the plaintiff. She left the immediate scene to complete the call but returned thereafter. Plaintiff was a very active bicyclist who sustained multiple rib fractures, a fractured pelvis, and aggravation of preexisting orthopedic injuries.
- A middle-aged woman was involved in a minor property damage rear-end collision with a corporate big rig. After several years of conservative care for chronic neck/arm pain, she underwent a two-level cervical disc replacement. Without health insurance, her medical bills were very substantial. Defendant disputed the cervical disc surgery was caused by the minor impact.
- A woman with acknowledged preexisting degenerative disk deterioration was involved in a relatively minor "side swipe" automobile accident. She claimed that as a result of this collision, she herniated a cervical disc that directly led to the need for a 3-level cervical discectomy and fusion. Following the surgery, the plaintiff experienced reduced pain and numbness in her arms and hands but still experienced substantial neck pain. Plaintiff's causation claims were supported by the surgeon who performed the fusion but disputed by the defense's medical examiner.
- A big rig driver claimed his preexisting lumbar pain was severely aggravated when his truck was struck by the arm of a large excavator. Plaintiff had prior complaints of and treatment for low back pain but following the accident he underwent a two-level lumbar discectomy. He claimed extensive loss of income, past and future, and there was a substantial workers' compensation lien to be resolved as well.
- Plaintiff was rear-ended by a pickup truck at a moderate speed. Her primary claim of injury was to her sacroiliac joint. X-rays and an MRI scan did not show any pathology in the area but examination and subjective symptoms suggested a possible joint separation. Ultimately, the plaintiff was evaluated by a pain medicine specialist who diagnosed sacroiliitis and recommended a nerve ablation. At the time of the mediation, the plaintiff had not undergone the ablation and it was unclear whether she would ever elect to do so, choosing instead to manage her chronic pain.
- Plaintiff claimed a heavy toolbox fell off a shelf while shopping at a big box store and struck his left shoulder. Plaintiff, 40 years old, had experienced 5 previous dislocations and admitted occasional shoulder pain, but not treatment, during the year preceding the incident. His pain level increased significantly after this incident and was experienced daily. An MRI scan showed damage that was equivocal whether it was acute or chronic or both. Conservative care failed to resolve the pain and open shoulder surgery was recommended to address a suspected labrum and rotator cuff tear. Plaintiff had not had that surgery for a variety of reasons. Plaintiff was self-employed installing electronic equipment in motor vehicles. He had to hire additional employees to perform work that he normally would have completed by himself.
- Wrongful death claim brought by husband/father of wife and child caused by "snow shedding" from a metal roof on top of the decedents. This mediation involved one of the peripheral defendants and the terms and conditions (including payment of money) under which plaintiff would not oppose summary judgment motion.
- Claim of 7-year-old plaintiff against school district and parks and recreation district for a degloving injury to big toe caused by heavy drainage grate that dropped on the foot.
- Claim of 7-year-old female child who experienced little toe amputation when it was cut by a loose light fixture in a public swimming pool. Claim was that the public entity and its pool contractor created a dangerous condition. Plaintiff also attributed emotional issues (OCD) to the trauma of the incident.
- A 65-year-old female plaintiff entered a big box store and walked to a location where grocery carts were parked for use by customers. The carts were rolled and parked on an indoor/outdoor carpet. An employee was responsible for collecting the individual carts in the parking lot and delivering them back into the store. He allegedly caused one of the carpet edges to roll up when he last pushed a group of carts onto the carpet. Plaintiff tripped over this raised section of carpet. The incident was captured by a security camera and there was no dispute about how or where the accident occurred. The video recording did not show whether the carpet section where the plaintiff fell was raised, rolled, or flat but witnesses corroborated the rolled edge. Plaintiff sustained a shoulder fracture that did not require surgery but did require some 75 physical therapy visits to regain functional range of motion following a diagnosis of adhesive capsulitis. Plaintiff was employed as a long-time manager for a See's Candy store and remained off work for nearly a year post-accident.
- A 65-year-old plaintiff tripped over a fallen tree limb, at night, while walking to the car. Plaintiff lived in a residential community with a homeowner's association charged with trimming all trees. Plaintiff had warned defendant association that an oak tree was continuously dropping limbs and branches onto the house and driveway and had requested that tree be trimmed prior to the accident. Plaintiff sustained multiple fractured ribs and a punctured lung. He was taking Coumadin and consequently experienced an unusual amount of bleeding. Plaintiff was admitted to ICU where he remained for 4 days, plus two days on a general ward. Plaintiff claimed that even after two years he was experiencing difficulty breathing and had to rely on CPAP unit to a much greater extent after the accident than before.
- A mother and son were injured when the outside deck of their apartment collapsed while they were standing on the deck. Mother claimed she suffered a herniated cervical disc and a spinal surgeon had offered to repair the disc with a fusion. As of the date of the mediation (four years post-accident), mother had not undergone the surgery claiming she was having difficulty obtaining financing to pay for the surgery; she was a MediCal recipient. Defendant claimed plaintiff has significant multi-level pre-existing degenerative changes in her cervical spine, that any surgery would be to repair a pre-existing problem, and that mother was not going to have the recommended surgery in any event. The mother was making a substantial loss of income claim since she has not been able to return to work as an at-home care giver. Son suffered at least a sprained ankle and emotional distress. He claimed his ankle continues to cause occasional pain and prevents him from actively participating in sports. Both plaintiffs also were making lack of habitability claims against the owner of the apartment complex.
- Damages arising from a fire that destroyed apartment unit. The origin and cause of the fire were disputed. Plaintiff claimed symptoms caused by PTSD resulted in substantial loss of income, past, and future.
- The plaintiff tripped over a piece of rebar that extended beyond the ends of the stacked rebar. She fell and sustained a comminuted fracture of her right patella requiring open reduction and internal fixation. The defendant, a home goods and construction material store, claimed that the condition was open and obvious and should have been easily avoided by the plaintiff had she been paying proper attention to where she was walking. The plaintiff reported continuing pain and restricted motion that adversely impacted her previously full level of physical activity.
- Plaintiff claimed damages from owners of adjacent property, occupied by an adult son, for private nuisance and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The harassment, admitted by parents and well documented by the plaintiff, occurred over the course of many years. The defendant property owner's son was a multiple-felon who was very threatening not only to the plaintiff but to his parents as well. The claim against the parents was that they should have formally evicted the son because they knew he was a menace to the neighbor. Plaintiff suffered from PTSD as a result of the harassment.
- A preacher was electrocuted when a long television antenna extension pole being erected on top of an RV contacted a live overhead power line. Electrical burns resulted in amputations of both hands and one foot. Plaintiff claimed future medical care costs in the 8-figure range. Defendant public entity denied liability.
- The plaintiff slipped across a depression in the blacktop of a commercial parking lot that was allegedly covered by "black ice". Plaintiff claimed that when she fell, she dislocated her right hip joint (that has previously been replaced), suffered a rotator cuff tear in one shoulder, and aggravated preexisting degeneration in one knee, both of which required arthroscopic repair. In addition, the plaintiff sustained damage to her bladder stimulator resulting in permanent incontinence. There were multiple defendants, each of whom blamed the other for the existence of the depression in the pavement.
- A toddler plaintiff was struck on the head by a heavy "barn door" that fell off the tracks after a residential remodel by a DIY program. Sustained demonstrable brain trauma and remained hospitalized for four days. The issue was whether the brain trauma has and/or will result in future cognitive or executive functioning.
- A woman in her seventies tripped going down the steps of a church, following service. She could not testify about the specific cause but alleged that the stairs presented an unreasonable danger because there was no handrail down the center of the staircase. There were handrails located on each side of the wide staircase. The church installed a center handrail several weeks after the accident but had ordered the handrail prior to the fall. Plaintiff sustained a significant laceration below the leg and claimed aggravation of preexisting low back/leg pain and shoulder pain.
- Plaintiff, in his early forties, claimed that he suffered a Lisfranc fracture when the defendant's motocross boot split after placing his foot on the ground to assist with making a turn. The injury required three surgeries and the last of which was a fusion. Defendant denied its boot was defective and, in any event, denied the failure of the boot caused the injury; rather the damage reflected the forces applied to plaintiff's foot.
- The plaintiff traveled to Germany to undergo a 3-level cervical disc replacement. Within 2 years it was determined that one of the implants appeared to have failed and the plaintiff's cervical symptoms returned. She then had the implants removed and underwent a cervical fusion. Plaintiff claimed the disc implants were defective. Very interesting issue regarding the choice of law to be applied as well as a proof issue because the prosthetic discs were not retained by the subsequent surgeon.
- The plaintiff was a toddler who sustained a moderate laceration on his dominant forearm when a glass shower door shattered. The roller mechanism became dislodged from the track and fell down on the plaintiff's arm. The defendants were the supplier of the door assembly and the installer of the door. The parts of the door were disposed of the day of the accident.
- Product liability claim brought by a woman who claimed she slipped on an excessively slippery deck composed of manufactured boards by a prominent manufacturer. Competing expert witness conclusions whether deck surface was "slip-resistant" so as to comply with national/international standards and how to interpret slip meter readings. Plaintiff sustained ankle and femur fractures requiring ORIF. She claimed she has osteoporosis and celiac disease which contributed to "overuse" stress fracture of opposite other foot.
- Mutual subrogation actions by fire insurance loss companies for policy benefits paid to respective insureds. Product liability claims against the manufacturer of chargeable battery packs. The cases involved charges of intentional spoliation of evidence by one insurance company, comparative fault of the insureds, and conflicting opinions of experts in fire loss.
- Wrongful death claim brought on behalf of 13 year old son and 17 year old daughter, following death of father in motorcycle vs. automobile collision. Father had history of drug abuse and was traveling (according to defense ax recon expert) at 90 mph in a 55 mph speed zone when 16 year old defendant made left turn in front of decedent. Father had somewhat tenuous and periodic relationship with two children.
- Plaintiffs were adult children of 88 year old woman who was a resident at a RCFE. They claimed the facility negligently failed to care for their mother and she developed multiple pressure ulcers that required hospitalization. The claim was complicated by the fact that at the same time, mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died one month after being admitted to the hospital. In addition to a claimed violation of elder abuse statutes, the plaintiffs also claimed wrongful death of their mother and bystander emotional distress resulting from witnessing the pain caused to mother.
- Wrongful death claim for two adult daughters of 87-year-old mother who was killed when knocked to the concrete floor by a criminal running out of a drugstore following his robbery of the pharmacy of oxycontin. The claim against the drugstore was that it had a duty to institute practices and physical barriers that would have discouraged robbery attempts and that its employee violated company policy against chasing criminal suspects inside the store.
- Wrongful death action brought by wife and two adult children aganist driver of motor vehicle that collided with decedent's vehicle. One and one-half years following accident, decedent underwent three-level cervical discectomy. While in the hospital, decedent developed pneumonia and died. Plaintiffs claimed the surgery was required because of significant aggravation of preexisting degenerative disc disease. Defendants denied the accident was a cause of the neck/arm pain that required surgical intervention.