2005 The Plaintiffs’ Hot List: Brian Panish

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The National Law Journal

Brian Panish made his bones as a litigator in 1999, with a record-setting $4.9 billion personal injury and products liability verdict against General Motors Corp. for members of a family who suffered disfiguring burns when their 1979 Chevrolet Malibu was hit from the rear and the fuel tank exploded. In April, he and Adam Shea and Kevin Boyle (once a law clerk for the late Chief Justice William Rehnquest) parted company with the [Santa Monica law firm where he won that victory] to set up shop on their own. Since then, the five-lawyer firm has tried three major cases to jury verdicts and negotiated “substantial” confidential settlements with Continental Tire North America Inc. in a tire blowout case and for victims of the crash of Los Angeles-bound Singapore Airlines Flight 006 in Taiwan. Pending cases involve a claim agaist Boeing Co. for Juan Beltran, an Army warrant officer rendered quadriplegic when his Apache Longbow helicopter crashed during a maintenance flight in Iraq. The firm also is prosecuting numerous Vioxx-related lawsuits.

Noteworthy Cases

  • Dominguez/Valencia v. San Francisco, No. CGC-03-422963 (San Francisco Co., Calif., Super. Ct.). Attorneys Panish and Boyle. In September, a California state jury returned a $27.4 million verdict for the wrongful death of 4-year-old Elizabeth Dominquez. The child was killed and her mother severely injured when a city truck ran a red light, collided with another vehicle and careened into their group on a sidewalk in the city’s Mission District. This was the largest jury verdict ever recorded against the city and county of San Francisco.
  • Sherman v. Courrege, No. EC030284 (Los Angeles Co., Calif., Super. Ct.). Attorneys Panish and Clay Steward. In August, a California state jury returned a $25.5 million verdict for the surviving adult children of a mother and father killed along with one minor son by a drunk driver.
  • Sorensen v. Burlington Northern, No. 02CC00117 (Orange Col, Calif., Super. Ct.). Attorneys Panish and Boyle. The firm won a $2.8 million verdict for the parents of Larry Sorensen, a 48-year-old man who was killed when a freight train collided with the Metrolink commuter train on which he was a passenger near Anaheim, Calif., in April 2002.