Brian Panish and Spencer Lucas Finalists for 2011 Consumer Attorney of the Year

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The Consumer Attorneys of California have selected Brian Panish and Spencer Lucas among the finalists for its top annual award, the Consumer Attorney of the Year. Panish and Lucas were recognized for their landmark $13.96 million verdict in Felipe Curiel v. SSA Marine, Inc. Curiel suffered serious spinal injuries when a 25,000-pound shipping container, knocked off a stack by a port employee operating a crane, fell more than 40 feet and landed on the truck in which he was sitting. The crane operator tested positive for marijuana. The verdict in this case, along with a settlement against the same defendant in another case, has forced SSA to make safety a priority and launch a program of screening dock workers for drug and alcohol use.

From the press release:

CAOC Announces Award Finalists

CAOC President John Montevideo today announced the 10 finalists for Consumer Attorneys of California’s top annual award, the Consumer Attorney of the Year. The winner will be announced Nov. 12 at the CAOC Annual Awards Dinner to be held in conjunction with the 50th Annual CAOC Convention at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. In addition, the three finalists were announced for CAOC’s annual Street Fighter of the Year award, also to be presented that evening.

Brian Panish, Spencer Lucas and Juan Dominguez
Curiel v. SSA Marine DVC

CLEANING UP A WORKPLACE MADE DANGEROUS BY DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE

Felipe Curiel suffered serious spinal injuries when a 25,000-pound shipping container, knocked off a stack by a port employee operating a crane, fell more than 40 feet and landed on the truck in which he was sitting. The crane operator tested positive for marijuana. The attorneys filed suit against the crane operator’s employer, SSA Terminal, the largest port operator in the world, with a history of turning a blind eye to a culture of alcohol and drugs on the docks and failing to perform drug tests. The attorneys found hundreds of people at the docks have been seriously injured in recent years as a result of drug- and alcohol-related incidents. During discovery, their firm received death threats and promises of witness retaliation for exposing the port and shipping industry’s longstanding problems with substance abuse. In winning a verdict for their client that is believed to be the largest ever in Long Beach, the attorneys have forced SSA to make safety a priority and launch a program of screening dock workers for drug and alcohol use.

READ THE ENTIRE PRESS RELEASE HERE.