A jury ordered General Motors to pay $4.9 billion to the Anderson family for a defectively designed fuel system that caused their Chevy Malibu to burst into flames after it was rear ended on December 24, 1993. Brian Panish of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represented the Andersons in their auto product liability suit which resulted in the largest personal injury verdict in history.
The plaintiff was at a nightclub with friends. After paying his bill and preparing to leave, he was stopped by a manager and security personnel who claimed the bill was not paid. Plaintiff was then taken to another area of the building, beaten, and held against his will by security before being released. As a result of the attack, Plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in the loss of his livelihood.
A Moyle Excavation employee, Joseph B. Griggs, was awarded the single largest individual personal injury verdict in California history after he sustained severe personal injury in the form of third-degree burns after the construction vehicle he was operating suddenly burst into flames.
A jury awarded a tire-tread separation accident victim more than $55 million, her mother more than $5.5 million, and her father $1 million after finding that tire manufacturer Continental General Tire’s product caused the 1996 rollover accident that led to Cynthia Lampe’s catastrophic injury.
In May 2011, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorney Brian Panish obtained a $39,000,000 settlement for clients William Parrish and E. Timothy Fitzgibbons in a case against FLIR Systems Inc. for malicious prosecution and intentional interference with prospective economic relations. It is believed to be the largest malicious prosecution settlement in California history. The action arose from FLIR’s purchase of Indigo Systems Corp. in 2004 where Mr. Parrish and Mr. Fitzgibbons were executives. When the men left to start their own business, Thermicon, and began business discussions with Raytheon, FLIR sued them for misappropriating trade secrets, and Raytheon terminated its relationship with Thermicon. In 2008, a Santa Barbara County trial court ruled against FLIR in the underlying misappropriation case and found that the action by FLIR was brought in bad faith – a decision that was upheld on appeal. Represented by
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, Mr. Parrish and Mr. Fitzgibbons sued FLIR in 2008 in the Santa Barbara County, California Superior Court alleging it had filed the misappropriation action for an anti-competitive purpose and that the case destroyed their new business. FLIR contended, among other defenses, that their actions in the underlying case were protected by the “litigation privilege”. The case settled during a mandatory settlement conference. Mr. Parrish and Mr. Fitzgibbons were also represented by Michael Avenatti of Egan O’Malley & Avenat
A Riverside County Superior Court jury has awarded Jaishree and Prakash Sheth $36,482,302.56 in the big-rig truck crash that left Jaishree Sheth catastrophically injured. The Sheths were represented at the four week trial by Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Brian Panish, Tom Schultz and Ryan Casey. This is believed to be the largest personal injury verdict in Riverside County history.
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represents Jaishree and Prakash Sheth in claims arising out of a multi-vehicle accident. The collision occurred when the Camry in which the Sheths were passengers was struck by a big-rig tractor trailer owned by Schneider National. The truck’s impact caused the Camry to spin out of control across the highway where it hit the median barrier and was then struck by a another vehicle traveling in the #1 lane. As a result of the impact, the Camry then careened back across all three freeway lanes, beyond the asphalt shoulder, and across a collection of large boulders off the freeway, where it came to a rest teetering over a man-made wash, with a 20 foot drop below.
At the time of the 2010 accident, the Sheths were visiting the United States from India and were on the way to the Orange County airport for a long-planned family vacation to Hawaii. The accident occurred on the 10 westbound freeway and the Oak Valley Parkway off ramp, in the city of Beaumont, California.
Jaishree Sheth was 58 at the time of the accident and was seated in the backseat of the Camry behind the driver, Gamanial Shah, her cousin’s husband. Mr. Shah was driving in the #3 lane when the speeding Schneider big-rig improperly attempt to pass the Camry, negligently entered into the #3 lane and struck the car, causing the catastrophic accident. Schneider National and its employee driver, Jimmy Morgan, contended that Mr. Shah negligently entered the #2 lane, causing the initial impact between their vehicles, a fact not supported by the evidence.
As a result of the catastrophic accident, Mrs. Sheth suffered a C5-6 fracture and spinal cord injury. On admittance to the hospital, Mrs. Sheth was completely paralyzed. She underwent two emergency surgeries, experienced respiratory failure and was hospitalized for two months. Mrs. Sheth had to undergo intense physical rehabilitation where she had to learn how to stand and walk again. Mrs. Sheth still requires 24-hour attendant care. Her husband, Prakash Sheth, also suffered injuries and has damages resulting from the limitations now faced by his wife of over 30 years.
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP obtained a $34,555,220 jury verdict for a young man who was hit and severely injured when he was run over by a tractor-trailer while he was stopped on the sidewalk of a Los Angeles, California street. Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Brian Panish, Tom Schultz, Erika Contreras, Deborah Chang and William Douglas and co-counsel Banafsheh, Danesh & Javid, P.C. all represented the plaintiff in the case.
19-year-old Alan Casillas was on the sidewalk at an intersection when a semi-truck tried to make a right turn and its 55-foot-long truck trailer crossed over the sidewalk hitting Mr. Casillas. The accident resulted in Mr. Casillas having a below-the-knee amputation of his left leg. Landstar refused to accept responsibility for the accident until immediately before the start of trial, and even attempted to place blame on Mr. Casillas for not paying attention and avoiding the truck. Defense counsel argued during closing arguments that Mr. Casillas should only be compensated around $5,000,000 to $7,000,000 for his injuries. The jury rejected those arguments, finding that Mr. Casillas should receive $738,639 for past and future lost wages, $5,941,581 for past and future medical costs, and $27,875,000 for past and future pain and suffering.
In the largest personal injury verdict ever delivered against the city of San Francisco, a jury awarded two families a total of $27.4 million for the February 2003 two-car accident that took the life of a 4-year-old girl. Brian Panish and Kevin Boyle of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represented the family of Elizabeth Dominguez, who was killed during an accident caused by a negligent Municipal Railway worker.
The city of San Francisco was ordered to pay $27.4 million to the two families involved in the accident, which occurred when a city municipal truck collided with another vehicle, and then struck the 4-year-old girl who was walking with her mother, her best friend, and her best friend’s grandmother on the sidewalk. The crash resulted in the young girl being pinned against the wall of a nearby building, as well as caused injury to the girl’s mother.
Witnesses to the incident claimed that the city municipal worker recklessly attempted to run a red light immediately before the crash occurred. The damages awarded by the jury were entirely made up of compensatory damages, as it found that the driver, despite running the red light, did so without malice against any of the victims.
On January 11, 2011, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Adam Shea and Spencer Lucas obtained a $14,465,864 jury verdict in San Diego County Superior Court for three young boys whose parents were both killed in a 2006 crash that result from a tire tread separation on their van.
Casey Barber was driving his Ford E350 Sportsmobile van near Page, Arizona with his wife Melanie when a right-rear tire tread separation caused the vehicle to lose control and roll over. The San Diego couple sustained fatal injuries and were survived by their three young sons who were also occupants of the vehicle that day. Before trial, a settlement of $8,300,000 was reached with all but one defendant, Mossy Ford, which had performed a faulty tire repair on the van rather than taking the damaged tire out of service. At trial, Plaintiffs were able to demonstrate that Mossy Ford’s faulty tire repair caused the tire tread separation and resulting crash.
The $22,765,864 combined verdict and settlement is believed to be the largest amount awarded in compensatory damages in a San Diego County wrongful death case. A damages verdict was not enough, however, for the plaintiffs or their counsel. A post-verdict settlement was quickly reached conditioned on the dealership agreeing to follow industry guidelines regarding tire repair practices and to implement a program to better train its technicians with regard to safe tire repairs. The Barber children were also represented at trial by Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood, LLP attorneys Robert Buccola and Jason Sigel who were involved in all aspects of the case.
A jury awarded a 45-year-old student, Lusik Pogosyan, gross damages amounting to $22 million after he was struck by a pursued vehicle during a 1991 police chase. The Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD) was ordered to pay damages as a result of negligence exhibited during the police chase. Brian Panish of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represented Pogosyan, who had to undergo an above-knee amputation and sustained massive internal injuries as a result of the crash.
After a minor traffic accident involving a parked car took place on December 16, 1991, the defendant driver fled pursuing police cruisers, reportedly traveling at speeds in excess of 50 mph. Although the defense argued that police cruisers were not in pursuit, the jury believed otherwise, particularly after a police captain testified that the department’s pursuit policy was deficient at the time of the incident, with no lax guidelines allowing officers to engage in a high speed chase. As a result of the incident, Ms. Pogosyan had to have her left leg amputated, suffered a fractured pelvis, and sustained multiple fractures in her right leg.
The pedestrian accident left Ms. Pogosyan wheelchair bound. Representing the largest verdict against MTA in California history, the damages were reduced to $13 million by apportionment.
A jury ordered cleaning supply distributor Hillyard, Inc. to pay damages totaling more than $21 million to a 29-year-old Iraq War veteran, Michael Nelsen, after a he was involved in an auto collision with a speeding Hillyard, Inc. van. The accident took place on August 17, 2007. Brian Panish and Spencer Lucas of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represented Nelsen, who suffered a stroke as a result of the accident and who now requires 24-hour care for the remainder of his life.
The accident occurred when a Hillyard employee-driver van rear-ended the vehicle that Mr. Nelsen was a passenger in. According to records, the Hillyard vehicle was traveling at a speed of 80 miles per hour, while the vehicle Mr. Nelsen was in at the time of the car crash was traveling only 15 miles per hour. A promising art student, Mr. Nelsen sustained multiple fractures and a stroke stemming from blood clots that formed in his brain. The catastrophic injury led to permanent brain damage.
On July 30, 2015, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Rahul Ravipudi, Deborah Chang, Tom Schultz and Matthew Stumpf obtained a $20,500,000 jury verdict for the mother of a high school student who was killed while walking to a bus stop in Fontana, California. The verdict followed the trial court’s finding that the Chaffey Joint Union School District hid evidence in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the tragic collision. On December 6, 2010, 15-year old student, Jin Ouk Burnham was walking to a school bus stop that required him to cross an uncontrolled, five-lane highway in violation of state law when he was hit by a vehicle whose driver said she did not see him. He died 15 days later.
During the litigation, the School District hid evidence and misrepresented facts regarding the location of the available bus stops, resulting in significant issue sanctions being ordered by the trial judge. Despite the School District’s attempt to place blame for the accident on Jin and the driver, the San Bernardino Superior Court jury assigned 100% liability for the accident on the School District. During closing arguments, the School District’s attorney claimed that the relationship between Jin and his mother, who had finalized his adoption a year before his death, was worth only $1,500,000. “Although the school district attempted to cover up what happened, we fought for the truth and the truth prevailed.” said attorney Rahul Ravipudi.
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represents Marina Rivas in a personal injury case arising from an accident in which a J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. truck driver ran a red light, hit Ms. Rivas’ car and then fled from the scene of the accident, leaving Ms. Rivas catastrophically injured.
On May 2, 2008, Marina Rivas (then age 47) was returning home from a business trip to Bakersfield, where she was working in sales for a home security company. As Ms. Rivas was legally entering the intersection of Paramount Boulevard and Telegraph Road in Pico Rivera, she was hit by a 30,000 pound tractor-trailer driven by a J.B. Hunt employee who entered the intersection on a red light. The truck was moving at a speed of roughly 35-40 miles per hour when it hit the driver’s side of Ms. Rivas’ car, destroying the left side of her vehicle and pushing it through the intersection with such force that it left the roadway and slammed into a pole. The damage was so extreme that the driver’s door had to be removed by fire personnel to extract Ms. Rivas from the wreckage.
Incredibly, the J.B. Hunt driver fled the scene of the accident, making no attempt to report the incident or to render any type of emergency care to Ms. Rivas.
After being extracted from her vehicle, Ms. Rivas was taken to the hospital where her diagnoses included subarachnoid hemorrhage, concussion, and retrograde amnesia. She continues to suffer from serious cognitive impairments, chronic physical pain, and other conditions as a result of her injuries. Ms. Rivas has been unable to work since the accident and was required to move in with her cousin who helps care for her financially and physically.
During discovery in the case, it was learned that the J.B. Hunt driver had been hired and fired by J.B. Hunt twice in the past, including for being “unfit”. He had held 15 different jobs in the trucking industry since 1999 and was terminated from many of them for safety violations and incidents of violence. He also had a history of failing to report and attempting to cover up traffic accidents.
Although during the litigation the J.B. Hunt driver claimed that he “blacked out” and could not recall the accident, within days of the crash he gave two different detailed versions of the accident to the investigating police officer and J.B. Hunt’s claims adjuster. In both of these accounts, he claimed Ms. Rivas ran the red light despite the fact that there were two independent eye witnesses who confirm the contrary – that the J.B. Hunt driver ran the red light and fled the scene.
Trial in the case began with opening statements on July 19, 2012. In addition to economic and non-economic damages, the case seeks punitive damages against the defendants based on the conscious and deliberate disregard of the rights and safety of others that was shown by both the truck driver and J.B. Hunt, who hired the driver knowing his driving record and employment history.
On June 25, 2014, Kevin Boyle and Rahul Ravipudi obtained a $19,786,818 jury verdict for a man who suffered severe burn and traumatic brain injuries when his rental home exploded as a result of Southern California Gas Company (“SoCalGas”) negligence. This is believed to be the largest personal injury jury verdict in history against SoCalGas. SoCalGas made no settlement offer to the plaintiff at any time during the case. On January 19, 2011, an employee of SoCalGas arrived at a property in San Gabriel, California, where 24-year old Plaintiff Pengxuan Diao and others lived, to service the gas system. Mr. Diao is a Chinese immigrant who was attending school in the United States. While at the house, the SoCalGas employee recklessly opened a gas valve which activated a gas line running to the back house where Mr. Diao was sleeping. In violation of SoCalGas policy, the employee then left the property without ensuring it was leak free. Approximately two hours after the leak began, Mr. Diao woke up and attempted to light a cigarette at which point the room exploded into flames. Mr. Diao caught on fire and sustained catastrophic injuries including second and third degree burns to over 20 percent of his body. Mr. Diao was in the hospital for two weeks and received multiple surgeries (debridement and skin grafting) and extensive treatment.
Following the explosion, Mr. Diao was also diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury which has left him with permanent cognitive deficits. Although SoCalGas eventually admitted fault for the incident, it argued that the property owner was also negligent and should be held at least partially responsible for Mr. Diao’s damages. SoCalGas also challenged the nature and extent of Mr. Diao’s injuries and damages, telling the jury during closing arguments that Mr. Diao should only be awarded $1,400,000. The jury disagreed and awarded Mr. Diao $17,000,000 for past and future pain and suffering, $2,129,718 for past and future medical expenses, and $657,100 for past and future loss of earnings. The trial court upheld the verdict in it’s entirety in post-trial motions, and the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision on January 8, 2016. Read the Court of Appeal’s decision here.
On July 16, 2013, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorney Spencer Lucas obtained a $19,466,000 jury verdict in the Los Angeles Superior Court for a man and his wife after the man suffered catastrophic injuries when he was hit by a truck while riding his motorcycle.
On December 15, 2009, Janusz Zastawnik was riding his motorcycle in Lomita, California when he was struck broadside on the right by a commercial truck driven by an employee of Asplundh Construction Co. Mr. Zastawnik suffered severe crush injuries to his lower limbs and was initially hospitalized for 33 days. He has had a total of five surgeries on his feet and ankles as a result of the crash and remains permanently disabled from his job as a truck driver. At trial, Asplundh disputed that the defendants were liable for the collision and challenged Mr. Zastawnik’s future medical expenses and the extent of his pain and suffering. Defense counsel asked the jury to award the Zastawniks only $2,500,000 in total damages. The jury disagreed, awarding Mr. Zastawnik and his wife, who had a claim for loss of consortium, almost the entire amount sought at trial. Asplundh offered $4,000,000 to settle the case prior to trial.
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorney Spencer Lucas was lead counsel. Co-counsel Charles Koro of Brown, Koro & Romag, LLP also represented the plaintiff at trial.
Following the denial of Defendants’ motion for new trial, the case settled in October 2013 for $19,350,000.
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represents Don Yoon whose wife, two daughters and mother-in-law were tragically killed when a Navy/Marine Corps jet crashed into the Yoon home. The firm also represents the mother-in-law’s husband, children and mother in their wrongful death claims. The United States Government has admitted liability for the crash.
On June 3, 2015, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Brian Panish, Deborah Chang, Tom Schultz and Austin Ward and co-counsel Carla DeDominicis obtained a $17,393,479.87 jury verdict in a Vista, California court for a young man who suffered severe facial injuries and a mild brain injury after being involved in a six-vehicle collision caused by a negligently driven NuCO2 truck. This is reportedly the highest amount ever awarded by a jury in the North County Division of the San Diego Superior Court.
Russell Sheaffer, then 24-year old, was driving the third of five cars in a row of stopped vehicles on Interstate 15 slammed into by a 35,000-pound Freightliner flatbed tanker truck . Mr. Sheaffer’s car was hit was so much force that its seat broke and Mr. Sheaffer’s car was propelled into the SUV in front of him. He sustained facial fractures along his jaw, an imploded sinus and a minor traumatic brain injury. It was later revealed that Mr. Sheaffer suffered from a traumatically induced, rapidly progressing, degenerative joint disease of the temporomandibular joints.
Although NcCO2 admitted liability for the accident, it denied that Mr. Sheaffer suffered the long term damages or pain and suffering that he claimed, pointing to his success as a young film maker since the accident as evidence of his recovery. In addition to his medical expenses and lost wages, the jury’s award included $12,500,000 for past and future pain and suffering.
On September 16, 2013, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Tom Schultz, Spencer Lucas and Brian Panish obtained a $17,120,662 jury verdict for an 85-year-old man for injuries he sustained when he was hit by a Southland Transit Inc. bus resulting in the amputation of his right leg. The jury also found that the defendant bus company acted with malice, thus warranting the imposition of punitive damages.
On August 27, 2012, Julio Huayanca was crossing the street in a designated crosswalk when he was hit by a Southland Transit Inc. bus that was attempting to turn left through the crosswalk and failed to yield to pedestrians. The 36,500 pound bus came to a rest on top of Mr. Huayanca, causing him catastrophic injuries and ultimately resulting in the amputation of his right leg. During the litigation, it was discovered that the Southland Transit bus driver had 3 accidents in the 6 years before he hit Mr. Huayanca, had not received adequate driver training (even after receiving poor driving evaluations from his supervisor), and had failed to complete the state and federal minimum of 8 hours of annual driver training. Despite this, Southland Transit refused to admit liability for the accident until 6-weeks before trial.
Shortly after trial, Southland Transit paid Mr. Huayanca $15,000,000 in full settlement of the case.
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