Andrew Leyvas v. Norma Paragas, M.D.
Andrew Leyvas was born with jaundice. The hospital released him without adequate testing or treatment. His parents sought medical help four days later. His father telephoned Dr. Norma Paragas, a pediatrician who was on call for the child's regular doctor. Andrew's mother called a second time several hours later. Both parents reported that the baby's skin was yellow and he was experiencing difficulty feeding.
Dr. Paragas did not request to see the baby and failed to recognize that both calls dealt with the same baby. The parents, concerned about the apathy displayed by Paragas, called the emergency room. Twelve hours after initially speaking with Paragas, Andrew was finally admitted to the hospital.
Medical tests found Andrew to be suffering from hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus, conditions found in newborn babies when their livers cannot break down a blood waste called bilirubin. Bilirubin becomes a potent neurotoxin if allowed to accumulate in the body.
LEGAL THEORIES AND STRATEGIES
The firm contended that proper diagnosis and treatment did not begin until the doctor turned the case over to a neonatal specialist on June 8. The poisoning of Andrew's brain, due to a delay in treatment caused him to become a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Andrew’s parents maintained that the doctor was dismissive of the parents' initial concerns regarding their baby, inattentive to the infant's symptoms and failed to competently deal with the baby's problems.
$84.3 million jury verdict
Our client suffered extensive injuries including fractures of his skull when a tree limb was dropped from 20-30 feet that struck our client in the head. Our client lost consciousness when he was struck. He has survived his brain injuries but has permanent residuals.
Our client suffered a severe and permanent brain injury, including extensive
fractures of his skull and bleeding in his brain, when a contractor dropped
a large tree limb from 20 feet high onto our client’s head. He was
instantly rendered unconscious and will endure lifelong consequences including
significant cognitive defects, seizures, and more. This monumental win
on behalf of our client was awarded the #1 Top Decision for Worker/Workplace
Negligence in 2018. Read more in our firm’s
Child Catastrophic Injury-
$47.5 million settlement on behalf of a child who suffered catastrophic injuries when a tree crashed onto his tent in San Mateo County Memorial Park. Read more on our blog.
Amputations & Paraplegia-
Tuiaki v. Adelphia
A 36-year-old lineman, Sifa Tuiaki, suffered catastrophic injuries when he came into contact with a 7,200-volt power line. Tuiaki was working from an elevated workbasket installing a fiber-optic cable system. His co-worker was slowly driving the bucket truck around a turn in the highway, while Tuiaki elevated Tuiaki’s workbasket and the fiber-optic support cable to avoid some redwood trees. In doing so, Tuiaki backed into a power line that contacted the back of his neck and hardhat. Tuiaki suffered bilateral amputation of both arms, burns over 45% of his body and paraplegia.
Suit was brought under the following theories: (1) negligent construction management against defendants Adelphia, Pauley Construction and FJS; (2) negligent premises maintenance against defendants Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Pacific Bell, Western Environmental Consultations (WECI) and Davey Tree Surgery; and (3) products liability against the manufacturer/successors in interest of the uninsulated bucket tree, i.e. Mobile Tool International (MTI), American Premier Underwriters (APU) and General Cable Corporation.
Tuiaki was hospitalized for over seven months and underwent 14 surgeries. His wife, Lupe, age 37, was five months pregnant at the time of the accident with their second child. Their oldest child was four years old at the time. Lupe Tuiaki claimed loss of consortium due to her husband's severe injuries. Tuiaki claimed past and future medical expenses and wage loss over $13,000,000, which was disputed by the defendants.
Since the accident, Tuiaki obtained a general contractor's license and used funds from his settlement to start his own business. He actively oversees construction from his wheelchair with the assistance of his wife.
$29 million settlement.
The hotel owner/operator created a public safety risk by designing and constructing unsafe accommodations that exposed the guest to a deadly virus. The accommodations were negligently maintained further exposing guests to this risk of serious harm and wrongful death. The hotel owner/operator in this case continued to rent accommodations to guests despite knowledge that the accommodations remained infested with vermin. Notably, the hotel owner had notice of an infestation on the premises, but continued to rent accommodations to the public.
Adrienne Doe v. Parent Corp.
Adrienne Doe, a well-known television reporter in Southern California, was in a news van being driven by her photographer. The van had a telescoping mast with microwave antennae that allowed the reporter to make live video transmissions. The driver parked the van on the driveway of an automotive shop. As a result, the antennae angled toward the power lines as the mast extended up into the sky.
Doe was unaware of this dangerous condition and was in the process of preparing to cover the story when she suddenly heard her driver and others start screaming for her to get out of the van. She rushed out of the van. As soon as her right foot touched the electrified ground, the electric current flowed through her body, causing devastating injuries.
The broadcasting company for which Doe worked had never given its employees training on the dangers posed by the telescoping masts in light of their being used near power lines. Nor did the company make its employees aware of any emergency procedures to follow in the event a news van mast inadvertently contacted an overhead power line, which would electrify the van.
$17.8 million settlement
Mowatt v. City of Los Angeles
Mowatt, a 19-year-year old student who was visiting Los Angeles, was crossing an intersection near the Hollywood Bowl. As she neared the crosswalk’s end, she was struck by an SUV. Mowatt sustained severe brain damage, a fractured lower jawbone, broken teeth and facial lacerations. Her brain injuries caused attention and concentration deficits, memory loss, as well as the loss of her senses of taste and smell.
LEGAL THEORIES AND STRATEGIES
Mowatt sued the driver for negligence, and the City of Los Angeles and the State of California for failing to correct a dangerous condition. The driver didn't dispute liability and settled for $175,000. Meanwhile, the state denied liability but settled before trial for $1.5 million.
As to the City of Los Angeles, Mowatt contended that the city had actual notice of a dangerous condition, including the 55 mph speed limit on the street, with no stop sign or traffic light at the crosswalk. Additionally, an off-ramp from the freeway flowed directly into the intersection. The city had received letters and phone calls from citizens who thought the intersection was a danger to pedestrians and requesting an evaluation of its safety, but the city failed to act on these requests or bring them to the attention of the state.
The jury found the city 20 percent at fault, the state 48 percent at fault, the driver 30 percent at fault and Mowatt 2 percent at fault.
$16 million, consisting of an $18 million jury verdict against the City of Los Angeles, reduced to $12.25 million for the City’s comparative fault and a prior $1.625 million settlement, plus over $2 million in costs and interest following defendant’s unsuccessful appeal.
Traumatic Leg Injury-
Juan Diaz and John Doe v. Errant Delivery Co.
Two men, Juan Diaz and John Doe, were waiting at a walk-up window in San Francisco, when an Errant Delivery Co. delivery car veered off the road and crashed into the men at an impact speed of approximately 25 miles per hour. Both men were crushed between the vehicle and the building. Due to the accident, Doe had to undergo amputation of both legs above the knee, and Diaz suffered major crush injuries to his left leg.
The driver of the car claimed that his brakes had failed that that he had no other option but to crash into the building. Witnesses, including a passenger in the car, challenged his testimony and stated that the driver appeared to have lost consciousness which, in turn, caused him to swerve into the building. An inspection of the car following the incident, found no vehicle malfunctions.
From the beginning, the legal counsel for Errant Delivery Co. acknowledged their client was responsible for the accident, but they also believed it was too early to properly value the case. As a result, Errant Delivery Co. made pre-resolution, partial settlement payments that amounted to over $1 million to the plaintiffs. This early sign of good faith allowed all parties to come to an agreeable resolution. In the end, Diaz and Doe where justly compensated and Errant Delivery Co. did not declare bankruptcy.
$14.5 million settlement. Diaz's settlement was $5.5 million. Doe, who had both legs traumatically amputated at the scene, was represented by separate counsel.