Author: Gracious Legal Services


L.A. to pay up to $3 million to settle suit from woman injured in fall on sidewalk

The city of Los Angeles may be headed for another costly payout over the condition of its sidewalks, with the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee on Monday considering a $3 million payment to a woman over a slip-and-fall incident, according to Councilman Mitchell Englander.

Holli S. Breakfield hit her head on a sidewalk in Hollywood at 1254 N. Cherokee Ave. on New Year’s Eve in 2014 after she was being carried on the back of another individual but the man “tripped on a pattern of defects,” according to her lawsuit.

During a joint meeting of the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee and the Transportation Committee, Englander, during a discussion about financing for the city’s Vision Zero traffic safety program, mentioned that the Budget and Finance Committee would later during closed session be considering a $3 million payout of a slip-and-fall incident.

Breakfield’s lawsuit appeared to be the only item on the agenda that would fit Englander’s description. Potential settlement amounts are typically not publicly released until the full City Council votes on and approves the payout, and the full council or Budget and Finance Committee could still move to reject the settlement.

The lawsuit and potential payout for the city come after the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2016 approved a plan to spend $1.4 billion over 30 years to fix the city’s broken sidewalks. The amount of money was agreed to as part of a legal settlement with disability advocates.

The potential Hollywood sidewalk settlement also comes as the city is facing rising costs from legal settlements overall, including a spike related to the state of its sidewalks, bike paths and streets.

The city in 2017 paid out more than $19 million in lawsuits to settle cases involving cyclists injured or killed on city streets — four times higher than any other year over the last decade, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The city also had to briefly dip into its reserve fund during the 2016-17 fiscal year due to the city’s high level of liability payouts, which came to more than $126 million even though only $68 million was budgeted for.

According to Breakfield’s lawsuit, the sidewalk where she was injured suffered from a lack of lighting, a lack of warning about ridges, jagged edges, and erosion, and was “strewn with leaves.”

The lawsuit also said she suffered a serious injury from the fall, but did not describe the injury in detail, only that it required many visits to doctors, prevented her from engaging in her usual occupation and resulted in a loss of income.

Breakfield’s lawyer, Agvavani Kasparian, did not respond to a request to comment.

The original claim filed by Breakfield against the city asked for $10.015 million in damages.



Washington City Responsible For Man’s Death While Crossing Street, Says Family’s Lawsuit

Thousands of cars and countless joggers and bicyclists pass the spot daily where a Richland restaurateur was hit and killed by a car two years ago.

His family says that piece of the Urban Green Belt Trail is dangerous and the city is to blame for his death.

Wai Mon “Raymond” Chin’s family is seeking undisclosed damages from the city, claiming there is a lack of signs and a crosswalk at the spot where the popular path crosses Van Giesen Street, just off Highway 240.

Richland is not responsible for the death of an elderly restaurant and nightclub owner who was struck and killed crossing Van Giesen Street in 2016.

A Benton County jury rejected a wrongful death claim by the estate of Wai Mon “Raymond” Chin in a verdict returned Tuesday.

City officials were pleased the jury agreed the city was not negligent.

“We found the jury that heard closing arguments to be exceedingly attentive,” said Amanda Bley, an attorney for Freimund Jackson & Tardif. The Olympia- and Seattle-based law firm teamed with Richland City Attorney Heather Kintzley to defend Richland.

Chin, 83, was walking along the shelter belt trail that parallels the bypass highway when he was hit by a Honda Accord while crossing Van Giesen.

He was hit somewhere between the unmarked trail crossing and Birch Street.

Conditions were dark and rainy, and police reports stated that the wet road reflected headlights back into the eyes of the driver, Brenda Nelson.

She was not cited and later settled with the Chin family.

Chin was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center with severe head and pelvic injuries. He died in the intensive care unit on Feb. 14, 2016.

Chin, originally from Hong Kong, arrived in the Tri-Cities in 1956 by way of Seattle to work as a cook. He established Ray’s Golden Lion at Uptown Shopping Center in 1963, operating it as a restaurant by day and as a night spot on weekends.

In its heyday, Ray’s Golden Lion attracted big names to Richland — Frank Sinatra Jr., Ike and Tina Turner, Meatloaf and Tiny Tim. The business was evicted in 2015.

The Chin estate, represented by his son, Stanley Chin, sought $5 million from the city, claiming the unmarked, unlit stretch of Van Giesen was unreasonably dangerous.

The city rejected the claim. The estate sued for unspecified damages in September 2016. The two-week trial was held in May in Benton County Superior Court with Judge Sam Swanberg presiding.

The Chin family was represented by Telquist Ziobro McMillen Clark, a Richland law firm. Representatives were not available Tuesday to comment on whether they plan to appeal.



Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $4.69 bn damages in talc cancer case

WASHINGTON: US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson was Thursday ordered to pay out $4.69 billion in damages in a lawsuit representing 22 women and their families who alleged a talc sold by the company contained asbestos and caused them to suffer cancer.

It is the latest twist in a matter that has seen several thousand lawsuits filed against J&J.

According to the victims’ lawyer, Mark Lanier, a jury composed of six men and six women in St Louis, Missouri, ruled in favor of the women after a six-week trial and eight hours of deliberation. The damages include $550 million in compensation and over $4.1 billion in punitive damages.

The plaintiffs said using the talc for personal hygiene had caused ovarian cancer.

“For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has covered up the evidence of asbestos in their products,” Lanier said in a statement.

“We hope this verdict will get the attention of the J&J board and that it will lead them to better inform the medical community and the public about the connection between asbestos, talc, and ovarian cancer,” he said, calling for talc to be pulled from the market.

J&J said it was “deeply disappointed in the verdict.”

In a statement, it described the trial as “a fundamentally unfair process that allowed plaintiffs to present a group of 22 women, most of whom had no connection to Missouri, in a single case all alleging that they developed ovarian cancer.”

“The result of the verdict, which awarded the exact same amounts to all plaintiffs irrespective of their individual facts, and differences in applicable law, reflects that the evidence in the case was simply overwhelmed by the prejudice of this type of proceeding.”

The company said its talc does not contain asbestos or cause ovarian cancer, and vowed it would “pursue all available appellate remedies.”

Several similar trials have already taken place, with a Los Angeles appeals court last October dismissing a $417 million verdict against J&J, saying the complainant’s arguments were insufficient and vague.

Reference: Economictimes


Wrongful death suit filed against Tex McIver, key witness in shooting

As a local attorney begins a life sentence in prison for murdering his wife, he’s now also facing a wrongful death lawsuit.

But the suit doesn’t just name Tex McIver. It also names the key witness in the car when it happened – Dani Jo Carter.McIver was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole on Wednesday for murdering his wife, Diane, as they rode in their SUV in 2016. Carter was driving the SUV at the time.

In the suit filed by Mary Margaret Oliver, who is the administrator of Diane McIver’s estate, the plaintiffs seem to be seeking an admission from McIver that the shooting was accidental. A lawyer speculates that might make it easier to recover insurance money. Channel 2’s Mark Winne sat down with Carter’s lawyer, who said the lawsuit surprised his client.

“I think seeing her name as a defendant next to Tex’s name in this really hit her hard,” attorney Lee Davis said.

Davis says Carter and Diane McIver were best friends most of their adult life, and at the time of Diane McIver’s death. He says Carter did nothing wrong to contribute to the wrongful death of Diane McIver.Lawyer Robin Frazer Clark told Winne she brought the wrongful death suit on behalf of Diane McIver’s estate.

Clark says Carter was driving the McIver’s SUV with their permission and is consequently covered by their insurance, which could be a factor in what money is available to the estate if the suit is successful. Clark also said Carter needed to be included in case the jury found Carter had some portion of the fault in the death. Clark says the full ramifications of Carter’s involvement may not be clear until after she is deposed in the lawsuit “She didn’t understand how anybody could possibly think she had anything to do with (Diane McIver’s) death,” Davis said.

The suit says Tex McIver “was negligent in discharging a firearm while a vehicle was in motion,” and suggests Carter breached “a duty to drive with due care and in a safe manner at all times.”The suit says, “Instead of stopping and calling 911, defendant Carter drove to the emergency room at Emory University Hospital as instructed by defendant McIver.”

Davis says Carter thought they could get Diane McIver to the hospital faster if they didn’t stop and wait on an ambulance. He said she drove quickly but safely. Tex McIver’s attorney, Bruce Harvey, said the suit isn’t surprising to them. He said Tex McIver has maintained all along that the shooting was an accident and that there’s a mistaken verdict waiting for a correction.



Gym customer trips; defense falls apart over waiver. $636K. Los Angeles County


Woman using the gym trips over an electrical box on the floor. Parties dispute liability release.

The Case

  • Case Name: Ziegler v. The Bay Clubs Company, LLC, et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC638802
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, May 16, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, November 01, 2016
  • Type of Action: Negligence, Trip, and Fall, Highlighted Verdicts
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Chester Horn
  • Plaintiffs:
    Patricia Ziegler, 71, retired/freelance HR director.
  • Defendants:
    The Bay Clubs Company, LLC
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $636,098.18
  • Net Verdict or Award: $477,073.64
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 25% on plaintiff.
  • Economic Damages:Past economic damages: $93,510.68Future economic damages: $109,725
  • Non-Economic Damages:Past noneconomic damages: $161,850Future noneconomic damages: $271,012.50
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 7 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 days.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Motion for New Trial Denied on 6/28/2018.

The Attorneys

  • An attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Strickland Law Firm by William E. Strickland, Manhattan Beach.

    An attorney for the Defendant:

    Mavredakis Cranert & Crawford by Terrence Cranert, Pasadena.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Brian Magovern, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Torrance. (Treating physician.)

    Eric Yu, DC, Redondo Beach. (Treating physician.)

  • Defendant’s Medical Expert(s):

    Jeffrey Korchek, M.D., orthopedic surgery, North Hollywood.

  • Plaintiff’s Technical Expert(s):

    Philip Rosescu, forensic engineering.

    Kurt Kuhn, handwriting, Fullerton.

  • Defendant’s Technical Expert(s):

    Bart Baggett, handwriting, Sherman Oaks.

    Dennis Fitzgerald, electrical engineering.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background: While plaintiff was walking through defendant’s gymnasium in El Segundo on January 31, 2016, her foot clipped the top of a metal wireway on the floor (approximately 6”x 6” x 6″)  that contained electrical wires running to defendants’ workout treadmill machines. The metal wireway was placed between the treadmills and was frequently traversed by gym members. The lid of the metal wireway was not secured and detached from the metal wireway. After the unsecured lid detached, plaintiff’s foot came down inside the metal wireway, causing her to lose balance and fall.
  • Plaintiff’s Contentions:That the gyms’ liability release agreement was void and defendants were responsible for negligence per se.Specifically, defendants violated the California Building Code in the placement of the electrical wireway across an aisle that was more than 30 inches wide. Defendants relied solely on an allegedly signed one-page document titled “Amendment to Membership Agreement” to claim that Ms. Ziegler had waived all claims against them. Defendants did not produce a Club Membership Agreement signed by Ms. Ziegler; defendants only produced a Club Membership Agreement signed by her husband, which did not release any of Ms. Ziegler’s claims for injuries. Also, the defendants were unable to authenticate the signature on the Amendment to Membership Agreement. Defendants stated they did not know how the signature was collected and there was no custodian for the record. Ms. Ziegler did not recall signing any such document, and Ms. Ziegler was not provided with a copy of the document.  On the eve of trial, defendants claimed that the subject signature was captured by “electronic signature.” Defendants failed to comply with the requirements for electronic signatures.
  • Defendant’s Contentions: That plaintiff’s claim was barred by a release agreement.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff: Fracture and dislocation of the right elbow.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $200,000, then $495,000.
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $35,000

Additional Notes

Per defense counsel:

Plaintiff had signed a waiver, releasing the defendants from any injuries while using the Club. She denied signing the waiver and after hearing the evidence the jury determined she had signed the waiver. However, the waiver was not effective if there was a violation of law that supported negligence per se or if there was gross negligence. The jury found there was no gross negligence. Plaintiff’s expert Rosescu testified as to an Electrical Code violation, but after all the evidence was in, the Court refused to instruct on negligence per se based upon the Electrical Code. The judge did instruct on negligence per se as to an alleged Building Code violation as plaintiff argued that the 12- to 18-inch spaces between the treadmills constituted aisles and that the electrical wire-way in front of the treadmills interfered with ingress and egress to the treadmills.  Plaintiff had to turn sideways in order to get through the treadmills to take a shortcut instead of using the wide aisles that were provided by defendants. The defense argued that the areas on either side of the treadmills were never intended to be aisles and were not aisles; that plaintiff failed to exit the treadmill properly; and that there was no Building Code violation.

The net verdict was less than the final demand from plaintiff and therefore plaintiff was denied pre-judgment interest as well as costs for expert witness fees.

Accordingly, defendant’s post-trial motion taxing costs were granted. Defendant’s motion for new trial and remittitur was denied.



Six women sue USC for Alleged Sexual Misconduct by Campus Gynecologist

Six women filed civil lawsuits Monday alleging that a longtime gynecologist at the University of Southern California sexually victimized them under the pretext of medical care and that USC failed to address complaints from clinic staff about the doctor’s behavior.

One woman alleged Dr. George Tyndall forced his entire ungloved hand into her vagina during an appointment in 2003 while making “vulgar” remarks about her genitalia, according to one of the lawsuits. Another woman alleged that Tyndall groped her breasts in a 2008 visit and that later he falsely told her she “likely had AIDS.”

A third woman accused the doctor of grazing his ungloved fingers over her nude body and leering at her during a purported skin exam, the lawsuit states. He waves of litigation comes as USC continues to grapple with the scandal, which legal experts said could prove costly to the university as scores of former patients come forward about their experiences with the gynecologist.

Tyndall, 71, who worked at USC’s student health clinic for nearly three decades, could not immediately be reached for comment Monday. In earlier interviews with The Times, the physician defended his medical exams as thorough and appropriate, adding that frank and honest dialogue about sex lives was part of his way of treating late adolescents who were enrolled at USC.


Resource: LAtimes


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Gracious is now an Affiliate Member of ”Consumer Attorneys Associations of Los Angeles” (CAALA)

Gracious Legal Services LLC is happy to announce that we are now a proud affiliate member of “Consumer Attorneys Associations of Los Angeles” (CAALA), which is one of the largest associations of plaintiffs’ attorneys. For more than 68 years it has served the legal industry.

As an Associate Member, we look forward to signing up with the CAALA members and enable them to stay competitive by continuously working on improvising process, reducing costs and reducing the bottlenecks in the progress of their business. We stand by our punchline “Your Business Partner in Enabling Growth” and we leave no stones unturned in adhering to the same. By signing up with GRACIOUS, you can rest assured of the quality of work, responsiveness and deep industry knowledge.

We are among the pioneers in the Legal Outsourcing industry, catering to law firms since 2001. We primarily concentrate on building a strong dedicated team of lawyers, paralegals, and paramedics to support our clients comprehensively creating a complete 24/5 operational cycle for our clients. Professionals at GRACIOUS are subjected to an effective training program designed and developed by the American Attorneys specializing in various practice areas. So what our clients get upon signing up with us, are fully trained professionals ready to take on the first work assignment from the very first day of operations. This helps in minimizing time & money spent on hiring, training and getting the resource geared up to speed.

In addition to the gamut of benefits, by outsourcing to GRACIOUS you save more than 50 to 60% of the cost, with absolutely no compromise on the quality of work or turn around. This is something our nationwide clients have experienced over several years of association.

We wish to be associated with Consumer attorneys of Los Angeles for a long-term and support it with the mandates of the Association.

Gracious Legal Services LLC a proud sponsor of Workhorse Seminar 2018

Gracious Legal Services LLC is one of the proud sponsors of “FJA Workhorse Seminar 2018” chaired by “Mr. John Romano of The Romano Law Group”. Florida Association of Justice (FJA) is committed to protecting the rights of consumers and citizens of Florida. We are glad to have this opportunity to sponsor and promote our services at this event. We are also thankful to Mr. Romano for sharing his feedback towards our services during the event. It was a pleasure being a part of the event and we look forward to sponsoring and be a part of many more events of FJA in future. We also look forward to connecting with all the FJA members and extend our services to their respective esteemed law firms.

Gracious is among the leading Legal Outsourcing companies with offices in California, USA, and delivery centers in Bangalore India, which is commonly known as the silicon valley of India. Offering services to the law firms and corporates across the globe with a team of highly qualified professionals including lawyers, paramedics, and paralegals who are capable of efficiently handling various tasks right from start to finish of a case. We provide a wide range of services to our clients. Our services landscape includes litigation support services and corporate legal services.

Owing to our deep industry knowledge Gracious is committed to its clients delivering high quality work product with minimized cost while adhering to the required deadlines. Our professionals have been extensively trained in various tasks, tools, formats, and procedures to support our clients in the best possible way we can.

We at Gracious are extremely cautious about data security, as we work on highly sensitive and classified data. We adhere to ISO 27001, which has the highest level of data security parameters. The data residing on our servers are well protected and monitored round the clock with multilayer security systems.


Chief Justice Roberts promises review of sexual harassment policies in federal courts

Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered a “careful evaluation” of the judiciary’s standards of conduct and policies, saying the federal courts are not immune to the nationwide focus of sexual misconduct in the workplace.

The remarks came in Roberts’ annual year-end report Sunday on the third branch of government, which he heads as chief justice.

The 62-year-old Roberts said a working group he has assembled will focus on whether current procedures for “investigating and correcting inappropriate behavior are adequate to ensure an exemplary workplace for every judge and every court employee.”

A prominent federal judge resigned last month after he was accused of sexual misconduct on the job.

Alex Kozinski, 67, was a member of the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and profiled in a Washington Post article, where six women — including former law clerks — accused him of engaging in inappropriate comments and behavior.

An internal judicial misconduct inquiry was launched, but Kozinski left his job soon afterward.


Among the allegations, the Post reported one of the judge’s former law clerks claimed Kozinski asked her to view pictures of naked people.

A spokesman for the 9th Circuit also confirmed at least one of Kozinski’s current law clerks had resigned, but offered no further details, citing confidentiality and privacy policies.

“I expect the working group to consider whether changes are needed in our codes of conduct, our guidance to employees– including law clerks– on issues of confidentiality and reporting of instances of misconduct, our educational programs, and our rules for investigating and processing misconduct complaints,” Roberts wrote. “These concerns warrant serious attention from all quarters of the judicial branch.”

The chief justice spent most of 16-page report speaking about natural disasters, especially deadly hurricanes, and their effect on the federal courts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He also mentioned the California wildfires.

“The courts cannot provide food, shelter, or medical aid, but they must stand ready to perform their judicial functions as part of the recovery effort,” Roberts wrote. “The federal judiciary has an ongoing responsibility to prepare for catastrophes and ensure that the third branch of government remains open and functional during times of national emergency.”


case documents

Drywall Makers to Pay Another $125M to Settle Class Action Suit

Four of the nation’s principal drywall manufacturers have agreed to pay an additional $125 million to settle a class action case involving allegations of price manipulation, boosting the total payout to nearly $191 million, according to an SEC filing and an announcement by the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Eagle Materials, American Gypsum Co., New NGC Inc. (parent of National Gypsum), and PABCO Building Products entered into an agreement on Dec. 29 settling claims that wallboard manufacturers broke antitrust laws by conspiring in 2011 and 2013 to raise prices.

“Settling defendants believe that they are not liable for the claims asserted and have good defenses to plaintiffs’ claims,” according to the settlement agreement, included as part of Eagle Materials’ Dec. 29 SEC filing. “but nevertheless have decided to enter into this settlement agreement in order to avoid further expense, inconvenience, and the distraction of burdensome and protracted litigation. ….”

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, one of the law firms for the plaintiffs said wallboard makers now have committed $190.7 million to settle the case. The most recent settlement is subject to final approval by a federal judge.

According to Cohen Millstein, the case began in the fall of 2011 when American Gypsum announced a 35% price increase for drywall for the following year. The other defendants then announced comparable increases.

“Over the course of the litigation, the plaintiffs alleged that American Gypsum would not have raised prices so significantly without the agreement of its competitors to follow suit,” Cohen Millstein’s press release said. “All the defendant drywall manufacturers also instituted significant price increases for 2013. The lawsuit alleged that as a result of collusion, direct purchasers of drywall products, including distributors, buying cooperatives and contractors, paid artificially inflated prices.”

In March 2015, U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson of Pennsylvania’s Eastern District gave preliminary approval to four settlements totaling $55 million. Paying then were USG Corp. and TIN Inc, (aka Temple Inland), the Top Class Actions website reported. CertainTeed also had been accused of price fixing but was cleared of wrongdoing.

The class action covers persons or businesses that bought wallboard between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2013, from any of the companies named above plus L&W Supply Corp. (at that time a unit of USG), and Georgia-Pacific. Compensation will be doled out based on the total dollar amount of wallboard bought in the U.S. by entities in the class.

“Price-fixing scandals in fact are standard fare for drywall manufacturers,” The Atlantic reported in July 2016. It cited “a 1996 Department of Justice memo that ordered Georgia-Pacific to divest two gypsum plants in order to restore viable competition.” The publication added that “major producers of gypsum wallboard have been caught up in civil and criminal price-fixing litigations in the 1920s, 1940s, and the 1970s.”