Wesierski & Zurek is proud to congratulate Jennifer Purcell a member of our staff who will be awarded the 2017 Harahan Award in the Orange County region by the Special Olympics. The Michael W. Harahan Award is presented to volunteers with exceptional dedication and performance in their volunteer role(s). Jen is always willing to help out in any way that she can and brings her warm, bubbly personality not just to the field with her athletes, but to work at Wesierski & Zurek.
On Wednesday May 3, 2017, Chris Wesierski (along with the assistant presiding judge from the Orange County Superior Court- Kirk Nakamura and plaintiff’s attorney Kim Valentine) spoke at the College of Trial Advocacy for the Orange County Bar to an audience of about 150 lawyers on direct exam and cross exam. The speech was well- received and a number of lawyers from the class came the next day to watch closing arguments in a case Chris was handling in the Orange County Superior Court – Department 32.
In a five week period, Chris Wesierski tried two cases out of Orange County that returned an unanimous defense verdict in under 30 minutes for each.
In the most recent case, plaintiff claimed wrongful termination and discrimination with seven causes of action alleged. Chris Wesierski and Christian Counts worked diligently and obtained a unanimous defense verdict in about thirty minutes.
Before that verdict, Chris Wesierski and Andres Camacho obtained another unanimous verdict in about twenty minutes. The plaintiff claimed injuries with a couple hundred thousand in medical bills and defendant admitted liability for the accident.
Congratulations to Mr. Wesierski on both verdicts.
Wesierski & Zurek is hiring a 5-7 year lawyer with defense experience for the Irvine office. Please forward resume and writing sample to email@example.com.
Carl Kremer has been named a 2017 Rising Star by Super Lawyers in the field of Civil Litigation Defense. The honor of Rising Star is only given to the top 2.5% of lawyers practicing in California with less than 10 years of experience. Mr. Kremer has received this distinction for the each of the last 5 years.
In the early morning hours of January 18, 2013, a motor vehicle versus pedestrian accident occurred in a crosswalk located at the intersection of Firestone and Norwalk Blvd. Wesierski & Zurek LLP represented the City of Norwalk. Plaintiff was a 17 year old boy who was walking to school when defendant hit him at 40 mph. Defendant’s car threw plaintiff almost 100 feet and he sustained major orthopedic and brain injuries. Plaintiff sued the driver, the City of Norwalk (which owned the center median that separated the Eastbound and Westbound lanes of Firestone), the arborist that maintained the trees in the median, and the landscaper that maintained the bushes in the median. Plaintiff alleged that the presence of the trees and bushes in the median created a dangerous condition of property since they created a sight obstruction for westbound drivers and pedestrians crossing the eastbound lanes of the crosswalk. The median defendants argued that there was no evidence of poorly maintained vegetation, no evidence of a dangerous condition of property when used with due care, and no visual obstructions between the pedestrian and the driver once the pedestrian left the center median and began crossing the westbound lanes, where plaintiff was hit. It was also argued by the median defendants that the driver and pedestrian each had ample opportunity to perceive and react to the other, and that they were both at fault for not being attentive. Plaintiff asked for $35 to $40 million, including a $20 million life care plan. Non-suits for the arborist and landscaper were granted by the court. The City of Norwalk received a defense verdict since there was no dangerous condition of property. Jury awarded the plaintiff almost $14 million in damages, and apportioned fault as 5% against plaintiff and 95% against the driver. The City offered $250,000 pre-trial, which was rejected. Once post-trial motions are ruled on, the plaintiff will likely owe several hundred thousand dollars to the City of Norwalk.
Wesierski & Zurek LLP recently represented the Defendant school bus company and the driver in a motor vehicle to bicycle collision accident. The accident occurred on May 2, 2013, and resulted in the death of a 13 year old bicyclist. The mother and father each filed separate lawsuits. Plaintiffs argued that the defendant driver was impaired by prescription medication taken the evening before the accident, which was supported by the testimony of a Drug Recognition Expert with the Glendale Police Department. Plaintiffs also argued that the driver failed to look left, right, left before proceeding through the intersection. The defense team argued that the cyclist was riding against traffic on the wrong side of the road and that he never stopped before riding into the intersection and into the path of the bus. W&Z defense team also contended that the driver was not impaired by medications taken the evening before the accident, and that the driver did look left, right, left and that she couldn’t have anticipated a cyclist coming from her right since that is not where the bicycle lane is located. Trial was held in November and December of 2016. On December 7, 2016, the jury returned a verdict in the liability phase in favor of the Plaintiffs, but found the decedent to be 80% at fault. Pre-trial, the defense offered each parent $300,000.00, for a total of $600,000.00. The plaintiff’s attorney demanded $10 million pre-trial and asked the jury to award $250 million. On December 12, 2016, the jury returned a verdict in the damages phase for a total of $250,000, which, when reduced by the 80% comparative negligence of the decedent, came to a total of $50,000 to later be allocated between the two parents by the Court. The Court then allocated $22,500 to the father and $27,500 to the mother. After Motions to Tax costs and Motions for Attorney’s Fees are ruled on, the net recovery to the plaintiffs will be ZERO.
On January 10, 2017, Chris Wesierski appeared for oral argument before the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, representing the firm’s client Los Alamitos Racing Association in the case Michael Orlando v. Los Alamitos Racing Association. Mr. Orlando had sued the Los Alamitos race track, claiming he was disabled, and making a demand under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that a stairway entrance to the facility be demolished and replaced by a ramp to accommodate his claimed disability. The race track denied all of the plaintiff’s claims, asserting that demolition of the stairway to build a 100 foot long ramp was not a “reasonable accommodation”. The race track alleged that there is an alternate entrance to the race track that would be a “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA to give him equal access to the race track, given his claimed disability. The plaintiff contended that the alternate entrance was, itself, unacceptable to him unless changes were made to this second entrance to “accommodate” his claimed disability. The plaintiff sought a six figure judgment plus an award of attorney fees.
The firm filed a motion for the trial court to enter summary judgment for the race track and against the plaintiff on the basis that the entrances to the race track were in compliance with the ADA to allow handicapped persons to have equal access to the facility. The trial court granted the summary judgment motion in favor of our client Los Alamitos Racing Association in January, 2015, stating that the alternate entrance to the race track was a “reasonable accommodation” to allow the plaintiff to enter the race track, and that the plaintiff’s demanded changes to the alternate entrance were not needed. Judgment was entered in favor of the firm’s client. The plaintiff appealed the judgment to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming that the trial judge misunderstood the law, and demanding that the judgment be reversed.
After hearing lengthy oral argument from the plaintiff’s attorney and Mr. Wesierski’s responses, the Federal Court has affirmed the trial court’s judgment for the firm’s client, providing vindication to the race track that the accommodations that are provided to handicapped persons for entrance to the facility are in compliance with the ADA. The court also awarded costs to Los Alamitos Racing Association as the prevailing party.
On January 25, 2017, Tom Cummings and Malcolm Lusby participated in a panel at the Robert Banyard Inn of Court, honoring the 30 year history of the Inn. The Inn was founded in 1986 by many prominent lawyers and judges in Orange County. The purpose of the Inn is to provide mentoring for young lawyers concerning their legal skills, as well as, professional integrity and civility. It is composed of attorneys who specialize in almost all different areas of the practice of law. The Inn has a limited membership, and new members must be invited to join. The Inn provides opportunities at monthly dinner meetings for young lawyers to interact with those members of the bar and bench, and to observe and take part in educational programs. Past presidents of the Inn took part in the program including two Appellate Court justices and four Superior Court judges. Tom Cummings, who was the chairman for the program, provided a history of some of the founding members of the Inn, all of whom were dedicated to the concept of experienced lawyers and judges assisting young lawyers gain education and experience. Malcolm Lusby, a member of the London Gray’s Inn of Court, provided the members with information on how the original English Inns function. The justices and judges in attendance each provided comments concerning their respective times as president of the Inn, and reminded those in attendance of the many very prominent Orange County attorneys who have been members of the Inn over the years. The program was well received by all in attendance, and was particularly informative to those attendees who were not part of the 1986 group of founding attorneys.
Chris Wesierski was named a Super Lawyer for 2017 and has been named a Super Lawyer every year since the award has been given. In addition, he was named as one of the Top 50 Super Lawyers in Orange County for the year 2017.