Civil litigation

Speer – Verdict of the week >> View


Jury Trial – Defense Verdict

Speer v. County of San Bernardino

The case was tried in Federal Court in Riverside on behalf of the County of San Bernardino and a deputy accused of using excessive force in a shooting situation. Plaintiff was rendered a paraplegic and asked the jury for an award of 15 million dollars. The jury unanimously granted a defense verdict. Verdict was featured in the Daily Journal Top Verdicts.

Motions for Summary Judgment
Wrongful death case in which pedestrian who was crossing Pacific Coast Highway near, but not in, a crosswalk was hit by a vehicle. Plaintiff claimed the design of the crosswalk was defective. We prevailed on design immunity and our motion for summary judgment was granted.

Plaintiff tripped and fell allegedly on pavers that were uneven and then stumbled for about 15 feet before falling face first on a metal parking sign, splitting open her face. Plaintiff hired Brett Avrit to opine that the cumulative effect of all the deviations in the pavers should be added and then he pointed to voluntary and aspirational building industry recommendations. Court ruled that the deviation plaintiff alleged she tripped on was trivial as a matter of law.

MSJ in favor of restaurant on negligence claim involving former patron that left premises to walk across the street to then be stabbed by another former patron in an area not owned, controlled
and/or managed by restaurant. Court held no duty was owed to Plaintiff.

Plaintiffs contended their father died while trimming defendant’s tree at their request when a branch fell on him. Defendants claimed they just wanted to the decedent to clean out debris and not trim the tree. Plaintiffs demanded $1 million to resolve the case at mediation.

Defendant was at a complete stop on the I-10 when a car changed lanes and Plaintiff hit the rear of the car. After the accident, Plaintiff hit our client’s truck mirror, which was being driven by an employee. Plaintiff failed to show that either of our clients breached a duty and court granted our MSJ.

A two vehicle accident in which the defendant cross-complained against the city for dangerous condition of public property alleging the intersection where the accident occurred was defective. However, although the cross-defendant presented a government claim to the city, he filed his cross-complaint the next day without giving the city a chance to respond to the claim. We brought a motion for judgment on the pleadings with authority that merely presenting a claim was insufficient. The claim must be acted upon, either by the city or by operation of law, before suit can be filed and such is jurisdictional. Judgment was granted for the city.

Plaintiff contended that he sustained injuries when he slipped and fell on a puddle of water as he was walking through the aisles of defendant’s grocery store. Defendant denied all allegations and contended that Plaintiff could not establish that defendant had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition on its property that caused or contributed to plaintiff’s fall. The court granted summary judgment in favor of defendant because plaintiff could not establish notice.

Other Rulings

Defendant City of Lake Forests’ Demurrer was sustained without leave to amend effectively dismissing the complaint. Plaintiff sued the City to recover worker’s compensation benefits paid to its insured who was injured in the course and scope of her employment. The City met and conferred regarding Plaintiff’s defective complaint in not complying with the Government Tort Claims Act. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint that again failed to comply with the Act. The City met and conferred and filed a demurrer to Plaintiff’s complaint. The Court sustained the demurrer to Plaintiff’s first amended complaint without leave to amend. The action was as a result dismissed.

Plaintiff tripped on a parking stop at the handicapped spot she parked at as she cut across the parking spot rather than walk behind the vehicle to safe access to the sidewalk. After we filed a strong
motion for summary judgment, plaintiff offered to settle for $10,000. We accepted. Then plaintiff tried to get costs and significant attorney fees under the fee shifting provisions of ADA and Unruh Act as “prevailing party”. We demonstrated that the definition of “prevailing party” for purposes of costs and for purposes of attorney’s fees were not the same and that plaintiff didn’t fit the definition of “prevailing party” for purposes of attorney’s fees. We prevailed. Plaintiff was not awarded attorney’s fees.

The massive storm of 2017 blew a city tree onto the plaintiff’s car. Plaintiff sued claiming the tree was improperly maintained and thus is was the city’s fault, not the storm, which caused it to fall over. We filed a very strong MSJ and days later, the plaintiff offered to settle for a fraction of what she had been claiming as her damages.