Janssen Malloy LLP partner Michael J. Crowley last week settled a motorcycle/truck collision case for the defendants’ $300,000 liability insurance policy limit. Christopher Brimley was riding his motorcycle northbound on R Street in Eureka onto the Samoa Bridge when a southbound truck suddenly and illegally turned left in front of him just before the intersection of R Street and 4th Street (Hwy. 101). Mr. Brimley was ejected from his motorcycle in the collision, and thrown onto the pavement, while his motorcycle was dragged over 50 feet underneath the truck.
Most California automobile insurance liability policies include (or offer to include) medical payments coverage, or “med-pay,” for short. Most people aren’t familiar with med-pay coverages, don’t know whether they have this coverage, and don’t know how to open up or engage such coverage, even though they have paid a premium for it. This column will address and explain the concept, and how it applies in auto insurance coverage.
People who sustain traumatic injuries display the more obvious signs of trauma, such as broken bones and wounds, but often their more significant injuries may be overlooked or undiagnosed. Particularly with head trauma, damage to the olfactory system (the sense of smell) can result. Damage to the olfactory nerve and bulb (anatomical components of how a person can sense smell) can result in anosmia, the total loss of one’s olfactory function. Most people don’t appreciate how devastating the loss sense of smell can be.
California’s Uninsured Motorist Act (Insurance Code Section 11580, et seq.) requires that every automobile liability insurance policy include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, a type of bodily injury insurance designed to compensate the insured for damage inflicted by a financially irresponsible motorist. Underinsured motorist coverage applies when bodily injury is caused by an “underinsured motor vehicle” – a vehicle that is insured, but in an amount less than the uninsured motorist limits carried on the injured person’s vehicle (Insurance Code Section 11580.2(p)(2)).
Almost everywhere we go in our daily lives, a camera somewhere is capturing our image. Most stores have video surveillance cameras (initially installed for theft prevention purposes), stoplights have cameras for red light runners, and even residences often have surveillance cameras for security purposes. In handling cases that end up in litigation, inquiring about, locating and reviewing such video evidence can be crucial in proving or disproving essential facts in a case.
A recent posting on this blog addressed the seeming increase in the frequency of vehicle/motorcycle collisions in Humboldt County. This article will discuss some of the challenges involved in successfully litigating cases on behalf of injured motorcyclists.
The frequency with which motorcyclists are struck by unsafe/inattentive drivers seems to be on the rise in Humboldt County. Janssen Malloy LLP is currently handling several motorcycle/vehicle collision cases in which the driver of a car, truck or delivery van was speeding, turned unsafely into the motorcyclist, or rear-ended the motorcyclist. All motorcyclists (and bicyclists) have stories of how they felt like some magic dust had rendered them invisible on the road to drivers of cars and trucks. Most motorcyclists are careful, defensive drivers, because they absolutely have to be.
The recent news that there were three separate logging-related accidents resulting in deaths in Humboldt County underscores the dangers involved with one of our region’s traditional occupations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists logging as one of the most dangerous of our nation’s work categories. Logging occurs in rough, remote terrain, with heavy equipment and risk exposures unique to this industry. When a serious injury or death occurs in the course of timber falling, yarding, or loading, uncovering liability is challenging and requires counsel familiar wi
When a potential defendant in a personal injury case is a government entity (state, local, municipal, school district, community services districts, etc.) special rules apply before one can even file a lawsuit against that entity in Superior Court. Let’s discuss a recent case handled by Janssen Malloy LLP to illustrate.
Janssen Malloy LLP by partner Michael Crowley recently obtained a $260,000 recovery in a wrongful death matter arising out of a motorcycle/vehicle collision near Lakeport, California. The plaintiffs were the adult sisters of the motorcyclist, 57 year old David Criswell who was driving his motorcycle on Soda Bay Road near Clear Lake when the defendant driver ran a stop sign at Park Road, causing fatal injuries to Mr. Criswell. Mr.
Janssen Malloy LLP has extensive experience in representing children who have been injured through the careless conduct of others. There are special considerations unique to representing children (minors under the age of 18, or legal majority). First of all, the Statute of Limitations (S/L) for a minor is different than that for an adult. Generally, the S/L for an adult in a personal injury matter is two (2) years from the date of injury, which means that a lawsuit against responsible defendants must be filed within two years from the date of the injury.
Janssen Malloy LLP attorney Michael Crowley recently obtained the $250,000 insurance policy limit in a motorcycle crash case for one of his clients. Plaintiff Kitty Braley, a 49 year-old community college student from Olympia, WA, was a passenger on a motorcycle that crashed on Highway 299 outside Arcata, CA. The motorcycle’s driver lost control of the motorbike, and Ms. Braley was ejected, sustaining a serious left shoulder injury, an acromioclavicular separation which required reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately, post-operatively Ms.
A laborer on a home construction site falls from a second story platform, suffering serious orthopedic fractures which require air ambulance transport and surgery. Only after the injury does the injured worker learn that his employer failed to carry worker’s compensation insurance coverage for his employees. Such a scenario is not hypothetical; it describes a current case being handled by Janssen Malloy LLP.
Janssen Malloy LLP recently obtained the defendants' combined insurance policy limits for a client who was the victim of a drunk driver in Eureka, California. Plaintiff, Paula Paine, was driving on Broadway near Pierson Building Center when a drunk driver lost control of her vehicle, striking Ms. Paine's vehicle head-on. Ms. Paine's vehicle was totaled in the collision, and she was transported by ambulance to St. Joseph Hospital, where she was hospitalized for four days. In addition to abdominal, shoulder and knee injuries, she also lost time from work.
Janssen Malloy LLP recently resolved a case for a Eureka resident for the defendant’s million dollar policy limit arising out of a head on collision that occurred in Southern Mendocino County last year. Janssen Malloy LLP’s client was a passenger in a Jeep Cherokee that was struck by a truck that crossed the median directly into their path, causing a head on collision. Plaintiff sustained serious injuries, and required two hip surgeries.
Janssen Malloy LLP has been in the process of renovating its building, which sits adjacent to the Humboldt County Courthouse in downtown Eureka. Constructed in the late 1950's, the historic building originally housed separate individual law offices, reflecting an earlier time when solo law practice was much more common than it is today. As the Janssen Law Firm expanded over the years in numbers of attorneys, paralegal and support staff, it gradually took over almost all the space of the two story building.
An individual who is "on the job" at the time of an accident caused by an uninsured driver, has the additional challenge of dealing with the workers' compensation system. A recent case handled by Janssen Malloy LLP illustrates the challenges involved.
The California Supreme Court recently significantly limited the ability of injured plaintiffs to receive the full measure of their damages by its ruling in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc. (2011) 52 Cal. 4th 541.
When a loved one has died due to the negligent or careless conduct of another, the lawsuit that may follow is termed a wrongful death action. This posting will focus on the concept of reasonable compensation for the non-economic aspects of the loss of a loved one.
In a wrongful death action, the applicable jury instruction states provides that reasonable compensation should be awarded for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, solace, or moral support. This is non-economic damage.
For most people injured in a motor vehicle collision, their first thought is not “I better engage the medical payments provision of my auto liability policy.” Many Humboldt County drivers are either unaware of their own medical payments coverage ("med pay") in their auto policies, or unfamiliar with how to invoke it and what it covers.
Janssen Malloy LLP partners, W. Timothy Needham, Michael J. Crowley, Patrik Griego and Amelia F. Burroughs have been nominated by Consumer Attorneys of California for the organization’s Consumer Attorney of the Year Award. The nomination arises from the firm’s handling of the seminal jury verdict case of 2010, Lavender vs.
Janssen Malloy is pleased to announce that Amelia F. Burroughs has become a partner in the firm. Born and raised in Humboldt County, Ms. Burroughs was recently selected by Super Lawyers Magazine as a 2011 Northern California Rising Star. Notably, Ms. Burroughs was part of the trial team for the plaintiffs in the Lavender v. Skilled Healthcare class action litigation, which resulted in the largest jury verdict ever awarded in Humboldt County ($677 million dollars). Ms.
Janssen Law Firm partner, Michael J. Crowley, recently settled a log landing hand crush injury case for $800,000.00. Log truck driver, Richard Neves, was in the process of attaching a second trailer to an already loaded trailer stacked full of redwood logs when the heel boom operator unsafely lifted the grapples of the loader, causing Mr. Neves’ hand to be crushed against a redwood log. The defendant disputed both liability and damages until shortly before trial.
Janssen Law Firm partner W. Timothy Needham has been nominated for the 2011 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year award through the American Association for Justice (AAJ). The nomination stems from Mr. Needham’s tireless efforts on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Lavender v. Skilled Healthcare nursing home understaffing class-action case that was tried in Humboldt County Superior Court in 2010.
Janssen Law Firm partners Michael J. Crowley and W. Timothy Needham have been recognized by California Lawyer Magazine as California Lawyer attorneys of the year, recognizing their significant trial result in the Lavender v.
Journalist Matt Drange of the Eureka Times-Standard covered the Lavender v. Skilled Healthcare jury trial, writing in depth in a three part series the stories underlying the class action law suit against Skilled Healthcare. Drange noted that it was the longest civil trial in Humboldt County history, and the $677 million verdict was the largest trial result in the United States in 2010.
The Janssen Law Firm recently resolved a tragic wrongful death matter from the Hoopa area for the defendant’s policy limits. Michael Crowley of the Janssen Law Firm represented the adult children of Filmore Harvey, Sr., regarding his tragic death on December 16, 2009.
Mr. Harvey was run over by the defendant driver, who was driving under the influence at the time of the incident. The defendant is currently being prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter in Humboldt County Superior Court.
While the lawyers in the Janssen Law firm aggressively prepare their cases for jury trial, there are other dispute resolution methods that may be suitable for a particular case. In fact, most civil cases for money damages settle prior to trial, in recognition of the economic fact that trials are expensive and uncertain for both sides of a dispute.
On July 6, 2010, the Janssen Law Firm and attorneys from two other firms received for their clients the largest jury verdict in the United States this year. The case is Lavender v. Skilled Healthcare Group, Case No. DR060264, Superior Court of California, Humboldt County. The plaintiff class is represented by W. Timothy Needham, Michael Crowley, Amelia Burroughs and Patrick Griego of the Janssen Law Firm from Eureka, by Michael Thamer from Callahan, and by Chris Healey and Aaron T. Winn of the Luce Forward firm from San Diego.
On July 6th, 2010 a Humboldt County jury returned a verdict in excess of $670 million dollars against Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc., Skilled Healthcare LLC and 22 subsidiaries located throughout California for violating the state minimum staffing requirements. The plaintiff class was represented by members W.
The Janssen Law Firm recently successfully resolved a wrongful death matter for the $300,000.00 homeowner’s insurance policy limits of a defendant property owner whose burn barrel fire got out of control in a Eureka, California residential neighborhood. The defendant property owner allowed an un-permitted “burn barrel” fire to get out of control on an extremely gusty, fall day (winds in excess of 30 miles an hour) which caught the back deck, picnic table and a fence on the property line on fire. John “Happy Jack” Van Lieu rushed into the smoke with tubs of water to knock down the fire, an
The Janssen Law Firm recently resolved a semi-truck/vehicle head-on collision case for the trucking insurer’s one million dollar policy limit. The semi-truck driver employed by a trucking company out of Washington State fell asleep at the wheel while traveling Southbound on Interstate 5 North of Williams, California. The big rig traversed the center median area and collided head-on with a young couple driving Northbound on Interstate 5. The impact demolished the car our clients were in, and caused serious injuries to the driver, including an open left humerus fracture, splenic laceration
As noted elsewhere on our website, a significant number of motorists are driving without liability insurance (“uninsured”) or inadequately insured (“under-insured”). Many law abiding Humboldt County drivers learn to their distress that the careless driver who injured them or one of their family, either has no insurance at all or only the minimum required under the California law ($15,000.00 of liability coverage). Most people don’t think about securing the appropriate amount of uninsured or under-insured coverage for themselves, because they don’t plan on being seriously injured by a ju
On Friday September 25, 2009, Attorney Michael Crowley of the Janssen Law Firm presented testimony from Nancy Huntzinger and other evidence before Superior Court Judge John Feeney regarding the wrongful death damages in her lawsuit against Defendant Stephen Hash, who killed her then fourteen year old son, Curtis Huntzinger, in 1990. Judge Feeney awarded Ms. Huntzinger a 3.6 million dollar wrongful death judgment commenting to her in court, “Clearly, no monetary judgment can compensate you for the loss of your son,” and offered his condolences for her loss.
Proper handling of premise liability “slip and fall” cases requires a lawyer to be familiar with the applicable building codes in order to prove liability and establish damages. Slips, trips, and falls caused by negligently maintained property or premises result in serious injuries to members of our community. Recognizing the failure to comply with required building codes is essential to the successful prosecution of a premises liability
As more members of our community bicycle to work, school, and for exercise, there's been an unfortunate increase in fatalities and serious injuries to bicyclists. Many motorists do not realize that bicyclists have the same rights under the California Vehicle Code to occupy the roadway as does a motor vehicle. Further, many motorists are inattentive and even unaware of the presence of bicyclists on the roadway.