Eureka Personal Injury Attorneys Finalists

News Release - For Immediate Release

June 21, 2011

Contact: Deborah Mathis, Communications Director - (202) 797-8600 or

Six California Lawyers Who Won Historic Verdict for Nursing Home Residents Are Finalists for Trial Lawyer of the Year Award

A team of California lawyers is in the running for the 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, presented annually by the Public Justice Foundation, a national organization of public interest attorneys and advocates headquartered in Washington, D.C.

After six years of litigation that included a seven-month trial in Lavender v. Skilled Healthcare Group, attorneys Tim Needham of Eureka, Calif., Michael Thamer of Callahan, Calif., Chris Healey of San Diego, and Michael Crowley, Patrik Griego and Amelia Burroughs, also of Eureka, won a staggering $677 million jury verdict against Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc., a for-profit corporation that owns and operates nursing homes throughout the U.S. The lawyers represented a class of approximately 32,000 current and former nursing home residents and their families in their lawsuit against Skilled Healthcare.

Contacted by some residents' families, Needham and his team took on the case and discovered that the nursing homes weren't employing enough staff to provide adequate care, and that Skilled Healthcare had, in fact, intentionally understaffed all of its 22 California nursing homes in order to cut overhead and boost profits.

The $677 million was the largest ever verdict against a nursing home chain.

Needham, Thamer, Healey, Crowley, Griego and Burroughs are among 36 total lawyers—spanning six cases—named as award finalists for their extraordinary legal work in the public interest. Fifteen cases were nominated for this year's award. They involved a range of issues: from marketing smokeless tobacco to children, to predatory lending by mortgage brokers, to discrimination against Native American farmers.

Detailed summaries of Lavender v. Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. and the other finalist cases are accessible on the Public Justice website at

The winner of the nationally prestigious award will be announced on July 12 at the Public Justice Foundation Annual Gala and Awards Dinner in New York City.

Public Justice is a national public interest law firm that fights injustice and holds corporate and government wrongdoers accountable. See our website at

Avi Kramer
Communications Coordinator
Public Justice Foundation
1825 K Street, NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 797-8600 x240