Hon. David S. Milton (Ret.)

Profile

Judge Milton is exceptionally well qualified to facilitate resolution of cases, and believes that irrespective of complexity and size, all cases deserve the same degree of dignity and care in handling.  He has practiced law for over 41 years and brings 24 years of judicial experience having handled numerous civil jury and bench trials, law & motion, including motions for summary judgment, hearings on demurrer, anti-slapp, special motions to strike, ex parte applications, judgment on the pleadings, default hearings, and discovery disputes.  He strongly believes that parties must be given a full and fair opportunity to present evidence, law, and argument, and that arbitration rulings, decisions, and awards must be based on facts, applicable law, and only after thoughtful careful reflection and consideration.

Judge Milton joined ADR Services, Inc. during April, 2014 and has handled numerous cases that were resolved through mediation and arbitration, and has served as discovery and accounting reference for complex matters.

As trial judge, mediator, and arbitrator, Judge Milton handled commercial and residential landlord tenant disputes that arose from material/non-material breaches of lease, tenant leasehold improvements, commercial use-maintenance provisions, right of first refusal, recovery future rents, express and implied warranties of habitability, on-site & off-site dangerous conditions, and impacts of civil rights, fair housing, and rent control legislation.  Recently, he video-conferenced Covid-19 impacts on Reals Estate Transactions/Landlord Tenant Protections and Regulations.

Judge Milton is an active real estate broker who engages in residential/commercial real estate sales, leasing, and property management.  He is keenly aware of duties owed and responsibilities of all parties including disputes regarding timely performance, contingency removal, escrow cancellation, earnest money deposits, property defect disclosure, and commission disputes.

Areas of Expertise

  • Real Estate
  • Personal Injury, including Premises & Products Liability
  • Civil Rights / Officer Involved Use of Force
  • Business & Commercial Contract
  • Professional Malpractice (Medical/Nursing/Legal/Accounting)
  • Also experienced in resolving: Probate, Wage & Hour and Family Law

Legal Experience

  • Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court 1995 ‐ 2014
    • Unlimited Jurisdiction Civil Trials/Law & Motion
    • Settlement Department, North Central District
  • Assistant Chief Trial Counsel, State Bar of California 1994 ­‐ 1995
  • Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Marion County – Indianapolis 1992 ­‐ 1994
  • Judge, Los Angeles Municipal Court 1987 ­‐ 1992
  • Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles County 1979 ‐ 1987

Education & ADR Training

  • Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution – Pepperdine School of Law, Mediation Training 2012
  • Indiana University School of Law, JD 1978
  • California State University Los Angeles, BS 1975

To Enhance Effectiveness in Handling Catastrophic and Other Serious Personal Injury Cases, Video-Conferenced Webinars (April and May, 2020):

  • Traumatic Brain Injury: Cervical Spine; Injury Above C-2 Junction; Whiplash; Annular Tear; Disc: Degeneration, Herniation, Bulging, Protrusion, Extrusion, Sequestration; Imaging-Flexion & Extension, “A Snapshot in Time;” Nerve Conduction; Ligament Tear-Stem Cell Injection.
  • Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: Seizures, Visions, Processing Issues; Deficits Manifest Post-Accident Formative Years; Evaluation of Developmental Milestones; Life Care Plan, Pediatric Experts.
  • Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Vestibular Organ (Inner Ear); Videonystagmography (VNG); Traumatic Balance Injury; peripheral/Central Vestibulopathy; Symptoms; Brain Injury-Permanent; Trauma, Oxygen Deprivation, Exposure Noxious Chemicals; Lifetime Physical Therapy.
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: Compression Nerve & Blood Vessels in Scalene Triangle; Pectoralis Minor Space; Auto Accidents, Falls, Sports, Repetitive Activity; Scar Tissue Compression on Nerves; Development of Symptoms After Emergency Room Treatment; Nerve Injury; Conservative Interventions-Physical Therapy, Muscle Relaxers, Anti-Inflammatories, Pain Medication Regimen, Stress Management; Surgical Interventions-Scalenectomy, First Rib Excision, or Combination.  Nerve Wrap Technology.
  • Colossus Software: Non-Economic Damages Valuations by Insurers; Letters of Representation & Demand Letters, (Reserves if Serious or Catastrophic Injury); Inclusion Demonstrable Injury-Imaging, Photographs, Accident Reports; Re-Run by Adjusters; Bad Faith Claims; Economic Regions; Minor impact Units; Medical Records Diagnosis; ICD Codes; Diagnoses by Medical Specialists, General Practitioners, and Chiropractors; Gaps in Treatment; AMA Guide & Peer Review.
  • Settlement Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Cases: Brain Injury (Catastrophic) v. Brain Dysfunction (Mild); Glasgow Coma Scale; Diffuse Axonal Injury, Objective Testing:  Volumetrics, Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), Quantitative DTI, fMRI-RS, fMRI-Task, Spect/Pet, qEEg, MEG; Executive Functions; DSM-5; Psychiatric Conditions, Somatic Symptom Disorder, Neuropsychology Testing; Chronic Pain.

Professional Licenses & Associations

  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Indiana (inactive)
  • California Real Estate Broker License

Personal

  • Beijing University, Guest Lecturer on “Survey American Justice Systems”
  • Chinese Bar Association (Shenzhen, China), Speaker on “Legal Ethics”
  • United States Army Reserve (6 Years)

Representative Cases

Real Estate

  • Parties entered into commercial lease of newly constructed office space for period of five years. Tenant was given early possession and began making improvements suitable for medical practice. Landlord failed to provide “Certificate of Occupancy” as agreed, thereby resulting in delay of grand opening for four months, loss of business opportunity, improvement costs, etc. Landlord claimed tenant breached the lease after it failed to acquire a “Special Use Permit.”
  • Case involved purchase of 20 plus acres of commercial real estate for $6.5 million. One provision provided for fuel tank removal and remediation of soil contamination. The agreement was amended numerous times, including numerous performance extensions by purchaser. Purchasers asserted a number of instances of breach by seller which likely would be determined as technical, but nonmaterial if litigated. Matter settled for $450,000.
  • Seller/investors purchased residential real estate out of foreclosure. They listed the property for sale for $17 million. A subsequent purchase agreement was entered into by a management and holding company, as well as individual investors for $15 million. Extensive repairs were required that ballooned costs to $2.5 million. To further complicate matters, the repair work was substandard. Failure to properly compact a hillside resulted in failure of adjacent swimming pool.
  • Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants, who were licensed realtors, purchased properties to flip, and sold them without making necessary repairs. That the work was performed by persons who were not licensed contractors, leaving dangerous defects. Certificates of Occupancy were not issued, and defects were not disclosed. Defendants asserted that plaintiffs were aware of any material defects, or that any additional non-disclosed defects were open and apparent to plaintiffs or concerned portions of the property which agents and brokers are not obligated to inspect. Defendants further positioned that the plaintiffs had a physical home inspection performed on the property and the issues raised were expressly addressed in the inspection report.
  • The complaint alleged that a construction project caused contiguous property to lose lateral and subjacent support. Allegations were strict liability and general negligence. The defendant, who was not a party to the construction project, acquired the property during a public sale after a lender instituted a non-judicial foreclosure that occurred months after completion of the construction.
  • Earnest money deposit was made by purchasers pursuant to a Residential Purchase Agreement. Within 60 days thereafter, buyers executed a cancellation instruction to escrow holder and demanded return of the deposit. The cancellation was based on seller’s failure to disclose the property’s insurance history and after buyer’s chosen insurer declined to insure the premises. Sellers refused to execute a release of the deposit claiming that the cancellation was wrongful, and that the property was insurable through other insurers.
  • Defendant sellers signed a Residential Listing Agreement naming plaintiff as listing agent. After months on the market, defendants informed plaintiff that if no offers were made by a designated time, the property would be withdrawn. One day before the indicated deadline, plaintiff presented an offer for a lower price. Defendant declined the offer. Plaintiff presented a second offer from the same offeror two weeks thereafter, also for a lower price. This offer was declined. Plaintiff thereafter emailed defendant indicating the offeror was willing to pay the full price. This offer was declined. Plaintiff claims that he was entitled to a commission because he presented a willing and able buyer on three occasions.
  • Defendant LLC, the owner of residential real estate valued over $30 million, was managed by two members who were subject to an operating agreement. Throughout negotiations, the managers who were husband and wife, signed all counter-offers as co-managers. Plaintiff’s offer of less than the asking price was accepted by only one of the managers. The complaining manager offered evidence that the operating agreement was amended that required signatures of both managers to alienate LLC property. Plaintiff offered evidence that she was unaware of any requirement of manager joint consent.
  • The action involved a short term commercial real estate loan. After funding, defendant defaulted. A notice of default was filed and recorded on properties that secured the note and trust deeds. After foreclosure, unlawful detainer proceedings were commenced against tenants by owner who was a bona fide purchaser. Defendant claimed that Civil Code Section 2924(c) invalidated the sales for excessive fees and opportunity to reinstate.
  • Real estate broker hired defendant property manager giving him authority over all aspects of rental leasing and management of property including advertising, initiating, signing, renewing and cancelling rental agreements, evictions, maintenance, investigating prospective tenants. Over the period, tenants caused over $150,000 damage to the property causing it to be deemed uninhabitable by local authority.
  • Matter involved the purchase of residential realty listed for $2.6 million and over 6100 sq. ft. After all contingencies were waived and escrow closed, it was determined that the actual square footage was approximately 1000 sq. ft. less than represented. Sellers included an improved detached garage in calculation of the square footage. Sellers and listing agents were parties to the action.
  • Breach of 12-month residential lease agreement at $9200 per month. Plaintiffs/Tenants vacated premises on grounds that the premises became uninhabitable due to leaking toilets, broken cabinets, broken window sills, deteriorated external molding, broken outdoor lights, broken appliances, inoperable garage door, inability to use kitchen due to sewage leak, and spider infestation all of which constituted constructive eviction. Suit for return of security deposit. Defendants offered evidence that a professional home inspection was conducted, and that plaintiffs signed off that the home was in excellent condition at the time of taking occupancy. That any needed repairs thereafter were conducted as quickly as possible and in a workmanlike manner. Plaintiffs closed escrow on the purchase of a new home months before end of lease agreement.
  • Buyer executed a residential purchase agreement agreeing to purchase the property for listed amount. Buyer deposited earnest money into escrow. All contingencies were removed except title. Shortly thereafter, buyer’s agent emailed listing agent as follows: “I regret to inform you just one day after my client’s deposit going into escrow her architect informed her that he made a mistake…” She thought she could build 10 small lots units on the property. The reality is that she can only build 6. Buyer requested cancellation of the agreement. Seller positioned that an easement limited the number of units that could be built. Buyer asserted that the easement materially affected title.
  • On-going long term dispute between neighbors concerning driveway easement whereby defendant is alleged to routinely block the driveway, store numerous vehicles thereon preventing plaintiff from readily being able to access his property. Cameras and photographing seemed to exacerbate the circumstances along with loud music, name-calling, vandalism and harassment. Mutual written agreement reached.
  • Plaintiffs purchased a single family residence for the purpose of opening an assisted living facility. Plaintiffs specifically inquired whether the home’s sewer system was connected to a public sewer line. Seller defendants indicated in a written Transfer Disclosure Statement that the home was connected to city sewer system. Months after purchase and expenditures by plaintiffs it was discovered that the home was serviced by a septic system and that it was wholly inadequate to accommodate the intended use for elder care facility. Suit was brought against sellers as well as all agents involved in the transaction.
  • Suit involved multiple parties who were sophisticated real estate brokers/investors with complex issues of negligence, breach fiduciary duty, and misrepresentation. The property in question was valued at $85-$95 million. Part of the dispute concerned whether a commission of $850,000 was earned based on oral agreement, and disposition of $500,000 earnest money deposit. Central issue was statute of frauds and misrepresentation of rent roll.
  • Plaintiff entered into an exclusive right to sell defendant’s property for a period of four months. The agreement provided that commission would be earned if defendant/seller withdrew the property for sale or made it unmarketable without plaintiff’s consent. Plaintiff procured purchaser at asking price as well as a back-up offer over asking price. Defendant accepted the first offer. Thereafter, defendant decided he no longer desired to sell the property.
  • Matter involved return of earnest money deposit. Plaintiffs had 17 days to either remove a loan contingency in writing or cancel the agreement. The purchase agreement contained a general provision for attorney fees that was negotiated and modified by the parties. An issue was whether that provision should be enforced. Another question was whether the defendant’s acted in bad faith by not releasing the deposit, and thereby subject to a civil penalty.
  • Parties entered into an agreement to purchase the physical facilities of a skilled nursing complex, and its underlying business. Dispute arose regarding failure to disclose large unpermitted water heater replacement project. Due diligence, assumption of liabilities that pertained to asset purchase agreement, and failure of seller to turn over accounts receivables.
  • The plaintiffs, general contractor and pest control operators, along with investors, purchased a 28 unit apartment building. They alleged that defendant sellers failed to disclose that the building suffered several code violations that concerned habitability; that because of the violations, pursuant to an administrative order by the municipality, rents were reduced by 50%. The property remained in the program even after plaintiffs brought the building into code compliance. Nevertheless, the municipality refused to remove the property from the program. Eventually, tenants were not required to any rent. An email was discovered from defendants that stated that defendants would have lost over half a million dollars had they not sold (dumped), the property on plaintiffs. One defendant positioned that he was merely a finder for the other defendants. Other defendants positioned that plaintiffs were experienced commercial real estate buyers and knew or should have known of the property’s condition after due diligence.
  • Parties entered into an oral agreement for management of the construction of a residential dwelling with a budget of approximately $6 million. Commission agreement provided for $10,000 per month plus 8% of all hard costs. Owner insisted on upgrades that significantly expanded the project’s scope and outstripped the construction loan. The loan was insufficient to cover costs for upgrades and the owner refused to pay the additional costs. Subcontractors were left unpaid, remedial work was required, liens were recorded, loss of use/rent, attorney fees, and investigation costs were issues.

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Medical Malpractice

  • Claim for medical negligence after defendant performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy that resulted in post-operative complications. Evidence revealed that the defendant failed to occlude blood and bile leakage into the abdominal cavity causing super infection. During a remedial surgery, the second surgeon inadvertently punctured the bowel.
  • Medical negligence case arose from injury that occurred during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The defendant asserted that although he was mistaken when he transected the incorrect duct, he was not negligent due to the condition of the surgical field. Numerous experts were called on the complex negligence and damages issues.
  • . Case involved a claim of professional negligence by plaintiff who was crippled after foot surgery performed by defendant. Plaintiff’s evidence demonstrated that cutting his heel, not taking into consideration the thickness of the saw blade, and other post-surgical procedure caused permanent damage to his foot and gait.
  • Case involved completely substandard cosmetic surgical procedure. Plaintiff asserted medical malpractice, breach of contract, intentional and negligent misrepresentations. Defendant asserted affirmative defenses.
  • The matter involved nursing/medical malpractice and elder abuse while patient was a resident of elder care facility. At the time of admission, patient had several health issues including urinary tract infection, muscle weakness, altered mental state, diabetes, hypertension, and esophageal reflux. Her beginning weight was 148 lbs. Six months later, her weight was noted at 110 lbs. Complaint alleged failure to assess skin weekly, turn and reposition, use padding devices, provide adequate fluid and food intake, report skin breakdown to medical doctor, pressure reducing mattress, and wheelchair as needed. Patient was transported to hospital where she was experiencing tachycardia, lactic acidosis, severe anemia, and sepsis. Settlement: $115,000.
  • Complaint for nursing malpractice after elderly patient at elder care facility who suffered mental and physical deficits, left her bed for unknown reasons. After falling onto hard tiled surface patient suffered severe bodily injury requiring extensive surgical intervention. Defendants positioned that while patients are regularly monitored, it would be unfeasible to have personnel permanently stationed in patient rooms. Before the accident, plaintiffs complained that patient had been physically constrained to the bed and demanded that restraints not be utilized.
  • Complaint for nursing malpractice, elder abuse, and negligence after plaintiff sustained serious injuries as he slept. Patient was severely beaten with a walking cane by his violent roommate for unknown reasons. Defendants were placed on notice of prior incidents of violence by aggressor.

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Business & Commercial

  • Attorney-Client billing dispute based upon written "Attorney-Client Fee and Engagement Agreement” that was provided by plaintiff attorney. Defendants produced evidence that they were billed for unauthorized work by Plaintiff. Plaintiff relied upon language in the agreement and numerous email exchanges as authority to perform additional services. Involved analysis of numerous nonspecific invoices, and “block-billing.”
  • The parties entered into a joint-venture agreement whereby the parties would design, manufacture, patent, and sell certain products. Plaintiffs were to design and engineer the product, and defendants would fund manufacture and sale. Percentages of profit were set forth in the agreement. Eventually, defendants stopped paying. Defendants claimed the product being sold were reiterations and new products, not subject to the agreement.
  • This matter involved breach of contract, open book account, account stated, and fraud. Plaintiff, a foreign country supplier, provided product for defendant’s solar panel business. Defendant claimed that the product was received by its subsidiary, and therefore it was not responsible for the account. The subsidiary declared bankruptcy. It was discovered from records of the California Secretary of State that defendant and the subsidiary had duplication of personnel with same address for principal place of business. Settlement $275,000.
  • Plaintiffs purchased a single family dwelling in a large community that was subject to CC&Rs. Plaintiffs contended that the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) unlawfully changed rules and by-laws that effectively deprived them of parking, and other abuses by the board. That changes were in conflict with a specific plan enacted by the municipality, and diminished the value of individual property owners. That the board of directors refused to engage in ADR. The HOA took the position that all changes were permissible, reasonable, and authorized under the by-laws.
  • Dispute between parties to a manufacturing joint-venture agreement. Terms and conditions of an agreement reached between the parties were to be provided in “Long Form Agreement” including UCC-1 subordination, factoring, and financing, stipulated judgment, non-disparagement, reasonable default, notice, cure, and acceleration term. The agreement further provided that mediator would resolve any disputes concerning the “Long Form.” The major issue concerned documentation necessary to subordinate the UCC-1 to other factoring and financing.
  • Breach of contract, fraud, intentional and negligent interference with contract and cross-complaint for fraud, money had and received, unjust enrichment, unfair business practices based on contract to provide nursing services. Fraudulent inflation of rates, hours worked, and illegal kickbacks were alleged. Settlement: $120,000.
  • The matter involved a $450,000 loan to plaintiff by former attorney with promissory note secured by realty for the purpose of operating a business. Plaintiff defaulted on the note, failed to cure, defendant foreclosed on the property. Plaintiff filed suit alleging legal malpractice, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, violation Civil Code Sections 2924 and 2925, and unjust enrichment. Plaintiff also filed complaint with State Bar. Law and motion: Demurrer, summary judgment, res judicata, broker arranged loan, statute of limitations, vexatious litigant.
  • Plaintiff entered into a five year employment contract with defendant, restaurant owners, as chief operations officer. The contract provided that plaintiff’s termination shall only be for cause. Plaintiff received a termination letter indicating the he was terminated because his services no longer were needed. At the time of his termination, plaintiff accrued salary, vacation, and other benefits that were not paid. Defendants indicated that in spite of the letters language, that plaintiff was terminated for mismanagement of the restaurants. Evidence was presented that all defendants applied for visas under the “EB-5 Immigration Investors” program, and that there could be no personal liability by the individual defendants.
  • Parties entered into agreement for purchase of a business and the business premises. After completion of sale of the premises, plaintiff cancelled the agreement to purchase the business. Plaintiff claimed that defendant failed to disclose the necessary business financial records and information. Defendant offered evidence that plaintiff changed her mind and only desired ownership of the premises. Plaintiff failed to continue business operations after purchase of the realty and demanded return of deposit.
  • Summarization of complex commercial transactions between numerous parties. Defendant borrowed $600,000 from lender, signed promissory note, and trust deed. The loan was repaid, however, no re-conveyance was recorded by lender. Defendant borrowed $420,000 from second lender secured by recorded note and trust deed. Escrow holder was instructed to obtain payoff statement, title policy (showed exceptions), report showed exceptions were eliminated and in reliance thereon, escrow holder did not pay it off and did not request a payoff statement. First lender executed a collateral assignment of the trust deed to plaintiff. Thereafter, a substitution of trustee and full re-conveyance was made by first lender to defendant without plaintiff’s knowledge.
  • Plaintiff, a wholesaler of tires entered into an agreement with defendant retailer. The agreement required a personal guaranty by defendant. The aggregate business between the parties exceeded $3.8 million. Defendant refused to pay the balance of the account in the amount of $321,000 claiming that plaintiff breached by selling to competitors; that defendant was to be the exclusive distributor. Plaintiff claimed there was nothing to substantiate that claim; that plaintiff was a large distributor in the country, and defendant operated only one retail outlet.
  • Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a Business Loan Agreement, Commercial Security Agreement, and an Unconditional Personal Guaranty in conjunction with promissory notes aggregating $367,000. Plaintiff perfected its security interest. Upon default, defendant positioned that she was induced to sell her realty and apply the balance toward one loan to satisfy the entire amount; that she was induced not to make payments on the second loan in order to qualify for loan modification.
  • Plaintiff and defendant entered into a lease agreement for a period of 5 years with option to extend for an additional 5 years. Four months later a second lease was executed between the parties for the same property that changed the monthly rent and allowed plaintiff the right to sublease. Four years thereafter, the parties entered a third lease for the same property that extended the lease and option terms and rent amount. Three years thereafter, defendant took possession of plaintiff’s copy of the operative (third) lease and refused to return it. Thereafter, defendant entered the leased property and began construction of defendant’s adjoining property. The intrusion interrupted plaintiff’s business operations, and eventually blocked all ingress/egress to the leased premises. In addition, defendant entered upon the leased premises quarterly for soils testing without notice to plaintiff. Defendant claimed that only an oral agreement existed between the parties.
  • Plaintiff made loan in the amount of $265,000 collateralized by equity in defendant’s home and inventory of her business. Monthly payments were made as agreed until the loan balance reached $221,000. Balance due under the interest agreement was $256,000. Defendant did not dispute the amount due. Instead she asserted that she never agreed to pledge her home as collateral.
  • Plaintiff claimed $716,000 for legal services rendered. Defendant claimed the fees were unconscionable and a product of fraudulent billing practices. Defendant also claimed that a large portion of the fees had been paid by his insurer.
  • Plaintiff alleged implied equitable contractual and/or tort indemnity, breach of contract, intentional fraud, and declaratory relief. In addition to monetary damages and injunctive relief, a request was made to invalidate judgments against plaintiff by non-parties.
  • The defendant contracted with third-party for design-build of school buildings. Plaintiff assumed the contract and proceeded to completion. Issues involved failure of defendant to provide power to the site, disruption, reasonable access, false starts, rain delay, and cross assertions by defendant.
  • Plaintiff and defendant were business partners who incorporated a Voice-Over Internet (VOI) business. The defendant, who owned other businesses, took money from VOI and used its resources to fund the other businesses. The defendant misappropriated over $1.5 million giving rise to presentation of complex forensic accounting evidence.
  • Plaintiff contracted to purchase interest in an automobile dealership. Approval by parent company was refused. Plaintiff claimed $725,000 earnest money deposit constituted sufficient performance to excuse minor noncompliance. Plaintiff claimed interference with economic advantage after defendant nearly shut down the dealership. Defendants showed that plaintiffs sold vehicles without paying for them; that defendant had a security interest in the vehicles; and that the plaintiff was in default under financing and security agreements.
  • Fraud claim by plaintiff who gave promissory note to help fund proposed retail shopping complex. Defendants asserted that the funds were an investment, and that the project was hampered because of inability to acquire necessary contiguous property and city permits.
  • As an agent/broker for plaintiff insurance company, defendant transferred clients to a competitor company. The defendant disobeyed cease and desist order by continuing to transfer clients.
  • Parties entered into contract to provide a network, information technology, and computer solutions such as on-site/off-site troubleshooting, installing new hardware, software, maintaining servers, and mitigating technology infrastructure and network at existing and into a new site. The dispute arose over excessive invoicing and failure to perform promised networking and other IT tasks.
  • Plaintiff, sole proprietor, who worked as an engineer performing repairs and service on a variety of medical equipment and devices was offered a partnership package in defendant’s firm in return for merging his business with that of defendants. The agreement never was reduced to a writing. Dispute arose after the merger, when another partner complained about the benefits package, and refused to abide by its terms, and claimed that plaintiff was only an employee.
  • Plaintiff was a foreign national who contracted to study in a doctoral program with defendant university to satisfy a student visa requirement. Plaintiff alleged that the university promised to issue an I-20 form to enable plaintiff to secure the visa, and that tuition would be refunded for failure to obtain it. Plaintiff demanded refund after the visa was denied. University cross-complained that plaintiff converted information, materials, and personal property valued in excess of $175,000.
  • Parties entered into contract for extensive remodel of residential premises. The initial scope of work was expanded due to requirements of the HOA. Plaintiff paid out-of-pocket labor and material costs. All work was permitted and approved by municipality and HOA. Defendant terminated the contract and refused to pay pursuant thereto, claiming that the work was substandard and that the costs for corrective measures exceeded the amount due under the contract.
  • Plaintiffs loaned $1 million to their spiritual advisor, and his wife who was a co-borrower. The loan was memorialized by execution of a promissory note. Thereafter the defendants dissolved the marriage. Defendant then transferred his interest in realty to his then ex-wife for no consideration. They then took property to other realty as “husband and wife, as joint-tenants” even though they were divorced. It appeared that over 60% of the million dollar loan was used to purchase the new property. Wife positioned that she was not liable on the note, claiming that a novation had occurred. Defendants defaulted on the note.

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Legal Malpractice

  • Defendant law firm advised plaintiffs regarding the propriety of utilization of distressed debt strategy and taking deduction for losses on federal tax returns. Plaintiffs were audited by IRS, and thereafter required to pay substantial back taxes along with penalties and interest.
  • A dispute arose between parties to a real estate purchase agreement. Plaintiff consulted with defendant attorney for possible representation. Defendant proposed preparation of a Letter of Intent for $1500. Defendant then demanded $4000 for service that plaintiff alleged was never authorized or provided. Defendant’s email indicated that any legal services required confirmation by plaintiff; that defendant would not commence any work until confirmation and full payment by plaintiff. Plaintiff never responded to the email. Plaintiff contended that the Letter of Intent never was produced or given to him, nor was it utilized in any transaction by him.
  • Plaintiff engaged defendant law firm to advise and represent him regarding a property dispute between him and his long term partner. The couple purchased a home for use as their residence, each contributed half to the down payment. After sale of that property and realization of large appreciation proceeds, the couple put the entire amount down on a second property. The mortgage lender advised the couple that inclusion of plaintiff’s partner on the mortgage loan and title would result in a higher interest rate. It was decided that the property would be taken in the name of only the plaintiff. The mortgage was paid from the joint bank account shared by the couple. Substantial appreciation in value occurred. Couple terminated their relationship. Plaintiff’s partner was willing to accept substantially less than half the gained appreciation. Defendant advised plaintiff to accept substantially less than the ex-partner’s offer, and failed to advise him that the ex-partner was entitled to at least half the initial down payment. Defendant filed a demurrer on grounds that the partner’s claim was barred by the statute of fraud, when in fact there had been complete performance by the couple. Plaintiff alleged that defendant urged him to lie during his deposition. Defendant arrived late, disheveled and unprepared to participate in mediation.

Personal Injury

  • Plaintiff was a passenger on a commercial airliner in route to China when a server spilled what was characterized as “scalding hot” coffee onto his lap. Because the travel time was for several additional hours, proper medical treatment was unavailable. Passenger was partially clothed for duration of the trip. Passenger sustained significant burns to the groin area. Settlement $350,000.
  • Plaintiff, a guest of defendant hotel, approached the front desk regarding charges for unauthorized smoking in his room, and return of his personal computer. An argument ensued. Defendant security wrestled plaintiff to the floor and placed him in custody. During the struggle, plaintiff sustained a broken clavicle and fractures to his ribs. Plaintiff claimed unnecessary and excessive forced caused his injuries, resulting in economic and non-economic losses. Defendants claimed that the actions taken by security were necessary and reasonable based on plaintiff’s conduct and behavior. Within hours of the event, plaintiff demanded preservation of a video. Defendants claimed the video no longer was available. Defendants claimed that Howell v. Hamilton Meats required reduction of his medical damages claim.
  • Plaintiffs suffered severe injuries after their vehicle was rear-ended by a large ambulance. Plaintiff’s disabled vehicle had been sitting in a traffic lane around a curve in the road with emergency flashers operating at the time of impact. Certain Vehicle Code sections such as road and weather conditions, unsafe speed, and following too close were applicable. Plaintiff suffered significant orthopedic and neurological injuries.
  • Plaintiff was rear-ended in a motor vehicle accident where defendant admitted liability, but disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s injuries. Defendant indicated that after briefly looking away, plaintiff applied brakes for no apparent reason and the collision occurred. Plaintiff underwent physical therapy and chiropractic treatment over a period of 5 months. Plaintiff complained of neck stiffness and pain, lower back stiffness and pain, right shoulder pain, radicular bilateral forearm, leg and thigh pain, range of motion problems, anxiety, nervousness, and headache. X-rays and MRIs revealed cervical, thoracic, and lumbar degenerative disease, flattening of the thecal sac and mild narrowing of the central canal. Plaintiff had a history of rear-end automobile accidents claiming fault by others resulting in bodily injury.
  • Defendant made an illegal left turn in front of plaintiff who was operating a motorcycle. The accident resulted in loss of consciousness and significant injury to plaintiff. Liability was admitted. Nature and extent of injuries were disputed. Matter resolved for $125,000.
  • Plaintiff was involved in a low impact rear-end collision. An orthopedic surgeon and pain management specialist testified that he suffered preexisting degenerative conditions that were aggravated by the impact that made him a candidate for surgery; that he was asymptomatic until the accident; that less intrusive modalities were ineffective; that proposed surgical costs, as well as past and future medical costs, were necessary and reasonable. Dispute on whether plaintiff suffered radicular symptoms. Evidence was presented that there were no neurological deficits that would warrant surgery. Biomechanical evidence indicated that no correlation between accident and medical condition.
  • 29 year old Plaintiff was involved in a rear-end collision motor vehicle accident. Asymptomatic pre-accident. MRI showed bulging discs at different lumbar levels. Chiropractic treatment and epidurals ineffective to resolve pain issues. Proposed laser surgery, endoscopic discectomy. Loss of earnings at issue.
  • Plaintiff, 74 years of age, alleged that she tripped and fell on uneven pavement on defendant’s parking lot and suffered serious economic and non-economic damages. Medical reports support long history of significant preexisting conditions including pain in shoulders, elbows, legs, hips, insomnia, anxiety, depression, hypertension, dizziness, significant vision issues, myalgia, fibromyalgia, anemia, degenerative spondylosis, cervical spine lordosis, and rounded back. She was considered a fall risk. Evidence suggested that she was talking on cell phone, inattentive, and not wearing corrective lenses at time of fall. Settled: $85,000.
  • Plaintiff was rear-ended in an automobile accident. Defendant insurer stipulated liability. Medical specials ranged from $80,000-100,000. Causation of injuries, preexisting conditions asserted. Loss of consortium to newlyweds. Settled: $215,000.
  • A two vehicle accident resulted in significant injury to eight claimants, including multiple fractures and loss of consciousness. Defendant’s insurer tendered the policy amount of $30,000. Defendant had no other assets. Settled by apportionment.
  • Defendant caused a collision by making an illegal left turn and failing to yield to plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff suffered soft tissue injury to right hand, cervical sprain/strain, cervical neuritis, segmental dysfunction, myalgia, lumbar myofascitis, lumbar sprain/strain, lumbar disc bulge, segmental dysfunction, thoracic sprain/strain shoulder sprain/strain PTSD. Insured’s treating physician opined that the 21 year old insured had degenerative disk changes as a result of the trauma. Plaintiff argued that the insurer acted in bad faith by denying policy amount of $100,000.
  • Plaintiff tripped and fell on a raised portion of a concrete walkway located immediately outside of defendant’s store as she left the store carrying bags containing purchases from the store. The injuries included significant derangement of her knees, rotator cuff tear that required surgery, exacerbation of stenosis present in lower back requiring decompressive lumbar laminectomy. Surgery was unsuccessful. Also sustained injuries to right knee, replacement surgery rehabilitation and physical therapy. Video tape captured the event, but was not preserved after request. Defendant positioned that the raised pavement was a trivial defect, but it was grinded down after the accident and unable to determine actual height at time of accident.
  • Personal injury case where Plaintiff-In-Intervention claimed entitlement to worker’s compensation and other benefits it paid to its employee who was injured in an automobile accident that occurred during the course of employment. Plaintiff argued entitlement to attorney fees it was forced to pay to defend itself in the worker’s compensation case.
  • Refuse collection truck, operated by defendant waste disposal company, collided with plaintiff, an on-duty motorcycle officer, resulting in serious bodily injury. Biomechanical, accident reconstruction, and medical expert testimony was presented.
  • Automobile accident where employee rear-ended the plaintiff causing serious bodily injury including crushed vertebra in cervical spine. Plaintiff no longer could perform the duties required for his business, suffered significant weight loss, and a stooped posture. Plaintiff’s mental health declined, marked by severe bouts of depression, alcohol and pain medication excesses.
  • Plaintiff was a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. While walking in pedestrian cross-walk, defendant, an 18 year old, failed to stop at the cross-walk, striking plaintiff, resulting in serious bodily injury. Plaintiff filed a motion for new trial for inadequacy of jury award.
  • Personal injury matter involved traffic accident between the plaintiff, a motorcyclist and the defendant, operator of motor vehicle. Accident reconstruction and medical experts were called by both sides.
  • Premises/product liability case resulted in catastrophic personal injury to plaintiff. Required extensive surgical repair, loss of income, quality of life, and consortium. The defendants included furniture manufacturer and premises owner, a large luxury apartment complex.
  • Collision between two commercial vehicles resulted in suit for property and other economic damages. Plaintiff truck operator deceased from unrelated causes. Suit brought by wife for costs for repair and loss of vehicle use. Accident reconstruction experts and accounts were called on causation and damages issues.
  • Case involved engineering malpractice wherein the plaintiff hired defendant to provide plans for a large retaining wall adjacent to a hillside. Plaintiff hired unlicensed laborers for excavation and grading. During excavation, a portion of the hillside fell upon a worker, causing serious bodily injury. Issues included employment relationship of injured party, worker’s compensation coverage, and use of undocumented workers.
  • Personal injury case base on premises liability where plaintiff alleged that she fell and sustained injuries while a patron at defendants restaurant. Initially, plaintiff declined medical assistance. Notice and causation were the major issues.
  • Plaintiff filed a complaint for personal injury based on theories of negligence, negligent hiring, supervision, or retention of an employee. Plaintiff alleged that he and his wife were returning to their seats at a festival when they observed a fight occurring between individuals; that when he realized his friend was involved in the altercation, he moved toward the group to separate his friend from the group. As he moved in the direction of the group, he was suddenly hit from behind with such forced that he fell to the ground and thereby suffered serious injury to his leg and knee requiring meniscus repair, tibial spine avulsion, and rectal bleeding. It was later determined that defendant’s employee, a security guard, was responsible for the use of force and injuries.
  • Plaintiff was a passenger on a bus when it collided with vehicle driven by defendant who admitted liability. Plaintiff was diagnosed with acute closed head injury, tinnitus, hearing loss, facial contusion and hypertension. Existing medical conditions consisted of deviated septum diabetes mellitus and morbid obesity.

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Civil Rights

  • Plaintiff, an African American, claimed that he was assaulted, battered and harassed by a security guard based upon his ethnicity while attempting to shop at defendant’s premises. He claimed that he used his bicycle as a walker or stabilizer because he underwent spine surgery a month before the incident. He claimed that the security guard grabbed, snatched, and jerked the bicycle from him causing exacerbation of existing injury, as well as additional rotator cuff injury that required surgery. Surveillance video, however, substantiated the security guards version that there had been no battery or touching of plaintiff. That the guard touched the bicycle in a nonviolent manner to let plaintiff know that bicycles were not allowed in the store. Evidence also revealed that the plaintiff was a serial patient, and filed a complaint against another retailer for injuries occurring upon its premises, also claiming same or similar injuries.
  • Plaintiff claimed among other things that adverse employment action, such as denial of full employment status, denial of promotions, was taken against her because of her status as female and African American. She also claimed that she was unlawfully assaulted and battered by the employer’s security guard during a confrontation on employer’s premises.
  • Plaintiff alleged she was a victim of cyber-bullying and racism based on her status as female African American over a protracted period while a student at her high school that included obscenities, racial slurs, and a photograph with a noose around her neck. It was alleged that the school encouraged online and off-line platforms to facilitate sharing information pertaining to classes; that the school failed to take steps to preclude the occurrences. The school asserted that the conduct was unknown to school officials and that it took place on personal chat rooms not connected with the school. That the school had no authority to monitor the personal communications on private systems; that all students involved, including the plaintiff had a right to privacy in the communications.
  • Several plaintiffs who are Chinese nationals claimed that during employment at defendant’s salon they were constantly on-call to answer client’s calls at all times. Worked for in excess of forty hours per week, but never paid overtime. They were forced to attend meetings and training session on weekends without pay. Rest and meal breaks were not provided. The group was subject to sexual and racial harassment daily by the owners who were husband and wife. Harassment included unwanted touching and verbal insults. The group did not complain due to undocumented status.
  • Plaintiff alleged premises liability, negligence, false arrest, malicious prosecution, assault & battery, and conspiracy against homeowners association and individual members based on ethnicity.

Probate

  • Couple was in a lifetime relationship where two children were born. The mother, who was covered through a group life insurance policy for $700,000, was diagnosed with Stage IV glioblastoma. After diagnosis, she received a partial distribution, made gifts to the children, and made an even split of remaining policy proceeds to father and children. Thereafter, she executed a “Domestic Partner Affidavit” and designated father as beneficiary of 100% of pension plan. Thereafter, she changed the beneficiary designation on the insurance policy designating father as 100% beneficiary. Thereafter, mother prepared a living trust that provided her children with the entire estate, including the insurance policy, leaving nothing to father. Insurer interpleaded the policy.
  • Matter involved estate division between children from different marital unions based on conflicting trust, will, and other purported designation of beneficiaries. Allegation of forgery of signature on will prompted testimony of questioned documents expert. DNA expert was utilized to establish paternity for one of the claimants.
  • Plaintiff was the surviving widow of decedent who was killed in an automobile accident. The couple had two minor children. Defendant was covered by a policy of insurance. Insurer offered to pay entire face amount to claimants. Decedent had a minor child out of wedlock who filed action for declaratory relief to determine her share of policy and a house and pension total value $1 million owned by decedent.
  • Elderly couple cohabitated for 20 plus years caring for one another. Decedent failed to provide for plaintiff as promised. Decedent was bedridden and cared for by plaintiff for several years. Quantum meruit claim for value of services. Settled: $270,000.

Government Tort Liability

  • The suit was for wrongful death caused by a dangerous condition of a freeway overpass that caused decedent to trip and fall onto freeway below. Plaintiff presented evidence of wide gaps between concrete slaps, buckling pavement, missing pavement, safety railing in state of disrepair, and of improper height to protect pedestrians. Among other things such as decedent’s intoxication, Govt. Code Sections 815, 830, and 835 were asserted by the governmental entities involved.
  • Plaintiff operated a private school in the defendant city. Defendant “yellow-tagged” and ordered the facility closed during mid-semester, and refused to re-inspect after remediation. The primary issue was whether the defendant used constitutional and valid code enforcement provisions in an unconstitutional manner that resulted in improper taking of the property.
  • Declaratory relief and contract rescission action involved the sale of a large parcel of realty located in the defendant city. Initially, the city declared the parcel to contain five separate buildable lots. After sale of the property to plaintiffs, bona fide purchasers, defendant again reversed its decision and declared the property to contain only two buildable lots.
  • Plaintiff suffered catastrophic injuries sustained while operating a motorcycle that collided with a vehicle operated by an underinsured senior citizen. The city proffered design Immunity defense. Issues involved whether causal relationship existed between the plan and the accident; whether the plan was approved by an employee with discretionary authority; and whether evidence existed to support the reasonableness of the plan.
  • Evidence showed that decedent drove his motorcycle in excess of 100 mph and weaved between traffic on a freeway immediately before a collision. Plaintiffs brought wrongful death action against government for failure to properly maintain pavement that contained significant potholes and cracks that contributed to loss of control of the motorcycle.
  • Officers were summoned by family members who reported that the decedent, who suffered severe mental issues and alcohol abuse, had threatened family, was locked in a room with a firearm, and threatening suicide. After hours of attempting to deescalate, one officer forcibly entered the room. A shot was fired during a struggle over the firearm. A second officer who believed lethal force was necessary shot decedent.

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Employment/Wage & Hour

  • Plaintiff claimed wage and hour violations in connection with his employment with defendant. He alleged that he was required to work 55 hours per week, but never paid overtime wages; that defendant failed to provide proper paystubs and/or itemized pay statement in violation of California Labor Code. He claimed he was terminated because he reported the violations. Defendant claimed that plaintiff was hired as an independent contractor to set up store, establish proper paperwork and search for art pieces that could be purchased and reproduced; that plaintiff brought his own equipment including computer and internet hotspot. Plaintiff had no set hours, but was typically at the store Monday through Friday from 10:00 am until 6 pm, and that he was compensated $3,000 per month.
  • Plaintiff who was employed by defendant claimed recovery for unpaid wages, overtime, attorney fees, and applicable penalties derived from failure to pay hours worked, violation minimum wage law, overtime violation, and scheduling work hours in violation of regulations, failure to provide accurate wage statements, failure to pay split shift extra hours, and wrongful termination.
  • The defendant tour bus company, required plaintiff drivers to transport clients to Las Vegas for “turn-around” gaming entertainment. Plaintiff was not paid for wait time even though he was not permitted to leave the vehicle. Drivers were required to clean vehicle after clock out. Defendant claimed that tour bus drivers were exempted from overtime payments, and were fully paid.
  • Plaintiff, who brought similar allegations against former employers, alleged that he was required to work overtime without premium compensation even though he was hired as a salaried manager. He spent several hour per week during office time documenting office activities and time. Defendant employer failed to provide payroll stubs that sufficiently complied with state regulation.

Product Liability

  • Plaintiff, owner of catering truck, drove his vehicle onto the property of defendant for refill of propane tanks. After defendant’s employee began the refill process, flames appeared around the propane take inside the truck. The employee attempted to shut down the process without success, and attempted to disconnect the hose. He failed to shut off the main shut off switch or pull the emergency cord. The employee called 911, conned off driveways, and attempted to suppress the fire with a water hose that caused greater conflagration. Plaintiff who was angered by the employee’s actions, complained that insufficient water pressure was being used, grabbed the hose and began flushing the area with more water. The fire became larger and engulfed the catering truck. Plaintiff claimed loss of value of the truck and lose of use/income.
  • Case involved a clothes dryer that caught fire causing major damage to the premises. Plaintiff asserted design defect. The defendant asserted improper maintenance including failure to properly install ducts and vent cleaning.
  • Case where plaintiff alleged that an automobile ignition part was defective and caused fire to occur inside the vehicle. The fire burned plaintiff’s garage and home.
  • Plaintiffs vehicle had been recalled by manufacturer who warned of possible ball-joint failure and consequences for failure to repair. Plaintiff’s address was provided through service records maintained by defendant. An accident occurred approximately seven years after the recall notice. Another issue was whether the accident was caused by ball-joint or tire failure.

Intentional Tort Liability

  • The defendant, a wealthy owner of a record company, engaged in a pattern of conduct toward plaintiff including purchase of her employer’s business, and thereafter terminating her employment. Defendant hired investigators to assist with stalking, defaming, cyber-bullying, defaming, and creating false evidence against plaintiff. Compensatory and punitive damages were hotly contested.