Time to make some changes

- Paul Zuckerman

Say “No” to cheap settlements and “Yes” to trial by fire

…Seven- and eight-figure verdicts are truly awesome. The thing is that these big wins are only a very small percentage of the cases being handled in our communities. ‘When I am introduced today, the list of big verdicts is what people hear and it’s gotten to the point where I have been called for advice one too many times with the preface, “I know this isn’t worth your time because it’s not a big multimillion dollar case.”…

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Nick Rowley Wins $40 Million Verdict Against T.G.I. Fridays / Briad Group

- adminbrand

Nick Rowley Seated LowRez

Restaurant Deliberately Served Alcohol to Minors to Increase Profits Resulting in the Stabbing Death of a Restaurant Patron at the Hands of an Underage Drinker.

On Thursday, June 18, 2015, lawyers representing the family of a 33-year-old man who was stabbed to death by an underage drinker at TGI Fridays, received a $40 million verdict against the restaurant operator.

The verdict confirms that the restaurant operator deliberately served alcohol to intoxicated minors in order to increase weekend profits. The family’s allegations were supported by TGI Friday’s head bartender who testified that Briad Group – which operates 68 of the restaurants across 26 states – made a deliberate decision to not card minors in order to increase profits on Fridays and Saturdays.

The victim, Orlando Jordan, was a dedicated 11-year employee of Wells Fargo bank. The lawsuit is being brought by his parents, Rey and Carmen Jordan. Rey Jordan is a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and community leader in Riverside.

“This case is about holding corporations responsible for their reckless decisions to value profits over community safety,” explained Nicholas C. Rowley, counsel for Carmen Jordan. “Too often corporations – like Briad Group – will ignore the safety of their community until victims stand up to them. I’m proud to represent the Jordans who are helping to ensure that corporate greed does not result in the death of another young man.”

After the verdict, most of the jurors stayed to speak with counsel for Rey Jordan, Keith Bruno.  “Each juror expressed that they felt they had done something good—that they could be proud of.  They were appalled by what was going on at the TGI Fridays and they wanted their verdict to reflect the value of human life in Riverside County,” stated Keith Bruno.

Carmen Jordan was represented at trial by Nicholas C. Rowley of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, LLP. Mr. Rowley has twice been named a finalist for the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles’s prestigious “Trial Lawyer of the Year” award. The Consumer Attorneys of San Diego has honored Mr. Rowley with the organization’s top award – “Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year.”

Rey Jordan was represented by husband and wife team Keith and Angela Bruno of Bruno|Nalu.  Mr. Bruno is a “Superlawyer” as well as The National Trial Lawyers “Top 100” trial attorneys.  Angela Bruno has achieved unprecedented verdicts in her young career. She is a trial lawyer and the managing partner at Bruno|Nalu.

The case is: Jordan, et al. v. TGI Fridays, et al.
Riverside Superior Court, Case No. RIC 1100955

Metrolink Derailment Injures 28 in Oxnard, Ventura County

- adminbrand

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Oxnard rail crossing that was the scene of Tuesday, February 24th Metrolink derailment is the 23rd most hazardous in California, according to data from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Twenty-eight people were sent to the hospital after a Metrolink commuter train crashed with a tractor-trailer in Oxnard, Calif. on Tuesday morning. The truck driver has been arrested.

Metrolink’s investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in safety improvements after a series of deadly collisions probably reduced casualties in Tuesday’s Oxnard crash, but the accident also highlighted the limits of the ongoing campaign.

Three crash-resistant cars in Metrolink’s new $263-million fleet of state-of-the-art passenger coaches performed well in their first test involving a major crash, rail officials said.
The cars, among the first to incorporate years of accident research, have front and rear crush zones, tables that give way in a wreck, improved emergency exits, fire retardant materials and more protective seating designs.

“We’ve spent a bundle on safety,” said Richard Katz, a former state legislator and longtime Metrolink board member. “Accidents happen. When they do, we want to make sure our passengers and crews are in the safest cars and safest situations we can create.”

However, experts noted that the new cars came off the tracks, despite anti-derailing devices, and that the collision was Metrolink’s fourth serious accident involving a train pushed by a locomotive.
That widespread practice has been questioned in safety studies and lawsuits, in part because lighter, more vulnerable passenger cars, with an engineer’s station, are placed at the front of speeding trains. Late Tuesday, the Metrolink engineer at the controls before the crash was among the most seriously injured and remained in an intensive care unit.

The crash also underscored a key shortcoming of a $210-million, high-tech collision avoidance system Metrolink is testing on part of its 512-mile network.

The sophisticated system can prevent train collisions such as Metrolink’s 2008 head-on wreck in Chatsworth. But it would not have been able to detect the vehicle that was on the rails Tuesday near Oxnard, after the driver turned onto the tracks and drove about 80 feet west of the grade crossing.

Beyond technology, the location of the crash once again spotlighted a massive, costly backlog of overpass projects intended to separate rail and street traffic. The crossing near 5th Street and Rice Avenue, on a straight stretch of track where trains travel at top speeds, has a history of deadly accidents and is ranked among the two dozen most dangerous in California.

Officials said a $30-million grade separation planned for the intersection has languished awaiting state and federal funding.

The crossing is “one of thousands in Southern California, and many of them need attention,” said Moorpark Mayor Pro Tem Keith Millhouse, a Metrolink board member.

California Apple Recall: Listeria Tainted Granny Smith and Gala Apples

- Paul Zuckerman

The United States Food & Drug Administration announced a nationwide recall of Granny Smith and Gala apples after the presence of Listeria monocytogenes was confirmed at an apple processing facility in Shafter, according to the Monterey County Health Department.

Apples should be thrown away if they come from grower Bidart Bros. of Bakersfield or if the source cannot be determined, according to Dr. Edward L. Moreno, a public health officer with the Monterey County Health Department.

Listeriosis can be potentially fatal. Symptoms include fever, severe headache, nausea and a stiff neck.

Moreno is encouraging consumers who are may have purchased Granny Smith apples, Gala apples or caramel apples to contact their grocer and determine whether or not they were supplied by Bidart Bros.

The last time Bidart Bros. shipped Granny Smith apples to customers was Dec. 2, 2014 — but they may still be in circulation if the fruit was processed or frozen.

Moreno said that in many cases recalls are issued after enough time has passed so that many of the contaminated food items have already been consumed or thrown away, but the health department still circulates the information as processed or frozen foods tend to have a long shelf-life.

“A lot of times it’s been so long that most people don’t even have it anymore,” Moreno said. “Even if it’s been weeks, some of these processed foods can sit a while.”

The Los Angeles and San Diego attorneys at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley are experienced in litigating cases involving food poisoning and contamination. Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley consistently achieves multi-million dollar record breaking results on behalf of our clients.

Paul Zuckerman Speaks at Beverly Hills Bar Association

- Paul Zuckerman

BHBA logo

The Beverly Hills Bar Association has selected Los Angeles attorney Paul S. Zuckerman to present an educational seminar on Feb. 3rd, 2015.

Litigating Advanced Slip/Trip & Fall Cases” is an interactive course tailored to the advanced personal injury practitioner who wants to learn about recent developments and strategies to win premises liability cases.

Recognizing that slip/trip and fall cases can be lost before they are filed, this class begins with an overview of how to improve your case pre-litigation. Scene preservation – including the right to inspect public facilities, pre-litigation without notice – is discussed.

The course further addresses the trivial defect doctrine, the case law surrounding the doctrine, and ways in which a plaintiffs’ lawyers seek to avoid application of the doctrine. The presentation also includes discussion of the law surrounding public entity liability, especially sidewalk cases and dangerous conditions of public property.

The course next addresses the science of slip testing, the watershed USC study, and the attack the floor strategy that allows plaintiffs to prevail even when it appears that the defendant lacked any notice of the defect.

Click here to register for the seminar

About the Beverly Hills Bar Association: 

The Beverly Hills Bar Association (BHBA) was founded in 1931 to advocate for justice in the community and to assist its lawyer members reach and exceed the highest levels of legal skills and ethics.

Today, this revered institution has over 5,600 members practicing in all areas of the law and throughout the Los Angeles region, who share a commitment to professional excellence and service. It is the largest voluntary bar association in the State (that is not a county bar association), and the fifth largest metropolitan bar association in California.

For more than eight decades, BHBA lawyers have enjoyed the sense of solidarity with their distinguished peers that membership brings; the sense of accomplishment that professional advancement produces; and the sense of selflessness that public service engenders.

They participate in the work of the Association through its Sections, Committees, task forces, and the Barristers. And they find plenty of time for networking and socializing at our many parties and events.