Wrongful Death

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

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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

Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim in California

- Paul Zuckerman

Earlier this month, a former University of California football player’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university’s Regents.

The 21-year-old player died following an off-season training run in February. He suffered extreme fatigue during the run, causing him to eventually die. Although the player was clearly exhibiting symptoms of extreme fatigue, the University’s coaches and trainers failed to notice and take action.

Defining Wrongful Death

A wrongful death suit can be filed when a person dies due to another person’s or entity’s negligence. The suit is filed by the survivors of the deceased person and money damages are often awarded. These damages include:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Medical bills for the deceased individuals final injury or illness
  • Lost income, including potential income the deceased person could have been expected to earn in the future had he or she not been killed

Surviving family members can also recover damages that are specific to their loss as a result of the death, such as:

  • Value of household services
  • Loss of anticipated financial support
  • Loss of love
  • Loss of community
  • Loss of affection
  • Loss of moral support
  • Loss of guidance

In California, the wrongful death claim must be brought within two years of the death of the individual. If this does not occur, the claim cannot be brought barring any extenuating circumstances.

What Kinds of Incidents Warrant a Wrongful Death Suit?

While each case is specific and must be evaluated on its individual facts, some examples of wrongful death claims include:

  • A drunk driver who crashed his car and killed another person
  • Failure of a doctor to disclose a deadly illness that eventually caused the death of the patient
  • A employer that kept an unsafe workplace that caused the death of an employee
  • Defective products that caused the death of another person

If you have a loved one who was killed by the wrongful or negligent acts of another, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel to advise you as to whether you can receive compensation for your loved one’s death.

Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley, LLP has a team of dedicated and aggressive wrongful death attorneys. Our years of experience coupled with our skill and compassion help our lawyers achieve successful jury verdicts and settlements with negligent parties. With all of the emotional difficulty you have experienced, you deserve an attorney that does everything in their power to help you recover. To arrange a free consultation, we welcome your call at 213-514-8332.

Press Enterprise Reports on $40 Million Verdict for Stabbing Victim

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RIVERSIDE: Jury awards $40 million in TGI Fridays stabbing

A couple sued in 2009 when their son was killed after a fight at the Galleria at Tyler restaurant.

A Riverside couple has won a $40 million award – one of Riverside County’s biggest civil verdicts ever – in a suit over their son’s 2009 stabbing at a TGI Fridays.

Orlando Jordan, a 33-year-old Riverside resident, was stabbed to death at the TGI Fridays at the Galleria at Tyler in January 2009 after a fight with two other men.

Rey and Carmen Jordan sued TGI Fridays and the Riverside restaurant’s operator, New Jersey-based Briad Group, arguing that employees knowingly served alcohol to intoxicated minors, including one of their son’s attackers, said attorney Nicholas Rowley, who represented Carmen Jordan in the trial.

Court records confirmed that a Riverside County Superior Court jury decided in favor of the Jordans on Thursday, June 18, though court documents with more details were unavailable Friday. A court verdict form provided by Rowley showed the jury awarded the Jordans $40 million for the loss of their son’s “love, companionship, comfort, care” and other qualities.

Briad Group officials, a TGI Fridays spokesperson and Glendale attorney Thomas Gmelich, who represented Briad in the case, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

On Jan. 24, 2009, Orlando Jordan was at the restaurant with his girlfriend when her son, Michael Derek Castillo, a 20-year-old Moreno Valley man, showed up with a friend, Louis Alex Martinez, a 27-year-old Riverside resident, according to news reports at the time.

Castillo and Jordan exchanged words and got into a fight, police said at the time. Officers, who were already at the mall, arrested Castillo and Martinez. Both men later pleaded guilty to felony assault with a deadly weapon.

During the altercation Jordan, a longtime Wells Fargo bank worker and Pittsburgh Steelers fan, was stabbed. He later died at Riverside Community Hospital.

In the criminal case, Martinez, now 33, initially was charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, according to court records. He was sentenced in March 2011 to four years in state prison.

Castillo, now 26, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and pleaded guilty to that charge before trial. He was sentenced to three years in state prison in April 2010.

Rowley said California law gives legal immunity to bars and restaurants that serve minors, except when they’re obviously drunk.

“We were able to prove that (Castillo) was already obviously intoxicated at the time they served him,” Rowley said, adding that Castillo ordered the equivalent of 12 servings of alcohol in 30 minutes.

According to the company website, the Briad Group, based in Livingston, N.J., is the largest TGI Friday’s franchisee in the U.S. with 67 locations in seven states. The company also owns 60 Wendy’s restaurant on the East Coast, a frozen yogurt chain and a few Marriott and Hilton hotels.

In 2013, Briad ranked 11th on the Franchise Times Restaurant 200 list with annual sales of $332,439,000.

Click here to read the story on the Press Enterprise website. 

Father Accuses UCLA Fraternity of Negligence for his Son’s Death

- Paul Zuckerman

The father of a deceased 18-year-old is blaming a UCLA fraternity for the death of his son after the young adult died from a night of partying that involved alcohol and possibly prescription medication. The victim was neither a fraternity member nor a UCLA student but went to the frat house party on Friday night, November 4, and was found dead the following afternoon in a fraternity bedroom, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Although the fraternity’s executive director would neither confirm nor deny the presence of alcohol and drugs at the party, police are currently investigating who was responsible for providing them. Reportedly, the victim was found slumped over and unresponsive early Saturday morning on a basketball court after the party and was carried to a mattress by a friend where he was left unattended for approximately 10 hours. He is believed to have died sometime around 4 a.m., although police were not called until 2 p.m. that afternoon.

The victim’s father is now accusing the fraternity and his son’s friends who were at the party of negligence. Wrongful death lawsuits can be held filed when the negligent actions of a party or parties results in the accidental death of a victim. Families of deceased victims can hold those responsible liable in court for the damages caused, trauma inflicted, and financial burdens from the death of a loved one.

Father Accuses UCLA Fraternity of Negligence for his Sons Death

The experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley can represent you in court if you have lost a loved one because of another’s negligent or reckless actions. For more information on how our law team can help you in your wrongful death lawsuit, call 213-514-8332. We have years of experience fighting for our clients rights and winning the compensation they deserve.

Los Angeles Physician Sentenced for Drug Dealing, Prescribing Drugs to Known Addicts

- Paul Zuckerman

A Los Angeles-based physician was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday, October 5 for drug dealing out of his offices after being linked to illegally prescribing drugs to known addicts. He is also suspected of being associated with the drug-related deaths of five people since 2007, according to The Los Angeles Times. The physician knowingly prescribed large and dangerous doses of drugs to patients and made hundreds of thousands of dollars by feeding off their addictions. Reportedly, he would receive cash from his patients for the prescriptions and coach them on how to avoid suspicion when filling their prescriptions elsewhere.

65238508 300x162 Los Angeles Physician Sentenced for Drug Dealing, Prescribing Drugs to Known Addicts

Photo Appears Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times 
After a three-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the 72-year-old physician was arrested last October and is now set to begin his seven year sentence and forfeit $450,000 in illegally-gained payments. The judge showed leniency due to the man’s age over what was originally set to be a 20-year sentence. Four of the five deaths attributed to drugs prescribed by the physician occurred after investigations began by the DEA and all were previously-known drug addicts before becoming involved in this case of Los Angeles medical malpractice.

Just recently, drugs have become the number one cause of death in the United States, eclipsing traffic accidents. Addiction is a serious matter and changes not only a person’s life, but the person as a whole. Even after many years of sobriety, a former addict can relapse, as was the case with several of the people who allegedly died in association with this man.

Doctors and physicians are placed in a position of trust due to the nature of their jobs, but when they knowingly violate their oaths and fail to provide a high standard of care, the damage done to patients can be devastating. The Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys at the law offices of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley have years of experience helping family members of wrongful death victims hold negligent parties liable for their loss. We can help you win the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 213-514-8332 for more information about how we can help you today.