Blog : Personal Injury

‘Top 100 Settlements in California in 2016’ List Includes Three Cases by Dale Minami, Mark Fong, and Seema Bhatt

‘Top 100 Settlements in California in 2016’ List Includes Three Cases by Dale Minami, Mark Fong, and Seema Bhatt

Top Verdict’s ‘Top 100 Settlements in California in 2016‘ list recognized three cases by Minami Tamaki’s personal injury practice.

Top Verdict each year recognizes law firms and attorneys who have obtained some of the highest jury verdicts and settlements in specific areas of law. The lists are generated based on extensive research based on court records, electronic submissions by attorneys, and major legal publications.

Top Verdict says that “most firms would make a Top Verdict list only once in their history.” Minami Tamaki had three cases on the 2016 list of settlements in California.

The first case was a $3,250,000 settlement in the case of Estate of Lai v. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 78-year-old Cheng Jin Lai was killed by a Muni bus while riding his bicycle in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. The bus made him lose control of his bicycle, causing him to fall under the rear wheel of the bus and be killed instantly. Partner Mark Fong, Associate Seema Bhatt, and Partner Dale Minami represented the Lai estate.

The second case was a $2,805,000 settlement in the motor vehicle injury case of Paul Hon Chow Lee v. Progistics Distribution Inc. et al. Our client was struck by a delivery van that ran a red light. The van was rented by the driver’s employer, Progistics Distribution, Inc. Mr. Lee suffered multiple traumatic injuries and is partially disabled, but thankfully has made significant improvement. Partner Dale Minami and Partner Mark Fong represented Mr. Lee.

The third case was a $1,250,000 settlement in the case of Delgado v. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Retiree Hanna Delgado was walking in a crosswalk in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco when she was struck by a Muni bus. She sustained injuries to her pelvis, hip, lower back, and chest. Partner Mark Fong, Associate Seema Bhatt, and Partner Dale Minami represented Ms. Delgado.

Learn more about our personal injury practice.

‘Northern California’s Leading Lawyers’ Publication Recognizes Four Minami Tamaki LLP Cases

‘Northern California’s Leading Lawyers’ Publication Recognizes Four Minami Tamaki LLP Cases

Leaders in the Law recently recognized four Minami Tamaki LLP cases in its recent “Northern California’s Leading Lawyers” publication.

The publication included two new lists recognizing the region’s top verdicts and settlements compiled in partnership with LexisNexis.

Ranked in the Top 20 of both lists were the following cases:

A $3,250,000 settlement in the case of Estate of Lai v. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 78-year-old Cheng Jin Lai was killed by a Muni bus while riding his bicycle in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. The bus made him lose control of his bicycle, causing him to fall under the rear wheel of the bus and be killed instantly. Partner Mark Fong, Associate Seema Bhatt, and Partner Dale Minami represented the Lai estate.

A $2,805,000 settlement in the motor vehicle injury case of Paul Hon Chow Lee v. Progistics Distribution Inc. et al. Partner Dale Minami and Partner Mark Fong represented Mr. Lee.

A $1,250,000 settlement in the case of Delgado v. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Retiree Hanna Delgado was walking in a crosswalk in the Outer Richmond neighbor of San Francisco when she was struck by a Muni bus. She sustained injuries to her pelvis, hip, lower back, and chest. Partner Mark Fong, Associate Seema Bhatt, and Partner Dale Minami represented Ms. Delgado.

The $3,574,753 jury verdict in the case of Hagadorn et al v. County of Sacramento and Sacramento County Sheriff ‘s Department. Plaintiffs were four female law enforcement officers who complained about race and gender discrimination and sexual favoritism in the Sheriff’s Department. After their complaints, the Department retaliated against the female officers and derailed their careers. They were removed from their job positions, unfairly disciplined, subjected to punitive investigations, and passed over for promotions and specialty assignments.

The plaintiffs, four Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department officers, were represented by Lisa P. Mak of our consumer and employee rights practice and by The Law Offices of Jerry L. Chong and Alice W. Wong.

 

Four Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Selected for 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Four Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Selected for 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Minami Tamaki LLP Partners Dale Minami, Minette Kwok, and B. Mark Fong and Senior Associate Olivia Serene Lee were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Dale and Mark were selected for the list in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. It is the fifth year in a row that they received this honor.

Minette was selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Minette’s fourth consecutive time on The Best Lawyers in America list.

Olivia was also selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It’s Olivia’s inaugural listing in The Best Lawyers in America.

Best Lawyers is a respected peer review publication in the legal profession. Recognition in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

The Best Lawyers lists of outstanding attorneys are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for an attorney are positive enough for recognition in Best Lawyers, that attorney must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition.

Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

75th Anniversary of E.O. 9066 in the Spotlight at Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference

75th Anniversary of E.O. 9066 in the Spotlight at Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference

Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Dale Minami joined Judge Marilyn Hall Patel (Northern District of California), Judge Mary Schroeder (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) and Karen Korematsu at the recent Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference to discuss Korematsu v. U.S. and the persisting relevance of the government’s malfeasance in the Japanese American incarceration during World War II.

The annual Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference is a prestigious invitation-only forum that includes judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. district courts and lawyers practicing in these courts. This past conference was held July 17-20 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown San Francisco.

The conference included a special program marking the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the presidential directives that led to the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans citizens during World War II.

The program focused on the extraordinary search for justice by Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui – who waited four decades to be exonerated of criminal convictions for violating government orders based on the dangers posed by Japanese Americans, claims that were later proven false.  Documents admitting their falsity by government lawyers were suppressed and other evidence discounting the danger of Japanese Americans were altered, destroyed or suppressed from Supreme Court review.   In addition to historical accounts, the discussion focused on the imperfect balancing of civil rights and national security during a period of national uncertainty.

“The court gave almost complete deference to the military, and they refused to look at any underlying facts in the justification for the incarceration,” said Minami. “The duty of the courts is to judge any decision by any person on constitutional law – nobody is above the constitution. Those issues are still relevant today, as we well know.”

Judges Patel and Schroeder who authored the decisions in the Korematsu and Hirabayashi cases, respectively, told poignant stories of how the cases affected them and became some of the most significant rulings in their long and respected careers.  Karen described the ostracism her father suffered from his own community for challenging the Military Orders and appealing to the Supreme Court for relief.

Read more about the program in this article on courthousenews.com:
https://www.courthousenews.com/trumps-policies-wwii-internment-linked-9th-circuit-conference/

Dale to Speak on Korematsu Case at Japan Society Event on Aug. 24

The Japan Society of Northern California has invited Dale to speak at its event on August 24, 2017, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Dentons law firm, Spear Tower, 1 Market Plaza, San Francisco.

Dale will share details of the Korematsu coram nobis team’s successful effort in 1983 to overturn the conviction of Fred Korematsu, whose defiance of the World War II Japanese American exclusion order led to Korematsu v. United States, one of the most controversial United States Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century.

The Korematsu cases remain highly relevant today as our nation wrestles with issues of race, ethnicity and immigration. Earlier this year a Ninth Circuit federal judge referred to the Korematsu case to raise questions about President Trump’s proposed ban on visitors from Muslim-majority countries.

For more information about the August 24 event, visit
http://www.usajapan.org/event/insights-on-the-fred-korematsu-case-with-dale-minami/

Congratulations to Our Firm’s 2017 Northern California Super Lawyers


SUPER LAWYERS 2017 (Photo by Gary Wagner) – BACK ROW (L-R): Seema Bhatt (Rising Stars); Donald K. Tamaki (10-plus years); La Verne A. Ramsay; Suhi Koizumi (Rising Stars); Sean Tamura-Sato (Rising Stars); Olivia Serene Lee (Rising Stars); Heather Osuna; B. Mark Fong (Super Lawyers); FRONT ROW: Jack W. Lee* (10-plus years); Lisa P. Mak (Rising Stars); Minette A. Kwok (10-plus years); Dale Minami (Top 10, Top 100, 10-plus years)

We’re proud to announce that all of Minami Tamaki LLP’s Partners and more than 70 percent of our Associates were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers for 2017. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Three of our Partners have been named Northern California Super Lawyers for the last 14 consecutive years. Dale Minami was named to the Top 10 and Top 100 lists.

Dale Minami – Personal Injury
Super Lawyer Top 10, 2017 (5 years)
Super Lawyer Top 100, 2017 (10 years)
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)

Minette A. Kwok – Immigration
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)
Super Lawyer, Past Top 50 Women, Northern California (3 years)

Jack W. Lee – Consumer and Employee Rights (*Retired)
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)
Super Lawyer, Past Top 100 (1 year)

Donald K. Tamaki – Corporate and Nonprofit Counseling
Super Lawyer, 2017 (10+ Years)

B. Mark Fong – Personal Injury
Super Lawyer, 2017 (8 Years)
Super Lawyer, Past Top 100 (2 Years)

Sean Tamura-Sato – Consumer and Employee Rights
Rising Stars, 2017 (5 years)

Suhi Koizumi – Immigration
Rising Stars, 2017 (8 years)

Olivia Serene Lee – Immigration
Rising Stars, 2017 (4 years)

Lisa P. Mak – Consumer and Employee Rights
Rising Stars, 2017 (3 years)

Seema Bhatt – Personal Injury
Rising Stars, 2017 (inaugural year)

Congratulations to all of you!

Lisa P. Mak Honored at Asian/Pacific Bar of Sacramento Foundation Event

On May 25, 2017, Associate Lisa P. Mak received a legislative resolution presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and the Asian Bar Association of Sacramento Law Foundation for her success in the Hagadorn v. Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department case.

In May 2016, a jury awarded our clients a collective total of over $3.5 million in economic and non-economic damages for their claims of employment retaliation.  Earlier this year, the County dropped its appeal of the successful verdict.

Presented by Assemblymember Phil Ting, the congratulatory resolution praised the case as “a stunning victory not only for the plaintiffs, but also for the four Asian American lawyers who had so ably and steadfastly represented them.”

The resolution also commended Minami Tamaki for its “successful legal representation in practice areas inclusive of civil rights and employment discrimination and its leadership role as a preeminent Asian American law firm in California.”

At the same event, Partner Dale Minami presented a keynote address titled “Empowering the Community and Educating the Public through Law.”

Dale spoke about his legal career working on cases with significant national impact, including: the reversal of the convictions of Fred Korematsu, Min Yasui, and Gordon Hirabayashi for challenging the internment order of Japanese Americans during World War II; the unfair denial of tenure to Professor Don Nakanishi at UCLA that highlighted discrimination in academia; and the first employment class action lawsuit in the country brought by Asian Pacific Americans, challenging employment practices at Blue Shield.

Dale emphasized the importance of using legal cases to empower our communities and educate the public, and the need to increase diversity in our leadership and judiciary.  Dale is a founding member of ABAS, the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, and the Asian Law Caucus.

 

Heather Osuna Joins Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Group

Heather Osuna Joins Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Group

We are pleased to announce that Heather Osuna has joined Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Group as an Associate. Prior to joining us, Heather represented individuals who were victims of personal injuries from asbestos exposure and the victims’ families. She served as second and third chair in complex asbestos trials with verdicts in the millions of dollars.

Heather received her law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2014. During law school she served on the board of the La Raza Student Organization and Student Bar Association. She was the recipient of a CALI Excellence for the Future Award and two Witkin Awards for Academic Excellence. She is currently a member of the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Asian American Bar Association and the American Association for Justice.

Welcome Heather!

Minami Tamaki Recovers $3.25 Million for Family of Man Killed by Muni Bus

Minami Tamaki Recovers $3.25 Million for Family of Man Killed by Muni Bus

Personal Injury Group Partner Mark Fong and Associate Seema Bhatt represented the wife and children of 78-year-old Cheng Jin Lai, who was killed by a Muni bus while riding his bicycle in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco.

The bus made him lose control of his bicycle, causing him to fall under the rear wheel of the bus and be killed instantly.

The police claimed Mr. Lai caused his own death by turning into the bus, citing an eyewitness. However, at deposition, the eyewitness testified the bus turned into Mr. Lai’s path and, in effect, “cut him off.”

Mark and Seema argued the bus driver violated Muni policies which required its drivers to maintain at least three feet of clearance from other vehicles, including cyclists. They also showed the bus was missing a mandatory wheel guard which prevents people from being run over by the buses’ rear wheels.

Survived by his wife and seven children, Mr. Lai had overcome great adversity during his lifetime.  To escape persecution during the Sino-Vietnamese war, he led his family on foot from Vietnam to China, pushing his youngest children in a wheelbarrow.

After retiring from his job as a factory manager in China, Mr. Lai emigrated with his wife to the United States in 1996 to live with their children.  Although he lived in low-income housing, he remained the patriarch of his family in the U.S. Tragically, his dream of reuniting his entire family in America was never realized, as the last of his children arrived in the states four months after he was killed.  A lifelong cyclist, Mr. Lai was in excellent health when he died.

The family’s wrongful case settled at mediation for $3.25 Million.  In honor of Mr. Lai, Minami Tamaki has donated $80,000 of its attorney’s fees to help build a new Community Center in the Ping Yuen Housing Project in San Francisco Chinatown.

Spotlight on Mark Fong’s Work with Chinatown Community Development Center

Spotlight on Mark Fong’s Work with Chinatown Community Development Center

 

Minami Tamaki Partner B. Mark Fong (right in photo) and other members of the firm attended Chinatown Community Development Center’s (CCDC) 39th Gala and Tribute to Rose Pak on October 7. More than 800 guests joined together to pay tribute to Rose, including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., and current Mayor Edwin Lee.

CCDC is a community development organization primarily serving Chinatown, North Beach and the Tenderloin. The organization plays many roles: neighborhood advocates, organizers and planners, and developers and managers of affordable housing.

Mark has served on the CCDC board of directors since 2013. He’s currently the chair of the board’s Governance Committee.

In late 2015, Mark worked with staff at CCDC to develop two Public Service Announcements which ran on Chinese television station KTSF to educate drivers and pedestrians on ways to avoid pedestrian accidents.

At least 800 pedestrians are hit by cars in San Francisco every year. In 2014 alone, 17 pedestrians died in the City. Seniors in particular face the greatest risk for being fatally injured when hit by cars. For many years, Minami Tamaki LLP has engaged in efforts to raise awareness of pedestrian safety, especially among seniors in areas such as San Francisco’s Chinatown and Japantown.

As a board member – and someone who grew up in Chinatown – Mark is proud that CCDC recently assumed responsibility from the San Francisco Housing Authority to own and manage the Ping Yuen housing projects, along with other public housing in the Chinatown cluster — a total of seven buildings with 576 units of deeply affordable housing for families and seniors in the heart of Chinatown.

Ping Yuen was built in 1955 and the buildings have never been substantially renovated until now. Under CCDC’s management, the Pings will be upgraded to meet seismic, structural, mechanical, electrical and safety standards, and each of the units will be renovated.

“This will require relocation of the tenants while work is being done, after which they will be invited to return,” said Mark. “This is a huge project which has required CCDC to increase the number of its staff to ensure the project runs smoothly and tenant relocation is handled with sensitivity.”

As a result of diminishing federal funds and declining investments in public housing, Mayor Lee selected Chinatown CDC and other nonprofit housing developers to participate in HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, which has brought in new resources to rehabilitate public housing such as the Pings.

Nonprofits such as CCDC depend on community members like Mark to help provide leadership and assistance.  Says Mark, “Even though I grew up in Chinatown, serving on the CCDC board has taught me a lot about this community, and has given me the opportunity to support an organization which has made a tremendous impact to improve the quality of life for people not just in Chinatown but the City as a whole.”