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Your Best Protection Against Careless Drivers? Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

Your Best Protection Against Careless Drivers? Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

We were recently asked to represent a man with serious injuries he suffered in a car accident. He suffered a broken arm, two broken legs, a skull fracture and multiple broken ribs. Our client was hit while driving through an intersection with the green light by another car which ran the red light. In other words, our client was doing everything right as a law-abiding citizen when he was hurt.

Unfortunately, it turned out the other driver had only the minimum liability limits required by law: $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. This was hardly enough to cover the two days our client spent in the intensive care unit at the hospital. To add insult to injury, our client carried auto insurance himself with UM/UIM (Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage) limits of only the same amount as the driver: $15,000 and $30,000.

This means the total amount of compensation available to settle our client’s claim is $15,000—a pittance for his serious injuries—though this accident happened through no fault of his.


Actually, it is quite simple: if the client had simply bought UM/UIM insurance in a reasonable amount ($300,000 or higher), he would be able to make a claim against his own insurance company for the injuries caused by the negligent driver. UM/UIM coverage takes the place of insurance which the at-fault driver should have had to cover him for the accident. It is fairly inexpensive and any claim you make will not raise your premiums if the accident is not your fault.

Unfortunately, the persons who are careless drivers are often the same ones who either carry either no auto insurance or insurance with minimal limits which are completely inadequate to compensate the persons they injure. UM/UIM insurance is your best protection against careless drivers and we strongly recommend all of our friends and family carry liability as well as UM/UIM insurance with limits of at least $300,000. UM/UIM insurance also covers pedestrians who are hit by automobiles, which is something not everyone is aware of.

We are not trying to sell you insurance here! But we do believe that insurance serves a valuable service in situations as we’ve described.

The attorneys in Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Practice Group fight for the rights of people who are injured or have suffered the loss of loved ones due to the carelessness of others. We use a team approach which brings all of the resources of our practice group to bear on our cases. This has allowed us to recover multi-million dollar settlements and large verdicts for our clients. We handle all types of personal injury cases throughout the Bay Area, California and other states.


MT Attorneys Selected for ‘Best Lawyers in America’ Guide

MT Attorneys Selected for ‘Best Lawyers in America’ Guide

Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Dale Minami, Senior Counsel B. Mark Fong, and Senior Associate Seth I. Rosenberg have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 20th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America ( in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become a definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey of almost 50,000 leading attorneys on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. Lawyers who are recognized are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

Minette Kwok Quoted in Post

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Minette Kwok, our Immigration Practice Group partner, was recently quoted in a post on, a blog of the American Immigration Council.

Despite the fact that immigrant-founded venture-backed companies create enormous value in the U.S.,  no immigrant entrepreneur visa exists. The current E-2 investor visa is often unavailable to entrepreneurs because it can only be used by companies owned by nationals of countries that have treaties with the U.S. There is no such treaty with many countries, like India, that produce the largest percentage of foreign entrepreneurs. Minette Kwok , an immigration attorney and partner at Minami Tamaki LLP, told Immigration Impact that in addition “most start-ups seek venture capital funding from U.S. investors, so that an E-2 company ends up disqualifying itself because it becomes majority U.S. owned”. The E-2 is also a temporary visa valid for only 2 years at a time, and does not lead to permanent residence (a “green card”).

Read the rest of the post.

Minette serves on the national Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council, and organization that leads and develops wide reaching and forward thinking national policy on behalf of immigrants through its litigation, education and advocacy.


Jack Lee on ABA Panel: ‘Navigating the Path to the Federal Bench’

jleePartner Jack W. Lee will join two federal judges and other experts on a panel providing insight into the process of becoming a federal judge.

“The Experts Speak: Navigating the Path to the Federal Bench,” a panel presented by the ABA Judicial Division Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary, takes place on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Golden Gate University School of Law, 536 Mission Street, San Francisco, in Room 2202. A reception will follow the panel.

The panel will provide information to attorneys on how to assess one’s candidacy for the federal bench, and what to expect in the screening, nomination, and confirmation stages of the process.

Jack, who serves as Chair of the Judicial Advisory Committee for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, will be joined on the panel by: Hon. Edward Chen, U. S. District Judge, Northern District of California; Hon. Phyllis Hamilton, U.S. District Judge, Northern District of California; Fredericka McGee, General Counsel to the Speaker of the California State Assembly; and moderator Hon. John Tunheim, Immediate Past Chair, National Conference of Federal Trial Judges.

The panel takes place on the eve of American Bar Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting in San Francisco from Augugust 8-13.

Contact Shawn Sanford at the American Bar Association at 312-988-5124 or at

Associate Olivia Lee Joins Executive Board of AILA NorCal Chapter

Olivia Serene Lee, Minami Tamaki LLPImmigration Practice Group Associate Olivia Lee was recently elected to the Executive Board of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Northern California Chapter. AILA is the national bar for immigration attorneys, and AILA NorCal is one of its leading chapters, with over 700 members. Olivia has been actively involved in AILA NorCal for over four years, leading and organizing more than 30 Continuing Legal Education programs in all aspects of immigration law, including prosecutorial discretion, export control, PERM, waivers, asylum, and events with immigration judges, USCIS, CBP, and asylum officers. As an elected officer of the board, Olivia will help lead the AILA NorCal Chapter in all its activities over the next five years.

Eunice Yang on Panel at the Legally Asian Conference


In February 2013, Associate Eunice Yang spoke on a panel at the Legally Asian 2013 Conference hosted by the Asian American Bar Association, Korean American Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, and the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California at Golden Gate University School of Law.

The goal of the Conference was to encourage high school and college students to pursue law degrees and for law students to explore different options in the legal field. Panelists included judges, professors, politicians, and attorneys in the private and public sectors, as well as in alternative career paths.

Eunice spoke on the private sector/law firm panel along with Orrick partner Neal Chatterjee and Sedgwick associate David Mesa on a panel moderated by Kimberly Chin, of Low, Ball & Lynch. The panelists discussed their experiences in the legal profession as people of color and as women attorneys. Eunice shared her experience as a junior associate and female in the field of litigation and candidly shared her experiences both in and out of court.

The conference was attended by over 100 students and over 30 volunteers who are committed to promoting diversity in the legal field. Minami Tamaki LLP is dedicated to encouraging students from all walks of life to pursue an education in law and to empower a new generation of young lawyers.

Sean Tamura-Sato on NELA Panel: ‘Maximizing Compensatory Damage Awards In Federal Sector Cases’

Tamura-SatoCERG Associate Sean Tamura-Sato spoke on a June 28 panel at this year’s National Employment Lawyers Association annual convention in Denver, Colorado.

Sean, along with Adria S. Zeldin and moderator Gary M. Gilbert, focused on how practitioners can maximize compensatory damages awards in federal sector EEO complaints through the careful selection of evidence and witnesses.

When reviewing decisions from the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations on compensatory damages awards, it often becomes clear which awards were heightened due to the skillful presentation of evidence in support of awards by competent counsel.

The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) advances employee rights and serves lawyers who advocate for equality and justice in the American workplace. NELA is the country’s largest professional organization that is exclusively comprised of lawyers who represent individual employees in cases involving employment discrimination and other employment-related matters.

Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Group Helps 23-Year-Old Woman Obtain $4.3 Million After Being Nearly Killed by Semi-Truck

Attorneys in Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Group obtained a $4,325,000 award in Alameda Superior Court for a client who was run over by a semi-truck, crushing her pelvis and causing several other major injuries.

Senior Associate Seth I. Rosenberg led the case with help from Partner Dale Minami, Senior Counsel B. Mark Fong, and Associate Eunice W. Yang.

In November 2008, Jane Doe (name withheld to protect the client’s confidentiality), a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, riding her bicycle on Webster Street in downtown Oakland and stopped at a red light at the intersection of Webster Street and 19th Street. She was in the far-right lane and directly to the right of the cab of a tractor-trailer.

When the light turned green, the tractor-trailer attempted to make a right-hand turn and ran over Jane, first knocking her over, then running over her with the front tires of his truck, nearly killing her.

In addition to having her pelvis crushed, Jane also sustained severe nerve damage to her left foot and leg; lung, pulmonary and bladder contusions; an ACL tear; a fractured tailbone; among other injuries. She will suffer chronic pain because of her injuries.

After being run over the truck, Jane was put into a medically-induced coma and placed on a ventilator for days. She was in a hospital for another month, during which she obtained an infection that required weeks of IV antibiotics. Jane required a total of four surgeries to address the pelvic fractures. She will need future surgeries for her chronic lower back pain.

Over time, it was determined that the pelvic injury caused nerve disruption resulting in total and permanent left “foot drop.” Jane needs and will continue to need an ankle brace in order to walk.

Jane’s attorneys at Minami Tamaki sued the truck driver for negligent driving and his employer, the owner of the semi-truck, for negligent hiring and training.

Defense attorneys for the truck driver and the driver’s employer maintained that the driver was not negligent because he had his right-turn blinker on and was constantly checking his mirrors before and during the turn. The defense claimed that Jane was also negligent by riding her bicycle in a crosswalk.

Seth and the team’s attorneys refuted the truck driver’s claims. A visibility study by experts showed that if the truck driver looked in any of his mirrors or windows before or during the turn he would have seen Jane and avoided the accident. More than six witnesses were deposed and none of them could conclusively state they saw a right-turn blinker working on the truck before entering the intersection.

Minami Tamaki attorneys also obtained a key admission from an Oakland police officer that the accident took place outside the crosswalk, so Jane could not have been riding her bicycle in the crosswalk at any point.

Jane’s legal team also established numerous inconsistencies in the truck driver’s testimony, which established that the truck driver was most likely looking at two women crossing in front of him instead of checking his right-side mirrors and windows before making the turn.

Minami Tamaki attorneys were able to obtain a $4,325,000 award for Jane, which will cover her past and future medical costs, which includes ambulation equipment, lifetime prescription medication to address pain management, psychological care and treatment, ongoing medical care, and at least one lumbar fusion surgery.

Record Number of Firm Attorneys Honored as Super Lawyers for 2013

Record Number of Firm Attorneys Honored as Super Lawyers for 2013

Minami Tamaki LLP is proud to announce that all of our Partners, both of our Senior Counsel, and six Associates have been selected as Northern California Super Lawyers for 2013.

This is the 10th straight year that our Partners received this distinction and a record 13 attorneys from our firm to receive this recognition.

Our firm is one of the very few, and possibly the only one, in which every Partner and Senior Counsel received this distinction. Only five percent of the lawyers in California are named by Super Lawyers.

Partners Dale Minami (Personal Injury), Donald K. Tamaki (Business/Nonprofit), Brad Yamauchi (Consumer and Employment), Minette A. Kwok (Immigration), Jack W. Lee (Consumer and Employment); Senior Counsel B. Mark Fong (Personal Injury) and Derek G. Howard (Consumer and Employment); Senior Associate Seth I. Rosenberg (Personal Injury) and Associate Eunice W. Yang (Personal Injury) received Super Lawyer honors.

Dale is also on the 2013 Top 10 Northern California Super Lawyer list.

Senior Associates Kevin R. Allen (Consumer and Employment) and Suhi Koizumi (Immigration); and Associates Sean Tamura-Sato (Consumer and Employment), and Phillip M. Zackler (Business/Nonprofit) received Rising Star Super Lawyer honors.

Each attorney was selected based on voting conducted by ballots sent to more than 56,000 lawyers in the region, an extensive process involving peer nomination and a blue ribbon panel comprised of lawyers from appropriate practice areas who scrutinized the list of nominees.

The firm and its attorneys have been previously recognized on the Top 100 and Top 10 Northern California Super Lawyers lists, named one of “California’s Top Ranked Law Firms” by Martindale-Hubbell®, and was the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s inaugural Asian Pacific American Law Firm of the Year.

Northern California Super Lawyers is published annually in August in a special advertising section in San Francisco Magazine.

Photo by Dwayne Newton Photography