Blog : Personal Injury

Seven Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Named to 2023 ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ List

Seven Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Named to 2023 ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ List

The Best Lawyers in America recognized seven Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys in its 2023 edition. Partners B. Mark Fong, Olivia Serene Lee, Suhi Koizumi, Senior Counsel Dale Minami, and Senior Associate La Verne A. Ramsay made the Best Lawyers list. Associates Lisa P. Mak and Seema Bhatt were selected for Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch.

Lawyers on the Best Lawyers list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers based on professional expertise and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing. The Ones To Watch awards are recognitions given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

Olivia, Suhi, and La Verne were selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Olivia’s sixth, Suhi’s fourth, and La Verne’s second listing on The Best Lawyers in America rankings.

Dale and Mark were selected for the Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs list for the tenth year in a row. Seema made the Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch list for the third straight year. In addition to being recognized again in the Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs category, Seema was also listed in the Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs category.

Lisa P. Mak made the Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch list for the second time in the Litigation – Labor and Employment category. Lisa’s ranking represents the firm’s second listing in the employment law category.

These individual awards qualify Minami Tamaki LLP for consideration by the U.S. News/Best Lawyers Best Law Firms list, which is announced in November. The firm has been recognized eight times on the Best Law Firms rankings, which are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. 

Best Lawyers has published its list for more than three decades, striving to earn the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as a reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries.

Minami Tamaki LLP Welcomes Ember Oparowski to Personal Injury Practice

Minami Tamaki LLP Welcomes Ember Oparowski to Personal Injury Practice

Minami Tamaki LLP announces that Ember Oparowski has joined the firm as an Associate. She brings to the firm a decade of litigation experience involving complex matters with catastrophic injuries and multimillion-dollar claims.

She has worked for civil defense firms in the Bay Area representing general contractors, restaurants and bars, insurance companies, property owners, and product manufacturers. In addition to her experience at private law firms, Ember was a fellow and a law clerk at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office where she handled arraignments, motions, and served on trial teams.

Ember received her J.D. from Golden Gate University. She participated in the Honors Lawyering Program, made the Dean’s List, and completed the Certificate in Litigation with Distinction. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Politics.

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2022 Super Lawyers

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2022 Super Lawyers

We’re proud to announce that nine Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2022. Both Senior Counsels have been named Northern California Super Lawyers for the last 19 consecutive years.

PERSONAL INJURY
Dale Minami (Top 10, 2013-2018; Top 100, 2007-2022; Super Lawyers, 19 years)
B. Mark Fong (Super Lawyers, 13 years)
Seema Bhatt (Rising Stars)

IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW
Olivia Serene Lee (Super Lawyers, 2 years)
Suhi Koizumi (Super Lawyers, 4 years)
Dian Sohn (Rising Stars)

CONSUMER AND EMPLOYEE RIGHTS
Sean Tamura-Sato (Super Lawyers. 2 years)
Lisa P. Mak (Rising Stars)

CORPORATE/NONPROFIT
Donald K. Tamaki (Super Lawyers, 19 years)

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in California are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive Super Lawyer honors and no more than 2.5 percent are selected to receive the Rising Star recognition.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

PHOTO – Top Row (L-R): Sean Tamura-Sato*, B. Mark Fong*, Olivia Serene Lee*, Suhi Koizumi*; Middle Row (L-R): Lisa P. Mak**, Dale Minami*Top 100, Donald K.Tamaki*, La Verne A. Ramsay; Bottom Row: (L-R): Angela C. Mapa, Dian Sohn**, Seema Bhatt**, David Palmer. Not pictured: Ember Oparowski.*Chosen to 2022 Super Lawyers **Chosen to 2022 Rising Stars

Seema Bhatt Helps Car Crash Victim Win Arbitration Award More than Triple Original Offer

Seema Bhatt Helps Car Crash Victim Win Arbitration Award More than Triple Original Offer

Our personal injury attorneys at Minami Tamaki LLP do not hesitate to go to arbitration or trial when insurance companies don’t treat our clients fairly.

Our client, a 40-year-old journalist, suffered neck, back, shoulder, and arm injuries after another driver broadsided him. After four years of treatment with a chiropractor and other practitioners, he still suffered pain and residual injury.

Our client’s total economic damages for medical treatment and lost wages were $60,000. State Farm’s top settlement offer was $79,000, which did not adequately compensate our client for his pain and suffering. Because State Farm refused to pay fair value, Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Associate Seema Bhatt took his case to underinsured motorist arbitration.

One of the major disputes at the arbitration hearing was how our client’s complaints of neck and shoulder pain and stiffness could have lasted to the present. State Farm’s orthopedic expert testified that soft tissue injuries rarely become chronic, that much of our client’s discomfort was due to his preexisting neck and shoulder injuries, and that no further medical treatment was necessary due to the crash.

Our orthopedic expert cited studies showing soft tissue injuries can become chronic, and testified this was a high-speed collision involving two impacts, which caused our client to suffer two “whiplash-type” injuries. In addition, our client’s prior injuries were not serious or likely to be the cause of his current pain. Our expert also testified our client would have permanent residual injuries and would need further treatment for three years.

Based on our presentation, arbitrator Richard Phelps awarded our client $215,632 in damages, plus $32,000 in costs for exceeding our CCP section 998 offer to settle, for a total award of $247,632, which was more than triple State Farm’s settlement offer.

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. If you need assistance with a personal injury matter, contact Mark Fong or Seema Bhatt at 415-788-9000 or online at https://www.minamitamaki.com/contact.

Dale Minami: ‘This country is on the edge of a disaster’

Dale Minami: ‘This country is on the edge of a disaster’

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami appeared on a recent episode of Asian America: The Ken Fong Podcast, a program hosted by retired pastor Dr. Ken Fong. Dale recounted the background and details of some key moments in his life and his efforts as part of the legal team representing Fred Korematsu.

Dale also spoke with Dr. Fong about the precarious moment we’re in with anti-democratic forces “allied with white supremacists, and the [right-wing] Supreme Court, and the lack of protections for civil rights” … threatening “us as minorities as people of color on the streets every day.” “… Maybe I read too much, maybe I watch the news too much, but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t know that this country is on the edge of a disaster.” Listen to the episode here.


On May 21, Dale visited the Minnesota Historical Society, to give a presentation in conjunction with the ongoing traveling exhibition “Right a Wrong,” developed by the National Museum of American History and adapted for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Dale recounted how a fraud on the United States Supreme Court resulted in upholding of the conviction of Fred Korematsu and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II at a lecture titled “Echoes of History: The Japanese American Imprisonment Resounds Today.”


“No History, No Self: The Fight for Asian-American Studies at Hunter College” is a new documentary released on May 20 that includes an interview with Dale. For the past 15 years, students and faculty at CUNY’s Hunter College have protested for an institutionalized Asian American Studies Program. This documentary serves to remind CUNY of its imperative responsibility to pursue an Asian Studies Program to combat ongoing racialized violence. 

I think it’s important to “humanize people and show that their history is not that different than other minority groups, people of color,” says Dale in the film. “That would help at least mollify some of the criticisms about Asian Americas being the model minority, which is one of the worst constructs ever promoted to divide us with other minority groups, other people of color.”


In March, Dale was the featured speaker on a program hosted by the Asian American Federal Employees for Nondiscrimination (AAFEN), an advocacy group that seeks fair and equal treatment and inclusive representation of Asian Americans in the federal government. Dale’s talk was “Asian Americans and Loyalty: What Can We Learn from the Japanese American Incarceration Experience?”

AAFEN co-founder Aryani Ong hosted the program, with opening remarks by White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders Deputy Director Rebecca Lee.

Watch the program here.

Dec. 16 Virtual Event ‘A Stain on American Jurisprudence: What ‘Korematsu vs. United States’ Means for Us Today’

Dec. 16 Virtual Event ‘A Stain on American Jurisprudence: What ‘Korematsu vs. United States’ Means for Us Today’

The forcible relocation of U.S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of Presidential authority.” – Chief Justice John Roberts on Korematsu v. United States, 2018.

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami headlines a free virtual event on Thursday, December 16, 2021, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with Dr. Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Korematsu Institute, in a discussion facilitated by actor and independent filmmaker Lane Nishikawa.

REGISTER HERE

As an attorney on the legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu, Dale will share behind the scenes stories from the case and the implications and relevance of Korematsu in our world today.

See biographies for the panelists here.

This program is co-sponsored with the San Diego Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States. This panel is part of the program series: The Rebellious Miss Breed: San Diego Public Library & the Japanese American Incarceration. This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a partner of the NEH. Visit calhum.org.

Minami Tamaki Obtains $2.675 Million Settlement for Injured Pedestrians

Minami Tamaki Obtains $2.675 Million Settlement for Injured Pedestrians

Minami Tamaki Senior Associate Seema Bhatt obtained $2,675,000 in settlements for two of our clients who were injured while walking by a truck that failed to yield.

“May,” a 36-year-old woman was walking across a street when she was struck by a truck that failed to yield to her, injuring her and her aunt “June”. Initially, May complained mostly of pain on her head where she struck the pavement. However, in monitoring her symptoms over the next several months, we noted that she developed symptoms of post-concussive syndrome, including dizziness, slurred speech, and inability to focus.

We referred May for treatment and for further diagnosis with experts in traumatic brain injury. May also complained of soreness in her hip, which suggested a more serious injury than originally reported. We encouraged further workup of this condition, and her doctors found she had a tear in her hip cartilage.

May worked in a startup company in customer relations and quality assurance, but her symptoms made her job too difficult for her to handle and caused her to take a less stressful job. May underwent arthroscopic surgery on her hip, and may require another surgery in the future. However, her concussion symptoms continued to interfere with her job and her relations with her husband and children.

May’s doctors diagnosed her with mild traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of the collision. However, the experts hired by the driver’s attorneys claimed May was simply depressed, and that her emotional problems were due to causes other than the collision. We rebutted these defense claims with the testimony of a world-recognized expert on PTSD and, at mediation, Seema settled May’s claim for $2,250,000.

May’s aunt June, a 74-year-old woman, suffered fractures of her left ankle and right wrist, trauma to her left wrist, and injury to the soft tissues of her left thigh. Complicating June’s injuries was a preexisting cyst in her left wrist due to an autoimmune condition, dermatomyositis, which made the wrist especially susceptible to inflammation due to trauma.

As a result of her wrist being injured in the collision, this condition flared up to the point June required surgery to remove the cyst. This was followed by a procedure to drain the wound, and hand therapy to restore function of her left hand. At mediation, Seema obtained a settlement for June in the amount of $425,000, bringing the total settlement for our two clients to $2,675,000.

U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ Ranks Minami Tamaki LLP for 8th Year

U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ Ranks Minami Tamaki LLP for 8th Year

Minami Tamaki LLP’s Immigration and Nationality Law and Personal Injury practices are again ranked on the new 2022 U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list released today.

The firm’s immigration practice received a National Tier 2 ranking, the third year of being nationally ranked. The practice ranked Metro Tier 1 for the seventh consecutive year.

U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” recognized the firm’s Personal Injury practice as Metro Tier 1 for the eighth consecutive year.

The 2022 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list recognized Minami Tamaki LLP for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top five percent of private practicing lawyers in the United States. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

Earlier this year, The Best Lawyers in America recognized seven Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys in its 2022 edition. Partners B. Mark Fong, Olivia Serene Lee, Suhi Koizumi, Senior Counsel Dale Minami, and Senior Associate La Verne A. Ramsay made the Best Lawyers list. Associates Lisa P. Mak and Seema Bhatt were selected for Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch. These selections qualified the firm to be considered for the Best Law Firms list.

The Immigration and Nationality Law Practice Group of Minami Tamaki LLP offers expertise in a broad array of immigration services, routinely assisting employers and employees in obtaining temporary and permanent employment-based visas. The firm’s immigration attorneys also help individual clients to secure family-based immigration status through marriage or other qualifying family relationships. The practice group includes Partner Suhi Koizumi, Partner Olivia Serene Lee, Senior Associate La Verne A. Ramsay, Senior Associate Angela C. Mapa, and Associates Dian Sohn and David Palmer.

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. A team approach brings all the resources of the practice group to cases. This has allowed the firm to recover multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts for their clients. Senior Counsel Dale Minami founded the firm’s personal injury practice, which is led by Partner B. Mark Fong and includes Associate Seema Bhatt.

Seven Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2022 ‘Best Lawyers’ List

Seven Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2022 ‘Best Lawyers’ List

The Best Lawyers in America recognized seven Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys in its 2022 edition. Partners B. Mark Fong, Olivia Serene Lee, Suhi Koizumi, Senior Counsel Dale Minami, and Senior Associate La Verne A. Ramsay made the Best Lawyers list. Associates Lisa P. Mak and Seema Bhatt were selected for Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch.

Lawyers on the Best Lawyers list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers based on professional expertise and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing. The Ones To Watch awards are recognitions given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

Olivia, Suhi, and La Verne were selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Olivia’s fifth, Suhi’s third, and La Verne’s first listing on The Best Lawyers in America rankings.

Dale and Mark were selected for the Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs list for the ninth year in a row. Seema made the Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch list for the second straight year. In addition to being recognized again in the Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs category, Seema was also listed for the first time in the Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs category.

Lisa P. Mak made the Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch list for the first time in the Litigation – Labor and Employment category. Lisa’s ranking represents the firm’s first listing in the employment law category.

These individual awards qualify Minami Tamaki LLP for consideration by the U.S. News/Best Lawyers Best Law Firms list, which is announced in November. The firm has been recognized seven times on the Best Law Firms rankings, which are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Best Lawyers has published its list for more than three decades, striving to earn the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as a reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries.