Blog : Personal Injury

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.

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2021 Super Lawyers

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2021 Super Lawyers

We’re proud to announce that nine Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2021. Both Senior Counsels have been named Northern California Super Lawyers for the last 18 consecutive years.

PERSONAL INJURY 
Dale Minami (Top 10, 2013-2018; Top 100, 2007-2021; Super Lawyers, 18 years) 
B. Mark Fong (Super Lawyers, 12 years) 
Seema Bhatt (Rising Stars) 

IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW 
Olivia Serene Lee (Super Lawyers) 
Suhi Koizumi (Super Lawyers, 3 years)
Dian Sohn (Rising Stars) 

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

CORPORATE/NONPROFIT 
Donald K. Tamaki (Super Lawyers, 18 years) 

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is independent, and attorneys cannot purchase placements on the list.

PHOTO – TOP ROW (L-R): Donald K. Tamaki; Dale Minami Top 100; B. Mark Fong; Olivia Serene Lee; MIDDLE ROW (L-R): Lisa P. Mak; Seema Bhatt; Suhi Koizumi; Sean Tamura-Sato; La Verne A. Ramsay; BOTTOM ROW (L-R): Dian Sohn**; Angela C. Mapa; Claire Y. Choo; Judy Hinh Wong – *Chosen to 2021 Super Lawyers **Chosen to 2021 Rising Stars

Dale Minami Receives Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award from APAICS

Dale Minami Receives Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award from APAICS

The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) honored Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami with the Inaugural Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award during its Virtual APAICS 27th Anniversary Awards Gala Dinner on May 13, 2021. 

The Award was renamed this year to reflect the outstanding contributions made by Norman Y. Mineta over a lifetime of public service.  “Receiving an award named after one of my heroes is a singular honor,” said Dale.

The APAICS’ Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a prominent Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) individual in the community. APAICS honored Dale with the award to recognize his service in devoting a lifetime to breaking down stereotypes and advocating for the AAPI community.

“You have continuously fought for the protection of the rights of people who have historically been discriminated against,” wrote APAICS President and CEO Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke to Dale. “We hope to celebrate the work that you have done and continue to do.”

Founded by former Secretary Norman Y. Mineta in 1994, APAICS is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office.

Watch Dale’s acceptance remarks below.

Audio Play ‘For Us All’ by Jeanne Sakata Features Portrayals of Dale Minami, Don Tamaki

Audio Play ‘For Us All’ by Jeanne Sakata Features Portrayals of Dale Minami, Don Tamaki

L.A. Theatre Works has released a new audio play by Jeanne Sakata titled “For Us All” based on the true story of the Korematsu v. United States coram nobis effort led by a team of young—mostly Asian American—attorneys that included Dale Minami and Donald K. Tamaki.

Purchase the audio play for $20.00 from L.A. Theatre Works. Purchase includes a virtual interview with playwright Jeanne Sakata in conversation with members of the Korematsu legal team: Lori Bannai, Peter Irons, Dale, and Don. Please note that the delivery of the audio file after your purchase may take up to 72 hours.

Directed by Anna Lyse Erikson
Producing Director: Susan Albert Loewenberg
Edward Asner as John J. McCloy
Brooke Ishibashi as Karen Korematsu, Clerk
Tess Lina as Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, Times Analyst, Clerk
Mike McShane as Lt. General John L. DeWitt, CBS News Anchor, ABC News Anchor, NBC Reporter
Derek Mio as Dale Minami
Joy Osmanski as Lorraine (Lori) Bannai, Maya
Jeanne Sakata as Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga
André Sogliuzzo as Edward Ennis, Victor Stone, NY Times Reporter
Josh Stamberg as Peter Irons
Greg Watanabe as Fred Korematsu, Eric Yamamoto
Paul Yen as Don Tamaki
Producer: Anna Lyse Erikson
Recording Engineer and Sound Designer: Neil Wogensen
Senior Radio Producer: Ronn Lipkin
Foley Artist: Jeff Gardner

Learn more in a great blog post by Lia Chang.

Synopsis: A team of lawyers use a little known legal writ to fight to overturn the conviction of Fred Korematsu, unjustly sentenced for resisting the WWII mass incarceration of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast. While the government uses every tactic to make the case go away, the lawyers and their defendant insist on nothing short of justice.

The play draws much inspiration from Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and his Quest for Justice by Lorraine K. Bannai (University of Washington Press 2015) and Justice Delayed by Peter Irons (Wesleyan University Press 1989).

This L.A. Theatre Works recording is one of two sponsored by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, a state-funded grant project of the California State Library.

Minami Tamaki LLP Announces Retirement of Partner Minette Kwok and Transition of Donald Tamaki to Senior Counsel

Minami Tamaki LLP Announces Retirement of Partner Minette Kwok and Transition of Donald Tamaki to Senior Counsel

Minami Tamaki LLP today announced that Partner Minette A. Kwok will retire from the firm and that Managing Partner Donald K. Tamaki will transition into a Senior Counsel position, both effective on January 1, 2021.

Minette has led Minami Tamaki LLP’s immigration law practice for more than two decades, growing it into an award-winning and successful practice nationally recognized and ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

“Minette developed a solid team of stellar, hardworking professionals and nurtured a firm culture promoting collegiality, collaboration, and mutual respect,” said Don Tamaki who worked with Minette since she joined the firm in 1990 as the first woman Partner. “She built an immigration law practice with superb clients, including numerous technology leaders, and dedicated countless hours to the nation’s immigration bar and to community organizations. Minette is an inspiration to all attorneys.” 

Minette’s achievements during her 30-year career include recognized leadership in AILA, numerous awards and recognition for legal excellence, and years of service on nonprofit boards and pro bono work.

Read More

Dale Minami, Don Tamaki Featured in New HBO Documentary ‘The Soul of America’

Dale Minami, Don Tamaki Featured in New HBO Documentary ‘The Soul of America’

“The Soul of America,” a new HBO documentary includes brief interviews with Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Donald Tamaki and Senior Counsel Dale Minami. The film examines our current fraught political reality by exploring historical challenges of the past.

The women’s suffrage movement, the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, McCarthyism, and the struggle to pass Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s were all instances in which “our better angels” battled against the forces of hatred and division that are recurring themes in American life.

Focusing on pivotal moments in our history that reflect America’s longstanding struggles with racism, sexism and xenophobia, the film demonstrates how we continue to confront animosity in American politics, economic anxiety, isolationist and nativist tendencies and conspiracy theories. Helping us to better understand the parallels between current events and their historical antecedents, “The Soul of America” ultimately gives hope that the lessons of the past may bring the nation closer to achieving its democratic ideals.

Don and Dale help lead the Stop Repeating History campaign, which has spent the past four years educating the public on the dangers of unchecked presidential power.

“The Soul of America” debuted on HBO and HBO Max this week and is available on demand. The documentary follows writer, journalist, historian and prolific presidential biographer Jon Meacham as he offers his timely and invaluable insights into the United States’ current political and historical moment by examining its past.

Based on Meacham’s 2018 bestseller, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels and produced by Kunhardt Films (Emmy® winner for HBO’s “True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality”), the film also chronicles Meacham’s life and career as a journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian as he shares his insights into America’s past and present.

Part political documentary, part biography, the film interweaves archival material and interviews with Meacham along with insights from journalists, academics and civil rights activists.

In addition to brief remarks from Don and Dale, the film features insights from actor and activist George Takei; historian and author Lisa Tetrault; entrepreneur and nonprofit leader Keith Smythe Meacham; journalist and author Evan Thomas; civil rights activist Janice Wesley Kelsey; U.S. Representative and civil rights activist John Lewis, who passed away on July 17, 2020; and others.

Watch “The Soul of America” on HBO or on the HBO Max streaming service.

Man Suffers New Brain Injury In Rear-End Collision: $1.5 Million Settlement

Man Suffers New Brain Injury In Rear-End Collision: $1.5 Million Settlement

Minami Tamaki LLP represented a 50-year-old IT worker whose car was rear-ended by a Dr. Pepper salesman who was on his way home after making his last delivery for the day. After answering paramedics’ questions at the scene, our client suddenly fell unconscious and required mechanical assistance to breathe. He recovered after a brief hospitalization, but was left with cognitive deficits, including memory problems, loss of focus and attention, and disordered thinking. 

He had suffered a brain injury seven years before the crash, and imaging studies were unable to identify any new brain injury from this crash. We argued that he had indeed suffered a traumatic brain injury from the crash, based on his symptoms of short-term memory loss, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression, and inability to work.. 

Our first hurdle was to prove that Dr. Pepper’s auto insurance policy should cover its salesman for the crash. Although the crash occurred while he was off the clock, we proved that our client’s situation fell within an exception to the general rule that an employer is not liable for accidents during its employees’ commute to and from work. We showed that he had to travel for work and was reimbursed for mileage during his commute. Dr. Pepper’s insurance company was forced to compensate our client for his injuries. 

Our second hurdle was to overcome the argument that our client’s cognitive deficits were due to his prior brain injury, which admittedly had left him with residual cognitive problems. To counter this, we deposed our client’s former employers, friends, and family to show he was functioning well after his prior brain injury but had deteriorated significantly after the subject crash. We also hired experts in the fields of neurology, psychiatry, neuropsychology, and vocational rehabilitation,who stated our client would be unable to continue working as a result of his cognitive limitations. Although our client returned to work after the crash, we argued Dr. Pepper should pay for his potential future loss of earnings. 

Shortly after mediation, Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt settled the case for $1.5 million for the client and his wife, who sued for loss of his companionship.

Autistic Man Dies from Improper Restraint During Field Trip: $2.625 Million Settlement

Autistic Man Dies from Improper Restraint During Field Trip: $2.625 Million Settlement

Our clients’ son, a 26-year-old autistic man, was on a field trip to a museum while in the care of his adult day program. He suffered a physical and emotional outburst during the trip, which resulted in him being held face down on the floor by museum staff, who were untrained in methods of proper restraint. 

The young man died at the scene of positional asphyxia, which is suffocation caused by the way a person is restrained. Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt took numerous depositions establishing that the day program’s chaperones violated nearly all of the program’s policies and procedures and allowed the young man to die. 

Despite the museum’s claim that its employees did nothing wrong, we established that their untrained employees were required to intervene because the museum had inadequate onsite security. To give a true picture of the life of the young man and the loving bond he shared with his parents, we culled through hundreds of home videos and photos from the day of his birth until a few weeks before his death and created a movie about his life, which we showed to the mediator and defendants. This video also showed that the outburst he displayed at the time of his death was only a very small part of who the young man was. 

At mediation, Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt obtained a settlement of $2.625 million on behalf of the young man’s parents (the adult day program’s policy limits were capped at $2 million).

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2020 Super Lawyers

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2020 Super Lawyers

TOP ROW (L-R): Donald K. Tamaki*; Minette A. Kwok*; Dale Minami* Top 100; B. Mark Fong*; Olivia Serene Lee**; MIDDLE ROW (L-R): Lisa P. Mak**; Seema Bhatt**; Suhi Koizumi*; Sean Tamura-Sato**; La Verne A. Ramsay; BOTTOM ROW (L-R): Dian Sohn; Angela C. Mapa; Claire Y. Choo; Judy Hinh Wong; Leyla Mostafavi – *Chosen to 2020 Super Lawyers **Chosen to 2020 Rising Stars 

We’re proud to announce that nine of Minami Tamaki LLP’s attorneys were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2020. Two of our Partners and our Senior Counsel have been named Northern California Super Lawyers for the last 17 consecutive years.

PERSONAL INJURY 
Dale Minami (Top 10, 2013-2018; Top 100, 2007-2020; Super Lawyers, 17 years) 
B. Mark Fong (Super Lawyers, 11 years) 
Seema Bhatt (Rising Stars, 4 years) 

IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW 
Minette A. Kwok (Top 50 Women Northern California, 2014-2016; Super Lawyers, 17 years) 
Olivia Serene Lee (Rising Stars, 7 years) 
Suhi Koizumi (Super Lawyers, 2 years; Rising Star, 8 years) 

CONSUMER AND EMPLOYEE RIGHTS 
Sean Tamura-Sato (Rising Stars, 8 years) 
Lisa P. Mak (Rising Stars, 6 years) 

CORPORATE/NONPROFIT 
Donald K. Tamaki (Super Lawyers, 17 years) 

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is independent, and attorneys cannot purchase placements on the list.