Representative Cases: Please note that every legal matter is different. The outcome of each legal case depends upon many factors, including the facts of the case, and no attorney can guarantee a positive result in any particular case. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
Defective Propane Tank: $2,280,000 Recovery
While attending a barbecue at a friend’s home in Santa Clara, California, our client suffered burns over 35% of her body when an overfilled propane tank stored under a barbecue grill exploded and spewed a stream of fire. The defendants blamed each other for the explosion, but we showed responsibility for this tragic accident rested with all of them – the valve maker, the propane supplier, the manufacturer of the grill, and the gas station which provided the propane. The case was settled prior to trial by Dale Minami for a total of $2,280,000. Our client is now living a very productive and happy life despite her misfortune.
Burn from Surgical Instrument: $575,000 Recovery
We represented a 43-year-old nurse who underwent an elective gynecological procedure at a hospital in Santa Rosa, California to stop excessive peri-menstrual bleeding. During the procedure, the insulation failed in the hysteroscope (electrocautery device) used in the procedure, which caused our client to suffer third degree vaginal burns and psychological trauma. Her case settled before trial for $575,000. Mark Fong represented our client.
Bicycle Fork Snaps While Riding: $450,000 Settlement
We represented a 60-year-old cyclist who was riding his bicycle through a parking lot in Palm Desert, California, when the bicycle’s carbon fiber front fork suddenly snapped, causing him to pitch forward headfirst and strike his face on the pavement. Our client suffered fractures of his eye socket, a brain bleed, and mild traumatic brain injury, from which he went on to make a good recovery. We filed suit for product liability against the bicycle manufacturer and the store which sold him the bike, alleging the fork was defectively designed and manufactured. We argued the fork was designed with insufficient layers of carbon fiber, which made the spot where the fork snapped dangerously weak. We also argued the fork was defectively manufactured, in that it had voids and delamination (separation) of the layers of carbon fiber which were intended to give the fork its strength. We showed the defendants knew of the dangers of delamination, as they warned of this risk in the bicycle’s owner’s manual and instructed owners to inspect their bicycles for signs of delamination. Mark Fong, Seema Bhatt, and Dale Minami prosecuted this case, which settled for $450,000.
Defective Manlift Causes Painter to Fall: $425,000 Settlement
Our client was a 31-year-old self-employed artist who hand-painted murals and signs for a living. He was hired by the defendant Bay Area business to paint their business sign and logo on the side of their building. The defendant supplied our client with a scissor lift to paint the sign. As he stood on it, the scissor lift tipped over and fell, causing our client to fall 11 feet to the ground and suffer a pelvic fracture, torn meniscus in his knee, herniated vertebral discs, and anxiety and depression. The defendant argued our client was at fault for placing the scissor lift on an uneven surface, despite written warnings posted on the device not to do this. We hired a scissor lift expert who determined that the safety alarm on the lift had been disconnected, which meant our client was given no warning that the lift had been placed on an uneven surface and was unsafe to use. The defendant also argued our client’s knee injury was not caused by the incident and disputed his loss of earnings claim. Seema Bhatt obtained a $425,000 settlement at mediation for our client.
Bicyclist Killed by MUNI Bus: $3.25 Million Settlement
We represented the family of a 78-year-old man killed by a MUNI bus while he was riding his bicycle in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. The bus passed our client’s husband and father, then crossed over into his lane in order to pull into a bus stop. The bus either struck the cyclist or caused him to lose control of his bicycle, and fall under the rear tire of the bus, killing him instantly. The police report stated the cyclist caused his own death by turning into the bus, citing the statement of an eyewitness. However, at deposition, this eyewitness stated the bus came into the man’s lane—in effect “cutting him off.” Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt proved the bus driver violated MUNI’s policy which required its drivers to maintain at least three feet of clearance from other vehicles, including cyclists. We also showed the bus was missing its “S-1 Gard,” a wheel guard designed to keep persons who fall under buses from being run over by the wheels. At mediation we obtained $3.25 million on behalf of the wife and adult children of the decedent.
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 science center in the East Bay 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 which established 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 forced 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 movie also showed the outburst he displayed at the time of his death was only a very small part of the person he 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).
Woman Suffers Pelvic Injuries from SF MUNI Bus Collision: $1.25 Million Settlement
We represented 84-year-old Hanna, who was struck by a left-turning MUNI bus as she walked across a street in San Francisco. Although she did not require surgery, Hanna suffered pelvic and hip fractures which required treatment with physical and occupational therapy. Before the collision Hanna lived independently, but her injuries required her to move in with her daughter, as her home had too many stairs for her to navigate safely. The City and County of San Francisco admitted its driver was negligent, but argued Hanna was also at fault for failing to look before crossing the street. Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt settled Hanna’s case for $1.25 million.
Violation of Civil Rights – Police Failed to Follow Jail Procedures: $900,000 Recovery
Our clients were the 12-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son of a 31-year-old alcoholic man who died in custody while in Defendants’ jail in San Joaquin County. The man had been pulled over by the California Highway Patrol for driving drunk, and found to have loaded guns in the trunk of his car. (He explained that he had been target shooting in the desert.) He was improperly placed in the Administrative Segregation Unit of the county jail for 40 hours, during which time he exhibited increasingly severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. The guards, inmates, and his visitors all noted his symptoms, but the guards never called a doctor or nurse to examine him. Finally he suffered a blackout, fell, struck his head on the jail toilet, and died of a brain hemorrhage. We showed the defendants violated their own policies and procedures for handling persons jailed for DUI by placing the decedent in Administrative Segregation—rather than simply putting him in the “drunk tank” where he belonged—and failing to monitor his life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Mark Fong represented the Plaintiffs and obtained a recovery of $900,000 at mediation.
Elderly Jogger Suffers Fatal Injuries on Middle School Track: $545,000 Settlement
We represented the family of a 79-year-old man who died as a result of injuries he suffered while jogging on the track of a middle school in San Leandro, California. The decedent was jogging on the track for exercise after school hours while 30 members of a nearby high school’s track team were conducting practice on the track. One of the students ran into the decedent from behind, causing him to strike his head and ultimately die of a head injury. Liability was hotly contested by the school district, which initially refused to pay anything. Seema Bhatt and Mark Fong prosecuted a lawsuit against San Leandro School District for its negligence in failing to monitor its students and allowing track practice to be conducted at the same time members of the public used the track. The district blamed the decedent for the incident, claiming he assumed the risk he might be harmed, and was negligent for failing to avoid the members of the track team while they ran on the track. Through the use of experts in the areas of track and field, safety, and human factors, and by taking the testimony of the coaches and students involved in the incident, Seema Bhatt and Mark Fong obtained a settlement of $545,000 for the decedent’s family shortly before trial.
DJ’s Stage Dive Causes Fan to Suffer Stroke: $4.5 Million Trial Verdict
Our client Jennifer, a 24-year-old college student, was standing near the front of the stage at a concert being given by world-famous Electronic Dance Music artist Skrillex, when Skrillex unexpectedly decided to do a stage dive on top of her, causing her to suffer a blow to her head and neck. Sixteen days after the show, Jennifer suffered a stroke which left her with permanent weakness on half her body. The Defendants claimed Skrillex did nothing wrong, and that stage diving was a normal part of EDM concerts which Jennifer should have anticipated. They claimed Jennifer assumed the risk she might be harmed, and that the stage dive was not what caused her stroke. After a five-week trial, a Los Angeles jury reached a $4.5 million verdict against Skrillex, his management company, and the venue where the concert was held. The jury also found Jennifer 15% at fault for attending the show. The verdict was more than 5½ times the defendants’ pretrial settlement offer. Mark Fong, Seema Bhatt, and Seth Rosenberg tried the case. This is the first known successful verdict for personal injuries suffered by an audience member as a result of a performer’s stage dive.
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 science center in the East Bay 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 the person is restrained. Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt took numerous depositions which established 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 forced 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 the defendants. This movie also showed the outburst he displayed at the time of his death was only a very small part of who he 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).
Negligence – Man Suffers Brain Damage Due To Lack of AED at Gym: $1.8 Million Recovery
A 56-year-old chemist was exercising at a gym when he suffered a heart attack while using the gym equipment. Another member saw him slumped over and yelled for help. The employees of the gym were not trained well in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and no Automated Electronic Defibrillator (AED) was available. Our client was unconscious for over six minutes before paramedics arrived and suffered permanent brain damage due to lack of oxygen. The defendant gym argued, correctly, that it was not required to have AEDs at its facilities at the time of the incident. However, we showed having an AED would likely have corrected the electrical dysfunction to his heart which prevented oxygen from reaching his brain. Dale Minami obtained $1.8 million in settlement for the victim.
Underground Drilling Through Power Lines: $1.15 Million Recovery
An excavation subcontractor was hired to do trenching work for underground fiber-optic lines in Santa Clara, California. The contractor did not follow proper procedures to locate and mark the underground electric lines near where they were digging their trench, and drilled through power lines owned by our client, an electrical company. This caused thousands of residents and businesses to lose power. Mark Fong obtained $1.15 million in settlement for the electrical company.