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.
Jackknifed Truck Kills Pedestrian – $4.5 Million Recovery
Our clients were the 38-year-old wife and two minor children of a man who was killed on a Sacramento freeway when his car crashed and he was forced to walk the freeway shoulder looking for help. A big rig truck traveling in the same direction lost control, jackknifed in the rain and struck and killed the man. Defendants initially claimed the truck simply fishtailed out of control on the slick roadway but we proved that the brakes malfunctioned, causing the jackknife. After extensive litigation, the case settled for $4.5 million as a structured settlement. Dale Minami represented the family of the deceased.
Minister Killed by Drunk Driver – $3.9 Million Recovery
Our clients’ father, a retired 61-year-old Methodist minister, was hit head-on by a drunk driver who swerved over the median into his lane. The victim died of his injuries 16 days later. Our clients, the minister’s daughters, filed claims against the driver and his employer for negligence and punitive damages. Dale Minami and Mark Fong alleged the driver was acting in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident, which made the employer vicariously liable for his negligent and reckless conduct. The clients’ claims settled for a total of $3.9 million. After the settlement, Mark Fong was able to convince the decedent’s health insurer to waive its lien for reimbursement for his medical bills totaling $613,000, which allowed the daughters to net that much more from their settlement.
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 3 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.
Pedal Misapplication Causes Death of Pedestrian: $1.75 Million Settlement
Our clients’ wife and mother, an 84-year-old community activist, was walking across the street in San Francisco’s Chinatown intending to put groceries in the trunk of her car, when she was struck and killed by the defendant’s car. The defendant, age 76, had stepped on her gas pedal instead of her brake, causing her car to speed out of control and strike the decedent, three parked cars, and a light pole. Defendant claimed she suffered a stroke that caused her to mistake the gas for the brake, and this “sudden medical emergency” excused her from fault for the crash. She claimed bleeding on her brain seen on MRIs after the crash showed she had a degenerative brain condition that caused her stroke. By contrast, we argued the impact of the crash caused Defendant’s brain bleed, and the bleeding was the result—not the cause—of the crash. As the defendant placed her medical condition at issue in order to assert the “sudden medical emergency” defense, we deposed all of the doctors who treated her after the crash. They agreed that Defendant’s brain bleeds were caused by trauma from the crash, and therefore did not play a role in causing the crash. We also hired a world-renowned trauma neuroradiologist, who testified that Defendant’s brain bleeds were caused by the trauma of the crash. The case was settled at mediation for $1,750,500 shortly before trial, by Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt. Dale Minami also assisted.
Motor Vehicle Collision – $1.5 Million Recovery Against Japanese National
Our clients were the parents of two young adults who were killed in a collision when the car in which they were riding made a left turn and was struck by an SUV traveling in the opposite direction. The SUV’s driver, who was from Japan, claimed she was traveling 35 miles per hour, but our download of the SUV’s “black box” showed she was traveling 65 miles per hour—20 miles per hour over the speed limit. The driver of the victims’ car was an unlicensed driver whose father lived in Japan. We alleged the father was negligent in entrusting a car to his inexperienced daughter who had once failed her driver’s license test. This case presented jurisdictional as well as logistical challenges, as the father lived in Japan. Nevertheless, after conducting a check of the defendants’ assets, we were able to recover the $500,000 policy limits from all available insurance, plus an additional $1,000,000 personal contribution from the unlicensed driver and her father, based on the theory of negligent entrustment. Dale Minami was the attorney for the parents.