Brenda K. (fictitious name), a 76-year-old married artist, fell down a dark staircase at night at a retreat center in rural Marin County where she was attending a weekend conference. There were no witnesses to the fall and she was found by other guests who heard her cries for help after she landed close to the bottom of the staircase.
Although there were serious issues with proving negligence and causation, our discovery showed that lighting on the stairs was less than the minimum required by the building code and one of the handrails of the stairs did not extend to the bottom of the staircase, which was also a code violation and would have contributed to her falling while descending the stairs in the dark.
Brenda was airlifted by helicopter ambulance to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek where she was hospitalized from February 21 to April 13, 2009. She was diagnosed as a C6 quadriplegic and underwent fixation of fractures at the C4/C5 level in her neck; laminectomy surgeries of the C3 through C7 levels; and implantation of surgical rods and hardware from C4 to C6. She was transferred to California Pacific Medical Center where she stayed from April 13 to June 5, 2009.
Brenda’s medical expenses, which were paid by Medicare, were approximately $490,000. The retreat center had an insurance policy of $3 million. Senior Counsel Mark Fong, Partner Dale Minami and co-counsel Steve Cavalli settled her claim for damages and her husband’s claim for loss of companionship and services for $2.9 million.
Partner Dale Minami on March 29 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus of Alameda County at their 7th Annual Membership Dinner in Oakland Chinatown.
The Caucus also honored Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer-prizewinning reporter who revealed in mid-2011 that he was an undocumented immigrant, sparking a national discussion about immigration and the impact of immigration policies on Asian Americans.
The Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus of Alameda County was officially chartered in March 2005. It is the first ever chartered club focusing on Asian Pacific Americans in Alameda County, formed to ensure equal participation in and support from the Democratic Party of Alameda County.
Dale has been recognized as one of the top personal injury attorneys in the Bay Area and leads Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury practice. He also represents clients in the entertainment industry.
More than 700 attendees packed the Wheeler Auditorium at the University of California, Berkeley, for the first Fred Korematsu Day celebration on Jan. 30, 2011 — Korematu’s birthday. He would have been 92 years old.
Minami Tamaki LLP partners Dale Minami and Don Tamaki were members of the legal team that helped overturn Korematsu’s wrongful conviction for defying the military orders that ultimately led to the evacuation and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, including Korematsu and his family.Highlights of the event included a keynote by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and remarks by Korematsu’s daughter, Karen,, spoken word artist Beau Sia, California Assemblymember Warren Furutani and a video greeting from Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. CBS 5 anchor Sydnie Kohara emceed the program.
The first Korematsu Day celebration marked a milestone in the ongoing effort to educate the public about the dangers of rolling back civil liberties in the name of national security.
In September 2010, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 1775 into law, establishing January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day, the first time in United States history a day has been named after an Asian American.
The Korematsu Institute, launched last year by the Asian Law Caucus in partnership with the Korematsu family, plans to roll out curriculum in K-12 schools that week and on all future Korematsu Days.
Membership to the organization is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts, awards and settlements. Fewer than one percent of U.S. lawyers are members.
Forum membership acknowledges excellence in advocacy, and provides members with a national network of experienced colleagues for professional referral and information exchange in major cases. Members must have acted as principal counsel in at least one case in which their client has received a verdict, award or settlement in the amount of one million dollars or more.
Jane D (fictitious name), a 75-year-old mother of five children and grandmother of 10, was returning home from her morning walk when she was struck by a commercial vehicle in 2009 on a busy San Francisco intersection. She suffered serious injuries that crushed her pelvis and eventually required amputation of her left leg.
Jane had walked three to five steps into the crosswalk when the driver, John R. (also fictitious name), struck her while making a right turn in his company-owned vehicle. Because the driver claimed he never saw her, Jane was dragged for six feet after she was hit, leaving a trail of bloody tissue on the street.
When the truck finally came to a halt, Jane had suffered de-gloving injuries to both legs, multiple foot, leg and pelvic fractures, and extensive abdominal injuries. She was transported to San Francisco General Hospital in critical condition.
Jane sued the truck driver, John R., for motor vehicle negligence, and John’s employer for negligent hiring, training and supervision of their driver.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in September signed into law Assembly Bill 1775, establishing January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day, the first time in United States history a day has been named after an Asian American.
The first Fred Korematsu Day will be celebrated January 30, 2011, on Fred Korematsu’s birthday. The Korematsu Institute, launched last year by the Asian Law Caucus in partnership with the Korematsu family, plans to roll out curriculum in K-12 schools that week and on all future Korematsu Days.
The bill, authored by Assemblymembers Warren T. Furutani and Marty Block, honors Korematsu, a man who became a civil rights icon for defying the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
More than 30 members of the UC Berkeley Law School’s Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) and the Asian American Law Journal gathered at Minami Tamaki LLP on October 27 for a fun and inspirational evening.
The law students had the opportunity to meet and mingle with Partners Don Tamaki, Dale Minami, Jack Lee, and Associates Eunice Yang and Sean Tamura-Sato. Over food and wine, the Minami Tamaki attorneys provided words of advice and encouragement, drawing upon their varied experiences and career paths.
The San Mateo Bar Association Diversity Committee honored Partner Dale Minami and California Supreme Court Associate Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar at its annual event on Sept. 20 at the Old Historic Courthouse in Redwood City, Calif.
The Bar Association’s Diversity Committee works with local public schools, colleges, and law schools to encourage a diverse base of students to become attorneys who will ultimately practice in San Mateo County.
Minami provided insight into his career devoted to civil rights issues, including the overturning of Fred Korematsu’s criminal conviction for defying the internment of American citizens in Korematsu v. United States. In his remarks, Minami shared how, early in his career, there were few Asian American judges or even attorneys, and related anecdotes from his personal experience regarding inappropriate conduct by judges and attorneys.
Minami shared his experiences through his career of successfully advocating for the appointment of judges who more accurately reflect the communities in which they sit.
“He was both captivating and motivating,” wrote W. George Wailes, president of the San Mateo Bar Association, in the Bar’s newsletter.
Partner Dale Minami recently settled a case for client M. Jay (not the person’s real name), a 60-year-old, self-employed dentist who suffered injuries when his car was hit by an oncoming car in Sept. 2008 in Oakland.
Dr. Jay’s injuries were so severe that he was forced to take months off from his private practice, and in the process, losing many of his patients who had to find other dentists. The $510,000 settlement that Minami was able to obtain for Dr. Jay will help cover past and future loss of income and medical costs. The amount was the maximum recovery under Dr. Jay’s insurance policy with the California State Automobile Association (CSAA).
The collision occurred when a car driven by Ms. Karl entered the same intersection as Dr. Jay going in the opposite direction, and Ms. Karl suddenly made a left turn into the intersection, colliding with Dr. Jay’s car, totalling the vehicle. Ms. Karl had only $25,000 of coverage, which was recovered before the remaining $475,000 was paid by Dr. Jay’s own insurance company. IN addition, Minami obtained a waiver from CSAA of $10,000 in medical expenses which they could have claimed as an offset to the $500,000.
Ms. Karl claimed that she did not see Dr. Jay’s vehicle or any oncoming traffic. An independent witness verified Dr. Jay’s version of the collision, as did the investigating officer, who found Ms. Karl at fault.