Doyon v. Lewis – El Dorado County

James Miller headshotIn this case, Jim represented two brothers who owned a home in Garden Valley. The older of the two brothers, Jerry had recently suffered a stroke and was recovering at home. To aid in his recovery, the younger brother, Robert, hired several caregivers, including plaintiff, to assist Jerry in general chores such as cooking, cleaning and running errands. Following the stroke, Jerry suffered from an unsteady gait and reduced motor control. Continue reading

Olsieski v. Setzer

Brian Powers headshotOn March 30, Brian Powers finished a two and a half week trial in Sacramento Superior Court. The plaintiffs, two brothers who live together, asserted that Brian’s clients raised the elevation of their back yard by two feet thus allowing them to look over the common fence and invade the plaintiffs’ privacy. The plaintiffs also claimed that Brian’s clients had created a drainage problem by which water ran into the plaintiffs’ back yard. The plaintiffs had a surveyor and home inspector testify for them. In his closing argument Brian told the jury that the plaintiffs are the “neighbors from hell,” who had made ridiculous assertions they did not prove. The jury saw it that way and returned a unanimous verdict for the defendants after taking only 30 minutes to elect a foreperson and work through the extensive special verdict form.

Uninsured Motorist Arbitrations

Brian Powers headshotBrian Powers recently was successful in two binding uninsured motorist arbitrations. In both, the claimants were represented by the same law firm. This first case involved three claimants who asserted significant injuries and their attorney requested awards of more than $100,000 for each. All were initially treated in the emergency room at UC Davis Medical Center. One of the claimants had surgeries of his right shoulder and right knee, but causation was disputed. The arbitrator favored this claimant and awarded $63,588; the offer was $17,500 so this was disappointing. Another of the claimants had steroid injections in his left shoulder and lumbar spine and a right knee arthroscopy. The arbitrator awarded $50,000; the offer was $50,000. The third claimant’s treatment included a left knee arthroscopy performed by Philip Orisek, M.D, for a medial meniscus tear and multiple diagnostic studies for other alleged injuries. The offer was $70,000 and the arbitrator awarded $81,038.

In the second arbitration, the claimant alleged numerous injuries and Philip Orisek, M.D., stated in a report and testified at deposition that the claimant would benefit from C6-7 anterior cervical discectomy and disc replacement as well as a 2-level lumbar fusion. The injuries and need for treatment/surgery were disputed and we asserted that all of the medical providers significantly overcharged the claimant. The demand was the $75,000 residual policy limit, the offer was $10,000, and the arbitrator’s award was $19,784.

Reuter v. Maxwell – Dismissal with Award of Costs – El Dorado Superior Court

Gordon Bowley headshotOn December 11, 2011, the El Dorado Superior Court entered judgment against plaintiff in this matter lead by Gordon Bowley. The case, filed on May 28, 2010, alleged injuries by Calvin Reuter as a result of a bicycle collision with Mr. Bowley’s client, Ms. Maxwell, in South Lake Tahoe on September 11, 2009. At the time, Ms. Maxwell was leaving the Raley’s shopping center parking lot on South Lake Tahoe Boulevard. Ms. Maxwell stopped just prior to the sidewalk, after determining it was clear, she then entered traffic slowly waiting for traffic to clear. Soon thereafter, Reuter alleges he was riding his bike against traffic, when he came in contact with the front of the Maxwell vehicle. The contact was quite minor and Reuter left the scene seemingly without injury. Reuter then filed his lawsuit alleging negligence and intentional tort requesting damages based on his medical treatment, loss of income and also punitive damages. Continue reading

Powers Miller Successful in “Softball vs Face” Case

John Sciacca headshotPowers & Miller attorneys, Jim Miller and John Sciacca, recently won a summary judgment ruling for the defense in a “softball to the face” case. This interesting case arose out of a co-ed slow-pitch softball game. Defendant was a batter at the time of the incident. Plaintiff pitched a ball to the defendant. Defendant swung at the pitch, hit the ball and the ball traveled back to the mound where it hit plaintiff in the face. Continue reading

Underinsured Motorist Arbitration – Fibromyalgia Claimed

James Miller headshotIn this matter the claimant had preexisting fibromyalgia. She was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in an exacerbation of the fibromyalgia complaint and severe foot pain. The claimant ultimately had surgery on her foot three years after the accident. The doctor who performed the surgery, a renowned orthopedic surgeon from the San Francisco area, testified that the claimant would need additional treatment. He also testified that based on the information given to him by the claimant’s attorney about the claimant’s history he would relate the need for surgery to the subject accident. Continue reading

Recent Jury Verdicts for Powers Miller Clients

Powers Miller attorney Rich Gillespie successfully argued a case to a jury in Yuba County in March 2011. The case involved a rear end accident in which the plaintiff claimed serious permanent and ongoing injury to his arm and shoulder. In the admitted liability case, the plaintiff sought general damages of $50,000.00, however, the jury awarded only $4,000.00. The award was less than the amount offered pre-trial to plaintiff and defendant is now entitled to his costs, which exceed the judgment, at a post trial hearing.

Lickter v. Lickter – Third District Court of Appeal Published Decision

James Miller headshotIn this action, Jim represented the granddaughters and the former daughter-in-law of a decedent. The plaintiffs were the decedents grandsons. The plaintiffs were also half brothers and step sons of Jim’s clients.

The plaintiffs contended that Jim’s clients and their father/ex-husband conspired with each other to hasten the death of the grandmother in order to get access her substantial estate. Jim and the co-defendants’ attorneys argued that the plaintiffs did not have standing to pursue such a claim because the proper plaintiff would be the estate of the decedent or its personal representative. Those individuals included the defendants.

Jim and co-defendants’ attorneys bought a motion for summary judgment which was granted. The plaintiffs appealed the granting of the motion. The Third District Court of Appeal sustained the granting of the motion for summary judgment in a published decision. The plaintiffs’ attorney petitioned the Supreme Court for review of the Third District Court of Appeal’s decision and that petition was denied. The appellate court published its decision and the entire decision can be read at Lickter v. Lickter (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 972.