1 Premises Liability Ropers lawyers have defended thousands of premises liability cases since the founding of the firm in Our premises liability experience includes representation of national retail and restaurant corporations, shopping centers and individual property owners. We have handled actions involving all types of liability claims, including claims of excessive force by security guards, failure to provide adequate security, wrongful employment practices, harassment, discrimination, trip/slip and fall accidents, pharmaceutical malpractice and related product liability matters. In recent years, California courts have seen a growing number of assault and excessive force cases against security guards. We have successfully defended our corporate clients by demonstrating the lack of agency or control over the conduct of the guards involved. Where there has been a direct employment relationship with the guard and the shopping center or retailer, we have used expert testimony to establish compliance with industry standards in hiring, training, conduct and retention of security personnel. We have also been successful in using expert testimony on a variety of other issues including accident reconstruction, medical product liability, coefficient of friction and human factors. Premises liability litigation often involves related claims for product liability when an on-site accident involves a product display or demonstration. We have effectively tendered the defense of lawsuits to manufacturers or pursued cross-complaints to immunize the shopping center or retailer from both defense and indemnity costs. Representative Experience Attorneys: James C. Hyde, Julian Pardo de Zela Key Issues: Personal Injury; Subcontractor; C.C.P ; C.C.P Venue: San Francisco County Superior Court Client Type: Defendant Subcontractor Description: Defended a subcontractor in a personal injury action whereby the plaintiff alleged catastrophic injury arising from the negligent maintenance and repair of a public intersection. Result: Successfully obtained a dismissal for the subcontractor due to the plaintiff s failure to timely serve the
2 summons and complaint within three years of filing of original complaint. Attorneys: John A. Koeppel Key Issues: Premises Liability; Wrongful Eviction Venue: San Francisco County Superior Court Client Type: Defendant Landlord Description: Defended a landlord in a premises liability action involving an alleged wrongful eviction that was tried in a jury trial. The plaintiff claimed wrongful eviction based on a conspiracy involving family member owners. Result: This case settled favorably after three plus weeks of trial. Attorneys: John A. Koeppel Key Issues: Catastrophic Injury Client Type: Defendant Manufacturer Description: Defended a manufacturer in a suit in which the plaintiff was a business invitee who claimed total disability resulting from back, shoulder and arm injuries when he was struck by a falling pallet of empty 50 gallon drums. The plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages based on earlier incidents under similar circumstances. Surveillance footage of the plaintiff indicated that his injuries were considerably less serious than alleged. Result: The case settled favorably after two plus weeks of evidence were presented to a jury. Attorneys: James C. Hyde, Julian Pardo de Zela Key Issues: Personal Injury; Privette; General Contractor's Affirmative Conduct Client Type: Defendant Google Inc. Description: Defended Google Inc. in a personal injury action whereby plaintiff alleged injury arising from the negligent maintenance and repair of an elevator on the owner's premises. Result: Successfully obtained summary judgment on plaintiff's first cause of action for premises liability (negligence), and second cause of action for negligence (under heightened duty of care owed by a common carrier). The trial court found that under the Privette case, Google had not affirmatively contributed to plaintiff's injury, thereby disposing of the first cause of action. The trial court further concluded Google was not operating as a common carrier because the premises was not open to the general public and Google was not receiving a reward for its use. Attorneys: Dennis J. Ward Key Issues: Improper Management
3 Client Type: Defendant Health Organization Description: The plaintiffs, parents of a 28 year old male, sued a federated organization made up of local and national organizations in voluntary association claiming that improper management of its premises resulted in the drowning of their son. Their son drowned in a Jacuzzi/spa, which had deficient warnings. Result: The case was tried for 14 days, resulting in a defense verdict. Attorneys: Todd A. Roberts Key Issues: Sexual Harassment Venue: San Francisco County Superior Court; Hawaii Circuit Court Client Type: Worldwide Hotel Chain Description: Represented an international hotel chain in connection with allegations by their client relating to alleged inappropriate touching during spa treatment. Result: Successfully compelled dismissal of action in the San Francisco County Superior Court and awarded costs of suit. Attorneys: Scott W. Bermack Key Issues: pedestrian, parking lot, inadequate lighting, accident, brain injury Venue: NYS Supreme Court, Rockland County Client Type: Shopping Center Owner/Retailer Description: Won a defense verdict on behalf of a Rockland County (NY) shopping center owner blamed for a pedestrian knockdown accident in the parking lot. The pedestrian, who allegedly suffered from a traumatic brain injury in addition to numerous orthopedic injuries, claimed inadequate lighting and traffic control was to blame. After establishing to the satisfaction of the jury that the accident was entirely the fault of the pedestrian, a defense verdict was returned in favor of our client and the driver of the vehicle. Result: Defense verdict following two weeks trial. Attorneys: Gregory M. Gentile Key Issues: Products Liability; Automatic Doors;Retail Venue: Alameda County Superior Court Client Type: Defendant/Client Door Manufacturer Description: PlaintIff claimed to be struck by an automatic door at a Safeway store in Pleasanton, California. I represented Besam/Assa Abloy, a door manufacturing company that maintained and inspected the doors. Result: Favorable settlement at mediation on behalf of both Besam and Safeway, one moth prior to trial. Attorneys: Devin C. Courteau, Kathleen Strickland, Justin A. Zucker Key Issues: Mobile Home Park; Mobilehome Residency Law; Habitability; Translation Act; Eviction Venue: County of Los Angeles Superior Court
4 Client Type: Defendant Mobilehome Park Owner Description: Represented owner of a mobilehome park in action filed by approximately 240 residents claiming dozens of violations of the Mobilehome Residency Law, and asserting claims for nuisance, breach of the warranty of habitability, and violation of the Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code 17200, et seq.), amongst other causes of action. Result: This matter was settled to the satisfaction of our client. Attorneys: Tim M. Agajanian, Pascale Gagnon Key Issues: Fire, premises, electric surge, rent control Venue: Alameda County Superior Court Client Type: Property Owner Description: This case arose of a fire destroying an entire apartment building in Berkeley, California. The tenants filed a multi-plaintiffs case wherein they claimed damages, including but not limited to loss property, loss of rent control benefits, emotional distress. The fire s origin was the control panel of the property elevator, due to a deficient design and/or manufacturing of the control box and a faulty surge in the power provided to the building. It was alleged that the property was not properly maintained and/or up-to-code, thereby leading to its destruction. Result: A settlement was reached by our client (owner of the property) wherein the claims of the residential tenant plaintiffs were fully resolved, leaving the cross-complaint by the commercial tenant as against the designer/manufacturer of the elevator control box, the elevator maintenance company and California Edison. Attorneys: Tim M. Agajanian, Pascale Gagnon, Alan J. Hart, Jeff W. Poole Key Issues: Brain Injury, Earning Capacity, Post Concussion Syndrome, PTSD Venue: Los Angeles County, Central District Client Type: Plaster and Paint Contractor Description: Plaintiff was injured when a plank of our client scaffolding inexplicably dislodged and fell on her head while she waited for her car after exiting from the restaurant where she had had dinner. The scaffolding had been erected to the establishment located next door to that where Plaintiff had been and had been left up at the end of the day upon the request of a representative of the owner of the restaurants, i.e., that where work was being performed and that where Plaintiff had been. Plaintiff claimed that she suffered a traumatic brain injury with ongoing and permanent symptoms preventing her to return to her premorbid occupation -- she was a licensed attorney, albeit unemployed since passing the bar, who was studying for her real estate license and planning the opening of a juice bar. She claimed in excess of $5 million in economic damages, including loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, past and future medical specials. Result: Settled for $650,00 three days before trial. Attorneys: Julian Pardo de Zela Key Issues: Premises Liability; Respondeat Superior; Vehicular Negligence
5 Description: Defended a ranch owner from a multi-million dollar wrongful death action arising from an alleged employee s collision with a motorcyclist during the purported scope of the worker s employment. Result: Successfully obtained summary judgment for the ranch owner. The court concluded that the worker, even if deemed an employee of the ranch owner, was not operating his vehicle within the scope of his employment, thereby precluding liability under a respondeat superior theory.
HON. CHARLOTTE WALTER WOOLARD Judge, San Francisco Superior Court (Ret.) Mediator Arbitrator Private Judge Discovery Referee 100 First Street, 27 th Floor San Francisco, California 94105 Tel. (415) 772-0900
Bradford G. Hughes Partner firstname.lastname@example.org 11766 Wilshire Boulevard Sixth Floor Los Angeles, CA 90025-6538 Tel: 310.689.7040 Fax: 310.473.2525 EDUCATION University of San Diego School of Law, J.D.,
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