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Jeffrey Wayne Rickard
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Jeffrey Rickard’s Legal Cases

19 total


  • Jane Doe vs. Doe Corporation

    Practice Area:
    Personal Injury
    Date:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Outcome:
    $6,625,000.00
    Description:
    Plaintiff was at a public recreation location during evening hours. Plaintiff and others present noticed what they thought were fireworks and then a small fire on a grassy sloped area near the recreation site. Plaintiff rushed into the dark area to extinguish the burning grass to prevent it from spreading. Plaintiff was unaware that the cause of the fire was certain industrial equipment. As Plaintiff ran into the dark Plaintiff came into contact with a power source for the equipment and suffered catastrophic injuries. Comparative negligence was a huge issue. Witnesses testified that they told Plaintiff not to go into the darkened area but that Plaintiff ignored them. What emerged in discovery, however, was evidence that the equipment was not properly maintained and had a long history of related issues. Jeff Rickard and a colleague engaged in a team approach to preparing the case for jury trial. This included retention of electrical, environmental and human factors experts, completing 12-15 fact witness depositions and extensive written discovery. The case was mediated in the face of a summary judgment motion filed by Defendant. With the assistance of a JAMS Judge the case settled at the end of an all-day mediation before the motion for summary judgment was heard.
  • Hilson v. Tran, Santa Clara County Superior Court

    Practice Area:
    Personal Injury
    Outcome:
    $10,100,000.00
    Description:
    On November 14, 2007, Rasheed Hilson, 12, ran down a driveway from the Morrill Middle School grounds on Cropley Avenue in San Jose. He was intent on catching a city bus on the opposite side of the street. As is typical of 12 year-olds, and with cars approaching from his left and his right, Rasheed darted into the street without looking and was hit by a car that was traveling at 35 mph. Rasheed’s injuries included traumatic brain damage, hemiplegia (partial paralysis), vision loss and multiple fractures. Some of the injuries are permanent and will require lifetime care. The San Jose Police Department investigated the accident and concluded that the driver was not at fault because the applicable speed limit was 35 MPH since the crash occurred at 4:30 pm and the school had closed at 2:30 pm. The driver, insured by Amica Mutual Insurance, had just $50,000 in coverage for the crash but because Rasheed was blamed for causing the accident, Amica refused to offer the money to settle the claim. The case went to trial. Rasheed, through his attorneys, argued that the applicable speed limit was 25 MPH and that had the driver been driving at that speed or slower the accident was avoidable. What was learned during the discovery phase of the trial preparation was that the police department failed to inquire why six witnesses to the event were 11 and 12 year-olds. Had they asked the police would have learned that an interschool basketball game was underway in the school's gym and, according to the testimony of the school principal, Morrill Middle School was in full operation at 4:30 pm. The Judge, at trial, ruled that the applicable speed limit was, in fact, 25 MPH. After 15 days of trial a verdict was award in favor of Rasheed. Judgment was entered for more than $10,100,000. Following this phenomenal result Jeff Rickard and a former colleague were both named Santa Clara County Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2008 and were both finalists for the 2008 Street Fighter of the Year Award given out annually by the Consumer Attorneys of California.
  • McNabb v. IBM, et al, Santa Clara County Superior Court

    Practice Area:
    Personal Injury
    Outcome:
    $15,500,000.00
    Description:
    Plaintiff was a 37 year old apprentice technician employed by Fluor Corporation which was contracted by IBM to service its high voltage electrical equipment at a San Jose facility. While in a jobsite meeting that included an IBM engineer and Plaintiff’s Fluor supervisor, Plaintiff was directed to go to a building and scavenge a replacement part from a power station that was "locked off" and marked "out of service” which Plaintiff understood to mean that the entire power station was de-energized. It was not. While the power was off “downstream” from a closed switch, the “upstream” leads to the switch were “hot.” When Plaintiff touched his wrench to a bolt at the switch in the “de-energized” power station 12,400 volts instantaneously exploded through Plaintiff causing catastrophic burns to more than 60% of his body. Plaintiff’s first attorneys advised that a workers compensation claim was the only remedy. Jeff Rickard and a former colleague developed a discovery plan that established that the responsible parties did not include Plaintiff’s employer, that Plaintiff was not adequately trained for the task he was ordered by a non-employer supervisor to do and that Plaintiff was placed at risk because of sub-standard guidance and direction by his superiors.
  • Liu v. Doe Driver

    Practice Area:
    Motorcycle Accident
    Outcome:
    $4,500,000.00
    Description:
    In 2006, George Liu, a 24-year-old San Jose State senior, was operating a Kawasaki ZX6 racing motorcycle in the fast lane on Calvert Drive in San Jose. A few car lengths ahead and out of George’s view, a Honda CRX in the slow lane made an abrupt and illegal u-turn across the fast lane forcing a van ahead of George's motorcycle to slam on its brakes to avoid a collision. The van stopped in time and never hit the CRX but when George quickly applied his brakes his motorcycle pitched upward onto its front wheel causing George to be tossed over the handlebars into the van and then onto the pavement. George instantly became an L-1 paraplegic. Before suit was filed a policy limits settlement demand was sent to the insurance company for the Honda driver. That company refused to settle for the available policy limits ($30,000) and, instead, argued that George should have been paying better attention. Very thorough pre-trial discovery included numerous depositions in CA and the Defendant driver’s deposition in NV, extensive written discovery and several expert depositions and, significantly, an powerful and moving “Day in the Life” DVD presentation that would convey to a jury a bit of what George’s life was life as a paraplegic. The case settled for $4,500,000 on the third day of the jury trial and just hours after the Trial Judge ruled that the jury would be allowed to watch the “Day in the Life” DVD the next day in trial. The terms of the settlement include provisions prohibiting identification of the defense insurance company and the attorney it retained to try the case. Jeff Rickard tried the case with a former colleague.
  • Doe Married Couple v. Doe Governmental Entity, Santa Clara County Superior Court

    Practice Area:
    Personal Injury
    Outcome:
    $5,200,000.00
    Description:
    Settlement secured for Plaintiffs, a married couple, who suffered, collectively, a severe head injury with facial fractures and the loss of an eye, and severe orthopedic fractures in a head-on collision at the “Cats intersection” on Highway 17 just south of Los Gatos, California. When a southbound Jeep Cherokee slowed to a near-stop in the fast lane to make an illegal u-turn a Housing Authority police officer driving 15 mph hour over the speed limit while using a cell phone rear-ended the Jeep and punched it forward. Because the Jeep’s front tires were already turned to the left the punch shoved it across two lanes of northbound traffic and directly into the path of Plaintiffs’ car. There was no way for Plaintiffs to avoid a horrific collision. Very thorough trial preparation included written discovery, numerous depositions of fact and expert witnesses and, importantly, focus group presentations by Jeff Rickard and a former colleague. The focus groups were presented with the basic facts of the case and, when it was argued that the Jeep was "cocked" but it was the Housing Authority police car that actually "pulled the trigger," the Housing Authority was found 90% at fault. What was learned from the focus groups was used in pre-trial settlement negotiations with the Defendants and resulted in a settlement that Plaintiffs approved.
  • Jane Doe v. Organization

    Practice Area:
    Personal Injury
    Outcome:
    Confidential
    Description:
    Plaintiff, Jane Doe, was seriously injured at a Boy Scouts Jamboree when an incorrectly connected zip line harness failed and she plunged 23’ to the ground. The zip line had been erected for the public to ride. Volunteers were used to help riders put on harnesses and then to launch them from the zip line tower once the trolley tether was properly connected to either a chest or back load-bearing loop on the harness. However, volunteers were used who had received no training in how to properly connect a zip line rider’s harness to the trolley tether. The harnesses were equipped with two load-bearing loops and a small utility loop that was not designed to carry body weight. The volunteer who hooked up Ms.Doe negligently connected the carabineer to the utility loop. When Ms. Doe launched the loop tore open and she plunged to the ground below. The volunteer testified that nobody told him how to connect a rider to the harness. The entire accident sequence happened to be photographed by a spectator who knew Jane Doe. The photographs became powerful exhibits. Jeff Rickard and a colleague developed and implemented a very comprehensive discovery strategy that included extensive written discovery and numerous fact and expert depositions on the issues of scouting policies, safety training of volunteers, assumption of risk, cognitive function, psychiatric issues, traumatic brain injury proof, life care needs and economic loss. A settlement was reached shortly before trial.
  • Pettit vs. Doe Tire Company, Doe Ford Dealership, Clark County District Court, Las Vegas, NV

    Practice Area:
    Defective and Dangerous Products
    Outcome:
    $3,000,000.00
    Description:
    Wrongful death of a college student in a Ford Explorer rollover that was caused by the sudden delamination of a rear tire which lead to loss of control of the SUV. Witnesses said the movements of the car just before the loss of control were all normal and that the driver was driving safely. The student’s mother was a passenger and survived but witnessed her daughter die. Days before the crash, the student’s father had the car inspected and serviced at the dealership so it would be safe for his wife and daughter to make the trip. A tire mechanic noted in the service records that all four tires were "severely out of round and worn" and needed to be replaced. The service advisor, however, failed to advise the family and the SUV was allowed to leave the dealership with the bad tires still on the Explorer. When a tire is determined to be “out of round” it is a clue to any experienced tire technician that there is internal degradation and delamination, i.e., the plys are separating. Operating the tire at highway speed, combined with heat, caused tire failure just days after the dealership inspected the tires. Jeff Rickard teamed up with co-counsel Tab Turner to develop and implement a discovery plan that exposed the Ford Explorer design problems, tire defects and the sub-standard conduct of the dealership in failing to take steps to prevent the Explorer from leaving its shop. A final settlement was reached on the Saturday before trial was set to commence.
  • Ephedra Litigation

    Practice Area:
    Defective and Dangerous Products
    Outcome:
    $52,000,000+
    Description:
    Metabolife, a "natural" diet supplement marketed as an energy boost and weight loss product, was produced and sold without FDA approval, inspection or testing. It was manufactured by a former law enforcement member who had previously been convicted of manufacturing illegal drugs. Under the "natural" food laws of the United States he was free to sell this mixture of ephedra, caffeine and other stimulants. Metabolife had a large market share of the “energy boost” and weight loss market for several years. However, reports began to surface that use of the product was being linked to heart attacks, strokes and seizures in many users including very young people with normal weight. One client, a young mother looking for an energy supplement, suffered a severe stroke at the age of 28. Another client, a young African American man in good shape but working long hours and looking for an “energy boost,” suffered a stroke that resulted in sight-impaired and partially paralyzed for life. Lawsuits began to be filed against Metabolife and other makers of ephedra-based products. Jeff Rickard and Ryan Hagan filed, on behalf of a former firm, several lawsuits and then conducted research, investigation and discovery on behalf of each client. Because of the firestorm of lawsuits that were filed Metabolife sought bankruptcy protection. Ultimately the company emerged from bankruptcy to participate in a “global settlement” proceeding. Jeff Rickard participated in several mediation sessions that were conducted around the country over a stretch of several months. The result was a settlement fund of more than $52,000,000 to be used to compensate victims. The Court-appointed mediator, Professor Eric Green from Boston, asked Jeff Rickard to serve on the national advisory committee of 10-12 attorneys that ultimately evaluated all 260+ pending claims against the company and a number of other defendants and drafted a proposed allocation of settlement funds to individual claimants. This total recovery is on behalf of seven of the Metabolife plaintiffs represented by Jeff Rickard. Several other Metabolife claims were settled for various amounts before the “global settlement” of all remaining claims was accomplished.
  • Navarro vs. State of California, San Mateo County Superior Court

    Practice Area:
    Car Accidents
    Outcome:
    $1,750,000.00
    Description:
    Plaintiff, a 12 year old boy, was struck by a car while he was crossing Highway 1 at night near Moss Beach, CA. He suffered an amputation of a foot and numerous other orthopedic injuries. There was no evidence that the driver was speeding or inattentive. The location of the accident was an intersection with signs and signals for vehicles but no pavement markings, signs or signals to assist pedestrians who wanted to cross the highway. Discovery revealed that the State had installed devices and signs to assist pedestrians at other locations on Highway 1 but had done nothing at the subject intersection where numerous businesses were located and where a traffic study had shown there was a need for pedestrian safety measures. An aerial of the intersection obtained by showed a well-worn footpath through shoulder vegetation at the accident location which tended to show there was a history of pedestrian crossings. Numerous depositions of lay witnesses and expert witnesses were completed but the testimony of one defense witness made a difference in the outcome of the case. Under very careful and methodical questioning by Jeff Rickard, using exhibits selected by a colleague, the State’s highway safety expert was forced to agree and confirm on an aerial photograph that the impact that injured Plaintiff occurred in what would be considered a statutory crosswalk. Establishing liability was extremely difficult and Plaintiff’s own negligence was a huge issue. However, very thorough trial preparation by Jeff Rickard and acolleague lead to a settlement on the eve of trial.
  • Oladunni vs. Brand X Tire Company, San Joaquin County Superior Court

    Practice Area:
    Defective and Dangerous Products
    Outcome:
    $1,655,000.00
    Description:
    Plaintiffs were a mother and her two young daughters. They were passengers in a minivan driving back to Stockton after a trip to Disneyland. A rear tire on the van failed. Discovery revealed that the tire was a used tire purchased by the van driver from a “mom and pop” tire shop. The tire delaminated at highway speed as a result of defective manufacture and defective engineering design. The base rubber skim stock did not contain proper anti-oxidants which caused the tire to prematurely degrade and lead to the tread separating from the liner while the van was being driven northbound on I-5 in California. The tire failure caused the driver to lose control of the van. It left the pavement and entered the median where it rolled several times. The belted mother was in a second row passenger seat and suffered moderate injuries. Her three children, however, were unbelted in the rear and were thrown from the van. Plaintiff’s six year-old son was killed and her two daughters, ages 9 and 12, suffered serious injuries. Because the children were unbelted comparative negligence was a significant issue in the case. Jeff Rickard took the lead on the case and, along with Ryan Hagan, engaged in what became a fierce discovery war over many months that included extensive written discovery, depositions of witnesses in CA and IL and numerous Court hearings. Eventually, as a trial date was finally approaching, a settlement was negotiated that included Court-approved settlement amounts for each of the injured minors. The Defendant tire company required as a condition of settlement that its name not be revealed and that the Court file be sealed.