Plaintiff, a 37 year-old waitress with an unstable employment history, and mother of three, was on her way to visit a friend at an apartment complex located in Beaumont, California. It had been raining since the day before and the irrigation system for the apartment complex had not been shut off during heavy periods of rain. The drainage system had also not been working properly for some time. As a result, many of the pathways of ingress and egress within the apartment complex were plagued with some degree of standing water. The management company and the landscape maintenance company had been made aware of these issues and failed to properly correct the problems.
The specific pathways blocking Plaintiff’s path to her friend’s home was flooded with standing water causing Plaintiff to walk on the adjacent grass to avoid the flooded pathway, which unbeknownst to Plaintiff was saturated with water. After Plaintiff took a few steps on the grass, her foot suddenly sank deep into the excessively saturated and muddy grass which caused her body to twist, fall back and fracture her ankle.
We filed a lawsuit against the owners of the apartment complex, Beaumont Investors, LLC; the managment company, Lend Lease Apartment Management; and the landscape maintenance company, True Green Land Care, Inc. Extensive investigation and discovery was conducted. My office completed over one dozen depositions including those of tenants, representatives of the real estate management company, and employees of the landscape maintenance company. The case ultimately settled for $475,000.00.
Dog Bite Case
Dec 12, 2011
Policy Limitts Settlement: $300,000.00.
Plaintiff, a thirteen year-old minor, was walking home from school when a pit bull whom she had been accused of teasing on many prior occasions as she walked home from school, was able to dig out of the back yard and bite plaintiff in several areas of her body while Plaintiff was on the public sidewalk in front of the dog owner's home. Plainitiff's medical bills were approximately $4,888.00. Plaintiff was evaluated by a plastic surgeon for the scars on her body. The case settled for the policy limits of $300,000.00.
Jun 15, 2010
Plaintiff a 49 year-old single mother of three employed by a Real Estate Development firm had taken her twelve year old daughter to attend an intramural basketball practice for her daughter’s summer league, which was held at a public school within the Los Angeles Unified School District. Once in the gymnasium, Plaintiff left the gym to relocate her car to a parking area that was closer to the gymnasium.
As Plaintiff left the gymnasium, she followed a dimly lit path walking in the direction of what she believed was the parking lot where she had left her vehicle. There were no lit pathways of ingress and egress; and no written materials had been disseminated to the parents or the participants in the youth basketball league providing this information.
Plaintiff was on the campus grounds and unfamiliar with the campus sidewalk and street thus the differences in depth between the raised sidewalk and the campus driveway were difficult to discern because of the dimly lit pathway. As Plaintiff continued walking towards the location of her vehicle, she stepped off the sidewalk and onto the driveway. The differences in height were concealed by the darkness of the night causing Plaintiff to fall off of the raised curb and suffer a severely fractured left ankle and a fractured right foot. Plaintiff lost time from work to recover from her injuries.
My office was retained by the client after a prior lawyer who handled the case for a short period of time had recommended a settlement for $100,000.00. My office hired a lighting expert to address issues of inadequate lighting and conducted extensive discovery by taking the depositions of numerous District employees. The case settled just before trial for $600,000.00.
"The challenged orders approving the settlement and denying appellant's motion for reconsideration are reversed. Appellant is to recover costs on appeal."
Mr. Vargas filed an appeal on behalf of a lawyer ("appellant") who had represented the owner of a veterinary clinic and the veterinary business in an action for breach of a noncompetition agreement. During the litigation, appellant had filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of his clients in the noncompetition action, which was granted. Attorney fees were awarded to appellant in connection with the hearing on the motion for summary judgment. Thereafter, appellant filed and served his notice of lien. Notwithstanding, appellant’s former clients, without appellant's knowledge or consent, agreed to a settlement that dispensed with the attorney fees that had been awarded to appellant pursuant to the hearing on the motion for summary judgment. Appellant then filed a separate action against his former clients seeking to enforce his attorney fee lien. In response, Appellant’s former clients filed a motion requesting a court order approving the settlement, which sought to defeat appellant's attorney fee lien, The motion was granted. Appellant subsequently proceeded with an ex parte application seeking reconsideration of the court's order approving the settlement, which was denied. Mr. Vargas thus filed an appeal of the court’s orders on behalf of appellant. The court reversed. The court held that “the validity and possible enforcement of appellant's attorney's lien or alternatively his attachment lien remain to be determined in the independent action. In reversing the challenged order of the trial court purporting to approve the settlement, we emphasize that appellant is entitled to attempt, by way of his independent action, to establish the existence of an attorney's lien and/or the validity of his attachment lien. Enforcement of any lien found to exist must also take place in that forum. The present attempt by respondents and the defendants to defeat appellant's lien must fail.”