$1,925,000 Jury Verdict-Motorcycle v. Car Accident. We represented a woman in her late forties who was riding on a motorcycle. The motorcycle was being driven by her boyfriend on a two lane road in Castroville. Traffic began to back up and the boyfriend decided to pass vehicles on the shoulder of the road. As the motorcycle was on the shoulder passing cars, a driver turned his car into the driveway of a business. In doing so, the car passed through the shoulder and into the path of the motorcycle. The motorcycle made contact with the car causing our client to fall to the ground. The client fractured her lower leg severely. She was rushed to a hospital by helicopter and received a surgery placing a rod in her leg. The client later developed an infection and required several other surgeries to fix it. The case was settled as to the driver of the car for $100,000. We then went to trial against the boyfriend after he refused to pay. The boyfriend claimed that he was not at fault and that he was not passing vehicles on the shoulder. The jury did not buy it. The jury found the boyfriend 85% at fault and awarded the client nearly 2 Million dollars for her pain and suffering alone.
$675,000 Settlement-Wrongful Death Auto Defect. We represented the children and parents of a woman who was killed in an intersection collision. The woman who was killed was at fault for causing the collision because she drove her vehicle into the intersection against a red light. As a result, her vehicle was “t-boned” by another vehicle on the driver side door. The woman survived the initial impact, but eventually passed away at the hospital later due to her injuries. We filed suit on behalf of her surviving children and parents. The lawsuit was filed against the manufacturer of her car and claimed that the woman would have survived if her car had been equipped with side impact airbags. The case was settled for $675,000.
$240,000 Jury Verdict-Low Impact Rear-End Car Accident. We represented a young man who was involved in a low-speed, rear-end, car accident. The client did not report any injuries at the scene and waited until later that day to go to the emergency room. The client originally hired a different firm that told him he should settle his case for $25,000. The other firm also told him to stop getting the medical treatment he needed because its attorneys thought the insurance company would not pay that much on a “fender bender.” The client switched to us and we instructed the client to get all the medical treatment he needed to fully recovery. The client underwent a neck surgery. The most the insurance company offered prior to trial was $25,000. We tried the case and proved that the car accident caused a pre-existing condition in our client’s neck to get worse which resulted in the need for the surgery. The jury awarded our client $100,000 in past medical expenses and another $140,000 for his pain and suffering. During the trial, the insurance company told the jury to award less than $10,000 claiming that the client’s neck injury and need for surgery were not related to the car accident.
$650,000 Settlement-Civil Rights Police Excessive Force. We represented a junior college student who was beaten by police officers after a routine traffic stop while riding his motorcycle. The client did not have a current motorcycle license and was arrested for refusing to give his motorcycle keys to the officer. While the client was being transported to the station in handcuffs, he moved his hands from the back of his body to the front. The arresting officer called for additional officers and pulled over. Four officers then took the client out of the police cruiser and tasered and beat him while handcuffed. The client was charged with resisting arrest and found not guilty by a jury. We filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging police misconduct and claims for excessive force, false arrest, assault and malicious prosecution. The client had under $800 in medical expenses and no injuries other than bumps and bruises. During the case, we revealed evidence that the primary officer had been fired from the department for false police reporting and other misconduct. We used that evidence to secure a settlement of $650,000 for the client.
$175,000 Settlement-Slip & Fall On Water at Retail Store. We represented a woman in her late fifties who was at a local retail garden store. The store had a drip system for the plants it sold. The drip system leaked and created a puddle on the floor. The client stepped on the puddle causing her to slip and fall. The client landed on her elbow and fractured it. The client’s arm was casted for several months and she underwent physical therapy. The client fully recovered from her broken elbow with no permanent problems or need for future medical treatment. We filed a lawsuit claiming the store was negligent for allowing the puddle to become a slip hazard. We settled the case shortly after the lawsuit was filed for $175,000. We increased the final settlement by claiming our client lost earnings and was unable to work temporarily due to the injury.
$420,000 Settlement- Civil Rights Case for Prisoner. We represented a prisoner (with a life sentence) against the State of California and two of its prison guards. The prisoner was retaliated against for filing an inmate complaint against the guards. The prisoner claimed that the guards purposefully threw away his belongings and made death threats against him for filing the complaint. We filed a Civil Rights lawsuit in federal court claiming First Amendment violations (filing a prison complaint is protected free speech). The lawsuit was settled for $420,000 after we beat the State’s motions that sought to end the case without a jury trial.
$215,000 Settlement-Uninsured Motorist Crash Requiring Surgery. We represented a young woman who was hit head-on by a drunk driver. The drunk driver was driving on a suspended license and did not have insurance. The client fractured her left wrist as a result of the crash. She underwent a surgery to repair her broken wrist and a metal plate was installed. The client made an uninsured motorist claim against her own insurance company. Her insurance company disputed the seriousness of her injury and the extent of her injury. The insurance company did not want to a fair amount for her injury or pain and suffering. The insurance company offered the client just over $100,000. The client rejected that settle amount and hired our firm. We settled the case for $215,000—more than twice what the client was offered when she was not represented by us.
$150,000 Settlement-Rear-End Accident of Stalled Vehicle. We represented a middle-aged woman who was driving her Chevy Tahoe when the fuel pump failed. Her car lost power on a major freeway and she was unable to make it to the shoulder. She was left stranded and broke down in a lane of traffic. She immediately put on her hazards and phoned for help. A driver that was not paying attention crashed into the back of her vehicle at over 60 miles per hour. The client waited to go to the emergency room and did not receive treatment until two days later. She then went to the emergency room and complained of neck and back pain. She underwent chiropractic care for a few weeks and then had several gaps in treatment over the next year. The client attempted to settle the case with the insurance company. She only wanted her medical bills paid which were under $10,000. The insurance company refused and made a low-ball offer. After that, she found our firm and hired us. The client ended up having continued lower back pain requiring epidural shots and eventually a rhizotomy procedure. We filed a lawsuit and learned that the at-fault driver had additional insurance that was not originally disclosed. We litigated the case to the end and prepared for trial. Just before the trial, the case settled for $150,000 which was all the insurance money available. The highest offer received before getting ready for trial was $22,500. The $150,000 settlement ultimately achieved was approximately thirty times what the client was offered before she hired us.
Confidential Six Figure Policy Limit Settlement-Parent Killed in Car Accident. We represented the young children of a mother who died as the result of a car accident. The mother was found to be at fault for causing the accident by the officers who investigated. Even though the police report said the mother was responsible for the crash, we went ahead and extracted data from an electronic recording device of the other vehicle. (Newer model vehicles have electronic recording devices which are similar to the “black box” of an airplane. These devices record certain information leading up to a large impact crash, including: acceleration, deceleration, MPH, RPM, seatbelt usage, airbag deployment, among other things). The data we obtained showed that the driver of the other car was going faster than the speed limit. Shortly after we secured the data and presented it, the insurance company agreed to pay the maximum insurance policy limits available. That amount was six figures.
$400,000 Settlement-Trust Dispute Involving Elder Abuse and Fraud. We represented a woman who was the stepdaughter of an elderly man. As the man’s health declined and his death was near, his other stepdaughter (from his current marriage) took advantage of him and isolated him. Eventually, the other stepdaughter arranged for him to change his trust so that she would receive all of his assets. The trust originally called for both stepdaughters to split evenly an inheritance of close to 1 Million dollars. After filing a lawsuit, we uncovered evidence proving that the other stepdaughter isolated the man and pressured him to change the trust when he did not want to. This information was obtained from his caretakers and nurses. After an intense legal battle, we settled the case for $400,000 at mediation and restored nearly all of our client’s inheritance.
$115,000 Settlement-Car Accident with Driver Under the Influence. We represented a mother and her children who were involved in an intersection car accident. The accident was caused by a driver who was on prescription drugs and failed to stop at a stop light. Our investigation showed that the at-fault driver was abusing prescription narcotics and had a history of drug addiction. The client originally retained a local law firm that participates in mass-marketing and advertises heavily. That firm operates a “mill practice” where it has hundreds of cases that it tries to settle quickly for any amount offered and without filing a lawsuit. Our firm is the opposite and handles a few cases and tries to maximize each case by working them aggressively. The mill firm tried to get the clients to settle their lawsuit for $28,500 and told them it was a “great settlement.” It did not sit well with the clients. They hired us shortly after the mill firm told them that it would not file a lawsuit to try to obtain more. We filed a lawsuit and immediately filed motions in court that put pressure on the other side. After winning those motions, we were able to settle the case for $115,000. The settlement we obtained was almost four times what the mill firm told the clients they should accept.
$130,000 Jury Verdict-Civil Rights Win for Prisoner. We represented a prisoner who was set-up by prison guards after he filed a prison grievance against them. The prisoner filed the grievance because the guards would not release him on time to go to his assigned job as the prison barber. The guards told him that he would be “taken care of.” The following day, he was attacked by other inmates and his leg was broken. The guards watched the attack and did not sound the alarms as they were supposed to. After the client broke his leg, the guards refused to get him medical aid because they were worried about how to explain the injury. Eventually, the guards let the prisoner walk to the medical clinic, but he was forced to do so on his broken leg. The prisoner required multiple surgeries to fix his leg including the installation of a rod and screws. The guards claimed that there was no fight and that the prisoner slipped and fell on water. They also claimed that the prisoner was able to walk normally and did so when he went to the medical clinic. The surgeons who treated the prisoner both testified at trial that this would be impossible. At trial, we brought claims for violations of the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. After a five day trial in federal court, the jury found in favor of our client. The jury awarded $100,000 in pain and suffering and another $30,000 to punish the two guards for their evil acts.
$100,000 Settlement-Motorcycle vs. Car Accident. We represented a client who was riding as a passenger on a motorcycle. The driver of a car attempted a lane change and struck the motorcycle. The impact caused the client to fall off. As a result, the client sustained a leg fracture. The insurance company for the driver originally claimed that he was not at fault. After we filed a lawsuit and took the statement of the driver, we were able to settle the case for the maximum policy limits of $100,000.
$84,000 Jury Verdict- Failure to Yield Accident Causing Broken Ribs. We represented a man in his late sixties who was driving straight through an intersection. A van belonging to a commercial flooring company turned left in front of him and failed to yield the right of way. The van turned directly into our client’s path of travel causing our client to hit the van head-on at 45 mile per hour. Our client’s vehicle sustained significant damage and both airbags deployed. The client did not seek out medical treatment right away and refused an ambulance at the scene. Several days later he went to the hospital. The client was diagnosed with broken ribs and sustained a mild hand injury. The client had little medical treatment and only less than $3,500 in medical bills. We tried the case to a jury and obtained a verdict in our client’s favor.
$100,000 Settlement- Civil Rights, Police Excessive Force at Golf Tournament. We represented a young man who was a spectator at a well-known golf tournament. His girlfriend was ordered to leave by Sherriff deputies because she had too much to drink. The client and his girlfriend left in a cab, but returned a few minutes later after he realized he had misplaced his wallet. When he returned, the deputies aggressively surrounded him. The client attempted to explain that he had only returned to look for his wallet. The deputies refused to listen. They took him down to the ground and arrested him. In the process, they pushed his face into the rough street surface causing “road rash” abrasions. We filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court claiming police brutality and excessive force. We took the sworn statements of the deputies and uncovered that they all had different versions of what supposedly happened. We also learned that the deputies were unclear on the department’s rules for the use of force. We also found two witnesses who said that what the deputies did was completely unnecessary. The client had less than $2,000 in medical treatment and no permanent injuries. The case settled for $100,000 because of the work we did.
$80,000 Settlement-Storage Facility Wrongfully Disposes of Client’s Belongings. We represented a woman who rented a storage unit in Hollister where she stored many of her personal items and keepsakes. The client had the unit for close to ten years and always paid her storage space rent on time. However, the storage facility wrongfully auctioned off her unit. The facility claimed that they made a mistake and intended to auction off another unit whose owner had not paid rent. As a result, all the client’s belongings were lost or disposed of. Our client claimed that she had valuables and antiques in the unit that she had collected throughout her life. The client also claimed that all her family photos and other irreplaceable items were in the unit. The storage facility only had $10,000 in applicable insurance. We filed a lawsuit and want after the assets of the business. The owners of the business agreed to pay an additional $70,000 of their own money. The case settled for a total of $80,000 at mediation.
$23,362 Jury Verdict-Car Accident With Back Injury. We represented a young man who was injured in a car accident after an elderly woman turned in front of his vehicle. The client refused an ambulance at the scene and actually walked back to his house following the crash. His house was more than a mile away. The client developed lower back pain later and eventually received physical therapy and pain injections. The insurance company argued that his back injury was pre-existing and not related to the crash. The case was presented to a jury. During the trial, the defense presented evidence from the client’s social media that he was participating in tough mudders and other obstacle course races. The client was also in a second car accident (that was his fault) after the first collision. Despite this bad evidence, the jury found in favor of the client and awarded him all his medical expenses incurred prior to the second accident. The jury also awarded $10,000 for his pain and suffering. During the trial, the attorneys for the insurance company told the jury to award the client nothing claiming that the collision did not cause any injury at all.
$25,000 Settlement-Young Child Breaks Leg on Bouncy Slide. We represented a young girl who broke her leg going down a bouncy slide at a pumpkin patch in Carmel. The pumpkin patch offered the slide as an attraction for children. The pumpkin patch had nobody monitoring the slide or making sure it was safe to use. As the client went down the slide she hit a bump and was thrust into the air. Her leg broke immediately when she landed. The client’s leg was put in a hard cast for two months and she eventually made a complete recovery. We filed a lawsuit and settled the case for $25,000. This was despite the other side having compelling arguments that the client’s parents were responsible for letting her use the slide.
$50,000 Settlement-Car Accident Causing Shoulder Injury. We represented a client who was in an intersection car accident when another driver ran a stop sign. Our client tore a ligament in her shoulder. Our client had a previous surgery on the same shoulder a few months before the collision. A dispute arose with the insurance company as to whether the accident caused the injury or if the previous surgery had simply failed. Following the accident, the client was also diagnosed with the exact same injury on her other shoulder. The injury to the other shoulder was unrelated to the accident. This suggested that the client just had bad shoulder joints and that her claimed injury was not related to the accident. Nevertheless, through skillful lawyering, we were able to settle the case for the $50,000 maximum insurance policy available.
$150,000 Settlement-Rear End Accident Causing Brain Injury. We represented a client who was traveling on the freeway when he slowed for stopped traffic. The driver of the vehicle behind him was not paying attention and rear ended him at over 55 miles per hour. The impact was severe and pushed our client’s car into the adjacent lane. He was then struck again by a second car. The client suffered a brain injury and stroke. He required critical care and was hospitalized for over thirty days until he was stabilized. We obtained policy limit settlements of $100,000 and $50,000 from the insurance companies of both cars that struck him. We are litigating a second lawsuit against the car manufacturer of the first vehicle (2016 Mercedes) that struck him. The theory advanced in that lawsuit is that the car manufacturer had a duty to install forward sensing, automatic braking, technology.
$17,500 Settlement-Low Impact Accident Causing Concussion. We represented a young woman who was rear ended at 5-10 miles per hour. She had almost no damage to her vehicle which was repaired for under $1,500. She also did not report any injuries at the scene. However, later in the day, she felt nauseas, dizzy and vomited. She went to her family physician who diagnosed her with a concussion. She had two follow up appointments with her doctor and made a full recovery in less than two weeks. Her total medical expenses for the three visits were under $1,000. The client asked the other side’s insurance company to pay her medical expenses. The insurance company refused claiming the impact was too small to cause any injuries and offered her nothing to settle her claim. The client then retained us to represent her. We filed a lawsuit after the insurance company refused to make a reasonable settlement offer. During the lawsuit, the most the insurance company offered to settle the case was $1,500. We prepared for a jury trial. The week before the trial was to start, the insurance company agreed to pay $17,500.
Injured Minor v. Negligent Driver: Obtained insurance policy limit settlement for a client who was a minor. The client broke his arm after the bike he was riding was struck by a motor vehicle operated by Defendant. Client was riding his bike in an alley when the vehicle from Defendant struck him from a side street. We claimed that Defendant was negligent for failing to keep a proper lookout and proceeding into an intersection without checking that it was safe to do so. The case settled on the eve of trial.
Innocent Investors v. Prominent Local Doctor: We represented the clients who were investors that got scammed by a prominent doctor that claimed he was going to invest their money in real estate. Instead, the doctor used the money to try and save some previous bad real estate investments he had made. The doctor obtained the investments by fraudulently concealing title documents through the help of a dishonest mortgage broker and forgery. Eventually the doctor’s scheme caught up to him and he tried to avoid repaying our clients by filing bankruptcy. We sued the doctor in the bankruptcy court. The judge found that the doctor was guilty of fraud and ordered him to repay our clients most of their money.
Roll Over Accident Victim v. Progressive Insurance: Recovered policy limits for a client who dislocated his hip and broke ribs as a result of a roll-over van accident. At the time of the injury, the client was working for a door-to-door magazine sales organization. The insurance company argued that there was no coverage because of a clause in the policy excluding employees from coverage. Mr. Piccuta successfully argued that the client was an independent contractor and not an employee. The court agreed and ordered that the insurance company was liable to the client for his injuries.
Foreclosed Homeowner v. Big Name Bank: We represented the client who was a homeowner after the bank wrongfully foreclosed on her home. The client fell behind on her mortgage payments and the bank suggested she apply for a loan modification. The client applied for a loan modification and was told that it was being processed and there was nothing to worry about. Shortly after, the bank denied her modification and foreclosed on her home without telling her. The bank later claimed that the modification was denied because it was not our client’s principal residence. However, the home was our client’s principal residence and she had lived there for over fifty years. We filed a lawsuit for client against the Bank. Ultimately the Bank made a “confidential” settlement, paying our client more than a million dollars.
Upset Dog Buyer v. Bomb Sniffing Dog Trainer: This case involved a contract dispute over the sale of five bomb-sniffing dogs. The client was the buyer and claimed that two of the dogs were not trained properly and did not perform as represented. A lawsuit was filed against the dog supplier for breach of contract and a favorable cash settlement was obtained for the client.
Unsatisfied Homeowner v. Contractor: Defended the client who was a general contractor in a lawsuit brought by a homeowner that claimed breach of contract and construction defect for work performed by the client. Successfully negotiated a quick and favorable settlement which limited the client’s exposure and allowed him to avoid trial.
Falsely Imprisoned Probationer v. County: We represented the client who was wrongfully incarcerated by the county. The client was on probation for DUI and required to file monthly probation reports. The probation officer claimed that the client failed to file three monthly reports. The probation officer arrested the client and threw him in jail. While in jail, our client suffered a minor heart attack and was taken to the ER of local hospital. Since our client had, in fact, filed all the required Monthly Report Forms we filed suit against the County and the probation officer. Although the County fought the case for five years, eventually the County agreed to pay the client over three-hundred thousand dollars to settle the matter.
Injured Driver v. Plumbing Company: Represented the client who suffered a lumbar disc herniation after the motor-vehicle he was driving was struck by a plumber in the course of his employment. The client received physical therapy and epidural injections for pain. The case settled shortly after a settlement conference and after completion of discovery.
Ripped-off Building Buyer v. Big Real Estate Developer: We represented the client against a real estate agent and developer who lied to our client in order to convince him to purchase an office building. The Developer and his real estate agent told our client the property was highly desirable and a good investment. After the close of escrow our client learned that the Developer had failed to disclose many negative things about the building that made it a bad investment. We filed a lawsuit against the Developer and his real estate agent for negligent misrepresentation and fraud. After trial, the defendants agreed to pay our client the difference between the purchase price and the true value of the office building.
Cocktail Waitress v. Employer Night Club: Represented the client who was a cocktail waitress in claim against her employer for a broken arm she suffered as a result of a slip and fall while working. The employer initially did not disclose available coverage and only agreed to pay claims after we took formal legal action against them.
General Contractor v. Dishonest Homeowner: We represented the client who was a general contractor against a dishonest homeowner. The client completed a major renovation of the homeowner’s residence. After the client had properly completed the job, the homeowner refused to pay him claiming that his work was defective and that he had over-charged him. We filed a lawsuit against the homeowner. In the process of preparing for trial, it was discovered that the property was located in a flood plain and that the homeowner had lied to the County in order obtain a building permit. After that discovery, we obtained a favorable settlement for our client.
Inter-Family Trust Issue: The client, his brother and his sister were life beneficiaries of a trust which had been created by their parents. Their grandchildren were the remainder beneficiaries. The trust included a large apartment building with a substantial positive cash flow. Our client’s brother (the bad brother) while living in the penthouse suite, did severe damage to it. The cost of repairing the damage was over $200,000.00. Our client wanted to get a loan, secured by the apartment building, to pay for the repairs and renovation. However, the bank refused to make the loan unless all the grandchildren, including the children of the bad brother (some of whom were minors) consented to the loan. We were able to persuade the bad brother and his adult children to cooperate in obtaining the loan. Thereafter we were able to persuade the bad brother’s ex-wife to accept an appointment as the guardian of their two minor children. We then successfully petitioned the probate court to appoint the ex-wife as guardian with independent powers so that the loan could be closed and the repairs and renovation completed.