California Bar Journal
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Defective guardrail
Award: $5,913,387

A motorist claimed that Caltrans negligently installed a guard-rail, causing it to spear her car in a 15-20 mph collision, ultimately causing her to lose her leg at the mid-thigh and become wheelchair-bound most of the time (Bauman v. State of California, Department of Transporta-tion, Alameda County Superior Court).

Political speech firing
Award: $313,440

An employee claimed she was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for speaking up on behalf of a gay co-worker (Hewus v. Weber Precision Graphics Inc., Orange County Superior Court).

Dodger fans ejected
Award: Defense

A family of four sued the Los Angeles Dodgers for false imprisonment and battery by security guards after one of the plaintiffs assaulted an usherette (Goodman v. Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles County Superior Court).

Doctor kickback alleged
Award: $965,000

Plaintiff alleged medical malpractice and violation of anti-kickback law against his treating physician and physical therapist for the physician's undisclosed financial interest in exercise equipment prescribed (Confidential v. Confidential, Ventura County Superior Court).

Res ipsa loquitur
Award: $65,216

An 80-year-old woman attending a church for the first time suffered a concussion and 100 stitches when a 25-pound light fixture fell 15 feet onto her head (Stephen v. First United Methodist Church, Los Angeles County Superior Court).

Boater killed in collision
Award: $743,837

Two boats collided on the Sacramento Delta causing serious injuries to a woman who died a few hours later (Quezada v. Smith, Contra Costa County Superior Court).

Soft tissue injuries
Award: $758,000

An airport maintenance laborer sued a tour van company for backing up and knocking him down while he was sweeping the curb area in front of Terminals 4 and 5 of LAX (Garcia v. Panse U.S.A. Inc., Los Angeles County Superior Court).

Real estate fraud
Award: $3,700,000

A housewife who refinanced her home based on an oral agreement with a real estate magnate was awarded $1.1 million in actual damages, $100,000 for emotional distress and $2.5 million in punitive damages for breach of contract, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud (Mondala v. Garlock, San Mateo County Superior Court).

Whistleblower fired
Award: $231,850

A public defender brought suit for constructive termination after blowing the whistle on the illegal and unethical practices of the public defender's office in its representation of indigent clients (Moore v. County of Nevada, Nevada County Superior Court).

EDITOR'S NOTE: California Bar Journal publishes this abbreviated summary of important trials in California provided by Trials Digest Publishing Inc. For a free complete trial report on any case listed, call 510/420-1800.