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Home Page Official Publication of the State Bar of California July2007
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Bad faith
Award: $7,998,000
Owners of a Woodside home at which a landslide occurred during installation of a swimming pool were denied coverage for the extensive damage to their home and property (Douglas v. Pacific Specialty Insurance Co., San Mateo County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Pamela A. Bower).

Student injury
Award: $7,601,045
A 13-year-old student who suffered a seizure while at school is now ventilator-dependent because of the school’s negligent response to his medical emergency (Martinez v. LAUSD, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Philip Michels).

Civil rights
Award: Defense
A 27-year-old social worker intern sued her university for removing her from her position after she refused to stop proselytizing co-workers regarding her religious views during working hours (Escobar v. Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Central District Federal Court, Defense attorney: Calvin House).

Hot water burns
Award: Defense
A mother whose young child sustained second- and third-degree burns from scalding water in a public housing bathtub alleged that the incident was caused by a change in water pressure elsewhere in the building (Serrano v. Housing Authority of Tulare County, Tulare County Superior Court, Defense attorney: John K. Ormond).

Motorcyclist injured
Award: $18,680,722
A 23-year-old motorcyclist sustained catastrophic injuries when he collided with an unlicensed driver who made a left turn in his path (Mallabo v. Wan Hai Lines Ltd., Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: John C. Taylor).

Elevator shaft fall
Award: $1,250,000
A 54-year-old ironworker at a construction site was injured when he stepped on a plastic tarp placed over an elevator shaft and fell 20 feet to the ground (Oester v. Martin Brothers/Marcowall Inc., Ventura County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Roger E. Booth).

Genetic testing
Award: Defense
A woman who sought pre-implantation genetic testing to prevent giving birth to a child with a genetic abnormality for which she was a carrier sued after giving birth to a baby afflicted with the disease (Rubell v. USC Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Defense attorney: Patrick E. Stockalper).

Infant brain damage
Award: $6,000,236
An infant was born severely brain damaged as a result of a failure to perform a timely C-section following signs of fetal distress (Franco v. Kaiser, San Bernardino County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Russell S. Kussman).

Editor's Note: California Bar Journal publishes this abbreviated summary of important trials in California provided by Trials Digest, a Thomson West business. To report your case results, go to or call 415-344-6000.

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