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Vioxx settlement
Award: $58,000,000
Merck pharmaceutical company settled claims with 28 states and the District of Columbia for aggressive and deceptive marketing of its NSAID drug Vioxx, which was found to cause serious cardiovascular adverse events (The People of the State of California v. Merck & Co. Inc., San Diego County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Edmund G. Brown Jr.).

Construction site death
Award: $4,345,000
A 47-year-old roofer was killed when a beam on which he was standing failed and he fell 15 feet to a concrete slab (Salas v. Confidential, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Richard B. Koskoff).

Bicyclist injured
Award: $5,025,000
During an attempt to cross the street on his bicycle, an 11-year-old boy was struck and severely injured by a motorist at an intersection he claimed was dangerously designed (Chan v. City of Hanford, Kings County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: Brian D. Chase).

Tow truck mishap
Award: Defense
While watching a tow truck ready his vehicle for towing, the intoxicated owner sat on the gas tank of the tow truck and was injured when the unknowing driver slid the bed of the truck forward (Stoner v. Abuayyash, San Bernardino County Superior Court, Defense attorney: Stephen C. Pasarow).

Medical malpractice
Award: $1,100,000
Negligent delay in diagnosis by a radiologist was blamed for the premature death of a patient from lung cancer (Roberts v. Chespak, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: David N. Bigelow).

False arrest of victim
Award: $6,058,000
In a case of mistaken identity, the victim of identity theft was arrested, imprisoned for over four months, and evicted from his apartment (Smith v. City of Oakland, Northern District Federal Court, Plaintiff attorney: John L. Burris).

Expedition rollover
Award: $2,700,000
Two people and an unborn child were killed and four passengers were injured when the 2000 Ford Explorer in which they were riding suffered a left rear tire failure and rolled over (Trevino v. Goodyear Dunlop Tires of North America LLC, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Plaintiff attorney: John E. Sweeney).

Crowd ‘panic’
Award: Defense
Claiming that a studio employee turned off the lights during a performance, the producer of the show sued for injuries sustained when the audience allegedly panicked and forced him toward the exit (Cantu v. Comcast, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Defense attorney: Robert D. Goldberg).

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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