Case Results

Linda S. v. City of Oakland

Settlement/Verdict: $2,000,000

$2,000,000 Settlement: Truck vs. Pedestrian
Alameda County

Plaintiff Linda S. was a 52 year old mother of three who was on complete medical disability and had not worked for many years before the collision.  She was walking on a sidewalk in downtown Oakland when a City of Oakland sewer truck allegedly ran a red light and struck an SUV, then proceeded through the intersection of 14th Street and Franklin Street and jumped the curb and struck Plaintiff.  Even though Linda S. was an innocent victim, the City of Oakland refused to admit fault for the collision.

Plaintiff suffered seven rib fractures and left pneumothorax (collapsed lung), and she also sustained a comminuted left femur fracture, a torn rotator cuff in her left non-dominant shoulder, a lacerated spleen, a bone lesion in her right distal femur, and numerous lacerations and contusions.  Plaintiff also claimed aggravation of the pre-existing lower back injury which caused her to be on complete disability before the collision.  Her femur fracture required reconstructive surgery and installation of metal hardware.  Plaintiff spent two weeks in the hospital, and received 23 sessions of in-home physical therapy.

Plaintiff was unemployed and on complete medical disability at the time of the collision and did not make a wage loss claim so her recoverable past medical bills of $88,021.51 were her only economic damages.  The City of Oakland’s medical expert contended that “based upon the findings on my clinical examination, orthopedically there has been no increase in her pre-existing disability which I would related to the incident in question.”  Defendant’s expert estimated future expenses related to the collision would be $50,000. The case settled shortly before trial for $2,000,000.

Amy J. v. 99 Ranch Market

Settlement/Verdict: $1,077,063

$1,077,063 Jury Verdict: Unsafe Premises – Slip & Fall
Alameda County

Plaintiff was a 67 year old woman who was a retired travel agent, and was shopping inside the 99 Ranch Market in Dublin when she slipped and fell on an unknown liquid on the floor.  The store claimed that it complied with the industry standards by performing visual inspections of its entire sales floor every thirty minutes on the day of the incident, and had sweep logs which indicated that the area where Plaintiff fell was inspected just 10 minutes before her fall.  Plaintiff contended that only one janitor was responsible for inspecting the entire store in the thirty minutes before the fall, that she was not the person who signed the sweep logs, and even if she had inspected the area, visual inspections were not sufficient.  Plaintiff’s store safety expert tested the flooring material with a friction testing machine, and found that the flooring material that the store selected was excessively slippery and not appropriate for a grocery store.  Mr. Tomasik was able to elicit numerous inconsistencies in the deposition testimony of Defendant’s employees.

Plaintiff sustained a right femoral head fracture in her right hip, and underwent reconstructive surgery with metal hardware implantation.  Plaintiff initially had a good recovery from that surgery, but later developed necrosis in her right hip.  Defendant disputed that the necrosis was related to Plaintiff’s injuries from the incident. Plaintiff underwent a total right hip replacement surgery, and while the surgery improved her symptoms, at the time of trial she was still recovering.  Plaintiff’s major passion was dancing and she enjoyed tap dancing, Chinese Folk dancing, Hawaiian hula dancing, belly dancing, jazz and line dancing at least 4-5 times per week immediately before her fall.  The surgeon who performed the hip replacement surgery testified that he hoped that Plaintiff would be able to return to her previous level of dancing, but it was unclear if she would, and she might need another hip replacement surgery.  Plaintiff also had extensive scarring on her right thigh from both surgeries.

Following an 11 day trial, the jury found that Welcome Market. Inc. was negligent in the maintenance or use of the property, that their negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm to Plaintiff, and that Plaintiff was not at fault for her fall.  The jury awarded Plaintiff $227,063 for her past medical bills, $450,000 for her past non-economic loss, $150,000 for her future medical bills, and $250,000 for her future non-economic loss, for a total verdict of $1,077,063.

Several jurors indicated to counsel after trial that they wanted to award “more – far more” to that plaintiff. The mother of a juror died just as deliberations were commencing, but she refused to be replaced by an alternate juror and she participated in deliberations.  The Court indicated that this was the first verdict in favor of a plaintiff in their department in the first six months of that year. (July, 2011)

K.W. v. CSAA

Settlement/Verdict: $1,025,000

$1,025,000 Settlement: Underinsured Motorist Claim
Alameda County

K.W., an Underinsured Motorist Claimant, was a 45 year old handyman raising two young daughters as a single father who was struck by a van while walking as a pedestrian, and initially had soft tissue injuries and worsening of a pre-existing lumbar disc injury.  He eventually developed cubital tunnel syndrome in his left (non-dominant) elbow, and underwent nerve transposition surgery.  After the elbow surgery, he developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in his left elbow, causing him constant elbow pain, swelling, temperature changes (ice cold sensation), skin mottling and other symptoms.  Claimant also sustained a 3-4 mm L5-S1 disc protrusion, and this caused lumbar pain, which was also constant.

After CSAA took Claimant’s deposition, the in-house attorney for CSAA stated that he was informed by CSAA that “there may be no coverage for this claim,” since Claimant allegedly “cancelled his policy.”  After Mr. Tomasik sent a detailed letter explaining how Claimant had not cancelled his policy and demanding that CSAA acknowledge coverage and allow the UIM claim to proceed, CSAA agreed that their policy was in effect and that it provided UIM coverage for the claim.

Claimant was unable to work due to his severe pain and disability, and was suffering severe financial distress as a result of his injuries.  Claimant settled with the adverse driver for his $15,000 policy limits, and Mr. Tomasik then demanded Claimant’s million dollar UIM limits from his insurance company (CSAA), minus the $15,000 set-off for the third party settlement.

While CSAA did eventually pay the million dollar limits, they repeatedly delayed the handling of the claim, and they litigated the UIM claim for over a year without making a settlement offer.  CSAA then initially made a settlement offer of only $210,000, but after Mr. Tomasik stated that Claimant would proceed to binding arbitration if CSAA did not pay the entire million dollars of UIM coverage, CSAA eventually agreed to pay the entire million dollars. With payment of an additional $25,000 in Med Pay benefits, the total recovery to Claimant was $1,025,000.

Claimant filed a subsequent bad faith lawsuit against CSAA for improper claims handling of the UIM claim, and he obtained a multiple six figure recovery for that claim.

Elizabeth S. v. Farmers Insurance

Settlement/Verdict: $812,500

$812,500 Settlement: Uninsured Motorist Claim
Alameda County

Claimant was a 30 year old woman who was a passenger in a vehicle involved in a collision in Arkansas.  Claimant retained one of the most prominent attorneys in Arkansas, but she was not pleased with his case handling or lack of communication, so she retained Mr. Tomasik after she moved to California for graduate school.  Claimant sustained a fracture to her left (non-dominant) wrist which was surgically repaired.  She did not make a complete recovery from that surgery and had another surgery to remove metal hardware, but continued to suffer pain, weakness, and limitation of range of motion.  Claimant eventually developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy(RSD)/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

After obtaining a $25,000 settlement from the insurance company for the driver who rear-ended Claimant, Mr. Tomasik initiated an Underinsured Motorist (UIM) claim with Farmers, who was the insurance carrier for Claimant’s father.  Farmers repeatedly tried to deny that the claim was covered under Claimant’s father’s insurance policy, but Mr. Tomasik was eventually was able to convince Farmers that Claimant was covered.

Claimant had over $100,000 in past medical bills and alleged that she would need an additional $100,000 in future medical treatment.  Claimant had hoped to become an editor for a prominent magazine, and thus contended that she would have over $750,000 in wage loss due to her inability to type for long periods of time.  Farmers argued that Claimant could use voice recognition software, and consequently her wage loss was minimal.  Arkansas juries tend to be extremely conservative in their awards, so Mr. Tomasik had the UIM claim transferred to California as permitted under the terms of the policy.  After litigating with Farmers for over a year, Farmers eventually offered $400,000 to settle the UIM claim, but on Mr. Tomasik’s advice, Claimant rejected that $400,000 settlement offer.  Farmers filed a motion to prevent the arbitration hearing from proceeding in California and attempted to transfer venue back to Arkansas, but Mr. Tomasik was able to convince them to settle the UIM claim for an additional $787,500, resulting in a total recovery to Claimant of $812,500.

Ernest B. v. Taqueria Los Pericos

Settlement/Verdict: $750,000

$750,000 Settlement: Unsafe Premises – Slip & Fall
Alameda County

Plaintiff, a 63 year old self-employed business broker, ordered food to go from Taqueria Los Pericos restaurant in San Leandro.  The restaurant had an unsafe policy of wet-mopping the floor during the evening rush hour, and had no guidelines for removing the moisture that they created from the floor.  Plaintiff had ordered take-out food at the restaurant at about 6:30 p.m., and Defendant’s employee mopped the floor behind Plaintiff.  Plaintiff slipped and fell on the wet area created by the restaurant’s employees, severely fracturing his ankle.  The restaurant employees all testified that yellow “Caution – Wet Floor” signs had been placed on the floor in the area prior to the incident, but two independent witnesses testified that those signs were not brought out until after the incident.

The next day, Plaintiff underwent surgery to repair his fractured right ankle, but because of the severity of his injury, he developed post-traumatic arthritis.  Plaintiff initially had a different attorney, but Plaintiff did not believe he was properly prosecuting the case.  That previous attorney was only able to obtain a settlement offer of $70,000, and he attempted to convince Plaintiff to settle the case for $100,000.  Plaintiff then found and retained Mr. Tomasik to take over the case, and Mr. Tomasik then did a great deal of detailed legal work on the case that had not been done by previous counsel, including hiring a safety expert engineer who did testing on the floor material and found it was dangerously slippery.  Plaintiff told Mr. Tomasik that his legal work on the case was “in a different universe” than what was done by his original attorney, and that he wished he had found Mr. Tomasik at the beginning of his case.  Shortly before trial, the case settled for $750,000, more than 10 times the settlement offer to Plaintiff’s original attorney.

James B. v. Mariner’s Center

Settlement/Verdict: $750,000

$750,000 Settlement: Unsafe Premises – Slip & Fall
Alameda County

Plaintiff was a furniture installer who stepped out of his truck and slipped and fell on ice in a parking lot of a corporate complex in Foster City.  The corporate owner did not have an on-site manager as required by the maintenance contract, and an employee stated that ice had been allowed to exist in parking stalls for at least two days. Plaintiff eventually underwent two back surgeries and a shoulder surgery.  Defense counsel brought a motion to transfer the case to a less favorable county, and Mr. Tomasik’s opposition was so persuasive that the judge not only denied the motion, but also awarded sanctions against defense counsel.  In addition to the $750,000 settlement, Defendant also paid Plaintiff’s Workers Comp lien of approximately $200,000, thus making the settlement worth nearly one million dollars to Plaintiff.

Adriana R. v. Derek K.

Settlement/Verdict: $700,000

$700,000 Jury Verdict: Motor Vehicle Collision
Marin County

Plaintiff (a 53 year old woman) and her daughter (13 years old) were traveling Westbound with the flow of traffic on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Ross.  Defendant (who was 16 at the time) was operating the BMW purchased for him by his mother, which had been parked in the driveway of one of the family homes.  Defendant accelerated very quickly out of the driveway onto Sir Francis Drake Boulevard directly in front of plaintiffs’ vehicle, striking the front of plaintiffs’ vehicle with such force that both frontal air bags deployed in plaintiffs’ vehicle.

Plaintiffs did not report any injuries at the collision scene, but after the shock of the collision had worn off later that evening, both plaintiffs began feeling pain from the collision.  Plaintiff received treatment over several months, and was eventually diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS).  Defendants contended that Plaintiff did not have RSD/CRPS, and that her symptoms were caused by menopause.  Plaintiff initially hired an prominent Los Angeles attorney to represent her, but Plaintiff was not pleased with the way that attorney was handling the case and the low amount that he was recommending she accept for settlement, so she retained Mr. Tomasik to take over the case.

Mr. Tomasik demanded that Defendants’ insurance company pay the $500,000 policy limits, but the insurance company refused to tender those limits.  Plaintiff’s past medical bills were $38,841, and she was claiming a past wage loss of $55,421.  A month before trial, the insurance company eventually realized its mistake and tendered the remaining $400,000 limits (Plaintiff’s daughter had settled for $100,000), but Plaintiff refused to accept that offer since the policy limits had arguably been “opened up.”  A Marin County jury awarded a verdict of $700,000 (which was $300,000 in excess of the remaining $400,000 policy limits), and Defendants did not appeal that verdict.

Ryan R. v. Jeremy S.

Settlement/Verdict: $625,000

$625,000 Settlement: Van vs. Motorcycle Collision
Alameda County

Plaintiff was a 21 year old UC-Berkeley student who was riding his motorcycle into the Berkeley hills when a driver of a van made a left turn directly in front of him, causing Plaintiff’s motorcycle to collide with the van.  Plaintiff’s mother interviewed more than a dozen attorneys, and Plaintiff eventually chose Mr. Tomasik to represent him.  The Traffic Collision Report stated that the van driver was completely at fault for the collision, but the insurance company for the van driver argued that Plaintiff was partially at fault.  Plaintiff’s only injury was a ruptured left testicle, and he had 2/3 to 3/4 of the testicle surgically removed.  His fertility and testosterone levels were not affected by his injury, but he sustained residuals of scrotal disfigurement and testicular discomfort after sexual intercourse.  Plaintiff’s medical expert testified that it was more likely than not that Plaintiff would always have some degree of discomfort after intercourse, but Defendant’s medical expert stated that the discomfort would resolve within one to two years.

Plaintiff’s only economic damages were medical bills of approximately $40,000.00, although Defendant argued only $6,217.35 were recoverable from the van driver under Hanif.  The initial settlement offer by Defendant’s insurance company was only $15,000.  The previous highest recorded jury verdict found by both counsel was $325,000, and Defendant’s insurance company stated that they would never offer more than that amount in this case.  After many months of negotiations, the case settled shortly before trial for $625,000, which appears to have been the largest recorded recovery for a testicular injury in California at that time.

Dennis K. v. Robert R.

Settlement/Verdict: $600,000

$600,000 Settlement: Motor Vehicle Collision
Sonoma County

Plaintiff, a 57 year old heavy equipment operator and construction worker, was involved in a three vehicle collision in Unincorporated Ukiah.  Plaintiff and another driver had been stopped at a red light for a significant time.  Defendant rear-ended the vehicle behind Plaintiff which was then pushed into Plaintiff’s vehicle, and Plaintiff vehicle only sustained $3,061 in property damage.  Plaintiff did not believe that he was seriously injured at the scene, but went to his doctor the next day and he was treated for a sprained neck for several months.

Approximately one year after the collision, Plaintiff underwent an anterior cervical microdiscectomy and interbody fusion surgery at C5-6 and C6-7.  Unfortunately he still continued to suffer residual symptoms, including blue discoloration in his fingertips caused by activities such as driving, using the mouse on his computer, or holding his grandchildren for more than a few minutes.  Mr. Tomasik suspected that Plaintiff had a fairly rare condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS), and Plaintiff was subsequently diagnosed with cervical Thoracic Outlet Syndrome from the motor vehicle collision.  Plaintiff’s past medical bills totaled $78,454.16, and the case settled shortly before trial for $600,000.

Svetlana G. v. Mary G.

Settlement/Verdict: $580,000

$580,000 Settlement: Motor Vehicle Collision
Santa Clara County

Plaintiff, who was a 29 year-old wife and mother of a young son, was involved in a moderate motor vehicle collision in Palo Alto in which her head struck the steering wheel.  Plaintiff was nauseous and vomited, and her doctor diagnosed a concussion on the day of the collision.  Extensive neuropsychological testing and evaluation by Plaintiff’s treating physicians at San Francisco General Hospital later revealed that she had cognitive disorder secondary to traumatic brain injury, major depressive disorder, chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, post-concussive syndrome, and anosmia (loss of smell) as a result of the subject motor vehicle collision.

The defense attorney hired by Defendant’s insurance company claimed that it was impossible for Plaintiff’s head to have struck the steering wheel.  Defense counsel hired a psychiatrist and a neuropsychologist who had notorious reputations for alleging that most people that they examined for brain injuries did not suffer brain injuries from their collisions.

Plaintiff had a previous attorney who had only demanded $65,000 to settle the case, and who told Plaintiff she should accept $35,000 to settle if it was offered.  Plaintiff then retained Mr. Tomasik to take over the case, and Mr. Tomasik then battled defense counsel over a long, contentious discovery phase of litigation.  A few days before trial, Plaintiff settled her case for $580,000.