Success Stories: Winning Verdicts and Settlements for our Clients for More Than 40 Years
Over the last four decades, The Law Office of Rivers J. Morrell III has successfully represented numerous cases representing the plaintiff and defendants. Representing both the plaintiff and the defendant brings tremendous insight into winning cases for our clients. Here is a short history of some of the law firm’s noteworthy civil litigation successes, verdicts and settlements.
Recent Significant Achievements:
- Our client was riding his motorcycle when a motor vehicle pulled out in front of the motorcycle unexpectedly from a side street. Our client ran into the side of that vehicle and suffered extensive injuries. We achieved a successful 7 figure outcome in the case (over $1 Million).
- Our client was a passenger in a taxi when the cab driver had an accident. Our client suffered serious back injuries and ultimately had extensive back surgery. We achieved a successful 7 figure outcome and successfully negotiated a substantial six figure reduction in her associated medical bills.
- Client was attending a seminar at the Major Los Angeles Hotel. The defendants in the case had created a stage in one of their conference rooms. The presenters at the event used the stage for the duration of the seminar. The stage was set in place about 5 feet from the rear wall. A curtain was dropped on the back of the stage to hide the gap to rear wall. The stage was black, the curtain was black, and the gap between the rear curtain and the rear edge of the stage was therefore barely visible. There were no rails placed around the perimeter of the stage. On the last day of the seminar, the sponsor wanted everyone on the stage for a group photo op. There were simply too many people in the limited space on stage, and our client was somewhat “pushed” or forced to back up. As a result, she fell off the back of the stage. If railings had been in place, she would not have fallen off and suffered injury. She fractured her ankle, which required surgery which required hardware to help the bones to heal. The hardware was later removed. The hotel’s insurance company attempted to raise questions regarding who was responsible for the absence of railings. The offer going into mediation from the insurance company was $5,000. Rivers achieved a successful settlement of $325K for our client.
Substantial victories when representing the plaintiffs:
- Handled the first private party hazardous waste clean up case in the State of California, and recovered approximately $4 million from the United States Government, under the then newly enacted CERCLA statute.
- Recovered over $1 million dollars on behalf of an adult Vietnamese family whose father, an accomplished swimmer, drowned in a public swimming pool.
- Recovered close to $2 million on behalf of a Hispanic female who was injured as a result of a dangerous road design, against a public entity.
- Recovered over $1.5 million on behalf of a student who was hit while riding a bicycle
- Recovered just under $1 million dollars for an individual who slipped on a ramp and injured his knee
- Recovered just under $1 million dollars in a fire case where the defendants offered nothing until just before the trial
There are several cases where the initial offer from the insurance company was $0 or an outright refusal to make an offer for our client’s injuries:
- A difficult case where our client tripped over a pipe that was “open and obvious” on a grass area. His injuries were mixed, and complicated pre-existing conditions. The client’s complaints to medical professionals within case documentation were somewhat inconsistent. The client’s prior attorney declined to complete the case. The insurance company refused to make an offer in the case. We did discovery, went to a mediation, and settled the case for several thousand dollars.
- A skate board accident where our client was in the middle of the street, on his skate board. It was dark outside when he was struck and injured by a motor vehicle. The insurance of the driver at fault refused to offer any money. We took the case, did extensive depositions, hired an expert witness and took the case to mediation. The insurance company continued to refuse to make an offer, claiming the accident was 100% the fault of our client the skateboarder. We prevailed and the Case was ultimately settled for the policy limits.
- A dog bite case where our client was bitten by an off duty police canine. No offer was made by the dog owner (the County Sheriff), as they claimed the dog was locked up in the police vehicle. The public entity consistently refused to offer any money. We took the case to trial, and achieved a very substantial result.
- In another dog bite case, our client was bitten by a dog whose owner had no insurance but owned their home outright. The dog’s owner refused to offer any money, and claimed that the client was trespassing and therefore entirely at fault for the dog bite. After extensive discovery and depositions we went took the case to mediation, where the case settled for several hundred thousand dollars.
- A motorcycle accident case, where our client was injured in an accident while riding his motorcycle into an intersection. Our position was that the other party made a left turn on a red. The other party claimed that our client, the motorcyclist, ran the red light. The insurance company representing the opposing driver refused to make any offer. We took the case, conducted discovery and identified a witness who supported our perspective of the events. We took the case to a mediation with no offer from the opposing insurance company. Rivers successfully settled the case for six figures.
Auto vs. Skateboarder – Personal Injury, California, Six Figures
This was a very difficult case. The client was riding his skateboard down the middle of the street, at dusk. Cars had on their headlights and the streetlights were on. He was in a residential neighborhood, and he was hit from behind by the defendant. The defendant claimed that he could not see our client until it was too late, because it was too dark to see him in time to avoid hitting him. A witness, coming from the opposite direction agreed that he could not see our client until the last minute because it was too dark. We took a number of depositions and were able to show that the defendant was not paying attention, and if he had been, he would have been able to avoid hitting our client. This is a case that was turned down by a number of others, who saw it as a no liability case. The insurance company adjuster basically only offered nuisance value. Because of the adjuster’s refusal to see the case the way that we did, we filed suit. The case eventually settled at an amount very favorably, multiple times more than had initially been offered.
Auto vs. Pedestrian accident – Personal Injury, California, Into the 6 figures
Here, the client was walking in the parking lot of a shopping center in South Orange County. She was walking to her car, when the defendant, leaving her parking space, struck the Plaintiff, our client. The client was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. She had multiple complaints, but there were issues in proving whether she hit her head, as there were no medical records to support this claim. Multiple depositions, and multiple defense medical exams were conducted, and at the mediation, the case settled for an amount into the 6 figures
Rear end vehicle accident, resulting in neck surgery – Settlement: 6 Figures
The client was at a full stop because of a red light. The defendant ran into the rear of the client’s vehicle. The defendant claimed that his vehicle was defective due to “sudden acceleration”. The client eventually had neck surgery, with hardware installed in the neck. He also lost income because of his injuries.
Car Accident with Dental Injuries – Settlement: 6 Figures
In this case, the client’s vehicle was struck by another vehicle. There were many issues involved in trying to locate and serve the Defendants with the complaint. Initially the defense refused to pay what was demanded. After filing and serving the lawsuit, a demand was again made for a particular settlement amount. The client had multiple injuries, including dental injuries, and epidurals. The case then settled in favor of the client for an amount in the 6 figures.
Car/Pedestrian Accident with Ankle Injury – Settlement: Policy Limits
Here the client was getting out of a car, that had recently parked on a residential street, when another car struck the newly parked car. As a result, the client’s ankle was fractured, that required surgery with the installation of hardware. The case settled in favor of the client for the amount of the policy limits.
Motorcycle Accident resulting in fractured ankle – Settlement: 6 figures
This was a case where the client was operating a motorcycle, getting ready to turn into a gas station. We claimed that the defendant made a lane change into our client. The defense claimed that we tried to pass the defendant without giving proper notice, and in an area where the motorcycle should not have been, and that the client failed to see the turn signal of the defendant. As a result of the accident, the client received a fractured ankle, that required surgery, with hardware.
Bicycle Accident – Settlement: 6 Figures
This was a case where an elderly experienced bike rider was struck by a vehicle that was backing out of a driveway. The defense claimed that the accident was entirely the fault of the bike rider, as did a witness. As a result of the accident, the client received a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), a collapsed lung, vision, and hearing injuries. The defendant refused to offer the medical bills. The case went to binding arbitration, and the arbitrator found in favor of the client, and awarded well into the 6 figures.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Case – Settlement: Well into 6 Figures
This was an unusual case where the client contracted an STD. There were many complicated issues involving proof that the defendant transmitted the STD, a significant statute of limitations issue, and other legal and factual issues. After another law firm dropped the case, we assumed the prosecution of the case. After much discovery, and legal motions, the case then resolved in favor of the client, for well into the 6 figures.
Wrongful Death – Man Drowns in Home Owners Association Swimming Pool – Settlement: Well into 7 Figures
In this case, an experience swimmer, was in a pool, owned and operated by a Southern California homeowners association. He drowned for unknown reasons while a life guard was on duty. However, the pool was cloudy, and the decedent could not be seen at the bottom of the pool. The family sued the homeowners association, and the case settled for well into the 7 figures.
Dog bite by off duty Sheriff Canine – Personal Injury, 05/01/2013, California, Trial Verdict
In this case, the client was visiting his niece who lived next door to a County Sheriff, who was in a canine unit. They were off duty at home, with the canine. As the client exited his car, he was attacked and bitten by a dog. The off duty sheriff swore under penalty of perjury that his off duty canine was locked up in his patrol vehicle. There was circumstantial evidence that it was the off duty canine that bit the client. The defendant County refused to offer any money. The case went to trial, and the jury found for the client, and against the County. They concluded that it was the off duty canine, and therefore the County, who owned the dog, was responsible for the injuries.
Recent Dog Bite Case – Settled Well Into 5 Figures
Our client was out for a walk, when she encountered a woman who was walking a small dog. Our client bent down to pet the dog, after the dog owner said it was okay to do. The small dog then bit the client in the face, and nose. We had the client examined by a plastic surgeon who estimated the future costs to have a scar revision surgery. The case then settled favorably for the client, for well more than she expected.”
Dog bite to young boy
This was a case where a young boy, age 6, was bitten by a neighborhood dog. The bite itself was not horrific (in fact it was in the upper inner thigh, and left almost no scar), but it had a significant impact on the boy’s emotional state. The defendant’s insurance company belittled the claim. We secured the services of an expert and presented a claim that the dog attack resulted in the boy stuttering. The claim was then settled favorably, for multiple times the original offer.
Slip and Fall on New Interlocking Pavers – Settlement: 6 Figures
Here the client had contracted to have her driveway redone with new interlocking pavers. A few days after they were installed, the client was walking to her car, parked on the street, when she slipped and fell on the newly redone driveway. It was claimed that the pavers were too slippery due to a sealer that had been applied. As a result of the incident, the client fractured her ankle, and hardware was installed. She was also out of work, and presented a lost wage claim. There were many technical issues involving the testing of the pavers, and whether or not the slip test machine accurately measured the “slipperiness” of the pavers.
Slip and fall, with knee injury, torn meniscus, and lost wages Settlement: 6 figures
In this case, the client was walking out of a trailer that was used as a restroom. He slipped and fell on the platform/stairs that were used to exit the restroom. As a result, he injured his knee, with a torn meniscus. He had surgery. He lost income, and was no longer able to drive a truck, which was his chosen profession
Recent Slip and Fall Case – Resolved in favor of our Client, for a sum well into the 6 figures
It was a slip and fall accident in a grocery store. Upon initial evaluation, and investigation, it appeared as though the client had no case. There simply was not enough time for the store to discover, and then clean up, what appeared to be the cause of the fall. However, we persisted in our investigation, and formal discovery. We took a number of depositions, and discovered a number of reasons why the defendants should pay for the injuries received by our client. Shortly before trial, the defendants finally offered enough to settle the case.”
Fall on Handicap Ramp – Settlement: High 6 Figures
In this case, the client was walking to the entrance of a gas station, when he fell on a handicap ramp. He received significant injuries to his leg and knee, requiring multiple surgeries. We claimed that the ramp was not up to code. The slope angles on the ramp were too steep, the markings on the ramp were not up to code, etc. There were a number of depositions, and multiple parties were in the case. After much work, the case settled in favor of the client.
Slip and Fall in National Grocery Store – Settlement: 6 Figures
Upon our initial investigation, this case appeared to be one that we would lose. Most of these kinds of cases end up with defense verdicts. However, against all odds, we pursued the case, conducted intensive investigation, and discovery, and were able to show that the grocery store was negligent, and did not do what they said they were supposed to do.
For additional details and premises liability or “slip and fall” case examples visit our “Premises Liability Success Stories” page
Patient Raped by Doctor
In this case, the client was a patient of a medical doctor, who had prescribed multiple prescriptive, and addictive drugs to the client. On one of the patient visits, the doctor had unwanted sexual intercourse with the client/patient. The doctor denied that he had sexual intercourse with the client, and even if he did, the patient/client had consented to the sex. The case settled in favor of the client, shortly before the doctor committed suicide.
Horse Accident – Settlement: 6 Figures
This case arose out of a horseback trail ride. The client, a novice, was thrown from her horse, and received a very significant fracture to her arm. She required the installation of hardware, and had 3 surgeries. She had frozen shoulder, a torn rotator cuff, and scar revision.
When representing the defendants:
- Settled a $12 million dollar case involving an injured car driver
- Obtained a defense verdict for his client, a bartender, in a bar fight where the customer/plaintiff was very seriously injured
- Obtained a defense verdict for his client who was sued by a passenger in his vehicle, when his client rear ended another vehicle, and the passenger/plaintiff received a fractured hip (tried in downtown Los Angeles)
- Obtained a defense verdict for his client, a local City, when the plaintiff ran off the road, and lost the lower use of both legs
- Obtained a defense verdict for his client, a truck driver, when he ran over a pedestrian, and the pedestrian lost the lower portion of one leg (tried in downtown Los Angeles).
- Obtained a defense verdict for his client, when a passenger in the other vehicle died, (tried in downtown Los Angeles)
- Obtained a verdict of $751 for his defendant/client, when his client rear ended the plaintiff, and the plaintiff had back surgery (tried in downtown Los Angeles)
- Obtained a defense verdict for his client, a dialysis patient transporter, when his van stuck a pedestrian, when leaving the dialysis clinic, and the pedestrian/plaintiff fractured his hip (tried in downtown Los Angeles)
- Obtained a defense verdict for his client who rear-ended the plaintiff (admitted negligence), and the plaintiff had neck surgery, and had been out of work for three years
- Obtained a defense verdict for his client, when his client lost control of his vehicle, and hit the plaintiffs head on in their lane
Contact an Experienced and Proven Accident, Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney
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