Absence of Guardrail Costs Jenner, California the Lives of Two Special Children

Caltrans knows cars will go off the road.  Caltrans knows it is more likely that cars will go off the road on curves than on straightaways.  Caltrans knows that cars go off the road for many different reasons, mechanical defects, driver illness, animals or objects in the road causing a vehicle to  swerve, substance on the pavement,  slippery condition after or a during a rain, and driver error.  Caltrans also knows that going off the road presents its own set of dangers.  That is why Caltrans places guardrails.

According to the Caltrans Traffic Manual (2012) section 7-03.1:

Guardrail, installed to reduce the severity of run-off-road collisions, is the most common traffic safety system found on California State Highways.  Guardrail may redirect an errant vehicle and dissipate energy from the collision in some, but not for all cases depending on the sequence of events during the collision.  Although guardrail is itself a fixed object, it may reduce collision severity in situations where it is determined that striking the guardrail is less severe than striking fixed objects or slopes behind the guardrail.

Truck Retreival

In analyzing road safety, Caltrans’ criteria calls for it to determine: “whether a vehicle hitting guardrail is more severe than going over an embankment slope.”  Caltrans even developed a criteria that examined the slope involved and developed what it calls the “Equal Severity Curve”, a tool to determine if it is more or less severe for the occupants to hit a guardrail than go over an embankment.

On August 23, 2016, Sarah Markus, of the tiny hamlet of Jenner, California was driving her pickup on SR 1 taking her two daughters, Kaitlyn, 6, and Hailey, 4, to school in Monte Rio. The road was wet with drizzle that locals call “heavy fog”.  Within a minute of leaving home, Markus lost control on SR 1 and plunged down a 40-foot embankment into the Russian river.  Frantically she tried to get her daughters and herself out of the submerged vehicle, but both girls tragically lost their lives.

Victims

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, in 2010, a 62-year-old Agoura Hills woman drove into the river at the same point from Jenner, apparently missing the left curve into town.

I am familiar with this area.  I have kayaked in the river below the road.  I was there three weeks ago.  Most people riding past the area would see the need for a guardrail that clearly meets the criteria of Caltrans.

The Brandi Law Firm has represented a number of people injured by Caltrans failing to provide the protective measures called for by sound traffic engineering and its own standards, including failure to have median barriers, guardrails, improper pavement, inadequate striping, inadequate signage, or simply not doing proper maintenance.  Many accidents on our highways are preventable, and not just by better driving, but by following appropriate engineering standards.  In this case, Caltrans knew cars go off the road, knew of at least one other incident at the same area, and knew that a guardrail at this location would save lives.  If a guardrail had been present, most likely the only result would have been a scraped vehicle and scary stories to tell instead of the destruction of a family.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto crash, our attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm are available to consult with you.  Please contact our office at 800-481-1615 or email us.

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Is there a Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer?

Recently, there has been increasing medical evidence that suggests that women should not use talcum powder as an intimate hygiene substance because of its links to ovarian cancer.

As early as 1971, scientists suggested that there may be a connection with using talcum powder as a hygienic cleanser.  Researchers believed that talc particles could enter the reproductive tract and travel to the ovaries.  Additional studies have found a link connecting the powder with ovarian cancer as a cause and effect relationship.

The most recent study was completed in June 2013 published by the Cancer Prevention Research by reviewing data from previous research papers involving a sample of 2,000 women.  The results showed an increased risk of ovarian cancer between 20 to 30 percent for women who use talcum powder for intimate personal hygiene.

In May 2016, a jury rendered a verdict for a 62 year-old South Dakota woman for $55 million.  In February 2016, a jury rendered $72 million verdict for a family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer.  In both cases, plaintiffs alleged that defendant Johnson & Johnson’s product “Shower-to-Shower” caused the ovarian cancer in these women.

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Brandi Lawyers Recognized by Peers with Awards and Accolades

Over the past several years, The Brandi Law Firm and its attorneys have been recognized as one of the top Plaintiffs’ firms in California and throughout the U.S.  Below are just some of the accolades are attorney have received:

THOMAS J. BRANDI

  • Best Lawyers since 1995 for Mass Tort Ligation and Personal Injury Litigation
  • Best Lawyers 2013 Personal Injury Trial Lawyer of the Year
  • Top Ten Super Lawyers in 2013 and 2014
  • Top 25 Plaintiff attorney in California (Daily Journal 2015)
  • The Brandi Law Firm is Best Lawyers’ Tier One Nationally in Mass Tort Ligation and Class Actions-Plaintiffs

DANIEL DELL’OSSO

  • Best Lawyers 2017 Product Liability Litigation Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers 2012 Personal Injury Litigation Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers since 2011

CASEY KAUFMAN

  • Super Lawyers Northern California Rising Stars 2009-2015
  • Super Lawyers 2016, 2017
  • Best Lawyers since 2014

BRIAN MALLOY

  • Super Lawyers Northern California Rising Stars 2010-2014
  • Super Lawyers 2016, 2017
  • Best Lawyers 2016, 2017

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San Mateo Jury Finds State of California Liable Despite No Prior Accidents on Roadway

The Brandi Law Firm recently obtained a verdict in San Mateo County on behalf of a young woman who was injured when the car she was traveling in was struck by a crossover vehicle.  That crossover vehicle had been stopped and waiting for a break in traffic to turn left when it was struck from behind.  We contended that the failure to provide a protected left hand turn pocket was created a dangerous condition, and the jury agreed delivering a verdict of $12,344,723.

Despite a complete lack of prior accident history since 1990, the jury held that the State of California was accountable for the dangerous condition on the roadway.  Prior accidents has often been a threshold standard for dangerous condition cases against public entities.

Even without a history of accidents, the jury still found that the wrongful conduct of the State of California’s employees acting within the scope of their employment created the dangerous condition by failing to adhere applicable design principles in 1990 when the State redesigned the taper at the accident location.  The jury further concluded that the State’s act or failure to act was not reasonable under the circumstances.

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VW Class Action Moves Closer to Resolution

On July 26, 2016, United States District Court Judge Charles Breyer issued a Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Settlement.  The Court found “the Settlement is sufficiently fair, adequate, and reasonable to the 2.0 liter diesel vehicle consumers to move forward with class notice.”

The history of this litigation is well chronicled in many sources, with others telling the story of VW installing “defeat devices that result in rendering inoperative certain elements of the vehicles emission control system thus evading United States’ EPA and California (CARB) emissions standards.  The result was VW obtained Certificates of Conformity from EPA and Executive Orders from CARB for its 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesel engines when in fact these engines release nitrogen oxide up to up 40 times  over the allowable limit.

Over a six-year period VW sold over 500,000 of these diesels with these devices thereby evading laws designed to protect the environment resulting in greater harm to the environment.

The Order of Judge Breyer contains an excellent review of the facts.

Who Is Covered?

The proposed Settlement Class consists of a nationwide class of all persons (including individuals and entities) who, on September 18, 2015, were registered owners or lessees of, or, in the case of Non-Volkswagen Dealers, held title to or held by bill of sale dated on or before September 18, 2015, a Volkswagen or Audi 2.0-liter TDI vehicle in the United States or its territories (an “Eligible Vehicle”), or who, between September 18, 2015, and the end of the Claim Period, become a registered owner of, or, in the case of Non-Volkswagen Dealers, hold title to or hold by bill of sale dated after September 18, 2015, but before the end of the Claims Period, an Eligible Vehicle in the United States or its territories.  (Dkt. No. 1685 ¶ 2.16.)

“Eligible Vehicles” consist of Model Year 2009 through 2015 Volkswagen and Audi light-duty vehicles equipped with 2.0-liter TDI engines that are (1) covered, or purported to be covered, by the EPA Test Groups in the table immediately below this paragraph; (2) registered with a state Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent agency or held by bill of sale by a non-Volkswagen Dealer in the United States or its territories as of June 28, 2016; (3) for an Eligible Owner, currently Operable or cease to be Operable only after the Opt-Out Deadline; and (4) have not been modified pursuant to an Approved Emissions Modification.

What are the Consumer Remedies?

The Settlement gives Class Members choices as to remedies.  Eligible Owners have two options: Volkswagen will pay cash (“Owner Restitution”) and either (1) buy the Class Member’s Eligible Vehicle at its pre-defeat device disclosure value, (“the Buyback”) or (2) fix the Class Member’s vehicle when and if EPA and CARB approve an emissions modification (a “Fix”).

What is Your Car Worth Under the Proposed Settlement?

Base Value and Vehicle Value

The amount of cash a Class Member receives depends on an Eligible Vehicle’s Base Value or Vehicle Value.  Base Value refers to, where available, the Clean Trade value of the vehicle based on the National Automobile Dealers Association (“NADA”) Vehicle Identification Code (“VIC”) for each Eligible Vehicle in the September 2015 NADA Used Car Guide published in or around August 2015.  (Dkt. No. 1685 ¶ 2.5; Dkt. No. 1685-1 ¶ 11.)  In some instances, like with Model Year 2015 Eligible Vehicles, no value was published by NADA as of September 2015. For those Eligible Vehicles, the Base Value is calculated by multiplying the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (“MSRP”) for each individual vehicle by 0.717. (Id. (both).)  The 0.717 figure is the ratio of average September 2015 Clean Trade values to average MSRPs for Model Year 2015 Passats. (Dkt. No. 1685-1 ¶ 11.)

Restitution Calculation

Eligible Owners who purchased their Eligible Vehicles before September 18, 2015 are entitled to a minimum Restitution Payment of $5,100.  (Dkt. No. 1685-1 ¶ 5(a); Dkt. No. 1685-3 at 2.)  Restitution is calculated by adding (1) 20% of the Vehicle Value plus (2) the greater of $2,986.73 or the amount necessary to ensure that Owner Restitution is not less than $5,100.  (Dkt. No. 1685-1 ¶ 5(a).)  In some cases, Eligible Owners will receive more than the minimum $5,100 to as much as $10,000.  (See id.)  Eligible Owners who purchased their Eligible Vehicles after September 18, 2015 are entitled to 50% of Owner Restitution as calculated above, plus a share of an unused portion of the funds set aside to pay Seller Restitution as discussed below.

What is Claims Process?

The Settlement sets forth a five-step Claims Program, and Class Members have from the date of entry of this Order until September 1, 2018 to submit a claim.

There is a lot more to this process than set out above. Claimants should read the Order thoroughly and go to the Claims portal or visit (www.VWCourtSettlement.com) and register at the Online Claims Portal.  There, Class Members provide their (1) name; (2) contact information, including email, mailing address, and phone number; (3) address of vehicle registration; (4) Vehicle Identification Number (“VIN”); (5) vehicle mileage, if the Class Member is a current owner or lessee; and (6) information regarding vehicle financing, i.e., whether the Class Member is a current owner or lessee.  (Dkt. No. 1685-4 ¶ 1(a).)  The Claims Portal will display individualized preliminary offers for each Class Member.  (Id.)  Alternatively, Class Members can call 1-844-98-CLAIM and provide the same information to receive their individualized preliminary offers.

Can I Opt Out?

Yes the opt out provisions are set forth on page 11, “Class Members may request exclusion from the Settlement by mailing a signed, written request stating their desire in clear and unambiguous language, such as “I wish to exclude myself from the Class in In re Volkswagen ‘Clean Diesel’ Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, No. 15-md-2672,” to the Notice Administrator on or before the Opt-Out Deadline of September 16, 2016.  (Id. ¶ 6.1.)  The written request must also include (1) the Class Member’s printed name, address, and telephone number; (2) VIN of the Eligible Vehicle; (3) a statement as to whether the class member is an Eligible Owner, Eligible Lessee, or Eligible Seller; and (4) the dates of the Class Member’s ownership or lease of the Eligible Vehicle”

What if You Object to the Proposed Settlement?

You must submit your objection by September 16, 2016. See page

The final fairness hearing will be held on October 18, 2016 at 8 am in Courtroom 6, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California.  The deadline for Class Members to file a Notice of Intent to Appear at final fairness hearing is October 4, 2016.

There is a lot more to this process than set out above.  Claimants should read the Order thoroughly and go to the Claims portal or visit (www.VWCourtSettlement.com).

The Brandi Law Firm

San Francisco personal injury lawyers at The Brandi Law Firm have secured more than $1.5 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients as a result of hard work coupled with skilled negotiation and aggressive litigation.  Based in San Francisco, The Brandi Law Firm represents clients throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada, where our quality of work is second to none.

Trademark Notice

Volkswagen is a registered trademark of Volkswagen Group.  The use of this trademark is solely for product identification and informational purposes.  Volkswagen Group is not affiliated with this website, and Volkswagen Group has no affiliation with The Brandi Law Firm.  Nothing on this site has been authorized or approved by Volkswagen Group.

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Toyota Recalls 3.37 Million Vehicles Globally Due to Defective Side Airbags and Emission Control Units

2012 Toyota Prius 2

2012 Toyota Prius

Toyota has announced that it will recall 3.37 vehicles globally, because of two separate defects – one for defective side air bags and one for an emissions control unit issue.  Approximately 932,000 vehicles involved in the airbag recall are also effected by the emissions control unit recall.

The first recall affects 1.43 million Prius hybrids, Prius plug-ins, and Lexus CT200h vehicles manufactured between October 2008 and April 2012.  The problem is with defective side curtain airbag inflators that were installed on both the driver and passenger sides of the affected vehicles.  Sweden-based auto safety maker Autoliv Inc created the airbag inflators involved in the recall; not Takada who has been under the microscope with massive recalls affecting tens of millions of vehicles.  A small crack in the inflators has been discovered that may expand, which causes the air bags to partially inflate.  Toyota is aware of seven incidents where a side curtain airbag has partially inflated in the affected vehicles.  This recall affects Prius hybrids, Prius plug-ins, and Lexus CT200h vehicles manufactured between October 2008 and April 2012.  Approximately 495,000 of the affected vehicles are in North America.

Click here to read the full Reuters article:  Toyota recalls 3.37 million cars over airbag, emissions control issues

The second recalls affects Prius models, Corolla, and Lexus HS250h and CT200h vehicles that were manufactured from April 2006 through August 2015.  None of the 2.87 million vehicles affected by this recall are in North America.  The recall stems from the evaporative fuel emission control units, which are more susceptible to cracks.  These cracks can lead to fuel leaks within the vehicle, increasing the risk of a fire.

Americans rely on manufacturers to provide a safe well-designed product.  Sadly, that is not often the case.  The Auto Defect Attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm have successfully represented many people injured from defective autos such as Toyotas, Fords, Chryslers, Hondas, GM, and their component parts. Additionally, we have successfully represented people injured by defective helmets, bicycles, motorcycles, fuel pumps, brakes, car seats, seat belts, air bags, table saws, pumps, industrial machinery used in the workplace, barbeques, heating systems, and numerous other household and industrial products.

Often times, people involved in accidents do not examine the issues of defective product design, the risks inherent in the design, feasible alternatives, and appropriate warnings. In a car accident, we examine whether the car was truly crashworthy – does it contain the appropriate crash protection. In accidents where someone strikes a guardrail, people often do not consider the guardrail may be unsafe, installed improperly, or whether there is a contributing factor in the roadway design leading to a dangerous condition. We have represented a number of people seriously injured in these types of accidents involving dangerous conditions of roads and crashworthy vehicles.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto crash, our attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm are available to consult with you.  Please contact our office at 800-481-1615 or email us.

Trademark Notice

Toyota is a registered trademark of Toyota Motor Corporation.  The use of this trademark is solely for product identification and informational purposes.  Toyota Motor Corporation is not affiliated with this website, and Toyota Motor Corporation has no affiliation with The Brandi Law Firm.  Nothing on this site has been authorized or approved by Toyota Motor Corporation.

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BMW Recalls 210,161 Vehicles in Two Separate Recalls

2016 BMW X3

2016 BMW X3

BMW will recall over 200,000 vehicles due to automobile defects in two separate recalls.

The first recall involves the front driveshaft universal joint.  The problem is that the joint fails to keep out water and debris from getting in.  When the driveshaft is exposed to water and debris, the joint becomes damaged and worn, which could eventually lead to the shaft failing and breaking.  If the front universal joint fails, the front wheels would stop working.  Additionally, a broken front universal joint may damage other vehicle components.

The affected models include the xDrive 35i, the xDrive 50i, the X5 M, X6 xDrive 35i, X6 xDrive50i, x6 M, X6 Active Hybrid all from their 2011 model year.  These vehicles were manufactured from April 7, 2010 to November 20, 2010.

BMW will notify owners, and dealers will the front driveshaft, free of charge.  The recall is expected to begin on July 1, 2016.  Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.

The other recall affects 2011 to 2017 model year X3 models, and 2015 to 2017 model year X4 models.  The X3 models were manufactured between March 10, 2014 to March 31, 2016.  The X4 vehicles were made March 3, 12014 to April 15, 2016/.

Click here to read the full recall description: BMW recall car restraint

The issue involves the lower anchor bars on the BMW which are used primarily for securing child restrain seats.  It was discovered that drivers who use the European-ISOFIX-type child restraint system, which use a rigid style connector, may become damaged when using the lower anchor bars when securing the car seat.

BMW will notify owners, and dealers will wield a reinforcing bracket to the lower anchor bars and the vehicle body, free of charge.  The recall is expected to begin on July 12, 2016.  Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.

Americans rely on manufacturers to provide a safe well-designed product.  Sadly, that is not often the case.  The Auto Defect Attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm have successfully represented many people injured from defective autos such as Toyotas, Fords, Chryslers, Hondas, GM, and their component parts. Additionally, we have successfully represented people injured by defective helmets, bicycles, motorcycles, fuel pumps, brakes, car seats, seat belts, air bags, table saws, pumps, industrial machinery used in the workplace, barbeques, heating systems, and numerous other household and industrial products.

Often times, people involved in accidents do not examine the issues of defective product design, the risks inherent in the design, feasible alternatives, and appropriate warnings. In a car accident, we examine whether the car was truly crashworthy – does it contain the appropriate crash protection. In accidents where someone strikes a guardrail, people often do not consider the guardrail may be unsafe, installed improperly, or whether there is a contributing factor in the roadway design leading to a dangerous condition. We have represented a number of people seriously injured in these types of accidents involving dangerous conditions of roads and crashworthy vehicles.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto crash, our attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm are available to consult with you.  Please contact our office at 800-481-1615 or email us.

Trademark Notice

BMW is a registered trademark of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.  The use of this trademark is solely for product identification and informational purposes.  Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is not affiliated with this website, and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG has no affiliation with the Brandi Law Firm.  Nothing on this site has been authorized or approved by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.

 

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8 Automobile Manufacturers Recall 12 Million Vehicles due to Takata Air Bag Defect

The largest recall in automobile safety history has become even bigger.

Honda, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, General Motors, and Ford have added on to the continuing recall of the Takata air bag inflators’ defect by recalling an additional 12 million vehicles.  This time the new recall affects passenger-side air bag inflators.  Previously, prior recalls were for frontal inflators.

Takata Air Bag

The problem with the air bags is with the inflators, which have exploded when involved in accidents causing shards of sharp metal into the vehicle.  Takata reports that manufacturing problems, together with exposure to moisture in cars in humid regions, can cause the propellant to degrade.  This causes the propellant to burn too strongly when the airbag is deployed, and ruptures the inflator.  In May 2015, Takata finally acknowledged the obvious and admitted that their airbags were defective.

Click here to read the full article:  Automakers recall 12 million U.S. vehicles over Takata airbags

Since 2008, approximately 24 million U.S. vehicles have been recalled due to this Takata air bag defect.  Approximately 2.3 million vehicles in this recall were previously recalled for the driver side inflator recalls.

Interestingly, of these 24 million cars that have been recalled, only approximately 1/3 of the defective inflators have been replaced.

Finally, Takata will announce as many as 40 million additional air bag inflators defective by 2019, which will involve 17 automakers.

Americans rely on manufacturers to provide a safe well-designed product.  Sadly, that is not often the case.  The Auto Defect Attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm have successfully represented many people injured from defective autos such as Toyotas, Fords, Chryslers, Hondas, GM, and their component parts. Additionally, we have successfully represented people injured by defective helmets, bicycles, motorcycles, fuel pumps, brakes, car seats, seat belts, air bags, table saws, pumps, industrial machinery used in the workplace, barbeques, heating systems, and numerous other household and industrial products.

Often times, people involved in accidents do not examine the issues of defective product design, the risks inherent in the design, feasible alternatives, and appropriate warnings. In a car accident, we examine whether the car was truly crashworthy – does it contain the appropriate crash protection. In accidents where someone strikes a guardrail, people often do not consider the guardrail may be unsafe, installed improperly, or whether there is a contributing factor in the roadway design leading to a dangerous condition. We have represented a number of people seriously injured in these types of accidents involving dangerous conditions of roads and crashworthy vehicles.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto crash, our attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm are available to consult with you.  Please contact our office at 800-481-1615 or email us.

Trademark Notice

Takata is a registered trademark of Takata Corporation.  The use of this trademark is solely for product identification and informational purposes.  Takata Corporation is not affiliated with this website, and Takata Corporation has no affiliation with The Brandi Law Firm.  Nothing on this site has been authorized or approved by Takata Corporation.

 

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San Mateo Jury Holds State Accountable for a Dangerous Condition on SR 1

The Brandi Law Firm is pleased to announce that Thomas J. Brandi and Jason Friedman obtained a verdict in San Mateo County on behalf of a young San Franciscan woman against the State of California on May 2, 2016 after three full days of deliberation and 25 days of trial.  The verdict allocated fault against the State and two drivers.  No fault was placed on Plaintiff. The total verdict is $12,344,723, consisting of $843,685 past economic loss, $4,001,038 future economic loss, $2.5 million past pain and suffering, and $5 million future pain and suffering.  Boris Efron and Gail Lamchick of the Law Offices of Boris Efron were co-counsel.

SR 1 near Pie Ranch is two lanes in each direction with a passing lane that transitions back to one lane.  Plaintiff contended the State failed to follow applicable design principles in 1990 when designing the taper from two lanes back to one so that speeding cars coming out of a passing lane were funneled into vehicles stopping or slowing to turn left at the Green Oaks Way entrance to Pie Ranch.  Plaintiff contended there should have been a left turn lane at the intersection.  The State contended there was no dangerous condition relying on no other accidents from 1990 to the date of this accident and only one other accident after at this location.

On June 21, 2008, a vehicle was stopped on SR 1 to turn left onto Green Oaks Way when the driver saw a vehicle approaching at a high rate of speed coming out of the passing area.  Fearful of being struck, the driver started to move the vehicle to the right when the approaching vehicle hit its left rear and was sent across the double yellow lines into the car driven by Cindy, 29, and in which her boyfriend of nine years was a passenger.  He was killed and Cindy suffered serious orthopedic injuries resulting in multiple past surgeries, and future surgeries for a likely fused foot, knee replacements, and future surgery on her hips and shoulder and chronic pain.

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Thomas Brandi and Daniel Dell’Osso Nominated by SFTLA for Trial Lawyers of the Year

The San Francisco Trial Lawyers Annual Trial Lawyer of the Year awards dinner will be held on April 7, 2016.  Among this year’s four finalists are Dan Dell’Osso and Tom Brandi for their work in Clarke v. State of California, where a Santa Clara jury awarded $26 million to Talbot Clarke for the injuries she sustained as result of a dangerous condition at the signalized intersection at the entrance to the University of Santa Clara.

For Dan Dell’Osso, it is his second time being nominated for this prestigious award.  His first nomination was for his extraordinary verdict in Pierson v. Ford where he secured an $18 million award for Dax Pierson for a defective automobile design.  For Tom Brandi, this is the fifth time he has been nominated in the sixteen-year history of the award.

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