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Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Blog

Drunk Driving in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles County in 2014 during the July 4 holiday weekend, there are 45 mapped collisions in which alcohol was a factor (Berkeley Transportation Injury Mapping System)

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Does Los Angeles have a DUI problem?

In a LA Weekly piece dating back to the end of 2012, the headline provocatively accuses everyone in L.A. of driving drunk "all the time." Ignore the deliberate click-bait nature of the headline. Everyone is too strong a word. It doesn't accurately describe Los Angeles drivers, as much as people complain about them.

But the author has a point: "Over a thousand Angelenos got DUIs the week of July 4th [in 2012]. Seriously, Los Angeles. We need to talk. Why must you weave a dangerous game of Russian roulette along the freeways and boulevards every weekend?"

We may (or may not) have a DUI problem, but in a place like Los Angeles, where car culture and drinking culture collide, driving under the influence leads to frequent, often deadly crashes.

Stopping the Driverless Car from Committing a Hit and Run

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After a crash, some drivers are tempted to flee, to hit and run, depending on the circumstances (like driving drunk and fearing criminal charges). Self-driving cars - unless they become self-aware - won't have that temptation. According to Recode, Alphabet (a.k.a. Google, although Google is technically a subsidiary) is working with the police on how to deal with self-driving cars that get into accidents and mishaps.

California Reduces Punishment for HIV Exposure


In our post on the basics of tort law published on Oct. 2, we briefly mentioned unwanted physical touching as one example of wrongful behavior. Somewhat related is unwanted STDs, so to speak, and on that note, CNN reports that California has lowered the penalty for knowingly exposing someone to HIV. Gov. Brown signed Senate Bill 239 on Oct. 6 and the bill will become law in 2018.

The Infamous 'Erin Brockovich' Case over Polluted Groundwater in Hinkley

Erin Brockovich, famed environmental activist

A law clerk by the name of Erin Brockovich rose to fame over her efforts to uncover the reason why so many Hinkley residents were getting sick (and has since gone on to work on other significant environmental and toxic tort cases, often with Girardi | Keese). Her efforts were portrayed by Julia Roberts in the film Erin Brockovich.

As Ms. Brockovich brought to light evidence that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. used toxic "chromium 6" and that it appeared to have been absorbed into groundwater after illegal dumping, the lawyers of Girardi | Keese stepped in to assist Ms. Brockovich and her law firm. In 1996, we helped obtain a $333 million settlement for the residents of Hinkley (and later a second $300 million settlement for additional Hinkley residents with the same personal injury claims).

Ford's Defective Seatbelt

The jury returned a $45 million verdict

This was a products liability case involving our young client, only 12 years old at the time, paralyzed in a crash because of a defective seat belt.

Sadly, cases involving defective seat belts aren't uncommon, and there are similar cases involving Ford Motor Company and other automakers.

Equifax Update: Congress Gets Its Turn with Ex-CEO Richard Smith on What Went Wrong

"Four meetings a year to defend hundreds of millions of people's crucial personal information gets you exactly the type of security posture Equifax had." - Wired

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Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith got his Congressional grilling on Oct. 3 - a hearing that has become almost the inverse of the American dream for people (often powerful or successful people) who have ostensibly achieved it - those who are called to publically testify to account for misbehavior, wrongdoing, negligence, or all of the above.

In Smith's case, the evidence points toward negligence, when considering the Equifax breach.

Do Employees Not Have 'True Liberty' in Their Dealings with Employers?

"There is no true liberty to contract on the part of the employee."

- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Free market principles dictate that people can enter into transactions with each other as they see fit. The "at will" concept - in which an employer can fire an employee without being required to explain why (and an employee can leave his or her job without reason or notice) - aligns with free market principles, those of unfettered supply and demand.

In general, this presumes that employers and workers enter into employment contracts with relatively equal bargaining power - but that is not always, perhaps not usually, true. And if the free market doesn't necessarily demand equal bargaining power between negotiating parties, at least it does require both parties' ability to freely contract, which arguably does not exist in the typical employer-employee relationship.

Law School in Session: The First Lesson about Personal Injury

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Technically Speaking

The first lesson about personal injury law is that technically, it's not called personal injury - it's called tort law. You'll discover this when you first see your class listing for the beginning semester (the typical first-year law student's course load includes contracts, civil procedure, criminal law, and torts, among others). In general, tort law is the law that governs our behavior toward other people in society.

Keith Griffin Wins $15 Million Verdict for Injured Worker

Our client apparently did not deserve a full paycheck because, according to his supervisor, he was "only half a man" after his work-related injuries.

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The trial lasted three weeks.

Girardi | Keese attorney Keith Griffin was co-lead at trial, with Ebby Bakhtiar of Livingston Bakhtiar.

Before the court was a man, our client, a 15-year employee working for a manufacturing company who'd been hurt on the job. He'd had multiple surgeries. He'd had more than one leave of absence. His medical bills were more than $275,000 - paid for by his employer.

At this point, you might ask yourself, what's the problem? Why did this man feel he needed to sue his employer?

There's always more to the story - and this story ends with a $15 million verdict.

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