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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.

Are All-Metal Hip Implants Less Safe Than Traditional Implants?

In a study, the British Medical Journal raised an inquiry into the safety of metal-on-metal hip implants. So has the FDA, which looked at the failure frequency of these medical devices. In short, some doctors and many patients now question the long-term efficacy of metal-on-metal hip implants.

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.

California's 'Open Container' Law for Marijuana

"There is nothing recreational, medicinal or legal about hurting someone in a car accident when you're high. Please don't do it."

- District Attorney Jeff Rosen


Think of this like open container laws for alcohol in cars: Apart from the separate issue of possible DUI charges for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana, both drivers and passengers could be fined $70 for the act itself, that is, of smoking or consuming edibles while in a car.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, this new law mirrors existing law that prohibits drivers and passengers from consuming alcohol while in a car, independent of whether or not they're intoxicated (or the ones doing the driving).

Does CHP Have Bigger Fish to Fry Than Distracted Drivers?

An opinion published in Coastal View News asserts that the California Highway Patrol is "making it worse, not better" - it being road safety.

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"I write to challenge whether the CHP's observation of traffic during rush hour on California Highway 101 in our area is aligned with its stated purposes." The author describes police officers looking for motorists who commit "minor" infractions - drivers with smartphones in their hands, for example - rather than going after bigger fish.

But is smartphone use while driving really just a minor issue?

The Equifax Hack: What's at Risk and What American Consumers Can Do About It

"We need to get to the bottom of this, the murky bottom, the dirty bottom."

- Sen. Chuck Schumer

Want to hold Equifax accountable?

Call 800-401-4530. Join our class action.

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143 million. That's the number of Americans who are now at risk of financial fraud due to the Equifax hack.

To make matters worse, Equifax likely knew about its vulnerability to hackers for at least a month - time enough for a few of its leaders to indulge in possible insider trading, but not fix the problem. The Los Angeles Times reports that three executives sold a large number of Equifax shares to employees within Equifax after the hack came to light, internally, but before the hack was disclosed to the public.

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