Izumi v. House of Imports, et al. (05CC06984)

Hon. Mary Fingal Schulte-Orange County Superior Court

ATTORNEYS

Plaintiffs: Julia Kemp, Esq. (Law Offices of Julia A. Kemp); Joel Tamraz, Esq. (Law Offices of Joel Tamraz)

Defendants: Elizabeth L. Kolar, Esq. (Kolar & Associates)

FACTS:

This case involves a motor vehicle accident that occurred June 12, 2003.  Plaintiff Steven Izumi was driving his vehicle and was rear-ended by defendant, Stanley Pope (an employee of Defendant, House of Imports).

PLAINTIFFS’ CONTENTIONS: Plaintiff contended that Defendants were negligent and caused him to suffer neck injuries, including, dissection of the vertebral artery which would allegedly require future surgery. Plaintiff also contended that he could no longer engage in his occupation as a landscaper.

DEFENDANTS’ CONTENTIONS: Defendants contend that its employee was not negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Defendants further contend that plaintiff’s injuries were unrelated / pre-existing injuries and, therefore, not causally related to the accident.

PRIOR SETTLEMENT DEMANDS:  Plaintiff demanded $450,000. Defendants offered $45,000.

RESULT: A jury trial resulted in a defense verdict in favor of Defendants, House of Imports and Stanley Pope.

Oregel v. Power Chevrolet El Monte, et al. (KC049475)

Hon. Robert A. Dukes-Los Angeles County Superior Court, Pomona Courthouse

MOTOR VEHICLE

Property Damage

Personal Injury

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiff-Brian Brandt, Esq. (Law Offices of Brian Brandt, Upland)

Defendant, Power Chevrolet El Monte- Elizabeth L. Kolar, Esq. (Kolar & Associates)

FACTS: On January 5, 2005, Defendant Samuel Chin (during the course of employment) was driving a van owned by Power Chevrolet El Monte.  Mr. Chin had approached a green light at an intersection and was going to make a left turn.  As Mr. Chin was making his turn, Plaintiff’s vehicle entered the intersection and Mr. Chin collided with Plaintiff’s vehicle.

Plaintiff alleged that Mr. Chin’s negligence caused him to suffer a broken knee cap and other physical injuries.  Plaintiff also alleged he would need future knee replacement surgery.  Lastly, he claimed loss of earnings as a result of the accident.  Plaintiff claimed $50,000 in personal injuries and $700,000 in pain and suffering.

Defendant’s alleged that the Plaintiff was contributarily negligent in causing the accident and in causing his own injuries by not wearing his seat belt.

SETTLEMENT OFFERS/DEMANDS:  Plaintiff demanded $750,000.  Defendant’s highest offer was $225,000.

RESULT:  After an 8 day jury trial, a favorable verdict was reached on January 30, 2008.  The jury found that Sam Chin was 90% responsible and Martin Oregel was 10% responsible and awarded Plaintiff only $94,405.50 which was significantly lower than Defendant’s Offer of $225,000.  Since Plaintiff did not beat Defendant’s Offer, Defendant was awarded costs in the amount of $32,206.64 resulting in a net payment to Plaintiff of only $64.799.78.

Ryvkin v. Land Rover Encino, et al. (LC070325)

The Honorable Michael Harwin, Los Angeles County Superior Court-Van Nuys

PRODUCTS LIABILITY:

Negligence

Wrongful Death

PARTIES/ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiffs, Susan Ryvkin, Alisha Ryvkin (Minor through Guardian Ad-Litem), and Zachary Ryvkin (Minor through Guardian Ad-Litem) were represented by Adam K. Shea, Esq.  and Debra Chang, Esq. (Panish, Shea & Boyle, LLP)

Defendant, Land Rover Encino was represented by Elizabeth L. Kolar, Esq. (Kolar & Associates) and Greg Amundson, Esq. (Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman)

FACTS:

On January 18, 2003, Decedent Leon Ryvkin and his wife Susan Ryvkin were driving to Las Vegas.  Decedent Leon Ryvkin was driving northbound on the 405 Freeway in a 2002 Land Rover Discovery II.  Plaintiff alleged that the vehicle began to fishtail causing it to rollover twice.  The CHP found that Leo Ryvkin caused the rollover by oversteering in response to a right rear tire disablement.  Neither the decedent nor his passenger (his wife, Susan) were wearing their seat belts. Decedent was ejected from the vehicle, receiving fatal injuries to his head. Susan Ryvkin was thrown to the back of the vehicle, but only received minor injuries.

PLAINTIFFS’ CONTENTIONS:  Plaintiffs alleged Land Rover Encino was negligent in servicing and repairing the SUV two days before the accident. Plaintiffs alleged that Land Rover Encino failed to inspect the right rear tire in response to Plaintiff’s ABS brake complaint.  Plaintiffs further alleged that the service writer failed to write down plaintiffs’ alleged complaints that the vehicle was shaking and vibrating.

DEFENDANT’S CONTENTIONS:  Defendant denied that Plaintiff made any complaint of shaking or vibration.  Instead, Plainitffs only complained that the ABS went on with normal braking.  Defense argued that the service and repairs performed by Land Rover Encino were not a substantial cause of the accident because there was no way that the Plaintiff could have driven an additional 80 miles after leaving Land Rover Encino with 2 allegedly rear flat tires with 5 psi or less.  Defense further argued that the decedent caused his own fatal injuries when he was ejected from the vehicle because he was not wearing a seat belt.  Finally, the defense argued that the SUV rolled over due to the decedent’s over steering and braking of the vehicle in response to the rear right tire disablement as opposed to the failure of the right rear tire.

PRIOR SETTLEMENT OFFERS/DEMANDS:

Plaintiffs demanded $2 million; Land Rover Encino offered $150,000.

OUTCOME-DEFENSE VERDICT:

(As to Land Rover Encino) Jury trial began on April 24, 2008 and a defense verdict was reached on June 17, 2008.

Jury found Land Rover Encino’s negligence was not a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiffs and awarded a defense verdict in favor of Land Rover Encino.  Plaintiffs were awarded no damages.  Following post trial motions, Defendant, Land Rover Encino was awarded $178,000 in costs against Plaintiffs by the Court.

Gonzales v. Don Kott Chrysler Jeep, et al (TC021541)

Hon. Josh Fredericks, Los Angeles County Superior Court-Compton

PREMISES LIABILITY:

Negligence

Personal Injury

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiffs, Gladys and Frank Gonzales-Jack Denove, Cheong, Denove, Rowell & Bennett

Defendant, Don Kott Chrysler Jeep- Elizabeth L. Kolar, Kolar & Associates

FACTS & CONTENTIONS:

Plaintiffs were at Don Kott Ford on November 26, 2005 to purchase a vehicle with their children.  Plaintiff, Gladys Gonzales was walking down a hallway and alleged she fell down two stairs sustaining a knee injury which ultimately resulted in arthroscopic surgery and knee replacement surgery.  Plaintiffs contend that the stairs did not meet the applicable building codes, that the stairs posed a dangerous condition and that there was inadequate lighting in the hallway.  Defendants argued that there were no code violations but, even if there were, they were not the cause of Plaintiffs’ injuries because: 1) the stairs were open and obvious and there were visual cues regarding the presence of the steps and; and 2) the hallway was well lit.

DAMAGES:

Ms. Gonzales claimed she had $140,646.51 in past medicals.  Plaintiffs asked the jury to award $750,000 for past and future medicals, pain and suffering and loss of consortium.

DEMANDS/OFFERS:

Plaintiffs demanded $450,000 pre-trial.  Defendant made a settlement offer of $5,000 to Gladys Gonzales pre-trial.

OUTCOME:

Defense Verdict.  Jury found that the dealership was not negligent in the maintenance of its premises.

Antonelli v. BMW of Mountain View, et al. (107CV082503)

Hon. Brian Walsh, Santa Clara County Superior Court

PREMISES LIABILITY:

Negligence

Personal Injury

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiff, Donna Antonelli-Mary Alexander and Jennifer Fiore

(Mary Alexander & Associates, San Francisco)

Defendants, BMW of Mountain View and Mini of Mountain View- Elizabeth L. Kolar (Kolar & Associates, Santa Ana)

FACTS & CONTENTIONS:

Plaintiff claims she stepped off a curb and fell due to an unsafe condition of the premises causing her to suffer a broken hip.  There were no witnesses to Plaintiff’s fall.  Defendants denied all allegations as the curb was clearly painted yellow and there was no dangerous or unsafe condition.

DAMAGES:

Plaintiff claimed $110,000 for past and future medicals plus $400,000 for pain and suffering.

DEMANDS/OFFERS:

At both the pre-trial phase and at trial, Plaintiff’s demand was $500,000.  Defendants’ highest offer was $1,000.

OUTCOME:

A 6 day jury trial began on December 8, 2008.  After only an hour of deliberations, the jury reached a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Defendants, BMW of Mountain View and Mini of Mountain View.

Hernandez v. Mercedes-Benz South Bay (BC374359)

Hon. Ralph Dau, Los Angeles County Superior Court

CONSUMER LAW:

Consumer Fraud

Breach of Implied Warranties pursuant to Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act

Magnuson-Moss Consumer Warranty Act

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiff, Elizabeth Hernandez

Robert Wiener, Esq. (Brennan, Wiener & Associates)

Defendant, Mercedes-Benz South Bay

Elizabeth L. Kolar, Esq. (Kolar & Associates, Santa Ana)

Defendant, Mercedes-Benz USA

Ron Frank, Esq. (Burke Williams, Los Angeles)

FACTS & CONTENTIONS:

Plaintiff Elizabeth Hernandez purchased a used 1999Mercedes-Benz CLK320 from Mercedes-Benz South Bay on May 29, 2004. The vehicle was sold to Plaintiff as a “Starmark” certified pre-owned vehicle. Plaintiff claims the vehicle was sold to her with frame damage and mechanical defects. She further alleged that since the vehicle was a “Starmark” certified pre-owned vehicle, this meant that the car had not been in any prior accidents.  She felt that the dealership should have disclosed all prior accidents, prior owners, and damage to vehicle. Defendant Mercedes-Benz South Bay and Mercedes-Benz USA denied liability.

DEMANDS/OFFER:

Plaintiff requested rescission of the contract ($52,000) and consequential damages of over $15,000. Her attorneys requested attorneys’ fees of over $75,000.

OUTCOME:

The jury reached a defense verdict in favor of Defendants, Mercedes-Benz South Bay and Mercedes-Benz USA. Defendants also obtained a judgment against Plaintiff in the amount of $19,500 following their defense verdict.

L’Herault v. Honda of Santa Monica (BC374359)

Hon. Jacqueline Connor, Los Angeles County Superior Court

MOTOR VEHICLE:

Personal Injury

Property Damage

Motor Vehicle Negligence

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiff, John Paul L’Herault

Mark Levine, Esq. (The Levine Law Firm, Encino)

Defendants, Honda of Santa Monica, Ivan Gallegos, and Sonic Automotive

Elizabeth L. Kolar, Esq. (Kolar & Associates, Santa Ana)

FACTS & CONTENTIONS:

The case involved a motor vehicle v. motorcycle accident. The Plaintiff, L’Herault, contended he had the right of way down an alley and that Defendant, Gallegos, a dealership employee, pulled out in front of him causing him to suffer personal injuries resulting in back surgery. Defendants disputed that they were negligent and further argued that the Plaintiff was speeding and failed to take any precautions to avoid the accident. Defendants also contended that the surgery was the result of pre-existing injuries unrelated to the accident.

DAMAGES:

Plaintiff claimed damages for medical expenses, property damage, general damages, wage loss and loss of earning capacity in excess of $200,000.

DEMANDS/OFFER:

Plaintiff’s demand was $650,000. Defendants offered $5,000.

OUTCOME:

Defense verdict for the dealership and an award of costs in their favor and against the Plaintiff.

Pell v. Power Ford Huntington Beach (07CC07598)

Hon. Peter Poulos -Orange County Superior Court, Central Justice Center

MOTOR VEHICLE:

Fraud

Violation of California Vehicle Code

Violation of Consumer Legal Remedies Act

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Unfair Competition

False Advertising

Declaratory Relief

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiff, Charles Edward Pell- Allen Patatanyan, Esq. (YARIAN & PATATANYAN, Glendale)

Defendant, Power Ford Huntington Beach- Elizabeth L. Kolar, Esq. (KOLAR & ASSOCIATES)

FACTS:

On July 5, 2004, Mr. Pell went to the dealership to purchase a Ford F-150 truck he had seen in a newspaper advertisement showing the vehicle’s price as $21,777 after a dealership discount and factory rebate.  Plaintiff had a disagreement with dealership over a claimed Ford Motor Company financing rebate and military discount.  The dealership applied the $750.00 military discount but there were no other rebates or discounts available.  Defendant refused to buy the car because the dealership would not give him any additional rebates and then sued for the difference in the price of that vehicle and a subsequently purchased on.  He also sought emotional distress and punitive damages.

SETTLEMENT OFFERS/DEMANDS:

Plaintiff offered to settle the matter for $15,000 pre-trial.  Defendant’s highest offer prior to trial was $5,000.

 

JURY TRIAL:

Defense verdict in 22 minutes.  Defendants were awarded and collected costs in the amount of $2,483.74.

McDade v. Advantage Infiniti, et al.

Binding Arbitration with Judge Robert J. Polis

Judicate West case no. A128396-28

EMPLOYMENT LAW:

Wrongful Termination

Wage and Hour violations

Discrimination

Sexual Harassment

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiff, Shereen McDade was represented by Heather Appleton, Esq.

(APPLETON, MAGNANIMO & DEAN, LLP)

Defendants, Advantage Infiniti of Santa Monica and Thomas Jude Holterhoff were represented by Elizabeth L. Kolar, Esq.

(KOLAR & ASSOCIATES)

FACTS & CONTENTIONS:

Plaintiff worked for the dealership for approximately 4.5 months.  During that time, she was reprimanded numerous times for breaking various rules, including taking keys to dealership vehicles home, taking extended test drives and leaving the premises for meal breaks without clocking out.  She also alleges she suffered a workplace injury and that when she made a workers compensation claim she was fired in retaliation.

 

Plaintiff’s allegations of discrimination based on sex, age, disability, her claim for sexual harassment, violation of Business & Professions Code §17200, intentional infliction of emotional distress, failure to accommodate disability, and failure to engage in the interactive process were dismissed via summary adjudication.

 

The remaining issues heard at arbitration included Plaintiff’s claims for failure to pay wages, failure to provide rest and meal periods, retaliation, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and negligence per se.

 

DEMANDS/OFFERS:

Plaintiff demanded $500,000.00 then lowered her demand to $199,999.99.  Defendant made a settlement offer of $50,000 to Ms. McDade prior to binding arbitration.

 

OUTCOME-DEFENSE VERDICT:

Advantage Infiniti received a full defense verdict and as Defendants were prevailing parties they were awarded $4,811.61 in costs.

 

Williamson v. BMW of Fremont (RG07358760)

Hon. David Hunter – Alameda County Superior Court

CONSUMER LAW:

Consumer Legal Remedies Act

Intentional Misrepresentation/Concealment of Material Facts

Negligent Misrepresentation/Concealment

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiff, MaryAnn Williamson

Daniel L. Casas, Esq. (Casas Riley & Simonian, LLP – Los Altos, CA)

Defendant, BMW of Fremont

Elizabeth L. Kolar, Esq. (Kolar & Associates- Santa Ana, CA)

FACTS:

Plaintiff, MaryAnn Williamson purchased a “certified pre-owned” BMW X5 in January 2004. Plaintiff alleged that the car was never properly CPO certified and/or should not have been CPO certified because of alleged pre-existing engine problems. BMW of Fremont denied Plaintiff’s allegations.

COURT TRIAL:

Defense verdict in favor of BMW of Fremont plus attorneys fees and costs against Plaintiff and in favor of the dealership in the amount of $9,500.