An incredible run of summary judgment success

Against all odds, the firm has recently prevailed on six different motions for summary judgments:

In Alameda County, a worker mangled his arm on a rolling entry gate at a warehouse near Oracle Arena. The demand at mediation with Jack Williams was $7 million. On behalf of the property owner, Christine Reinhardt and Chris Beeman filed a Privette motion, which the court granted over opposition shortly before trial. We then recovered the attorney fees from the tenant to whom our defense had been tendered.

In Santa Clara County, a 15 year old boy sustained a catastrophic injury when he lost control of a “Jixxer” go-cart that he was driving and crashed head on into a fence. The vehicle was equipped with a motorcycle engine and was capable of traveling up to 160 MPH. He was life-flighted to a nearby hospital for emergency surgery and subsequently sued the property owner, claiming that the incident was caused by a speed bump in the parking lot. The settlement demand at mediation with Charlie Hawkins was $5 million. The successful motion for summary judgment on behalf of our client, which was prepared by Lincoln Tran and argued by Chris Beeman, was based on the Recreational Use Immunity provided by the Civil Code.

Partner Chris Scheley and Associate Teela Crosthwaite recently prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in a premises liability action filed against a client in Contra Costa County. The plaintiff, an elderly woman, sustained a hip fracture and knee injury when she tripped and fell outside the client’s restaurant. Plaintiff claimed that her injuries were caused by the restaurant’s failure to maintain the safety of the premises, but the court ruled that the restaurant could not be liable because it had no notice of the dangerous condition.

Summary judgment was obtained in favor of client club owner facing claims arising from a closing time assault on a patron by another patron. The plaintiff, an off duty employee of the client, claimed he was sitting at the bar when he was struck from behind with a glass as the club was closing. Injuries included cognitive difficulties, mood changes and inability to focus resulting from the blow to the head. Plaintiffs claimed that the club failed to provide adequate security and the security personnel were not trained or qualified. The Santa Clara County Superior Court granted summary judgment, finding that the assault was not foreseeable.

Paulo Kline Simon recently prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in a premises liability action filed against our client in Alameda County. The plaintiff was the former live-in girlfriend of our client who was assaulted during a home-invasion robbery by unknown third party assailants.  She suffered significant injuries during the confrontation.  The court granted our early motion for summary judgment, ruling that our client had no duty to protect the plaintiff from, nor prevent, the third party criminal conduct which caused her injuries.

Partner Paul Sheng and Associate John Thyken prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in a personal injury action against a rental car company filed in Alameda County. Plaintiff alleged that the rental car company was vicariously liable for the negligence of one of its rental customers. Despite the Court’s refusal to apply the federal rental car immunity statute, the judge was persuaded by defense counsel’s arguments that plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of material fact and that plaintiff’s previous settlement with the negligent driver extinguished the rental car company’s liability. Accordingly, the suit was dismissed.

Partner Paul Sheng and Associate John Thyken prevailed on a motion for summary adjudication and knocked out a breach of contract claim from a defamation lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court. Plaintiff alleged that defendant violated a non-disparagement clause in a settlement agreement from a prior lawsuit, and sought attorneys’ fees under a fee clause in the agreement. While our client personally signed the agreement, we successfully proved that the he had not entered into the agreement in his personal capacity and therefore, the attorney fee clause did not apply to him. This pulled the rug out from under plaintiff’s six figure attorney fee claim.

Partner Paul Sheng and Associate John Thyken prevailed on another Motion for Summary Judgment, this one in a Santa Clara County Superior Court horse escape case. Our client property owners leased a fenced pasture to a tenant who kept horses on the property. The tenant’s horses escaped and ran onto the highway where they struck plaintiffs’ vehicle. The passenger sustained serious facial fractures, requiring major reconstruction surgery. Had our clients been found just 1% at fault, they would have been jointly and severally liable with the tenant horse owner for a six-figure damages award. We convinced the Court that our clients did not breach any duty of care, and/or that there was no causation between our clients’ conduct and the accident.