Articles Posted in California

In this tough legal economy, 4,364 applicants took the February California bar examination. Approximately 42% of the applicants passed the exam.

California has a tough bar. The pass rate has floated between 33 and 40 percent for the last 10 years.

The key to passing the California bar? Not having failed it before. The pass rate for the California bar was 53% for those taking the bar for the first time. Another leading indicator? Go to an accredited law school. Only 27% of those at non-ABA accredited law schools pass the exam which makes you question the wisdom of having law schools in California that are not ABA accredited.

I wrote on Sunday about the awful motorcycle accident in California that killed six people this weekend.

I predicted the hit-and-run driver who fled the scene would be found. But 72 hours later, no one has been taken into custody. How could that be? Apparently, there is one problem that we would not have in Maryland: the proximity to a safe haven in Mexico. It is now being reported that authorities plan to meet today with Mexican officials to look over border surveillance video to see if a 4-door Gold Honda Civic with California plates crossed over.

Hopefully, that haven will not be so safe, but it certainly complicates the efforts of law enforcement officers. If we find him, the driver will likely face felony hit and run and gross vehicular manslaughter charges in California.

A San Mateo County jury ordered the California Department of Transportation to pay a 17-year-old girl injured in a pedestrian accident $12 million. As is the case in too many pedestrian accident cases, the plaintiff’s injuries were catastrophic: she sustained a brain injury that put her in a permanent vegetative state. No matter what the facts are, it is just an unbelievable tragedy that happens far too often.

Plaintiff’s attorneys’ case rested on the premise that uncontrolled intersections with designated crosswalks are more dangerous than unmarked crosswalks because they give pedestrians a false sense of confidence that they can cross.

These pedestrian cases against state entities are tough and few accident lawyers will take them. Plaintiff’s lawyers, in this case, deserve a lot of credit.

State Farm has the highest market share among California car insurance companies at 12.9 percent, according to 2008 statistics released by the California Department of Insurance. The Automobile Clubs came in second at 8.9% of the California market. Together, these companies collect over $4 billion in insurance premiums in California alone.

The California State Automobile Association garnered third place with 6.8% of the market, followed by Mercury and Allstate. Interesting, GEICO, which is a powerhouse in so many jurisdictions, including Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., has just over 1 percent of the California market.

If you have been injured in a car accident in California and need an accident lawyer, call 800-553-8082 or get a free consultation on line.

Doctors at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center committed medical malpractice when caring for a baby with meningitis, a Los Angeles jury found on Friday, causing the child a permanent brain injury. The jury awarded $7.3 million in damages. The award will pay for past and future medical care, the medical malpractice attorneys for the child told the Associated Press.

A Hydroxycutt class action lawsuit has been filed against Iovate Health Sciences, the makers of weight loss dietary supplement Hydroxycutt, in federal court in California. The plaintiffs’ Hydroxycutt lawyers allege, among other things, that the manufacturer misrepresented the product as safe and effective in its advertisements.

The Orlando Sentinel (via Overlawyered) has an interesting article taking a detailed look at statistics surrounding theme park lawsuits. This is not your garden variety media article of a legal trend. It has detailed breakdown of the lawsuits filed against theme parks, and through statistics and interviews, sets the game plan of Disney theme parks, and I think to a similar but lesser extent, its brethren when facing a lawsuit: wage elongated war, make discovery brutal for accident lawyers and their clients, and settle the cases you think you might not win – particularly those cases you might prolifically not win.


Jury Verdict Research recent look at personal injury verdicts in California shows the compensatory median award for personal injury trials in California is $150,000. This is a lot higher than the national average of less than $40,000. But plaintiffs receive money damages in only 45 percent of cases that go to trial, which is 5% less than the national average.

california personal injury cases

Settlement value of California personal injury cases

But what is the average verdict in a tort case?  The average verdict is approximately $1.6 million.   There is a big difference between median and average — 10 times more.  When you are using this to get some lens into your own case, it is tricky.  It is all how you turn the kaleidoscope.

The San Jose Mercury News reports on a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against the San Mateo Medical Center. Plaintiff alleges that his heart was permanently damaged after the center left a broken catheter in his heart and, even more seriously, that the hospital covered up the mistake. Although Plaintiff did not know about the catheter’s break -which is the size of a drinking straw – until July 2008, it was clearly visible on x-rays and scans more than two years before. The first operation to remove the catheter was unsuccessful. Open heart surgery was required during which a heart valve was destroyed and had to be replaced with a valve from a pig’s heart. To make matters worse, the plaintiff has cancer.

I do not know what happened here and I think medical malpractice cover-ups do happen. But this is actually a rare sighting for medical malpractice lawyers. The vast majority of doctors and hospitals accused of medical malpractice were trying to do the right thing… but didn’t.

The family of a man killed by police during an attempted arrest for a gang-related murder has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Sunnyvale. The family contends the decedent did not attempt to run over the police officers and was not resisting arrest at the time of his death. The family filed a previous suit six months ago but withdrew it after the city protested that it was too vague. The city plans to seek a dismissal of the case again. You can find one of the articles on this case here.

Sunnyvale is not the only city in California to face a similar lawsuit. In what would appear on its face to be a more compelling case involving an innocent 20-year-old black man who had a wife and small child, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the city of Anaheim for fatally shooting this young man in his front yard.

It is impossible to prejudge a case by knowing all the facts. But absent other factors which very well may exist, the Plaintiff’s wrongful death claim in the latter case seems strong.

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