In The Courtroom and In The Boardroom

In The Courtroom and In The Boardroom

December, 2017
Successful nuisance value settlement of asbestos lawsuit brought against major studio by actor whose estate claimed he was subjected to asbestos and/or asbestos containing materials on movie and television sets between 1959 and 1979. Motion for summary judgment filed based upon workers’ compensation exclusivity. Case settled the day before Plaintiffs’ opposition to our MSJ was due to be filed.
Successful nuisance value settlement of asbestos lawsuit brought against major studio by set lighting technician who claims he developed lung cancer and asbestosis from lighting materials on movie and television sets between 1959 and 1980. Demurrer filed based on workers’ compensation exclusivity. Judge overruled demurrer advising it was more appropriate to file the motion as a summary judgment motion. Case settled shortly thereafter.
June 30, 2017 – Successful settlement of toxic tort case involving allegations of asbestos exposure. Major studio alleged to have exposed its former grip to asbestos and/or asbestos containing materials during the construction of sets on its soundstages. Motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of studio based on workers compensation exclusivity and Melendrez v. Ameron Internat. Corp., 240 Cal.App.4th 632 (2015). Case settled for nuisance value with no opposition to MSJ filed.
On May 3, 2017, the Sonoma County Superior Court in Baback v. Davis granted the cross-defendant Granton Insurance Agency’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that there was no special duty to place commercial auto insurance based on the assumption that the customer would require it because it operated a catering business. The Court found that the customer/insured never had the coverage for eight years prior to the catastrophic underlying loss that resulted in the 18 year old Plaintiff Baback’s permanent flaccid paralysis of his right dominant arm. The agency also argued under the Unclean Hands Doctrine that the customer clearly did not want the coverage sued upon based on evidence suggesting the customer’s prior alteration of a Certificate of Insurance that did not also indicate existence of the coverage in dispute.
On February 14, 2017, P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP prevailed on motion for summary judgment for Bulen Insurance Agency in Riverside Superior Court. Plaintiff Inland Properties LLC alleged that Bulen failed to place coverage for a tenant’s criminal acts occurring on Plaintiff’s property but was not able to prove that such coverage was available to begin with. Plaintiff also alleged that the agent misrepresented the terms of coverage. However, the Court stated that Plaintiff simply failed to provide any evidence that the damage was not due to wear and tear rather than the tenant’s vandalism and focused on the exclusion regarding same.
On May 2, 2016, the Court granted San Fernando Insurance Agency’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that there was no triable issue as to whether the agency had a duty to inspect the plaintiff’s distribution warehouse to confirm that it was in compliance with the Protective Safeguards Endorsement which required regular maintenance of an operable smoke detector as a condition precedent to coverage.  The Court also found that there was no triable issue as to whether there was an implied contract between plaintiff and the agency as to whether the agency had to inspect plaintiff’s property as part of the services involving the agency’s placement of the commercial property policy.  In support of this finding, the Court primarily relied on Travelers Prop Cas.Co. of America v. Superior Court (1993) 215 Cal.App.4th 561 which states that no duty to inspect can arise out of the course of the parties’ ordinary broker-insured relationship which was what was involved in the given fact scenario.  [Distribution Source v. San Fernando Insurance Agency, et al;  Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case No.: BC527220].
On April 8, 2016, Plaintiff policy holders agreed to release an insurance agent/broker from their claims for Unruh Act violations, Civil Code §51, and Elder Abuse Claims pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.30 following Rancho Simi’s demurrer. Plaintiffs allege they sustained at least $30,000 due to burglary of personal property.
On March 17, 2016, Plaintiff, a policy holder, voluntarily filed a dismissal as to a defendant agent/broker following FRCP 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss on grounds that the statute of limitations as to the agent/broker expired and plaintiff’s failed to timely prosecute pursuant to FRCP 41(b). Plaintiff Michie alleged that agent/broker failed to inform him about lapse in coverage relating to group errors and omission coverage for securities brokers. The policy holder was an additional named insured and claimed that the agent/broker failed to inform him that the errors and omission policy was a claims made policy. Plaintiff policy holder damages arose out of an underlying pending lawsuit against him for securities broker fraud and legal malpractice for $2 million.
On January 4, 2016, in an agent/broker malpractice claim filed in Ventura County Superior Court, Plaintiffs alleged that their 17 year old son sustained in excess of $ 1 million in medical damages when he was severely injured while crossing a cross-walk on his skateboard. Plaintiffs claimed that they were supposed to have excess underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage along with their umbrella policy. The agent/broker moved for summary judgment and the Court granted the motion after two lengthy hearings. The Court gave the Plaintiffs an opportunity to submit supplemental briefing to establish the agent’s expanded scope of duty based on evidence of a special relationship regarding placement of an excess personal umbrella policy. The Court found that the agent/broker had no duty to recommend greater coverage than the customer requested. The Court recognized that the law had not changed on this standard for almost 30 years following Fitzpatrick v. Hayes, 57 Cal.App.4th 916 (1997).
December 4, 2015 – Successful motion for summary judgment on behalf of amusement park client on a case involving injuries that occurred in a haunted maze attraction. Plaintiff suffered severe injuries to her wrist and hand when she fell attempting to run away from a haunted maze character. Plaintiff served $2.8M Statement of Damages. Under Griffin v. Haunted Hotel, Inc., 242 Cal.App.4th 490 (2015), Plaintiff assumed the risk of being frightened and scared when she voluntarily entered the haunted maze and, so, client amusement park did not breach any duty of care owed to her.
December 2015 – P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP successfully moves for summary judgment on behalf of theme park against patron who claims she was injured in a haunted maze attraction.  Patron was part of a tourist group.  Patron became frightened by attraction character, ran, and was pushed behind by member of her group and fell, sustaining injuries to her right arm.  No contact made with patron by character at all.  Summary judgment granted based upon primary assumption of risk doctrine.
October 2, 2012 Paul Schrieffer speaks at the Lloyd’s Library in London, England on Cyber Risks – the U.S. and the U.K. perspectives – Aspen cyber underwriter Tom Allen and Hill Dickenson. Read More

AEG drops its $17.5 million insurance claim – the firm represents Certain Underwriters at Lloyds in coverage litigation in Los Angeles arising from the death of Michael Jackson and the cancellation of the This Is It concerts in London. More Information / External Link

Richardson v. E. Broox Randall and Sons, Inc.- Procured waiver of costs dismissal for insurance brokerage in significant six figure lawsuit against various other parties.  Case was brought in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

January 2012 P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP secures defense award at trial in a two week long wrongful death case captioned Bustamante, et al v. Universal Studios in Burbank. The demand in closing arguments by plaintiffs’ counsel was $8,000,000. Universal prevailed on all causes of action. A final judgment has not yet been entered by the court.

Health Net v. AISLIC/Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, et al – Claim for $100,000,000 in insurance benefits under a managed care E&O policy tower arising from the alleged improper use of outdated reimbursement sums for medical procedures for plan participants resulting in multi district federal court litigation in New Jersey. The trial court in the coverage litigation which ensued granted summary judgment in favor of Underwriters, returning judgment in their favor. The judgment and other rulings were appealed, which was recently argued before the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles.

September 2011 P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP secures the dismissal of a toxic tort related case against Safeco Insurance Company on demurrer and subsequent ex parte application in an action pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles.

September 2011 P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP secures the dismissal of NBC from litigation arising from the show Love Bites following litigation filed in downtown Los Angeles.

After phase one of trial, P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP secures the dismissal with prejudice for a cost waiver of an insurance broker sued for malpractice. Plaintiff alleged damages of $1.5 million and sued his insurer for bad faith and punitive damages as well. Phase two continues in downtown Los Angeles against the insurer in August.

P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP prevails on summary judgment for Los Angeles based reality television show production company on contract and fraud claim venued in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Glendale, California. Summary judgment was granted against the claims of a production set catering company which claimed the producer was in breach of a deal memo providing long term catering services on several well known productions.

Eiss v. NBC UNIVERSAL P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP secures dismissal of two lawsuits filed by plaintiff against Universal alleging toxic exposure to chemicals as a result of a back lot fire and injuries sustained from an automobile accident while plaintiff worked on the back lot. Both cases were dismissed voluntarily with summary judgment motions pending and with outstanding monetary sanctions awards against plaintiff and her lawyer.

Doe Hotel v. Doe Insurance Brokerage In a jury trial venued in Santa Monica, California, P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP resolves insurance broker malpractice and legal malpractice case against a hotel which argued that 20 EEOC complaints and a sexual harassment claim were not timely tendered to the hotel’s EPLI insurer. $1.8 million in damages sought. After one week of trial and following the cross examination of plaintiff, the case resolved for less than 15% of claimed damages on behalf of the firm’s insurance broker client. The case continues as to the law firm defendant.

P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP secures dismissal of a lawsuit by Perma Pom for an insurance broker in malpractice in Los Angeles Superior Court. Despite alleging that it suffered over one million dollars in damage due to the broker’s alleged failure to secure insurance, Plaintiff dismissed the complaint after the firm filed a demurrer and a motion to strike the first amended complaint

P.K. SCHRIEFFER LLP secures a defense verdict in San Diego County Superior Court in a broker fraud and professional liability jury trial.  After plaintiff’s fire damage claim was denied by her insurer for non-payment of premium, plaintiff settled with the insurer and sued her insurance brokers for $900,000.  At trial, plaintiff sought recovery of her loss of investment in the burned out restaurant and lost profits.  Plaintiff claimed her signature was forged on an application, that the broker lied to the insurance company and that the broker caused the downfall of her family business.  The jury disagreed – finding in favor of the firm’s clients on all counts.

In an action dismissed by Riverside Superior Court for failure to bring case to trial with 2 1/2 years, the firm successfully defeated plaintiff’s second attempt to set aside the dismissal by arguing plaintiff failed to exercise due diligence in prosecuting his claim or seeking to set aside the dismissal.  After detailed investigation, the firm also proved to the court that plaintiff had made misleading statements in the declaration he provided in support of both motions.  Before the dismissal, Plaintiff had refused offers of settlement in order prevent the execution of an unrelated judgment lien.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP secured a dismissal for a waiver of costs on behalf of a commercial insurance company in breach of contract litigation filed in the San Francisco County Superior Court.  Plaintiff insureds had sought recovery for commercial goods damaged in transit.  The litigation is continuing as to the other defendants in the litigation.

In an action by nine senior plaintiffs in San Francisco suing a landlord for $1.5 million for lack of habitability of residential units, the firm settled the case with the seniors with zero payment by the defendants’ carrier and zero payment by the landlord insured.  This action had initially attracted media publicity due to the City Attorney investigating issues surrounding an eviction of certain tenants from the residential location.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP resolves catastrophic injury claim for Los Angeles County Conservation Corps.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP secures dismissal for a waiver of costs just prior to hearing of summary judgment motion for an insurance broker client sued by a general contractor for wrong additional insured endorsement after two insurers denied defense obligation.

In a trial venued at LASC Santa Monica, P.K. Schrieffer LLP resolved a case on the eve of closing arguments at trial in a broker malpractice case arising from $3.5 million in claimed uncovered fine arts losses.  The case settled for less than 3% of claimed damages after cross-examination of plaintiff’s standard of care expert.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP successfully defended an insurance producer and broker in a professional negligence cause of action.  The limited liability partnership was compensated for the loss by the carrier but pursued professional negligence claims against the producer and broker based in part on delay in determining limits.  After one deposition, the limited partnership agreed to dismiss the case against the producer and broker for a waiver of costs.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP secured a unanimous defense verdict after a jury trial of whistleblower wrongful termination case.  Plaintiff claimed she reported Enron like accounting and tax fraud to her supervisor and was then terminated.  The jury deliberated for ½ a day prior to returning the verdict.  This case was featured in DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar’s December 2, 2009 issue of The Voice. External Link

In a case venued in Los Angeles Superior Court, P.K. Schrieffer LLP prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in a seven figure property damage claim under a homeowner’s policy by plaintiff Connie Stevens.  Stevens had filed an action for breach of contract, bad faith and declaratory relief against the insurer.  Earlier in the case, P.K. Schrieffer LLP secured a dismissal of Stevens’ bad faith cause of action following the filing of a motion for summary adjudication of issues.

Venued in Los Angeles Superior Court, P.K. Schrieffer LLP secured dismissal of a case against an insurance broker for a waiver of costs.   P.K. Schrieffer LLP began representing the broker in December 2008, after another law firm had represented the broker for approximately a year in litigation.  The  case is continuing against the co-defendant insurance company.

Paul K. Schrieffer presented a seminar at Safeco in Seattle on recent trends in California Agents and Broker E&O law.

Paul K. Schrieffer was a speaker at an Accident and Health seminar in London, England on trends in the A&H insurance market and claims.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP secures defense verdict in Los Angeles County Superior Court at trial in favor of a Professional Employer Organization sued for crush injuries to plaintiff’s fingers.  The case continues on in damages phase against premises owner only.

P.K. Schrieffer secures dismissal for director Peter Berg and Film 44 in a wrongful death case arising from The Kingdom motion picture in Arizona.  The case was dismissed for a waiver of costs and was venued in downtown Los Angeles.

P.K. Schrieffer secures summary judgment arising from an auto accident in which plaintiff sought damages for personal injury.

The firm resolves catastrophic injury claim from elderly woman who broke her hip for $5,000 for premises owner.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP secures non-suit defense verdict at trial in an insurance broker E&O case arising from alleged failure to insure a trucking company.  The case is venued in Los Angeles Superior Court, North Valley District.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP secures the affirmance in full on appeal of a jury verdict in favor of Universal Studios arising from a crush injury to appellant’s hand while working as a grip on movie set.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP resolves sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit after cross-examination during plaintiff’s deposition for nuisance value.  Plaintiff alleged that she was sexually harassed and raped by her supervisor.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP prevails on summary judgment for London insurers in a $6 million bad faith lawsuit.

Paul K. Schrieffer presented a seminar on cutting edge trends in professional errors and omissions for accountants in San Diego, California.

Paul K. Schrieffer presented seminars on the California Fair Claims Practices Act for companies and syndicates at Lloyd’s of London.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP secures dismissal in exchange for waiver of costs where fell in front of an amusement park attraction, sustaining various personal injuries.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP secures dismissal in exchange for waiver of costs for Universal Studios.  Plaintiff allegedly fell down on an outdoor escalator falling several steps and injuring his back and neck.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP prevails after 6 week jury trial in an insurance bad faith and broker negligence case in San Diego.  The firm defends a broker accused of fraud and professional negligence by Pacific Specialty Insurance Company, which sought over $1.5 million in insurance benefits paid in the 2003 Cedar Wildfires.  This case was featured in DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar’s June 4, 2008 issue of The Voice.

P.K. Schrieffer LLP wins motion for summary judgment on $19 million broker E&O lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.

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