Rick has been a trial lawyer since 1985. Rick has litigated cases in all 4 U.S. District Courts in California and 27 of California’s 58 Counties. 41 of these cases have proceeded to trial, with Rick as lead counsel, in 9 of these jurisdictions.
Rick is also frequently called upon by excess carriers/re-insurers who are concerned that the underlying limits may not be sufficient. Sometimes he is asked to take over the defense on the eve of trial, sometimes to associate with the insured’s counsel and sometimes to act as the excess carriers’ negotiator. Representative descriptions of this work within the past five years include:
A 25 year old Italian native was on a semester abroad in Africa and was involved in a rollover accident which left her with paraplegia, traumatic brain injury and hemiparesis of her left arm. She alleged that the University was grossly negligent for hiring a known-to-be-reckless driver operating a vehicle without a sufficient number of seatbelts. Rick was retained by the excess carrier to act as co-counsel. Plaintiff’s Bay Area experts claimed the need for 24/7 skilled care at a lifetime present value of $15M. Rick retained two Italian doctors (one the former head of the Italian National Health Service) and prepared the same life care plan using Italian costs. This reduced the present value to approximately $3M. Rick also retained an Italian law professor in support of the defense that under Italian Civil Law the plaintiff’s non-economic damages were capped at approximately $1.4M. Choice of law motions on both Italian issues were pending.
Plaintiff’s opening demand at mediation was $35M. After two days of mediation, the matter settled for $3M, well below the excess carrier’s point of attachment.
A 7 year boy on his way home from school was struck and dragged by a City garbage truck making a “T turn” at a 4 way stop. He suffered massive internal injuries and the amputation of one leg. By the time of trial he had undergone 50 surgeries, and was expected to undergo many more in the near future. His past, recoverable medical expenses were $3.2M, and his life care plan was valued at $16M. Assuming the defense of the eve of trial Rick was able to arrange a $18.5M settlement.
A 31 year old woman was shot in the face with a gun-powder charged pepper spray device – at point blank range – during a DUI stop. She was permanently blinded in both eyes, and the officer is facing criminal charges. 7 members of her immediate family witnessed the shooting and filed bystander claims. As lead defense counsel Rick was able to secure a settlement with all 8 plaintiffs for $18.5M.
A 27 year old man was shot in the head by a Sheriff’s Deputy during a search. He was rendered a quadriplegic, and his life care plan was valued at $5.7M. He was not criminally prosecuted. Acting solely as the re-insurer’s negotiator, Rick was able to secure an agreement with plaintiff’s prestigious civil rights attorney to settle for $4.5M. The County would not consent to that settlement and insisted on proceeding to trial, where a judgment of $7.1M was entered. Rick was then able to claw back $200K and the matter settled for $6.9M, below the re-insurer’s point of attachment.
The County contracted with a third-party for jailhouse medical care. The third-party’s carrier denied the County’s tender. At mediation, acting as the re-insurer’s negotiator, Rick struck an agreement whereby the carrier would treat the County as an additional insured. The County settled the wrongful death claim brought by the decedent’s minor son for $1M. The carrier subsequently settled out “the largest civil rights claim in California history” brought by the remaining family matters at no expense to the re-insurer.