John M. Drath, Esq.

Mediator  •  Arbitrator

Personal Injury / Public Entity Liability


  • Wrongful death case. Decedent was hired by an unlicensed contractor to perform labor, specifically the installation of an electronic sign in a new restaurant. Decedent was walking in the area above the ceiling of the restaurant when he fell 20 feet to his death. Plaintiffs are three children, two of whom are adults. One of the claimants was adopted at birth by another family. Plaintiff argued the decedent was a statutory employee because neither the contractor that hired him, or the contractor that hired that subcontractor were licensed or carried worker's compensation insurance. The contractor hired by the restaurant was licensed but not for the electric work. Defense argued that since the contractor they hired was licensed, and since they had neither the control nor the right to control the location of the accident they bore no responsibility. They further argued that the claimant who was adopted at birth had no standing as she was not an heir.

  • Truck vs pedestrian at a truck terminal. Plaintiff, also a truck driver, was walking behind a row of trucks when the defendant started backing up and struck him. Video of incident shows plaintiff walking behind the truck after it started backing up. Claimed back and knee injuries.

  • Plaintiff's husband was injured when an elevator fell two floors without warning and causing him wrist and shoulder injuries. He went through multiple surgeries but died of cardiac issues two plus years after the accident. Plaintiff sought recovery of the economic damages - $450,000 - plus non-economic damages per CCP 377.34. Defendant denied liability and denied that she could recover non-economic damages because she did not file a separate action as the survivor.

  • Several months after falling on a sidewalk in front of a mansion then died several months later for unrelated causes. Survivor's action under CCP 377.34 sought recovery of her economic and non-economic damages. The sidewalk in question was in some disrepair and the City had notified the owner of the problem but had done nothing to mark the area of danger or put up cones. The sidewalk was a custom paver sidewalk installed pursuant to a permit issued over 20 years earlier. The mansion had changed hands two or three times since. Plaintiff sued both the City and the property owner. City tendered defense and the property owner declined. Both the plaintiff and the City recovered from the property owner and the City paid nothing.

  • 6 year old plaintiff was ice skating with her older sister when she fell and another skater fell, cutting off part of two fingers. Plaintiff sued the operator of the rink, its designer and the manager of the rink, contending that the design resulted in congestion and that the management allowed too many skaters on the ice at one time. Doctors were able to reattach one finger but not the other. The plaintiff's two sisters claimed emotional distress from witnessing the incident.

  • Plaintiff fell on a plastic warning sign that was lying on the pavement outside her apartment. Cervical and wrist injuries with surgery likely.

  • Wrongful death following a fall at defendant's premises. Plaintiffs (son and daughter of decedent, age 82) alleged that the design of the ADA improvements to the defendant Bank were confusing and led to the decedent's fall. Bank cross-complained against all contractors and designers involved in the ADA improvements. Defendants contended that the decedent's death, coming several days after the fall, was not related to the fall, and was due to several co-morbidities.

  • Elderly (89 years old) dialysis patient being transported began to bleed because she pulled an IV in her arm out. The driver stopped just a block short of the dialysis facility and took the patient towards a grassy area so he could try and stop the bleeding. The driver spoke little English and asked a bystander to call 911 when the patient collapsed. She was subsequently transported by ambulance to the ER where she was pronounced dead. The decedent left 14 heirs. Defense denied wrongdoing and argued that the decedent had very little time to live in any event.

  • Plaintiff fell from scaffolding at a worksite, landing 10 feet below on concrete. Comminuted clavicle fracture and TBI. Scaffolding had no fall protection.

  • Plaintiff and Defendant individual were both special employees of Defendant company but were supplied to Defendant company by separate agencies. Both Plaintiff and Defendant individual were operating forklifts. Defendant individual ran into Plaintiff causing injuries. Defendants contended that the exclusive remedy barred the third party claim. A worker's compensation lien was being asserted against the defendant individual and his general employer.

  • Alleged defective road design and maintenance: double death resulted from driver losing control and crossing into oncoming traffic.

  • Bus vs. auto - claimed traumatic brain injury, inability to return to employment.

  • Bus vs pedestrian - wrist fracture, claimed traumatic brain injury, impairment of earning capacity.

  • Bus vs pedestrian - extensive fractures, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain syndrome, no longer able to work, outside care needed.

  • Pedestrian injured in trip and fall on sidewalk - alleged dangerous condition.

  • Bus vs property owner. Driver and property owner got into a dispute about where the bus was stopping. Driver pulled away when the individual still had his foot stuck in the door. Extensive foot injury.

  • Bus vs auto resulting in back surgery.

  • Auto vs street sweeper - wrongful death - alleged slow moving street sweeper pulled onto roadway when it could not safely clear the intersection and avoid an impact with decedent's vehicle.