Case Results

case-studies-1These cases illustrate some case results the Appel Law Firm LLP has obtained on behalf of our clients. Since each client and case is unique, the verdicts and settlements described do not necessarily represent what we may obtain for you in your case.

Catastrophic Industrial Accident Case Results

Facts

  • A refinery coworker was putting out a slag fire. When he turned on the hose to extinguish this fire, valves and backflow preventers failed, and propane gushed out instead of water. A huge fire resulted. Our client suffered significant second and third-degree burns, broken bones, and psychological trauma.

How We Helped

  • An oil company with endless amounts of money for defense and some of the toughest defense counsel there are owned the refinery. It took an enormous amount of discovery to get information out of them to prove our case, but we did it.
  • We tracked refinery maintenance records over years and discovered that maintenance had been cut back significantly year after year to increase profits. As maintenance decreased, many of the refinery’s 60,000 valves became encrusted and corroded, piping wore out, and backflow preventers stopped working. The deeper real root cause: a conscious decision by the refinery to cut costs.

The Results

  • The outcome: At the 11th hour, while the court was picking a jury, the case was resolved on the courthouse steps. Our client received a substantial confidential amount.

Motor Vehicle Accident Case Results

Facts

  • Our client was slowly wheeling her shopping cart back to her car at a Safeway outside parking lot. The defendant backed up without looking around, struck her, and she suffered personal injuries, including a broken arm and neurological pain.

How We Helped

  • We proved that had the defendant simply turned his head, he would have seen our client walking behind his car. Instead, the defendant chose not to look in his rearview mirror and ignored a known blind spot. He acted negligently by not backing out slowly and cautiously in a shopping center frequented by thousands of elderly customers from the nearby senior living community.

The Results

  • Within six to eight months, the case was resolved through confidential mediation. Our client received a very fair award.

Nursing Home Negligence & Abuse Case Results

  • Our client, a 70-year-old woman with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, figured out how to open an entry door, and left the nursing home, unbeknownst to the staff. It wasn’t the first time she’d left the facility on her own.
  • A couple of hours later and a few miles away, our client was struck by a vehicle and suffered catastrophic brain injuries. We sued the vehicle operator for striking her. But we also sued the nursing home and its out-of-state corporate home office for negligence and elder abuse: for failing to provide the necessary staff and for failing to protect her from a known “elopement” problem.

How We Helped

  • Through our investigation process, we discovered that the corporation had been cutting staffing to increase profits consistently for the past five years. We also uncovered evidence that the nursing home had previously been punished for failing to protect senior citizen “wanderers.”

The Results

  • This tragic case was resolved in confidential mediation, one of the highest settlements in California history.

Premises Liability Case Results

Case Results 1

Facts

  • A migrant worker, picking fruit in the Central Valley, had no access to shower facilities where he lived, so he washed in an irrigation canal. One weeknight, he and fellow workers headed to the canal to get cleaned up after a long day in the fields. The young man walked across a wooden board that traversed the canal, as he had done every day. This time, though, the board moved and he fell headfirst into the irrigation ditch. He was rendered paralyzed from the neck down.

How We Helped

  • He became our client. The public entity responsible for the canal system said our client was drinking, dove into the canal from the side, and hit his head on the bottom. The defendant said that our client was lying about walking across a board. They said it didn’t even exist. The workers who were with him at the time of the accident had left for Mexico, so we had no witnesses to testify in his behalf.
  • Not backing down from a fight, we drove to Fresno, and pored over dusty boxes of archival aerial photographs. We found the photograph we were searching for, taken in the 1980s, of the exact canal and location where our client was injured. We blew up the photo, and lo and behold, we could see that exact board right where our client said it was.

The Results

  • As a result of this critical evidence, we convinced the defendant to pay our client a substantial amount of money.

Case Results 2

Facts

  • Our client tripped, fell, and broke her ribs due to an uneven crack and deterioration in an unmarked crosswalk.

How We Helped

  • Our investigative team rushed out and took detailed measurements and photos of the defective crosswalk, luckily ahead of the city, which also rushed a crew over and filled in the crack. Evidence was gone, but we had the pictures and measurements to prove the case.
  • The defense said our client didn’t look where she was going and that was why she fell. We needed answers to these questions and many more: How long had the hazard been there? Was it bigger than 1 ½”? Was it on private or public property? What were the weather conditions? Had folks in the neighborhood seen others trip and fall in the same location before? Our goal: recapture the essence of the accident that contributed to her injuries.
  • We reviewed road crews’ maintenance logs from the past five years to prove that workers were in the area near the crosswalk on numerous occasions. The defense legal team then told us that while the road crews may have been there, they didn’t see the crack until after our client fell.
  • Maintaining our determination, we scanned more than three years of Google Earth satellite views, zooming into street view. The street view photographs showed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the cracked crosswalk had been there for more than three years. We sent the photo to the defense.

The Results

  • A city must take precautionary measures to ensure that public walkways are clear of tripping hazards. Our client received a very fair award.