Bar Soap – August 2015


Okay, you noticed this column is both a Bar Soap and a Civil Jury Verdicts column. I have been sitting on a couple of trial reports while waiting for more, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. So, this will be a combined column.

Let’s start with the verdicts. I received a “Client Alert” stating “Allan Isbell and Craig Jones Net a Victory in Placer County Jury Trial.” Special Counsel Allan Isbell and Special Counsel Craig Jones, both of Archer Norris, represented the defendant general contractor. Randy Paul and Jordan Rojas of Berding & Weil represented the plaintiffs.

The case involved a 850-unit self-storage facility constructed by the defendant in Auburn, California. A significant water intrusion problem arose, knocking approximately 30 percent of the units offline, as they were not rentable. The plaintiffs demanded $5.2 million at trial. The defendant offered $102,500 pre-trial. The jury returned with a verdict which netted the plaintiffs just $53,352 in damages.

Quijada et al v. Ford Motor Co., Maita Investments, et al, Case No. 2010-34-00085696, was tried in Sacramento County Superior Court. The Honorable Kevin R. Culhane presided. Jason Sigel of Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, LLP, and Lee Brown of the Brown Law Firm represented the plaintiffs. William Kronenberg and Steven Yuen represented the defendant, Maita Investments.

Plaintiff Edward Quijada was driving on westbound Highway 50 near Tahoe when he lost control of his 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The truck was equipped with an aftermarket lift kit. Quijada was rendered a quadriplegic as a result of the accident. Defendant Maita Investments was the successor in interest to Maita Ford Mercury, a Ford retailer and the installer of the truck’s aftermarket tires and wheels. All other defendants settled prior to trial.

The plaintiffs brought causes of action for strict products liability, negligence and sought punitive damages. The plaintiffs demanded $11 million. The defendant offered $500,000. The jury returned a defense verdict on liability.

Vang v. Barbosa et al, Case No. 13CECG01211, was tried in Fresno County Superior Court. The Honorable Mark Snauffer presided. The plaintiffs were represented by Jonathan Netzer of Fresno. Defendants Mendoza and Andrade were represented by Michael Clarke of our own McNamara firm. Shyla Smith represented Defendant Barbosa.

The case involved claims of personal injury related to a four-vehicle rear end accident on Highway 99. Defendant Barbosa got a flat tire, and rather than pulling to the shoulder, stopped his vehicle in the fast lane. The case appeared to have settled at mediation for $36,000, but the plaintiffs did not sign the mediation settlement agreement.

The jury awarded a gross recovery from all defendants of $41,921. The jury found Barbosa 60 percent at fault. That extra $6,000 hardly covered the effort of going to trial, it seems.

Did you notice there were no reported Contra Costa cases? Time to get those Contra Costa civil verdict reports to me.

Now, let’s move on to “People on the Move.” Gina Dashman Boer has become a partner at Haapala, Thompson & Ahern, LLP. Lisa Estabrook has been elevated to partner at Archer Norris. Congratulations to both.

James Slone has announced the opening of “James Slone, Esq., Mediation & Arbitration Services.”

My law firm, Guichard, Teng & Portello, is making the move back to Walnut Creek. We spent a very nice 10 years in Concord and now we will be located at 101 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek. Rumor has it we soon will be Guichard, Teng, Portello & Portillo, or some such mixture of names. Keep an eye out for that change. While I am mentioning moves, I spent a wonderful afternoon at a tribute to Ropers Majeski partners at an event in Marin hosted by Chuck Louderback. It was wonderful seeing old friends, and I do mean old friends. My, how time goes by.

We just lost our summer intern, Lu Zhang. She is a licensed lawyer in China and went back to Shanghai to practice law, after getting her LL.M. at UC Davis. Stacey N. Zhao was another intern and she is now a licensed California lawyer working for the state of California.

Recall I mentioned my client, Rebecca Li-Huang’s book, “Green Apple Red Book” in my last column. I had mentioned the book won an award at the San Francisco Book Festival. Well, the book just won an award in New York at another book festival.

Sadly speaking of old friends, Raymond (Ray) Jacque Bergez recently passed. He was a great fellow, involved in every conceivable legal organization imaginable, and full of life to the very end. I even saw him regularly at Larkey Sharks swim meets, as his grandkids swam on the same swim team as two of my kids.

I just heard we lost Paula A. Lorentzen. I knew her as Paula Gorelick back in my Deputy DA days in Contra Costa County. She was a brilliant defense lawyer and a formidable opponent.

As always, keep those cards and letters coming to me at I cannot mention your trials, settlements and achievements if you do not let me know of them.


Guichard, Teng, Portillo & Garrett is a highly-rated law firm serving businesses, professionals, families, and individuals throughout California, including the greater San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Metropolitan Area.




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