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$11.8 MILLION Verdict in a Motorcycle Collision case 

with Trial Attorneys Christopher Dolan and Kimberly Levy of the Dolan Law Firm, PC

Gonzalez v. Smith (San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CGC-20-582006) arose from a motor vehicle versus motorcycle collision caused by Defendant Luke Thomas Smith’s negligence which permanently injured, disabled, and disfigured Plaintiff Julian Gonzalez. Just after 5:30 p.m. on August 21, 2019, Defendant Smith executed a left turn from McAllister Street onto Larkin Street and crashed into Plaintiff Gonzalez who was riding his Harley-Davidson Road King straight through the intersection as part of through traffic. Gonzalez and his motorcycle went down and slid across the pavement. When Gonzalez came to rest, his left foot was severed at the ankle; his lower leg bones were crushed; and his foot was mangled; only a small amount of skin kept his foot attached. Gonzalez was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) where trauma surgeons performed a below knee amputation.

Toxicology results from SFGH showed amphetamine and methamphetamine in Gonzalez’ system. The traffic collision report placed Gonzalez at fault for the collision for alleged speeding. To make matters even more difficult, Gonzalez had been unemployed for the five years before the collision; had preexisting PTSD; and was on methadone maintenance therapy for heroin addiction.

Defendant’s theme was that Gonzalez was an unemployed drug addict who caused the collision when he drove recklessly and sped through the intersection on his motorcycle while high on methamphetamine. Because of the adverse police report and toxicology results, other attorneys declined to litigate his case. Chris Dolan found the case worthwhile. He and his colleague Kim Levy saw a path to keeping the toxicology and alleged impairment out of evidence: attacking chain of custody of the toxicology sample; hiring experts to dispute any impairment; and destroying the defendant’s experts at deposition.

Due to COVID concerns, the parties agreed to a bench trial with San Francisco Superior Court Judge Vedica Puri. The trial was held from May 23 through June 14, 2022. 10 witnesses testified in Plaintiff’s case; 7 witnesses testified for the defense, including the investigating police officer, Rodney Lane, who testified that he was an expert motorcyclist, and he had his own set of traffic safety rules for motorcyclists to follow – Gonzalez had failed to follow the book of Rodney Lane and therefore caused the collision.

After a long-fought battle, including exhausting law and motion practice both before and during trial, Judge Vedica Puri issued her decision awarding Plaintiff $11,789,316.00, a life-changing sum which will allow Gonzalez to obtain the care and treatment that he requires to live a more comfortable life, albeit now without his leg.

A federal jury orders city of Roy to pay $3.26 million to men shot by police

A federal jury awarded two residents of Roy, a town south of Tacoma, Washington a total of $3.26 million for injuries sustained after being shot by one of Roy’s police officers during a drunken joy ride in a 2019 snowstorm. The verdict is one of the largest reached in the Western District of Washington involving a nonfatal police shooting. See full press release on the lawsuit here.

The Seattle Times reported on the story as well as many other news sources. See their links here:
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Associated Press logo and symbol, meaning, history, PNGSam Whiting posted a nice writeup about the fair on the SFGate Arts & Not blog — stARTup

Business Owner Dresses As President Trump And Racially Harasses African-American Employee Suit Alleges

Kenneth Hayden as Trump
Kenneth Hayden as Trump

The Dolan Law Firm represents Tishay Wright in a lawsuit filed on June 8, 2017, against Southland Construction Management Inc. and its owners Kenneth and Anita Hayden for racial discrimination and harassment.  Learn about the lawsuit here.

Chris Dolan Calls For Criminal Charges To Be Brought Against Ghost Ship Warehouse Owner

The day after two arrests were made in the deadly Oakland Ghost Ship fire, attorney Chris Dolan called for criminal charges to be brought against Chor Ng, the owner of the warehouse. “Civil liability against the owner is not enough,” Chris told KGO-TV news on June 6, 2017. “I’ve been in that building. There’s no way this landlord didn’t know what was going on in there.”

The Dolan Law Firm represents families whose loved ones died in the Ghost Ship fire lawsuit.

Daily Journal Recognizes Williams v. Wyndham Case As One Of The Top Verdicts in California For 2016

Leading California wrongful termination and whistleblower lawyers based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On February 15, 2017, California’s leading legal newspaper, the Daily Journal, has recognized the outstanding success of attorneys Chris Dolan and Anne Costin in Williams v. Wyndham Vacation Ownership as one of the Top Plaintiffs’ Verdicts in California for 2016.  Learn more about the award.

Uber Is Putting Public Safety At Risk With Non-Authorized Self-Driving Chris Dolan Charges

In response to Uber’s deployment of self-driving cars in San Francisco without the DMV’s authorization, Chris Dolan told the National Law Journal on December 14, 2016, “This is just another example of Uber giving the finger to regulators and putting public safety at risk.” A longstanding legal foe of Uber, Chris sued Uber on behalf of the family of Sofia Liu, a 6-year-old who was struck and killed by an Uber driver while she crossed a San Francisco street with her parents and brother on New Year’s Eve in 2013.

“I thought Uber had grown up a little and become a more mainstream company and was willing to follow safety regulations,” Chris added. “It appears that was an overly optimistic view.”

$20 Million Verdict For Whistleblower Who Reported Time Share Sales Fraud

On November 17, 2016, a San Francisco Superior Court jury awarded Trish Williams, a former Wyndham Vacation Ownership employee, $20 million for being fired after she exposed fraud targeting the elderly at the time-share company, the San Francisco Chronicle reportedChris Dolan and Anne Costin of Costin Law Inc. tried the case together.  They presented evidence of a sales practice known as “TAFT” days. TAFT stands for Tell Them Any F**king Thing, and the practice encouraged sales representatives to say whatever was necessary to get customers to further invest in their timeshares.
A San Francisco jury awarded $20 million to Trish Williams, a former Wyndham timeshare sales representative, who was wrongfully terminated for reporting time share fraud on the elderly
Plaintiff Trish Williams (in center) with her attorneys Chris Dolan and Anne Costin after jury issued its verdict in the Wyndham timeshare whistleblower lawsuit.

On November 25, 2016, columnist Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times profiled Patricia Williams and the $20 million verdict in the whistleblower lawsuit. Morgenson wrote that Ms. Williams “succeeded in bringing to light abuses at a powerful corporation that wanted to keep them hidden.” Chris Dolan stated, “I hope this case sounds an alarm for corporate America. Change your behavior — or a jury will change it for you.”

Learn more about the Wyndham timeshare fraud whistleblower lawsuit.

Chris Dolan Speaks Out Against Litigation Funding Disclosure Rule

Litigation funding helps individuals or classes of plaintiffs represented by small law firms hold accountable large, deep-pocketed corporations for their misconduct. A proposed rule in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California requires parties in civil suits to disclose the presence of litigation funders, including in pending cases.

On November 23, 2016, Chris Dolan informed the Northern California Record, a publication from U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, requiring disclosure of third-party financing is irrelevant to any issue in the litigation. Instead, Chris stated, “It’s a tool to try to figure out whether the plaintiff has the funding to go the distance.” The rule would provide defense counsel an unfair advantage and create an opportunity for leverage by driving up the costs of litigation through delay and excessive discovery requests and motions.

Court Stops Physicians From Pulling Plug On Woman Erroneously Diagnosed As Brain Dead

The Mercury News reported on May 17, 2016, that last year four physicians at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, declared Anahita Meshkin brain dead. They wanted to pull the plug on the then-29-year-old woman, who had been in a coma since 2007 after suffering a massive seizure while battling anorexia.

Anahita’s father, Mohammad Meshkin, knew her brain was functioning. “You were all trying to kill her, and she’s still alive,” Meshkin recalled saying to hospital staff at the time. He called attorney Chris Dolan who responded and filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to block the hospital from withholding Anahita’s treatment.

Hours later, two UC San Francisco School of Medicine neurologists and professors conducted an independent test — ordered by a Contra Costa Superior Court judge — and determined Anahita was not brain-dead after all. “Mr. Dolan saved Anahitia. He’s my hero and Anahita’s savior,” stated Meshkin in an interview this week.

In a companion article, the Mercury News profiled Chris Dolan, noting that since taking on the case of Jahi McMath, an Oakland teen declared brain-dead in 2013 following complications from tonsil surgery, he has became an unlikely leader in a growing resistance to the medical establishment’s long-standing determination that the loss of brain activity equals death.

“I’m getting calls from people who have a strong feeling that the doctors can’t be trusted and may be seeking to cover something up or put an end to it,” Dolan stated.

Chris Dolan Appears on Brian Copeland’s Radio Show

On April 19, 2016, Brian Copeland of KGO Radio 810 in the San Francisco Bay Area interviewed Chris Dolan.  Focusing first on Jahi McMath’s condition and the civil rights lawsuit her mother filed to reverse the finding of brain death based on new medical evidence, Chris also answered listener questions on a wide range of legal topics.

Brian Copeland Show

Chris Dolan Expresses Caution On Push To Introduce Self-Driving Cars

In a collision caused by a self-driving car, is the passenger, car owner, manufacturer liable?  Or are all three legally responsible.  The calculus of duty is uncertain, and this issue lies at the heart of policy, legislative, and regulatory discussions of autonomous vehicles.  In an article published in the February 2016 issue of Trial magazine Chris Dolan addresses these questions. 

One month earlier, Chris stated to the Washington, D.C. publication Roll Call that there is no need to rush and bring driverless cars to the market quickly when major issues involving their safety, cybersecurity, and liability remain unresolved. “What gets me concerned more is the tech companies saying we want to rush to market or the vehicle manufacturers saying we want to rush to market,” Chris observed. “There needs to be assurance to the public through proper development and testing that these systems are going to be safe.”

Cell Phone Video Records Restaurant Patrons In Restroom

On January 21, 2016, NBC Bay Area news reporter Cheryl Hurd interviewed Chris about a new case involving a “Peeping Tom.”  A worker at a popular Mexican restaurant videotaped adults and allegedly children who used the restroom.

Dolan Law Firm

Lawsuit Filed To Deem Jahi McMath Alive And Restore Her Civil Rights

On December 23, 2015, on behalf of Jahi McMath and her mother Nailah Winkfield, the Dolan Law Firm filed a complaint in federal court in San Francisco for violation’s of McMath’s civil rights.  The complaint summarizes overwhelming evidence, support of numerous expert physician declarations, that McMath’s brain is active.

The suit requests that the federal court invalidate the certificate of death issued for McMath, declare that she is not brain-dead under the criteria established by California law, and restore her fundamental constitutional and civil rights.

The complaint charges that several of Jahi’s constitutional rights have been violated, including rights outlined in the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides that no “State (shall) deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

“This complaint is designed to restore Jahi McMath’s life — to give her the most basic dignity and freedom to be called a human being and not a corpse,” Chris Dolan stated at a press conference.

Uber Settles Sophia Liu Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Ride service Uber has reached a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the family of a 6-year-old girl who died in a San Francisco car accident, Reuters reported on July 15, 2015.

The girl, Sofia Liu, died after she, her younger brother and their mother were hit by a car in a San Francisco cross-walk on New Year’s Eve in 2013. At the time of the crash, the driver was logged on to the Uber X smartphone app and was available to provide rides, the lawsuit said.

Liu’s family asked the court to keep terms of the settlement with Uber confidential, court filings showed, citing the privacy of her brother.

“The settlement is confidential and the family will only say that while nothing will ever bring Sofia back, they are grateful to the American Judicial System for providing them a way to resolve the legal issues raised by Sofia’s death,” Christopher Dolan, attorney for the Liu family, said in a statement.

San Francisco Housing Authority Sued Over Fatal Fire 

Relatives of Esther Ioane and her son Santana Williams who were killed on April 16, 2014, in a fire in San Francisco public housing have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against The City and the Housing Authority, the San Francisco Examiner reported on June 15, 2015.

Ioane and Williams died on April 16, 2014, after a fast-moving fire consumed their two-bedroom unit at 76 Brookdale Avenue in the Sunnydale housing projects.

The complaint was filed by attorney Chris Dolan and co-counsel in San Francisco Superior Court in March on behalf of Keith Williams, Santana’s father, and Ioane’s two surviving children. The suit cites negligence in maintaining the property due to Sunnydale’s well-known poor physical condition and the Housing Authority’s failure to perform necessary upkeep on the blockhouse-style buildings.

Chris Dolan Comments On New Rideshare Driver Insurance Coverage

On May 27, 2015, the Los Angeles Times interviewed Chris Dolan regarding a new insurance product designed to fill an insurance gap for drivers with companies such as UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar.

The policy provides coverage for drivers who are waiting for a match from on-demand transportation applications such as UberX.

Chris created a national conversation regarding this critical insurance gap in 2014 by representing a San Francisco family in connection with   the death of 6-year-old Sofia Liu. The Dolan Law Firm has the nation’s leading rideshare accident practice representing passengers and pedestrians injured in accidents by rideshare drivers.

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