"Consumer Attorney of the Year"
Award Finalists

CAOC is proud to announce the twelve finalists for the 2006 Consumer Attorney of the Year. We had over 30 nominations this year, with tremendous cases, efforts and results by CAOC members. This prestigious award honors a plaintiffs’ lawyer who has achieved a significant result in a case that: (1) finally resolved in the years 2005/2006; and (2) assisted consumers or changed consumer law for the better in the State of California. 

Award Finalists

 

 

Kelly Dermody

 Christopher Dolan

 Roger Dreyer and Christopher Wood

 John Feder and Ron Rouda

 Jonathan Gertler, Joseph Ingelmund
and Ariana Mohit

John Girardi and
Lawrence Lennemann

 Dan Hodes

 Arash Homampour

 Karen Barth Menzies

Todd Schneider and Laurence Paradis

 John Winer and Alexis McKenna

 Wendy York

 


 

 

 

Kelly Dermody
Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein
Sutter Health Uninsured Pricing Cases

 

Ms. Dermody, as lead plaintiffs’ attorney against Sutter, helped thousands of uninsured patients who were being illegally billed by Sutter Health. This groundbreaking case has resulted in an estimated $276 million in refunds or deductions to uninsured patients. In addition, Sutter Heath has agreed to maintain a generous charity care policy that will ensure that low-income insureds receive free or discounted care.

 


 

 

Christopher Dolan
The Dolan Law Firm
Issa v. Federal Express Ground and Stacy Shoun

 

Mr. Dolan represented two Lebanese Arab Federal Express drivers who were harassed on the basis of their national origin. In addition to having very difficult damages issues since both men remained employed, the case was one of first impression under Government Code Section 12940(j)(1) which was amended to provide protection from harassment against individuals who are independent contractors. As a result of Mr. Dolan’s lawsuit, Federal Express adopted an anti-discrimination policy and additionally hired a national law firm to review its employment practices and conduct trainings.

 


 

 

Roger Dreyer and Christopher Wood
Dreyer, Babich, Buccola & Callaham
Smith v. Vista Verde Farms

 

Mr. Dreyer and Mr. Wood represented a family injured by a drunk driver in a case where the criminal justice system provided little justice. It took a civil case for the defendant to finally pay for the injured family’s medical bills and for the defendant to come to terms with a long term alcohol problem.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

John Feder and Ron Rouda
Rouda, Feder, Tietjen & Zanobini
Mowatt v. City of Los Angeles, et al.

 

During this difficult case, Mr. Feder and Mr. Rouda represented a nineteen-year-old student who suffered severe brain damage from injuries she received when hit while crossing the street. Evidence demonstrated that the City knew of, but ignored, previous complaints about the dangerous crossing. Further, the City argued that it was not liable since the State owned the road, despite evidence that the City controlled the crossing. The jury found the City liable and awarded damages that will help care for the plaintiff’s life time care needs.

 

 


 

 

 

Jonathan Gertler, Joseph R. Igelmund and Ariana Mohit
Chavez & Gertler
Pietrowski v. Burlington, Northern Santa Fe Railroad

 

Mr. Gertler, Mr. Igelmund and Ms. Mohit represented a man who became severely brain damaged after he was hit by a train in an unmarked, unsafe railroad crossing. In addition to the problem of having a plaintiff whose injury prevented memory of the incident, the railroad “lost” evidence and did not follow safety guidelines. In addition to the significant recovery for the plaintiff, this case resulted in the railroad agreeing to inspect all 12,000 private crossings in the state of California to ensure better safety.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

John Girardi and Lawrence Lennemann
Girardi & Keese
Law Office of Lawrence J. Lennemann
Welch v. City of Anaheim

 

Mr. Girardi and Mr. Lennemann represented an Anaheim Police Department lieutenant who was discriminated against on the basis of disability. After suffering injuries obtained while in the line of duty, the City turned its back on him and then retaliated after he complained to the Fair Employment and Housing Department.

 

 

 


 

 

Dan Hodes
Lopez, Hodes, Restaino, Milman & Skikos
Robbins v. Southland Family Urgent Care

 

Mr. Hodes was nominated for several cases in which he represented victims of medical malpractice. In the Robbins case, the 39-year-old plaintiff had severe chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath. Despite his history and symptoms which should have led to a diagnosis of unstable angina, Mr. Robbins was discharged and subsequently collapsed at home and died. The jury agreed that the defendant was liable and awarded Mr. Robbins’ family damages to cover its loss.

 


 

 

Arash Homampour
Homampour & Associates
Turner v. Wu

 

Mr. Homampour represented the family of a motorcyclist who had been killed in an auto accident. This case allowed a grieving mother to receive justice after the police had wrongfully concluded that her deceased son had caused his own death. Mr. Homampour’s use of trial technology captivated the jury and brought home to the jurors the facts and hardships this collision caused.

 


 

 

Karen Barth Menzies
Baum Hedlund
Paxil Products Liability Litigation

 

Ms. Menzies is the Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee Paxil Products Liability Litigation and one of the lead attorneys in a consumer class action alleging that Paxil was promoted for use in children and adolescents, which is not only unlawful off-label promotion, but information the manufacturer knew to be ineffective and dangerous to children. After Ms. Menzies’ public campaign on this issue, black box warnings regarding the suicide risk have been added to antidepressant labels.

 


 

 

Todd Schneider and Laurence Paradis
Schneider & Wallace
Disability Rights Advocates
Bates v. United Parcel Service

 

Mr. Schneider and Mr. Paradis brought suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on behalf of deaf UPS workers who were systematically denied equal rights and opportunities in the workplace. Plaintiffs sought to ensure that UPS provide sign language interpreters and other communication aids needed by deaf employees. The plaintiffs also challenged UPS’ policy prohibiting deaf people from driving UPS vehicles, a policy that led to the deaf not getting promoted. Additionally, over 1000 deaf UPS workers will finally have an equal opportunity to compete with their hearing counterparts for advancement. This was the first case brought on behalf of deaf workers concerning workplace discrimination. Under the settlement, UPS has agreed to a comprehensive accommodations program.

 

 

 


 

 

John Winer and Alexis McKenna
Winer, McKenna & Davis
Hettick, Bryant v. Federal Express

 

Mr. Winer and Ms. McKenna represented two female employees in a sexual harassment case against Federal Express. Although the employees reported the harassment by a co-employee, management failed to take appropriate steps to protect them. This case is significant because its outcome will affect all of the 150,000-plus employees of FedEx and other working people throughout the United States and help guard against future discrimination in the workforce.

 

 

 


 

 

Wendy York
York Law Corporation
Ahrens v. Somer Park Special Living Centers

 

Ms. York has a long history of protecting our seniors and disabled against nursing facility abuse. The plaintiff, a former veterinarian and US Army Colonel, had Alzheimer’s. Not only was his care at the defendant facility inadequate due to lack of employee training, but evidence showed that there was a history of abuse by some employees. Elder abuse cases are difficult to bring and difficult to prove, but Ms. York’s persistence and dedication in this case assisted not only the deceased’s family, but led to the closure of a facility ridden with atrocities.

back to top

 

Back to 2006 Awards
Back to 2006 Convention Wrap-up