General Liability

Practice Area

General Liability

Lewis Brisbois' General Liability Practice is comprised of over 250 attorneys nationwide who have successfully represented defendants in significant exposure cases in numerous general liability areas. The group has provided a defense for a myriad of property and personal injury claims, for both businesses and individuals who may be insured or self-insured. While the attorneys within the firm are equipped to handle a wide variety of matters, we excel in the litigation and trial of catastrophic injury, wrongful death, and complex litigation cases. The General Liability Practice partners and senior associates are seasoned and well respected trial attorneys who have broad trial experience. Our attorneys have been cited by the National Law Journal for obtaining one of the "Top Ten Defense Verdicts of the Year", and have received other prominent recognition.

Premises Liability

We regularly defend retail businesses, apartment and condominium complexes, movie and television studios, hotels, casinos, restaurants, grocers, non-profit institutions, universities and schools, pharmacies and health care facilities, sports and entertainment venues, automotive repossessors and residential properties in a wide variety of premises liability actions, including claims for slip/trip-and-fall, criminal conduct of third parties on the premises, negligent security claims, false imprisonment, and claims involving food borne illness.

The group's recent success in defending premises liability matters include:

  • Summary Judgment on behalf of a restaurant franchisee disputing the failure to provide adequate security and requirement they should have installed a bullet-resistant window at a drive-thru.
  • Jury defense verdict in a federal matter against a property owner where Plaintiff sustained personal injuries after falling on a wheelchair ramp. Plaintiff claimed the wheelchair ramp was unsafe and not ADA compliant. Plaintiff was not disabled at the time of the fall and the court precluded counsel from mentioning the ADA in argument.
  • Defense verdict in a case involving claims of inadequate security procedures by a Las Vegas casino and hotel leading to personal injuries when a fight broke out between casino patrons. Casino security officers escorted the fighting patrons out of the casino and once outside an unknown assailant attacked the plaintiff.

Commercial & Personal Auto, Trucking, Public Transportation, Rental Car & Limousine Service Companies

The group has represented a wide range of commercial transportation entities, including bus companies, trucking companies, emergency vehicles, and auto liability insurers. The firm distinguishes itself by providing a twenty-four hour on-scene response team to assist in securing, obtaining, and preserving evidence such as witness statements and photographs. Some of our recent successes include:

  • The firm represented a company whose driver rear-ended a plaintiff's vehicle, pushing them into the vehicle in front of plaintiff. Plaintiff claimed to need extensive future medical treatment, including spinal surgery. At trial, plaintiff asked the jury for $500,000.00 in damages. The jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff for just over $16,000.00, which was reduced to $11,700.00. This reduction is attributed to the strategic procedural maneuvers taken by the firm that allowed for the recovery of its fees and costs as an offset.
  • The firm represented a trucking company in a case where their driver drove through an intersection at almost precisely the same time as another tractor-trailer of similar make and model. The similar truck, however, struck an elderly pedestrian. Plaintiff sued both our client and other company, Tri-Modal Distribution, who adamantly denied being the tortfeasor. The firm aggressively worked up the accident reconstruction end of it, and ultimately obtained a dismissal for $5,000.
  • The firm represented a Fortune 500 company and its salesman, who had got into an accident while driving intoxicated. With liability not an issue in the matter, the firm focused its attention towards the damages claims, including $55,000.00 in medical expenses and an alleged $24,000.00 per year in loss of earning claims. The plaintiff demanded $1.125 million dollars for settlement prior to mediation, but was only awarded $275,000.00 at mediation.

Liquor Law

The firm successfully defends bars, taverns, hotels, and other social organizations against claims from third-parties that claim injury or death from the sale of alcohol to intoxicated patrons or to minors.

Lewis Brisbois has been successful in dispositive motions involving dram shop liability, including a case in favor of a private fraternity when a minor consumed alcohol at a private event and subsequently caused an accident.

The firm has effectively negotiated low settlements in cases involving serving alcohol to underage persons, including a claim where a minor plaintiff brought a lawsuit against a bar for injuries she received to herself after consuming alcohol at our client's facility.

Lead Paint

Our group has effected successful dispositions to hundreds of significant lead poisoning cases. Lewis Brisbois has developed strong working relationships with the foremost experts in the area of lead-based paint poisoning and we have litigated against the most preeminent plaintiffs' lawyers. We have authored authoritative texts and national law journal articles in the area of lead-based paint poisoning and we maintain a national database of the latest developments in this burgeoning field.

We have formulated strategies specific to the complex issues involved in successfully defending against lead poisoning lawsuits, as well as preventing, reducing and minimizing these claims whenever possible.

The practitioners in this group have success in defending these cases such as:

  • A defense verdict in a lead paint litigation where infant plaintiff suffered from significant elevated blood lead levels and defendants' property received multiple violations involving impermissible levels of lead, by convincing the jury that the infant plaintiff’s alleged injuries were pre-existing as confirmed by medical records, the infant had overcome any alleged injuries and was a well adjusted child.
  • A defense verdict in lead paint litigation where infant plaintiff had an elevated blood lead level, underwent chelation therapy, and defendants' property received significant violations involving impermissible levels of lead. The defense was able to successfully prove to the jury that the infant's exposure occurred in another country and that the equipment used by the Department of Health was faulty and lead to inaccurate findings of increased lead levels.

Government Entities

The group excels in the defense of matters involving counties, cities, universities, police officers and police departments, school districts, waste management facilities, and landfills and transfer stations in a variety of complex litigation matters. The group's recent success in defending government entities include:

  • Demurrer of entire wrongful death action against Sheriff’s Department.
  • U.S. District Court granted Motion to Dismiss entire action in suit by male college athlete claiming damages against a university arising out of an investigation of sexual harassment allegation against him. Plaintiff agreed to not appeal and to pay defendant’s cost of suit.
  • Summary judgment in breach of contract, FEHA violations and retaliation suit against a University. The Court of Appeal affirmed the summary judgment.
  • U.S. District Court granted summary judgment in a civil rights suit against the Sheriff’s Department.
  • Summary judgment granted in a dangerous condition death case against a municipality.
  • FALSE ARRESTS: The group has defended clients in numerous cases alleging false arrests, malicious prosecution, false imprisonmen, and civil rights violations in state and federal courts. The Group’s recent success in defending these cases include:
    • Demurrer to civil rights complaint involving release of parolee.
    • Motion to strike granted to a civil rights complaint alleging inadequate medical treatment in jail.
    • Defense verdicts in cases involving false arrests and excessive force, and Monell Claims.

To ensure that we achieve the best results for our clients, the firm implements an aggressive defense litigation strategy plan and budget at the outset of each case, understanding that we have the requisite experience to see the matter through trial, when necessary. The firm utilizes sophisticated technology systems to achieve efficient, cost-effective results. The collective experience of the members of the General Liability Group has allowed us to create and maintain an extensive database of the leading medical and scientific experts from across the country.

The lawyers that form the General Liability Practice pride themselves in being "problem solvers" who recognize that proper early case assessment is required to allow efficient and cost effective alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitration, to be discussed with the client as part of any initial litigation plan. In order to ensure a measure of quality control, the firm regularly tracks the fees and costs incurred in litigated matters, as well as trial and arbitration results, for its clients.

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