4 Tips for Drafting an Effective Settlement Demand Letter

The following is a guest blog post by Anderson Franco, who practices landlord-tenant, personal injury, and general litigation throughout the Bay Area.

Before filing a lawsuit, a plaintiff should always consider whether to try for settlement. If settlement is the goal, then a settlement demand letter becomes a key negotiation tool. A settlement demand letter explains to the opposing party why they should pay money to settle the case immediately rather than litigating through the court system. Continue reading

12 Actions Cities Can Take to Mitigate Tort Liability

Cities get sued. A lot. One of the most common kinds of lawsuits against a city arises from injuries caused by an allegedly dangerous condition of city property (like a sidewalk, road, or trail in a city park). Although it may not always be possible to avoid lawsuits based on the dangerous condition of city property, there are actions a city can take to at least make them easier to defend. This list may also be useful to plaintiff’s counsel going on the offensive.  Continue reading

The Benefit of an Effective Medical Expert: More Money

get bigger verdict when using effective medical expert witnessThere’s a definite correlation between the size of personal injury verdicts and the effectiveness of testimony by medical experts. Well-prepared and well-presented medical testimony carries weight and convinces triers of fact. The recent $289 million verdict against Monsanto may be an example. Continue reading

Are Landlords Liable for a Tenant’s Biting Dog?

tenant's vicious dogWhen a tenant’s dog bites someone, the injured party may want to go after the deeper pocket of the landlord. Whether this will be successful or not depends on what the landlord knew. Continue reading

How Far Does a Landowner’s Liability Go?

Couple crossing a street from shopping to the parking lotLandowners’ duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition has a pretty far reach, but the California Supreme Court recently curbed it. Continue reading

Can Opinion Come In Under the Business-Records Exception?

Here’s a common evidence question: Are opinions admissible when they’re in business records? The answer is generally “yes,” as long as the statement of opinion is in a writing that qualifies otherwise for the business-records exception to the hearsay rule. Continue reading

Establishing Credibility in Plaintiff’s Opening Statement

In a personal injury case, plaintiff’s counsel should approach the opening statement to the jury with one primary goal: establishing credibility. If the jury believes you, it will be much more likely to rule for your client. Here’s a sample opening statement that shows how you can get right out of the gate with credibility. Continue reading

Using the “Black Box” in a Car Accident Case

One of the key parts of liability testimony in a car accident case is the chronology of the accident: the parties’ conduct before the impact, the impact, and conditions after impact. The parties are most likely to dispute the first part, making the car’s “black box” a potentially helpful source of evidence (but with its own pitfalls). Continue reading

Checklist: What to Include in a Government Claim

Under California’s Government Claims Act (Govt C §§810–996.6), you can’t sue a public entity or its employees until after you’ve presented the entity with a claim for “money or damages.” Here’s a handy checklist of the essential elements to include in a claim. Continue reading

Would an “Insured” by Any Other Name Be as Covered?

thinkstockphotos-618210028Automobile liability policies provide coverage both to “named insureds” and “insureds.” Do you understand the coverage consequences of this distinction? Continue reading