Dec 15 by GJEL

The Largest Class Action Lawsuits & Settlements

It has been a big year for class action lawsuits. Most recently, thousands of Toyota drivers have sued the Japanese auto giant for injuries and loss of investment resulting from unintended acceleration, and victims of the BP Gulf oil spill disaster are lining up to take on the British oil conglomerate in court. Both of those budding class action battles pale in comparison to the legal storm about to engulf WalMart, which is being sued for gender discrimination by more than a million women in potentially the largest class action suit ever. To put this in perspective, we decided to round up a list of other massive class action titans over the past two decades.

Read More
May 24 by GJEL Staff

4 Powerful Legal Documentary Films

People who follow the news in the United States are not strangers to disturbing legal stories that often dominate the headlines. From the Casey Anthony trial that concluded last month, to the Scott Peterson verdict years before, and even the controversial O.J. Simpson murder case nearly 20 years ago, it’s often difficult to avoid the day’s most followed legal stories. But there are thousands of legal stories that go unnoticed each year by much of the general public, or are nearly forgotten years later. In the four following examples, documentary film makers have exposed and revitalized those stories to create powerful documentary films discussing a variety of troubling legal issues. We’ve compiled the trailers for the films Hot Coffee, Capturing the Friedmans, Deliver Us From Evil, and Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, along with short descriptions and reviews.

Read More
Sep 12 by GJEL

East Bay family awarded $11.7 million in Marsh Creek Road wrongful death accident

Late last week, a jury ordered Contra Costa County to pay $11.7 million to the family of William Tindall, who was killed in a crash on Marsh Creek Road in August 2008. The jury found that the County had created, and had notice of, a dangerous condition of public property at the accident location while the road was being resurfaced. Luke Ellis of this firm represented the Tindalls in their lawsuit against the County and the California Highway Patrol.

Read More
Jul 18 by GJEL

Autism Linked to SSRI Antidepressants Prozac & Zoloft Taken During Pregnancy

For decades, pregnant mothers were told that the best way to avoid developmental complications were to take vitamins during pregnancy, avoid alcohol and smoking, and obstain from strenuous activity. But in a set of studies published this month in the Archives of General Psychiatry, scientists have indicated that other environmental factors can lead to the development of child autism, and has suggested a link between the use of antidepressants during pregnancy and autism.

Read More
Jun 28 by GJEL

San Francisco Wrongful Death Lawsuit Brings Record Muni Settlement

A string of high-profile multi-million dollar settlements against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency indicates that the city would save millions in the long run by putting forward funds to improve street safety for cyclists and pedestrians. This point was underscored last week by a record $5.36 million Muni settlement for a 2008 Muni accident that killed cyclist David Wheeler near Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Read More
May 02 by GJEL

Safest States for Bicycling

Welcome to May, which marks the first full month of Spring, and the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month. The group will celebrate the month with a variety of programs and events, including Bike-to-Work Week May 16-20, and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday May 20. Here on the GJEL blog, we will be posting a series of in depth blog posts on bicycle safety and bike accident statistics here in California and nationwide. To start off the month, we’ve collected data on the states that have pushed ahead of the pack with strict bicycle safety laws: Oregon, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, California, and Maryland.

Read More
Apr 11 by GJEL

Distracted Driving Awareness Month: 5 Worst Road Safety States

The GJEL Blog has always kept a close eye on the driver safety laws of each state, with a particular interest in California. Fortunately, the “Golden State” has maintained a record of progressive safety laws, including strict distracted driving laws and penalties for drunk drivers. Other states have been less receptive to driver safety laws, and some have even openly opposed legislation that would save lives and reduce car accident injuries. So in honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we thought it would be useful to highlight the five worst states for road safety based on our research on teen driver and distracted driving laws, drunk driving penalties and statistics, and bicycle safety laws.

Read More
Jan 18 by GJEL

Are Lawsuit Loans a Good Idea?

Even after a personal injury lawsuit is settled, it can take a long time for plaintiffs to receive their settlement or award. Often, this presents major problems for the plaintiff, who may have been seriously injured in the accident and is having trouble paying the bills. These plaintiffs face the difficult question of whether to accept loans from high-interest legal financing companies, the subject of a major New York Times story this weekend. While the companies provide much-needed funds in difficult times, they are mostly unregulated by state and federal agencies, meaning they are not bound by financial ethics rules that govern banks.

Read More
Dec 29 by GJEL

Courts Still Unclear on Social Media Discovery for Personal Injury Lawsuits

Over the past five years, Facebook has evolved from a scrappy web upstart to a worldwide phenomenon with more than 500 million members. Even outside the social sphere, Facebook has also become a force in professional communities, and was the subject of the year’s most engaging film, The Social Network. But when it comes to law, the jury is still out on Facebook, as state courts continue to debate whether information gathered on Facebook should be admissible during the discovery process leading up to a legal showdown.

Read More