PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY: Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis & Larsen, Orinda, by Luke Ellis and Ralph L. Jacobson


Plaintiffs in the subject action were two girls, aged 3 and 5. The lawsuit was brought by their mother and guardian ad litem, who was 29 years old. A fire occurred in plaintiffs’ apartment, in an apartment complex in Contra Costa County which had been recently purchased by defendants.

Plaintiffs contended that defendants failed to provide and install a working smoke detector in plaintiff’s unit; that as a result, a fire that was started by one of plaintiff mother’s other children, an 8-year-old boy, went undetected and raged out of control, injuring the minor plaintiffs.

It was further contended that the lack of a smoke detector was the cause of plaintiff minors’ injuries.

Defendants contended that they had recently purchased said apartment complex; that they believed that plaintiffs’ apartment contained a smoke detector; and that if it did not, it was plaintiff mother’s responsibility to notify new management.

It was further contended by defendants that the lack of a smoke detector in plaintiffs’ unit was not the cause of the injuries to plaintiff minors, since it would not have prevented or changed the injuries in any way; and that the fire was started by one of the mothers’ own children due to negligence.

INJURIES: The 3-year old daughter sustained second and third-degree burns over 25% of her body. The 5-year old daughter sustained second and third-degree burns over 50% of her body.

SPECIALS: Medical $107,288 for the 3-year-old and $274,304 for the 5-year-old.

RESULT: The case was settled at the close of evidence for Three Million Two Hundred And Fifty Thousand Dollars ($3,250,000.00).

Author Photo

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Since 1972 he has been helping seriously injured victims throughout northern California fight & win their personal injury cases. Andy is one of the top awarded & recognized wrongful death lawyers in northern California.