Case Results

Juarez v. Otay Water District:  2.28 million dollar settlement against the Otay Water District and certain construction defendants for misconnecting the recycled sewage line to the drinking water line at an office park in Chula Vista, California.  Consumption of contaminated drinking water caused the tenants to become ill and test positive for e-coli, fecal coliform and various other contaminants.

Press Coverage:  Local print and television news stations.

Davis v. Davis:  12 million dollar settlement against international recycling company.

Moody v. Merck:  Representation of multiple clients in the 4.85 billion dollar VIOXX class action settlement in federal district court in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Press Coverage:  Worldwide

United States . York:  Defense of Emmy Award winning producers in an eight week federal Ponzi trial.  The United States alleged that the producers made info-mercials for products that did not exist which were sold by the mastermind of the scheme Mark McClafferty to the detriment of investors that purchased “air time” to sell the products.  McClafferty pocketed the investor’s money and never sold any products.  He pled guilty and testified at trial that Mr. Gilliland’s client was involved in the scheme to defraud.  The jury found Mr. Gilliland’s client not guilty on all 22 counts in the federal indictment.  Read more

Press Coverage:  Local print

Lee v. San Diego Sheriff’s Department: Mr. Lee was arrested on a Florida warrant for the arrest of his brother Robert Lee by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. The warrant was given to the Sheriff by an FBI agent that wanted to speak with Mr. Lee about the whereabouts of his brother Robert Lee who was wanted by the FBI.  Mr. Lee was held in jail for three days before San Diego criminal defense attorney Eugene Iredale was able to secure his release.  Mr. Lee sued the San Diego Sheriff Department for false arrest alleging they knew the warrant was not for Mr. Lee.  A San Diego jury awarded Mr. Lee $81,000.

Lee v. FBI:  Mr. Lee brought a  lawsuit against the FBI in Federal Court alleging false arrest and wrongful interrogation for the FBI agent’s roll in the arrest in Lee v. San Diego Sheriff’s Department (above). The Department of Justice argued that the FBI was immune from such actions. The trial judge disagreed and denied the defense motion for summary judgment. The Department of Justice appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which also denied the request in a published opinion, Lee v. Gregory, 363 F.3d 931 (9th Cir. 2004). U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor refused to review the case and the FBI settled the case for $190,000 on the eve of trial. The Lee case has now been cited authority of governmental immunity in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Nevada, California, Idaho and Hawaii.  Read more

Press Coverage:  San Diego Union Tribune and numerous legal publications

Norris v. Wells Fargo Guard Service:  1.6 million dollar jury verdict in favor of a San Diego State University student that was shot by an off-duty City of National City police officer working as a security guard at the Belmont Park roller coaster in the Mission Bay area of San Diego, California.  The jury awarded one million dollars in punitive damages against Wells Fargo Guard Services.  The verdict was affirmed on appeal by the California Court of Appeal, Division One.  The California Supreme Court rejected the Wells Fargo Guard Service’s petition for review and the defense paid, with accrued interest, over 2.2 million dollars to plaintiff after the appeals.

Press Coverage:  Local television and print

Doe v. Doe: 1.75 million dollar settlement in San Francisco automobile accident case.  One of many automobile accident injury cases handled by the firm, this case involved issues of negligent entrustment, permissive user and top dollar was achieved by discovering excess homeowner coverage that covered the vehicle’s non-owner permissive-driver.

Press Coverage:  Local print

Scott v. Chance I: False imprisonment case brought against former Mrs. America Jill Scott-Chance, her attorney Ian Lockhon and bounty hunter Donald Mellon.  Plaintiff G.E. Scott was Mrs. Scott-Chance’s former husband who was handcuffed at gunpoint by the bounty hunter in Belleville, Kansas and driven to family court in San Diego, California to face a warrant regarding past-due spousal support. At the time, Mr. Scott was working at a Taco Bell in Belleville, Kansas while his wife, since winning her crown, had remarried to Rick Chance, the Southwest auto glass mogul, in a ceremony that was broadcast live on Good Morning America.  Plaintiff contended that his wife was retaliating against him for an article written by Don Bauder in the San Diego Union Tribune about her alleged involvement with the pornographic movie industry. The jury of 12 men awarded Mr. Scott a $670,000 verdict including $475,000 in punitive damages.

Press Coverage: Hard Copy, National Inquirer, San Diego Union Tribune and various tabloids

Scott v. Chance II:  During the trial of G.E. Scott v. Jill Scott-Chance, it was learned that Rick Chance was the mastermind of the plot to have Mr. Scott arrested and provided the money for the attorney and bounty hunter.  G.E. Scott brought a second lawsuit against Mr. Chance for his involvement.  Shortly after the case was settled, Mr. Chance filed for an annulment of the marriage after learning Mrs. Scott-Chance had secretly inked a deal to star in a pornographic movie called Mrs. XXX America.  Mrs. Scott-Chance was later indicted in San Diego federal court for bankruptcy fraud.  Mr. Chance was later murdered in a Tempe, Arizona Best Western Motel by the boyfriend of an exotic dancer that answered Mr. Chance’s newspaper ad about selling jewelry.

Press Coverage:  National print and television coverage and the subject of Mark Gribben’s “The Murder of Rick Chance.”

DOE v. Sweetwater Union High School District:   $450,000 settlement.  Sweetwater High School is in National City, California and many of the students come from homes were their parents only speak Spanish.  The plaintiff brought a packet of forms home for his mother to sign at the beginning of the school year.  At that time, the schools forms were in English only.  One of the forms stated that the student was able to participate in physical education class without restrictions.  At the same time, the mother had sent the school a doctor’s note saying her child had a cardiac condition that could be fatal if he over exerted.  The student died during a 12 minute run in P.E. class from the heart condition.  The school district blamed the mother for signing the form in English and the child for participating in P.E. knowing he had a heart condition.  The school district settled the case for $450,000 and now sends forms home in both English and Spanish.

Press Coverage:  Local print and television coverage.

Doe v. Doe Insurance Company, $400,000 settlement.  Plaintiff’s husband went to surf the 15 Street surf break in Del Mar, California and was found floating in the water.  The coroner  listed the cause of death as a heart attack.  Plaintiff’s husband had a $100,000 accidental death life insurance policy.  The insurance company denied coverage stating the cause of death was a heart attack.  They then paid $400,000 to settle the case before trial.

Press Coverage:  Local print.

Davis v. City of San Diego:  Mr. Davis was standing outside of then-Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California, before game 7 of the 1998 National League Championship baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves.   He was a black male holding two tickets in his hand near the Will Call booth.  A San Diego police officer told Mr. Davis to leave or be arrested for scalping tickets.  Mr. Davis refused to leave and stated he was waiting for a friend.  Mr. Davis was booked and released on suspicion of scalping tickets to a San Diego Padres baseball game and his tickets were confiscated.   The jury awarded Mr. Davis $75,000 and voted to proceed to the punitive damage phase of trial.  The city risk manager then settled the case for $150,000 on a condition that plaintiff did not present the punitive damage case against the police officer.

Press Coverage:  San Diego Union Tribune, KGTV Channel 10 News

Washington v. County of San Diego:  Marshawn Washington died after being hog-tied by San Diego County Sheriff deputies in the George Bailey Detention Facility after allegedly becoming upset about a search of his cell.  The plaintiff alleged he died of asphyxiation from the hog-tied and failure of the nurses to properly monitor his medical condition after his hog-tie.  The defense alleged he died from a heart attack unrelated to the hog-tie but probably caused by the physical exertion during the struggle.  The County of San Diego settled the case for $400,000 during trial.

Press Coverage:  San Diego Union Tribune

Wright v. County of San Diego:  Daniel Wright was booked into a holding cell at the George Bailey Detention Facility.  Plaintiff alleged he asked guards when he would be allowed to leave the holding cell.  A group of guards wearing black gloves then stormed the cell and beat him.  During discovery, it was disclosed that there was a group of guards called the “Angry Team” that wore black gloves and would beat inmates that were not respectful.  The County of San Diego settled the case for $125,000.

Press Coverage:  Local Media

Carney v. Wilcox:  Policy limits $250,000 settlement for a motorcycle rider that collided with a truck.

United States v. Wilkes: Negotiated immunity for ADCS employee and Human Resources Director in the Randy “Duke” Cunningham Congressional bribery scandal for which the Republican Congressman from San Diego was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison for accepting more than 2.4 million dollars in bribes from ACDS and others. The case was the largest bribery case in the history of the United States Congress according to Congressional Historian Fred W. Beuttler.

Press Coverage: Worldwide

People v. Gudmundsson: In 2006, Mount Carmel High School graduate Bryan Gudmundsson was completing a 14 year sentence for attempted murder.  After a disagreement with guards, the guards conducted a surprise search of Gudmundsson’s cell during which they contend they found a hit of black tar heroin and marijuana.  Gudmundsson agreed to a drug test which came back positive for both heroin and THC.  The District Attorney filed a criminal complaint seeking a third strike against Gudmundsson which would have resulted in an automatic life sentence.  However, records from the drug testing lab revealed that the heroin and marijuana in the lab weighed more than the drugs allegedly found in Gudmundsson’s cell.  Records also showed that the urine test that came back positive had the name of a different inmate on the vial.  The District Attorney voluntarily dismissed the case and Mr. Gudmundsson is currently a counselor for troubled youths in San Diego, California.

People v. Acquino: Probation granted for first degree murder charge.  Mr. Gilliland was retained to represent the grand-nephew of the former president of the Philippines Benigno Acquino (who was succeeded in the Presidency by his wife Corazon Aquino after his assassination).  Mr. Acquino was arrested after an episode of America’s Most Wanted portrayed the details of the unsolved execution-style murder of a soap opera actress from The Young and the Restless.  Mr. Acquino was granted probation and the trigger man Hugo Jimenez was sentenced to 40 years to life.

Press Coverage: America’s Most Wanted, January 2002; San Diego 10 News, San Diego Union Tribune

Kauanui v. Cravens:  Civil defense of Seth Cravens in the Bird Rock Bandits murder case.  Seth Cravens and several other graduates of La Jolla High School in La Jolla, California were prosecuted for the murder of professional surfer Emory Kauanui.  Mr. Cravens was convicted in the criminal case.  Mr. Gilliland settled the civil case on behalf of Mr. Cravens prior to trial.

Press Coverage: Worldwide

Hannah v. Indecline Productions:  Civil defense of the BUMFIGHTS video.  Mr. Gilliland was retained to defend the makers of the BUMFIGHTS video, “A Cause for Concern.”  Sale of the video was banned in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Canada.  Mr. Gilliland settle the case prior to trial.  The video is only available on the black market today as it is now banned in the United States.

Press Coverage: Worldwide