Select Case Results
Mr. Gilliland has handled hundreds of cases over the last 30 years. Below are a select few to give you an idea of his practice.
People v. Peck: First degree murder. Mr. Peck, a retired former city attorney, shot and killed his 53-year-old adult son. He claimed his son was psychologically abusing him. He retained Mr. Gilliland who was able to negotiate a sentence of 3 years house arrest where Mr. Peck was monitored with an ankle bracelet.
Press Coverage: Local and International.
People v. Aquino: First degree murder. Mr. Gilliland was retained to represent the grand-nephew of the former president of the Philippines Corazon Aquino. 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 his accomplice Hugo Jimenez was sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison.
Press Coverage: America’s Most Wanted; San Diego 10 News, San Diego Union Tribune; and International.
United States v. York: Ponzi Scheme. Defense of Emmy Award winning producers in a federal fraud trial. In a joint prosecution effort between a team from the Department of Justice’s Washington, D.C. office and local federal prosecutors from San Diego and San Francisco, the United States alleged that the producers made infomercials for products that did not exist. Victims bought “air time” which was allegedly used to market the products. However, the mastermind McClafferty pocketed the investor’s money and never sold any products. In a plea deal, Mr. McClafferty agreed to testify against the producers at trial in exchange for leniency at his sentencing. At trial, McClafferty testified that the producers were his partners in crime. After an eight week trial before the Hon. Napoleon Jones, a jury found Mr. Gilliland’s client not guilty on all 22 counts in the federal indictment.
Press Coverage: Local and Los Angeles.
United States v. Wilkes: Bribery. This case was the largest Congressional bribery case in the history of the United States Congress according to Congressional Historian Fred W. Beuttler. It involved the bribery of Republican Congressman and decorated Vietnam war veteran Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Mr. Gilliland negotiated immunity for the Director of Human Resources for the private defense contractor that paid most of the bribes. Congressman Cunningham was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison for accepting more than 2.4 million dollars in bribes.
Press Coverage: Worldwide
People v. Gudmundsson: Three Strikes. In 2006, Bryan Gudmundsson was completing a 14 year sentence at Calipatria state prison for attempted murder. After a disagreement with guards, the guards conducted a surprise search of Gudmundsson’s cell during which they allegedly found a hit of black tar heroin and marijuana. Gudmundsson claimed the drugs were planted by the guards. However, when he agreed to a drug test, it came back positive for both heroin and THC. Based on these results, the Imperial County District Attorney filed a criminal complaint seeking a third strike against Gudmundsson which would have resulted in an automatic life sentence. However, Mr. Gilliland discovered records from the drug testing lab that revealed the heroin and marijuana samples received by the laboratory from Calipatria weighed more than the heroin and marijuana allegedly found in Gudmundsson’s cell. Mr. Gilliland also discovered that Mr. Gudmundsson’s positive urine test had Mr. Gudmundsson’s name on the vial, but a different inmate’s booking number. After Mr. Gilliland demanded Mr. Gudmundsson’s drug test results from Calipatria which were required for his conjugal visits with his wife, the District Attorney voluntarily dismissed the case.
United States v. Engelhart: Gaming. Mr. Gilliland was retained to defend Mr. Engelhart in a massive criminal matter brought in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) over illegal online gaming. Mr. Gilliland was able to negotiate immunity from prosecution for his client.
People v. Mitchell: Mr. Gilliland was retained by World Series Champion and former National League most valuable player Kevin Mitchell after he was arrested for assaulting a man on a Southern California golf course. Mr. Gilliland negotiated the multiple felony complaint down to a misdemeanor level violation and Mr. Mitchell served no jail time.
Lee v. San Diego Sheriff’s Department: Civil Rights. 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: Civil Rights. 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 under the doctrine of qualified immunity. The Hon. Judith Keep disagreed and denied the defense motion for summary judgment. The Department of Justice appealed Judge Keep’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit, with a unanimous panel, also rejected the argument in a published opinion, Lee v. Gregory, 363 F.3d 931 (9th Cir. 2004). U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor signed the Supreme Court’s denial of the government’s writ of certiorari thereby rejecting review of the case. The FBI then settled the case for $190,000 on the eve of trial. The Lee case has now been cited as authority rejecting qualified immunity in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Nevada, California, Idaho and Hawaii.
DOE v. Richard Fisher: Civil Rights. Mr. Gilliland was retained to represent Jane Doe against San Diego sheriff deputy Richard Fisher. Mr. Fisher was accused by several women of molesting them while in police custody. The case settled in a private mediation presided over by former Chief Judge Irma Gonzalez of the Southern District of California.
Norris v. Wells Fargo Guard Service: Civil Rights. 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
Davis v. City of San Diego: Civil Rights. 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: Civil Rights. 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: Civil Rights. 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
Juarez v. Otay Water District: Negligence. 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: Class Action. 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
Doe v. Doe: Personal Injury. 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. This case was 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: False Imprisonment. 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: Negligence. $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: Negligence. $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.
Carney v. Wilcox: Negligence. Policy limits settlement for a motorcycle rider that collided with a truck. His injuries did not seem life-threatening and he resumed a normal life-style. Months later, he died of an aneurism. Mr. Gilliland hired experts that created a report of the lost income his surviving wife and four boys would suffer as a result of his death. The case then settle for the $250,000 policy limits.
Kauanui v. Cravens: Assault and Battery. 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