Girardi, John A.

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Address: 1126 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90017
Lawyer Firm: Girardi | Keese
Phone: 213-262-6777
Fax: 213-481-1554

Areas of Practice Pharmaceutical Litigation, Employment, Product Liability, including Automobile Design, Government Entity Liability, Negligence Matters, Class Actions

John Girardi is a trial lawyer who has represented the interests of plaintiffs for over four decades and is one of the founding members of Girardi Keese. He has tried over 100 civil jury and non-jury matters, representing the interests of individuals or businesses that have suffered a loss at the hands of another. He specializes in pharmaceutical litigation, employment, product liability including automobile design, government entity liability, negligence matters and class actions.

In addition to his work as a trial lawyer, Girardi has devoted considerable time and effort to the legal community, to educational institutions and to several non-profit endeavors.

Verdicts, Settlements, and Representative Cases

• Carlson, et al. vs. Southern California Edison This is an action for negligence against Southern California Edison on behalf of approximately 100 homeowners who suffered fire damage to their homes and property in 2007 as a result of a wildfire in the Grass Valley section of Lake Arrowhead, California. The plaintiffs succeeded on a Motion for Summary Adjudication on liability issues and later the matter settled for a confidential amount well in excess of eight figures.

• Georges v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation This civil action was tried in District Court in the Central District of California. Georges was a stage 4 cancer patient who was prescribed the drugs Aredia® and Zometa®, drugs containing bisphosphonates prescribed in order to decrease the chances of a skeletal related fracture which can occur in stage 4 cancer patients. The unwarned consequence of the drugs was the development of osteonecrosis of the jaw. Without an adequate warning as to this serious risk or clear instructions as to dosage and duration of prescription, the plaintiff’s oncologist provided intravenous dosages of the drug on a monthly basis for several years. Following some dental work (which for reasons not understood may act as a trigger) the plaintiff developed osteonecrosis of the jaw with subsequent development of bone chips, infection and drainage. A course of dental care to resolve the infection by excising the tissue took place over several years. Following a two week trial, the jury returned a verdict on behalf of the plaintiff against Novartis for a total of $2,160,000.00.

• In RE: Bisphosphonate Litigation This litigation included approximately 177 individual actions most of which were consolidated in an MDL (1760 in Nashville) and in the New Jersey mass tort Court. Novartis manufactured two drugs, Aredia® and Zometa® that were prescribed by oncologists to stage four cancer patients to reduce the possibility of fractures (which is not an uncommon effect of cancer metastasizing to the bone). The plaintiffs alleged that both the research and clinical testing indicated the risk of development of osteonecrosis (death) of the jaw bone and that this risk was not identified to the FDA nor in any warning on the drug. Plaintiffs also developed evidence that when the problem became wide spread and was reported in professional literature, the manufacturer dissembled and refused to acknowledge that the drugs could cause such a problem. Twelve cases ultimately proceeded to trial (with the plaintiffs obtaining seven verdicts, including a verdict for $2,160,000.00 in the Central District of California). Additional cases were settled on the cusp of trial. Following seven years of litigation, all the remaining actions settled on a global basis for a confidential amount.

• Rhodes, et al. v. Trinity Broadcasting Network, Inc. This was a civil action in which an inebriated driver struck the vehicle in which the plaintiffs were riding. Plaintiffs sustained serious injuries and nine months after the accident, one of the plaintiffs died. Evidence was developed that the death from pneumonia was of a consequence of the orthopedic injuries received months earlier in the accident. Evidence was also developed that the defendant driver had been drinking with the principals of Trinity Broadcasting Network earlier in the evening at a business dinner before the incident occurred. After nearly two years of litigation, the matter was resolved for $4,500,000.00.

• Valdespino vs. the State of California, et al. This was an action for the dangerous condition of public property in which the plaintiff was driving his vehicle northbound on U.S. Highway 395 in Inyo County. Another vehicle travelling southbound turned left at an intersection of the open highway. Plaintiff developed evidence that the line of vision for the other driver was obscured by the placement of a highway information sign on the center median. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit were a widow and three children, ages 10 to 16. The lawsuit settled for $1,825,000.00.

• Harvey v. City of Newport Beach Harvey is a 27 year veteran of the Newport Beach Police Department. After attaining the rank of sergeant he tried on six occasions over 10 years to be promoted to lieutenant. The promotional process involved both a written and oral exam as well as evaluations from the command staff (that is lieutenants and captains). Harvey’s yearly evaluations consistently showed superior work. The anonymous evaluations in the promotional process graded Harvey poorly for his lack of leadership and problems with subordinates. Harvey was 48 years of age and never married. He was perceived by many members of the department to be gay and was the subject of rumor, innuendo and gay slurs. Also, Harvey had filed charges against several other police officers all of which concluded with discipline and in some circumstances termination. Of those officers, eleven current and former lieutenants and captains as well as the current and former police chief testified that they had no knowledge whatsoever that Harvey was perceived to be gay; further, promotion is not a right and Harvey did not demonstrate appropriate leadership skills. An Orange County jury returned a verdict on Harvey’s behalf for discrimination, retaliation and the failure to prevent discrimination awarding economic damages of $600,000.00 and non-economic damages of $600,000.00. The Court also awarded attorney fees in excess of $700,000.00.

• Welch v. City of Anaheim This was an action for disability discrimination and retaliation brought by a lieutenant who had been a member of the Anaheim Police Department for over 25 years. Injured in the line of duty, he was entered in a modified work program but was to receive meaningful work and remain eligible for promotion. Neither occurred and after enduring this situation for several years, he filed a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The Police Department then retaliated with reassignment to a different location and an even more reduced workload. The lieutenant submitted a resignation at age 51 and four years prior to when he intended to retire. The jury returned a verdict for economic damages of $215,000.00 which represented his loss of earnings over those four years less that which he was to receive in his pension. The jury also returned a verdict for non-economic damages in the amount of $5,000,000.00. This was reported to be one of the largest non-economic damage awards for an employment case in Orange County.

• Carter v. C. B. Richard Ellis This was a lawsuit for age and gender discrimination. The plaintiff was a 30 year employee whose job duties grew from secretary to assistant vice-president. In a purported reorganization of the business, the plaintiff’s job responsibilities were limited and a new compensation plan removed plaintiff’s bonus compensation. These changes affected primarily one class of workers who were females over forty. The Orange County jury returned a verdict of $1,000,000.00 including compensatory and punitive damages.

• Hedgpeth v. City of Anaheim This was a civil action for breach of contract and retaliation. The plaintiff was a 26 year veteran with the City of Anaheim Police Department and rose to the rank of Captain. Because of disagreements with the Chief of Police, he was charged with internal affairs violations and himself filed grievances ultimately leading to a separation agreement. The separation agreement called for confidentiality and an agreement to provide specific information to the plaintiff’s subsequent employers. Two years after the plaintiff separated the defendants prevailed upon other policing agencies not to use the plaintiff as a trainer for mounted equestrian police units. The action involved an issue of whether or not there could be retaliation by a former employee against his previous employer. The jury found damages for both breach of contract and retaliation. The award which later included attorney fees and costs exceeded $940,000.00.

• Borbor v. Isabel Nursery School This matter involved the representation of twenty-two children from sixteen families as plaintiffs in an action against a nursery school in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles. Approximately one-half of the children had been sexually victimized by the taking of inappropriate photographs. The matter was litigated for approximately eight years and in addition to the liability issues against the operators of the school there were four different declaratory relief actions regarding insurance coverage which led to three appellate decisions– a fourth was pending at the time of settlement. This Los Angeles Superior Court action was resolved for slightly less than $4,000,000.00.

• Sellers v. Porsche This jury trial involved the crashworthiness of a 914 Porsche. The plaintiff was unbelted and under the influence of alcohol while traveling with the right of way on Pacific Coast Highway when another vehicle cut across his path. In the ensuing collision, there was substantial intrusion to the passenger compartment of the plaintiff’s Porsche vehicle. After a six week trial, the jury returned a plaintiff’s verdict on defect, causation and total damage but could not reach a verdict on the assessment of fault so that a mistrial was declared. The plaintiff later received a substantial settlement. This was one of the earliest cases tried under the theory of lack of "crashworthiness" in Los Angeles County.

• Levinson v. Friedland This was a medical negligence case involving the wrongful death of a husband and father of three children following spinal surgery. The jury verdict of over $1,000,000.00 remains one of the largest medical negligence verdicts in the Van Nuys District of the Los Angeles Superior Court.

• Rivera v. First Transit This matter involved a claim for wrongful death of a husband and one of his sons as they were sitting in a lawfully parked van when it was struck by a City of Los Angeles Dash bus. The head of the household was a citizen of Mexico who had lawfully resided in the United States for approximately 20 years. His reported income averaged about $14,000.00 per year. In addition to his immediate family, he was the father of two children out of wedlock. While the circumstances leading to the accident were clear, discovery yielded information that the driver of the bus was not qualified to operate the vehicle, had requested the day before the accident to be re-trained and that the company had no program for re-training. During the pendency of the case, claim was made for punitive damages based upon this information. Shortly before the trial, the case was resolved for a sum of $4,000,000.00.

• Minninberg v. Standard Insurance This matter involved a claim of bad faith and wrongful termination. The plaintiff was a sales agent of the same insurance company with whom he maintained a disability insurance policy. The plaintiff became disabled due to depression after which time the insurance company terminated his disability benefits and later prevailed upon the agency for which the plaintiff worked to terminate his employment. After a three week trial, the jury returned a verdict for compensatory and punitive damages on both the bad faith and the wrongful termination causes of action.

• Glenn v. MW Equipment This was an automobile collision case in which the plaintiff sustained a closed head injury with what appeared to be a good recovery. He was at the time of the incident a Three Star Admiral in the United States Navy. The principal claim of the lawsuit was his failure to be promoted to a Four Star Admiral and a Fleet Commander. There was no economic damage. After extensive discovery utilizing retired Navy personnel, the matter settled for the policy limits of $1,200,000.00.

• In Re: Medtronics Litigation This involved three separate actions against Medtronics, Incorporated, the manufacturer of a medical device implanted in the patient’s brain to reduce intractable pain. Extensive discovery yielded the failure to adequately test the device and erroneous information provided over the course of the application process to the Food and Drug Administration. Each of the three separate lawsuits was resolved after extensive litigation for a substantial recovery for each plaintiff.

• In Re: Film Lab Litigation This matter involved the representation of forty-seven employees in a lawsuit alleging various degrees of personal injuries against the studios that processed film stock for the movie industry as well as the manufacturers and suppliers of the chemicals used in the process. There were approximately forty defendants. This lawsuit was pursued in the Los Angeles Superior Court. It was settled in an amount in excess of $1,700,000.00.

• In Re: MTA Litigation This is a series of a dozen lawsuits naming approximately 350 plaintiff entities, including property owners, business owners and tenants who suffered damages caused by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority as a result of the subway construction. Settlements in excess of $7,500,000.00 were obtained.

• Mason v. Mercury Casualty This was a lawsuit for breach of contract and bad faith. This verdict represented one of the first reported California jury verdicts for bad faith and punitive damages based upon the insurance carriers handling of a property damage claim to a vehicle.

• Sundquist v. Coach USA This civil action arose out of a collision of a truck and a bus on Interstate 5 in the Newhall area. Cheryl Sundquist endured a series of epidural injections in the neck and back and ultimately underwent two spinal surgeries and was a candidate for a third. The plaintiff had an extensive history of low back issues which included surgery a short number of years prior to the accident. The lawsuit ultimately resolved for a total of $2,750,000.00.


Hernandez v. The County of Los Angeles: 42 Cal.3d 1020 (1986). Petition for rehearing denied by Supreme Court. 232 Cal. Rptr. 519 (1987). Published decision from the California Supreme Court outlining the circumstances where a government entity must accept a late claim application.

Health Industries of America v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority: 102 Cal.App.4th 1372 (Second District 2002). Review denied January 22, 2003. 126 Cal.Rptr. 2d 294 (2002). A decision from the Second District Court of Appeal dealing with the authority of a Judge Pro Tem to handle all matters concerning scheduling of the trial including invocation of the tolling statute.

Lee v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority: 107 Cal.App 4th 848 (Second District 2003). Request for depublication denied August 13, 2003. 132 Cal.Rptr. 2d 444 (2003). This matter involved a decision by the Second District Court of Appeal dealing with the statute of limitations for inverse condemnation, trespass and nuisance. The court found that where there was a continuous and repeated course of conduct causing damages to property and the property had not stabilized, then the statute of limitations does not commence to run.

American States Insurance v. Borbor: 826 F.2d 888 (1987). This matter involved a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversing a District Court Judgment in an insurance coverage case. The underlying case involved claims of sexual victimization to approximately two dozen pre-school age children. The pre-school was operated by a husband and wife. The trial court had determined that the intentional acts of a husband voided insurance coverage for negligence claims brought against the wife. The Ninth Circuit distinguished the issue of coverage from the issue of partnership and determined that there was insurance coverage. Shortly thereafter, settlement was achieved in the underlying third party case.

Messick vs. Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation: 924 F.Supp.2d 1099 (E.D. Cal. 2013). This appeal arose out of one of the civil actions filed against Novartis for a product liability and failure to warn of the use of the drugs Aredia® and Zometa®. Novartis moved successfully for Summary Judgment in District Court in San Francisco. The court found the expert’s declaration on the issue of causation to be unreliable as the defense urged that it was not based on "scientifically valid principles". This Ninth Circuit opinion provides that extensive clinical experience can be the basis of a diagnosis as well as history, examination and treatment. The opinion went on to state that they did not require an expert to identify the sole cause of a medical condition for testimony to be reliable and that it was enough for a medical condition to be a substantial causative factor. The consequence is that for the Ninth Circuit this opinion clarified the standard for a medical practitioner and eliminated the argument that the defense raises whenever a treating physician is called upon to render an opinion as to causation.

Cordova vs. City of Los Angeles: 61 Ca1.4th 1099. This appeal arose from the grant of a Summary Judgment in a civil action filed by the parents of three teenage children who were killed when the vehicle in which they were passengers collided with an unguarded tree in the median of a City street in a commercial area. The vehicle had collided with another vehicle traveling at an excessive speed on the street causing both vehicles to lose control and the plaintiffs’ vehicle to enter the median striking the tree. The Court identified the standard of causation in a dangerous condition of a public property case finding that the test was whether the condition that created a substantial risk of injury to the public caused the injury. The Court clarified that nothing in the statutory scheme (California Government Code Section 835) required the plaintiff to show the allegedly dangerous condition caused the third party conduct that precipitated the accident.

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