Sunday, May 29, 2011

Settlement in Freedom of Speech case

I am pleased to announce a $45,000.00 settlement in a case involving violations of constitutional rights of freedom of speech and assembly and California's civil rights statutes.  My client was peacefully passing out political leaflets on the public sidewalk on Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco.  A corporate security guard threw out his fliers, pushed him off the sidewalk, and then lied about the incident to a responding police officer.  What makes this case significant is not the amount of recovery; it is that several other attorneys would not represent my client because he had no physical injury and the police report was against him.  I believed my client and saw the value of the constitutional rights of which he was deprived, so I filed his lawsuit.  Turns out the entire episode was caught on surveillance video, obtained during litigation, which vindicated my client and destroyed the credibility of the security guard and police officer.  The Law Office of Francis J. Shehadeh -- digging deeper, for you not them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why not to do business with unlicensed contractors

So you are a proud homeowner who has hired a contractor to do construction on your premises.  Make sure the contractor is licensed !  If the contractor is unlicensed and his/her employee is hurt on the job, under Labor Code section 2750.5 the homeowner becomes the statutory employer of the injured worker and faces liability in tort.  That is the premise of a sad and preventable case that I just filed on behalf of a quadriplegic man and his wife against an uninsured and unlicensed contractor and the homeowners who hired him.  More to follow.

Monday, December 27, 2010

"A Safe Place to Work is a Great Place to Work."

Uh, sort of.

This is the motto of a corporate defendant, a security company, that I just sued for wrongful termination in Santa Clara County.  My client used to work for this security company as a guard until he complained about a psychologically tormented fellow guard who threatened to buy guns and silencers and had a "hit list."  The security company fired the threatening guard.  After word got out to one of their corporate clients, a blue-chip Silicon Valley firm (rhymes with ZeeBay), the security company waged a retaliatory campaign against my client by revoking his promotion and dramatically cutting his hours.

The truth is bad for business, apparently.  No irony lost in this case.

Case no. 110CV190067
Filed December 20, 2010
Superior Court of California,
County of Santa Clara

Car Accidents: Ground Zero

The most common type of personal injury claim arises from a car accident. Getting hurt in a car accident is terrifying, confusing and painful, and the last thing on an injured person's mind immediately after a collision is what to do v. what not to do. Here are some tips:

1. Immediate Medical Attention. Seek immediate medical attention at an ER facility even if you do not feel pain.  Call 911. Delay in symptoms is normal, particularly with whiplash injuries.  The reasons are both psychological (the injured person is in shock) and physiological (inflammation of muscle and compression of nerves post-trauma is not immediate).  Insurance companies point to delayed treatment to trivialize a person's injury.  Beat them at their game.  Get the care you need.  Your health comes first.
2. Preserve Evidence.  With smartphones, most people now posses cameras at all times.  Photographs of property damage should be taken of all vehicles before they are moved.  If there is property damage to a building, telephone pole, etc., that should be documented to help an accident reconstructionist piece together the collision.  Responding police officers should sketch a diagram of the collision and note the debris field.  Contact information for witnesses should be obtained and preserved.  Contact information, driver's license number and insurance information of the other driver should be obtained.
3. Never Admit Fault.  If you think you are at fault, do not admit so.  This is not to avoid the truth.  It is quite possible that you do not know exactly what caused the collision due to memory loss and shock.  Let the evidence speak for itself.
4. No Statements to Insurance Companies.  Rule number 1 in my business is INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND!  Do not make statements to your own insurance company (1st party carrier) nor to the insurance company of the car that hit you (3rd party carrier) regarding the facts of the collision nor your injuries.  You should report the collision to your 1st party carrier, but only provide basic information.  Insurance companies will politely ask you to return their calls; don't take the bait. They will ask you to waive your privacy rights over your medical history; keep your privates private.  They may send investigators to your home to take a statement or sign a release; tell them to bug off.
5. Hire an Attorney.  As soon as you are physically able, hire an attorney so that s/he can guide you through the medical and legal process.  There are critically important deadlines called statutes of limitation which must be met, else your case is time-barred.  For claims against public entities, like MUNI and the City and County of San Francisco, the initial claim deadline is a mere 6 months.  My point - delay is not okay!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Why The Stadtmuller House ?

My office is located in a San Francisco landmark, 819 Eddy Street, The Stadtmuller House. This white Victorian, one block west of Van Ness, was built in the late 1880s and survived the fires of the '06 quake. City authorities dynamited buildings downtown to stop the blaze, and 819 Eddy was on the border of the destruction zone. Story has it that the lady of the house fired rounds at the looters nosing around her property. For over 40 years this building has served as law offices for attorneys who represent criminal defendants, injured people and cultural icons, including Janis Joplin and Hunter S. Thompson. Stop by and ask for Francis.

Why Plaintiffs ?

I represent Plaintiffs, only. Why ? Because time and time again I see those with unequal bargaining power getting screwed in the marketplace simply because they do not have the resources to advocate for themselves. I try to level the playing field for people against corporations, insurance companies and employers. Do I fight the good fight? You bet. I represent families injured in car accidents getting low-balled by insurance companies; immigrant workers unfamiliar with the American legal system getting ripped off by unscrupulous employers; politically conscious citizens who exercise their constitutional rights of free speech only to be beat up by security guards; and employees who are retaliated against after complaining about workplace safety. These people are my clients and their cases are my work. Welcome to my law office's blog.

Follow my Avvo Q&A