Cases in the News

Los Angeles Daily Journal Highlights ASWT’s Representation of Women Assaulted by USC OB/GYN

Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP (ASWT) managing partner Mike Arias announced today the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of 54 former USC A1:F13 alleging sexual abuse by USC OB/GYN Dr. George Tyndall. This brings the number of former USC students who are seeking justice for the abuse they allegedly endured to 279. Previously, ASWT filed two class actions against USC and related defendants. D

ue to the sensitive nature of the conduct involved in the complaint, the plaintiffs are identified only as Jane Does 3-56. The plaintiffs are former undergraduate and graduate students who attended USC from the 1980’s through 2017. The timeframe of the allegations contained in the complaint ranges from the late 1980’s through 2016 – nearly Tyndall’s entire tenure at the USC Student Health Center. Dr. Tyndall was placed on leave by USC in 2016 and permitted to retire, with a financial settlement, in 2017.

The Los Angeles Daily Journal published a story announcing the lawsuit and its impact in the ongoing legal issues surrounding Tyndall’s actions.

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National Media Highlights Mike Arias’ Lawsuit Against USC and Disgraced OB/GYN

Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP (ASWT) managing partner Mike Arias announced today the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of 54 former USC students alleging sexual abuse by USC OB/GYN Dr. George Tyndall. This brings the number of former USC students who are seeking justice for the abuse they allegedly endured to 279. Previously, ASWT filed two class actions against USC and related defendants.

Due to the sensitive nature of the conduct involved in the complaint, the plaintiffs are identified only as Jane Does 3-56. The plaintiffs are former undergraduate and graduate students who attended USC from the 1980’s through 2017. The timeframe of the allegations contained in the complaint ranges from the late 1980’s through 2016 – nearly Tyndall’s entire tenure at the USC Student Health Center. Dr. Tyndall was placed on leave by USC in 2016 and permitted to retire, with a financial settlement, in 2017. FoxNews.com ran a story from the Associated Press covering the story.

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First California State Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against University of Southern California For Failing To Protect Students From Sexual Abuse By USC Gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall

Mike Arias of Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP has filed a class action against the University of Southern California. The lawsuits are the first class actions to be filed in California state court on behalf of thousands of female students who were allegedly sexually abused and illicitly photographed by a USC OB/GYN.

Dr. Tyndall practiced at USC’s Engemann Student Health Center from 1987 until he was suspended in 2016. He claimed in a recent article to have provided care to “thousands and thousands of Trojan women” during his time at USC.

The lawsuits allege that USC received repeated complaints from students and co-workers, but failed to take appropriate steps to investigate those complaints. Finally, in 2016, USC hired an outside firm to investigate Dr. Tyndall’s conduct, according to media reports. The firm, MDReview, is the nation’s only physician-led peer review medical consulting firm. The investigation found that Dr. Tyndall “exhibited unprofessional and inappropriate behavior” and that his pelvic exams were outside “current standards of care.”

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USC News Spotlights Mike Arias’ Lawsuit Against OB/GYN

Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP (ASWT) managing partner Mike Arias announced today the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of 54 former USC students alleging sexual abuse by USC OB/GYN Dr. George Tyndall. This brings the number of former USC students who are seeking justice for the abuse they allegedly endured to 279. Previously, ASWT filed two class actions against USC and related defendants.

Due to the sensitive nature of the conduct involved in the complaint, the plaintiffs are identified only as Jane Does 3-56. The plaintiffs are former undergraduate and graduate students who attended USC from the 1980’s through 2017. The timeframe of the allegations contained in the complaint ranges from the late 1980’s through 2016 – nearly Tyndall’s entire tenure at the USC Student Health Center. Dr. Tyndall was placed on leave by USC in 2016 and permitted to retire, with a financial settlement, in 2017.

Read Story on USC Annenberg Media

Los Angeles Daily News Article Exposes Sexual Assault by LA County Public Defender

Mike Arias filed a civil lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles and a former public defender who stands accused of sexually assaulting his own client in a Los Angeles County Courthouse in September of 2015.

Emmanuel Bart-Plange, a former public defender for the County of Los Angeles is a named Defendant, along with the County, and is accused of sexually assaulting his client and then threatening her in order to keep her silent. Bart-Plange allegedly assaulted other clients while he was a public defender and the County is accused of failing to take steps to properly investigate the matter and instead just relocating him to a different courthouse.

In September of 2015, plaintiff D.G. had a meeting with Bart-Plange, at the Antelope Valley courthouse, related to shoplifting charges. Bart-Plange was assigned to represent her and after their initial meeting he instructed D.G. to meet with him again in another meeting room at the courthouse. As instructed, she followed him to another meeting room. According to the complaint, once the door was closed, Bart-Plange advised her that she was in serious trouble. She believed that if she did not do as he said, she would be found guilty and sentenced to jail. Bart-Plange used his color of authority to force and otherwise coerce D.G. to submit to his sexual advances as she feared she would not receive adequate representation otherwise and would also be subject to serious criminal punishment. She tried to scream but Bart-Plange put his hand over her mouth and told her to remain silent. Bart-Plange then manipulated, coerced and otherwise forced Plaintiff to submit to acts of sex, including oral copulation. All sexual acts were committed against her will and without her consent.

Read Story on Daily News

Artículo de La Opinión Expone Asalto Sexual Por el Defensor Público del Condado de Los Ángeles

Mike Arias presentó una demanda civil contra el Condado de Los Ángeles y un ex defensor público que está acusado de agredir sexualmente a su propio cliente en un tribunal del Condado de Los Ángeles en septiembre del 2015.

Emmanuel Bart-Plange, un ex defensor público del Condado de Los Ángeles es un acusado nombrado, junto con el condado, y es acusado de agredir sexualmente a su cliente y luego amenazarla con el fin de mantenerla en silencio. Bart-Plange presuntamente agredió a otros clientes mientras él era un defensor público y el condado es acusado de no tomar medidas para investigar adecuadamente el asunto y en su lugar sólo reubicarlo en un tribunal diferente.

En septiembre del 2015, el demandante D.G. tuvo una reunión con Bart-Plange, en la corte de Antelope Valley, relacionado con cargos de hurto. Bart-Plange fue asignado para representarla y después de su reunión inicial, él instruyó a D.G. a reunirse con él otra vez en otra sala de reuniones en el juzgado. Ella lo siguió a otra sala de reunión. Según la denuncia, una vez cerrada la puerta, Bart-Plange le aconsejó que estaba en serios problemas. Ella creía que si no hacía lo que decía, sería encontrada culpable y condenada a la cárcel. Bart-Plange usó su color de autoridad para forzar y de otra manera coaccionar a D.G. a someterse a sus avances sexuales ya que temía que no recibiría una representación adecuada de otra manera y también estaría sujeta a un castigo penal grave. Ella trató de gritar, pero Bart-Plange puso su mano sobre su boca y le dijo que guardara silencio. Bart-Plange entonces manipulo, coaccionado y de otra manera obligó a la demandante a someterse a actos de sexo, incluyendo la cópula oral. Todos los actos sexuales fueron cometidos contra su voluntad y sin su consentimiento.

Read the Story on LA Opinion

The Recorder Covers Elise Sanguinetti’s Appointment as President of AAJ

On Tuesday, July 10, Elise Sanguinetti, a founding partner at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos LLP, was sworn in as President of the American Association for Justice.

In addition to her service with AAJ, Ms. Sanguinetti served as the president of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) from 2015 to 2016 and was a past president of the Alameda Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association.

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Daily Californian Covers Elise Sanguinetti’s Lawsuit Against UC Board of Regents

A former UCLA Health patient is suing the UC Board of Regents, a UCLA medical team and Dr. David Chen in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The plaintiff, Marianne Strader, alleged that the defendants cared for and treated her husband Michael Strader, the decedent, “negligently, carelessly, and recklessly,” resulting in cardiac arrest and his death.

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San Jose Mercury News and Pittsburgh TribuneInterviews Elise Sanguinetti on Driverless Car Death

An Uber car in autonomous mode struck and killed a woman crossing the street in Tempe, AZ highlighting the need for more strict oversight, tighter regulations and a longer timeline for rollout. Immediately after the accident, Uber put its self-driving car tests on hold and will surely review all of its future plans. Consumers throughout the country, including in California where driverless cars are set to begin hitting the road without any driver on April 2, are now being put in danger during this “testing period.” Elise Sanguinetti, consumer-advocate and president of the American Association for Justice, has testified before the California legislature calling for more strict regulations and was one of the voices warning consumers about the dangers of driverless cars. She was interviewed by the San Jose Mercury News in its coverage of the accident.

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Los Angeles Daily Journal Announces Mike Arias’ $2.2 Million Verdict in Sexual Harassment Case

Los Angeles Jury Awards $2.2 Million to Former Employee of Fidelity National Financial Inc. Who Was Subjected to Sexual Harassment, Retaliation by a Senior Attorney

April 25, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA – After a two-week trial, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded $2.2 million to a paralegal who was subjected to sexual harassment at the hands of a senior attorney while they both worked for Fidelity National Financial Inc. On Friday, April 13, the jury awarded $250,000 for her general damages but found malice with respect to both corporate defendants on the claims for retaliation, wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On Wednesday, April 25, the jury awarded another $1.95 million in punitive damages.

Soledad Albarracin was a paralegal with Fidelity who provided litigation support to attorneys which included drafting pleadings, subpoenas, discovery and preparing cases for trial. On the first day of a legal team retreat in Colorado Springs, defendant Robert Gardner Wilson was accused of following Ms. Albarracin back to her room and attempting to kiss her multiple times without her consent. After reporting his behavior to Fidelity management, Ms. Albarracin suffered further harassing behavior by Mr. Wilson and had to go on leave under orders from her doctor. The heads of the legal department provided no support to her, and ultimately claimed, “There are two sides to every story.” Finally, after performing a bare minimum investigation into the matter, Ms. Albarracin was let go from her job in November of 2015.

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Pepperdine School of Law Profiles Alumni Mike Arias (’84)

Pepperdine SOL alumni Mike Arias (JD ’84) is redefining what it means to be a leader in the legal community. Arias was installed as President of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) in January of 2018 and in November of 2018, he’ll be installed as President of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC). This will mark the first time any attorney has simultaneously served as president of both organizations.

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ASWT Files Class Action Lawsit in RecycLA Matter

Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos LLP Files Two Class Actions Targeting the RecycLA Program in Los Angeles July 19, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA – Attorneys from Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos LLP filed two class actions lawsuits claiming the recycLA program created by City of Los Angeles and various waste haulers is an underhanded cash grab that places an undue financial burden on residents, small business and apartment owners.

The recycLA program was promoted to the public as being a “fair” and “transparent” program and process which would provide “improved” services. The value of the franchise agreements awarded under this program have been estimated by the City at over $3.5 billion dollars over 10 years. The City has the option to extend this program for an additional 10 years.

These two lawsuits allege that the fees charged under the recycLA program constitute an illegal tax and are otherwise unlawful, making the following claims:

  • The City secretly negotiated increased franchise fees, which are actually taxes since the putative fees bear no relation to value of the property interest presumably conveyed by the City through the franchise agreements.
  • The recycLA program eliminated all competition for disposal business in the “franchise zones.” • Waste haulers misrepresented cost and performance data in order to establish their seriously increased rates.
  • Waste haulers misrepresented these rates to customers, claiming the fees and rates were “required” when in reality they were the maximum rates allowed under their contracts.
  • As a result of the abuse by city officials and the waste haulers, customers experienced a 300% to 1,900% increase in month-to-month costs for waste removal.

One of the class action lawsuits is against the waste haulers which entered into the franchise agreements with the City of Los Angeles to provide waste collection services for commercial establishments and multi-family dwellings. The other suit is against the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Department of Public Works and the Department of Sanitation which developed the recycLA scheme.

The lawsuits are:

  • Apartment Owners Association of California et al. v. City of Los Angeles et al., Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC677423
  • Apartment Owners Association of California et al. v. Arakelian Enterprises, Consolidated Disposal Services, Calmet Services, University Waste Systems Inc.,
  • USA Waste of California, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC705056

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Daily Journal Profiles ASWT

Arias Sanguinetti Stahle & Torrijos LLP – After Just Two Years – Real Leaders

Although the firm has only been in existence for two years, Arias Sanguinetti Stahle & Torrijos LLP boasts past and future presidents of the three largest trial lawyer associations in the country: CAALA, CAOC and AAJ. In fact, in January of 2018, Mike Arias will be President of CAALA and in November 2018 he will assuming the Presidency of CAOC (first time that’s ever happened) and if that’s not enough for the firm to handle, in July of 2018 Elise Sanguinetti 2016 CAOC President, will become President of AAJ meaning two of the firm’s founding partners will be Presidents of all three associations simultaneously (again, first time that’s ever happened). Mike and Elise founded the firm (which has offices in Los Angeles, Oakland, Law Vegas and Montreal) after long, successful careers elsewhere. The firm represents plaintiffs in various areas of civil litigation, including personal injury, employment, class actions, mass torts and even intellectual property. In a short period of time, the firm has won three personal injury trials resulting in large verdicts, has certified and settled several major class actions, against corporate giants Ashley Furniture and Uber.

Mike, CAALA President-Elect, is the Founding Chair of the CAALA Plaintiff Trial Academy which is a civil trial college for CAALA members that provides six weeks of intensive training. Registration is limited to 36 students and the program just graduated its fourth class.

Rarely has a firm accomplished so much in such a short amount of time, which would make a fascinating piece in the Daily Journal.

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Kate Harvey-Lee Joins Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP

LOS ANGELES, June 5, 2018 – Veteran trial attorney Kate Harvey-Lee has joined Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP as a senior trial lawyer in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Her practice will focus on complex litigation involving consumer and employment class action, employment law, product liability, catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death.

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Uber Ups Calif. ‘Safe Rides’ Claims Settlement To $32.5M

Uber has agreed to settle for $32.5 million a California federal class action alleging it misled consumers about its so-called safe rides fee and the quality of its driver background checks, sweetening the pot after the court rejected an earlier $28.5 million deal last year, according to a filing Thursday.

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Law360 Covers Sunshine Canyon Landfill Lawsuit

Mike Arias represented a class consisting of residents from 1,100 homes in Sylmar and Granada Hills against the owners of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill, claiming the landfill’s debris, pollutants and noxious odors disrupted neighboring property. This class action lawsuit alleged loss of property value and claimed that residents could not use their yards and had to stay inside. The lawsuit made claims of private and public nuisance, negligence and gross negligence. On June 8, 2018, the court granted preliminary approval of the settlement valued at $9.5 million, and it is one of the largest settlements achieved for this type of case in the nation.

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Mike Arias Authors Article on Gig Economy Labor Violations

Gig Economy Business Model Skirts Calif. Labor Laws By Mike Arias

GrubHub lets you order food from your phone for delivery from local restaurants, often providing its own drivers to pick up and drop off the food when a restaurant does not offer its own, in-house delivery. GrubHub is just one of a crop of startups that make available services at prices that were unthinkable just a decade ago: Uber and Lyft (on-demand car services), Postmates (“get anything delivered”), TaskRabbit (handyman services), and Instacart (grocery delivery). Wall Street and Silicon Valley have taken notice. GrubHub, which had its IPO in 2014, has a market cap of over $7.4 billion. In November of 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that Uber was valued at around $48 billion. TechCrunch values Lyft at $7.5 billion and Postmates at $140 million.

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Firm Mentioned in Real Estate Article

Real Estate Digest: HP Investors nabs yet another Oakland building, new tenants in Emeryville, signs of life in Bay Area retail and more.

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Law360 Covers ASWT Lawsuit Against St. Jude

St. Jude Heart Devices Have Security Weaknesses, Suit Says

Law360, Los Angeles (August 29, 2016, 5:26 PM EDT) — A patient hit St. Jude Medical Inc. with a proposed class action Friday in California federal court alleging that the medical device manufacturer failed to provide adequate security methods in its remote tracking capabilities for its pacemakers and other heart-regulating implants.

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Wrongful Death in Jail Case Reaches Settlement

Monterey, CA – September 7, 2018 – Hon. Lucy Koh of the United States District Court approved a global settlement against the County of Monterey and California Forensic Medical Group in the amount of $825,000 to end a lawsuit filed by the surviving children of a woman who died while in police custody on December 19, 2015. The County and CFMG will split the total amount 50/50.

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