Personal Injury and Product Liability

Representative Cases

Hon. David R. Chaffee (Ret.)
Mediator • Arbitrator • Discovery Referee

  • Plaintiff approached defendant’s front door for a business visit. A screen door also covered the front door. When defendant opened the door, his dog was barking at plaintiff. Plaintiff, still behind the screen door, bent down to allow the dog to smell his hand through the screen. The dog managed to come through the screen door and bit plaintiff on the right side of his face. Plaintiff was treated with twenty-eight stitches and scar-reducing injections. Plaintiff sued for negligence, battery, and premises liability, and sought compensatory and punitive damages.

  • While a middle school student, plaintiff allegedly was molested by one of his teachers. Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged a single cause of action against defendant school district for breach of duty to properly and adequately investigate, hire, train, and supervise the teacher. District alleged that at the time of hire, there was no evidence that the teacher posed a foreseeable risk of harm to his students, and there was no evidence that the district was aware of any contacts between plaintiff and the teacher.

  • Plaintiff housesitter slipped on slate border to sloping driveway at defendant’s home. She suffered fractured right ankle, torn ligament and related tissue damage, claiming medical damages exceeding $50k and total damages in excess of $500k. She asserted causes of action for general negligence and premises liability.

  • Plaintiff was walking the deck of a cruise ship when she slipped and fell on a puddle of water that had formed on the ship’s deck, suffering damages.

  • ​Plaintiff walked out of her mother’s room at a skilled nursing facility and slipped on a small puddle in a hallway, badly injuring her arm. Plaintiff alleged the nursing home allowed a dangerous condition to exist on the premises which caused her fall.

  • Traffic accident in which defendant rear-ended plaintiffs’ vehicle, injuring the father, the mother, and two teenaged children. The most significant injuries were to the 14-year-old girl who suffered neck and back pain. She also suffered a severe laceration to the bridge of her nose requiring 20 stitches and left a scar that made her very self-conscious.

  • Plaintiff Harley-Davidson rider was stopped at a traffic signal on PCH when he was struck from behind at low speed by defendant. The motorcycle fell over injuring plaintiff’s leg.

  • Plaintiff motorcycle rider was in the carpool lane on the freeway driving in darkness with his lights on. He was following an Orange County Sheriff’s Department jail bus returning prisoners to a jail facility. Plaintiff believed that the bus driver had pulled the bus to the left edge of the lane to allow him to pass the bus via lane sharing. As plaintiff pulled adjacent to the rear tires of the bus, it began to travel toward him as it returned to the center of the lane. The 3” lug nuts created a buzz saw that struck his left foot and amputated two toes and broke several of the bones of that foot. Plaintiff drove home and got family members to drive him to the hospital for treatment. Plaintiff alleged negligence on the part of the deputy sheriff bus driver and the County.

  • Plaintiff, a competitive bicycle rider, was completing a training ride in Huntington Beach on a roadway with heavy traffic. In riding close to the curbside, plaintiff encountered a steel grate placed to allow runoff water into the drainage system. Plaintiff’s front tire fell between the steel grate members and plaintiff was thrown from the bicycle sustaining major injuries.

  • Plaintiffs, mother and daughter, obtained a ride in the vehicle of an acquaintance traveling to a local event. Defendant owner and driver of that vehicle rear-ended another vehicle. Plaintiffs alleged significant head, back and neck injuries. Plaintiff mother alleged that her atlas was fractured as a result of the accident, effectively resulting in a broken neck, and her expert testified accordingly. Defense expert testified that what was shown by the x-rays and MRI was a congenital birth defect, not a fracture.

  • Plaintiff was a 21-year-old woman who was running late for a medical appointment and was unsure of the location of the doctor’s office. Plaintiff arrived at a stop sign and came to a complete stop. Traffic on the crossing street had no signal or stop sign and that street’s speed limit was 40 mph. Plaintiff turned left onto the cross street and was immediately hit head on by a large van traveling at 43 mph to 52 mph (depending on which expert was to be believed). The force of the collision drove plaintiff’s vehicle back 150 feet and caused plaintiff’s aorta to rupture ultimately rendering plaintiff a paraplegic. Plaintiff alleged negligence due to the excess speed of defendant’s vehicle.

  • Defendant, a scuba diving instructor, performed manipulations on the back of one his students, plaintiff, outside of the scuba class. Two and a half months later, plaintiff suffered a severe disk extrusion causing her severe pain and requiring surgery. Plaintiff alleged defendant’s manipulations caused her back injury.

  • Plaintiff, a medical doctor with a significant practice treating AIDS patients, sued former friend who, after a falling out, had gone on a campaign to destroy plaintiff’s business. Defendant was alleged to have falsely claimed plaintiff was gay and had AIDS. Action for defamation.

  • Product liability action involving an SUV roll-over after the driver lost control, ran up onto the center median, then “S-turned” into roll. The driver was killed on impact and passenger was badly injured.

  • Plaintiff and defendant were both real estate brokers living and working in the same large condo complex. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant defamed plaintiff and plaintiff’s business to gain a business advantage.

  • Defamation claim wherein the operators and employees of a wedding cruise boat in Newport Harbor were alleged to have gone online and anonymously posted negative reviews and comments about competitor boat.