June 9, 2017
Congratulations to Ken Greenfield and Kate Greenfield on being featured as one of the Daily Journal’s Top Defense Cases of the week. The case was a contentious insurance bad faith matter seeking substantial punitive damages. Ken and Kate were able to convince the jury to issue a full defense verdict. The verdict was reached in only 2 1/2 hours.
The Greenfield Law Firm represented a homeowner whose property insurance claim had been denied. The case settled for an undisclosed amount.
May 2, 2017
Kenneth Greenfield and Kate Greenfield obtained a defense verdict in an insurance bad faith trial involving the suspicious theft of an insured’s 2013 Chevy Camaro. Plaintiff insured had parked his car on a street in Los Angeles for a week while he vacationed in Palm Springs. He gave the transponder key to his nephew to watch over the vehicle. When he returned, the vehicle was gone. The nephew still had the key, and there was no evidence that the car had been stolen or even towed by the police. The insurer suspected fraud, took a lengthy period of time to fully investigate by taking various witness statements and an examination under oath of the insured, but finally paid the full value of the Camaro nearly 8 months later. Before payment was made, the insured filed suit claiming breach of contract and insurance bad faith. It was claimed that the insurance company had unreasonably delayed payment of the claim, and had caused the insured severe emotional distress by allegedly inferring that the insured was criminally involved in the theft.
After a 10 day trial the jury deliberated for two hours and returned an 11-1 defense verdict. Plaintiff’s demand had been $250,000, and the defendant’s Code of Civil Procedure section 998 offer to compromise had been in the amount of $15,001. Thus, defendant was entitled to costs in an amount in excess of $70,000.
November 6, 2015
Kenneth Greenfield and Alexandra “Sasha” Selfridge prevailed on the Insurance Bad Faith Cause of Action trial while representing an Insurer Defendant. In late December, 2011, Plaintiff, a California resident, purchased a used car from an out-of-state dealership. He found the car on the internet, and contacted the dealer by phone. They agreed on the price, and Plaintiff paid for the car by sending money through the mail. The car sat on the dealer’s lot until it was shipped by truck to Plaintiff in California. Two months later, on February 20, 2012, the car arrived in California. When the truck driver tried to start the car to take it off of the truck, the engine caught fire, resulting in damage to the vehicle. Plaintiff added the car to his insurance policy a few days later. About a month after that, Plaintiff made a claim for insurance coverage with his insurer, who, after conducting an investigation, denied coverage for numerous reasons. Plaintiff sued Defendant for breach of the contract and insurance bad faith.
After Plaintiff rested his case, the Court granted Defendant’s Partial Motion for Nonsuit with respect to the Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing Cause of Action, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages. Thus, only the Breach of Contract Cause of Action was decided by the jury. Nine out of the 12 jurors determined that Defendant breached the insurance contract, and they awarded $11,371 in damages. Defendant’s last offer before trial was $25,000. Plaintiff’s last demand before trial was $1,500,000.
December 10, 2014
Kenneth Greenfield prevailed at trial while representing an Insurer Defendant in an Insurance Bad Faith case. The dispute was over the amount of money the insurer had offered it’s insured in an underinsured motorist claim involving a rear end collision. $15,000 had been offered by the insurer, but the insured had demanded $85,000. The matter proceeded to UIM Arbitration, where the insured was awarded $55,000. The litigation followed.
After just one hour, the jury reached a unanimous defense verdict. As Plaintiffs failed to obtain a more favorable judgment than the $1001. Code of Civil Procedure section 998 Offer by Defendant, Defendant was entitled to recover its expert witness fees, in addition to costs. The Insurer’s memorandum of costs totaled more than $50,000.
May 23, 2013
The Law Offices of Kenneth N. Greenfield represented the Plaintiffs, who owned an apartment building which was severely vandalized. Before the vandalism, Plaintiffs hired a security company to protect the property. In addition, Plaintiffs purchased an insurance policy with a major insurance company for the apartment building. Plaintiffs alleged that the security company failed to guard the property, and as a direct result, it was vandalized, causing substantial property damage. Plaintiffs submitted a claim to their insurer, but the insurer denied the claim. Plaintiffs alleged that the denial of the claim was wrongful and in bath faith. Plaintiffs settled their case against the security company for $350,000, and their case against the insurer for $150,000, for a total of $500,000.
April 10, 2013
Attorney Janice Walshok represented the owner of a classic 1968 Corvette Stingray that was stolen while it was awaiting repair at Dependable Carburetor. The owner reported the loss to his insurer, who paid the owner what he believed was significantly less than the value of his prized Corvette. The owner sued the insurer for insurance bad faith and Dependable Carburetor for the loss of his rare vintage automobile. Ms. Walshok negotiated a satisfactory confidential settlement with the insurer, leaving Dependable Carburetor as the only defendant. She then made a Section 998 settlement offer to Dependable Carburetor on the plaintiff/owner’s behalf for $29,999.99. Dependable Carburetor countered with a 998 offer for $5,000. The jury found in favor of the Plaintiff on his breach of bailment claim and awarded him $15,378.00. The law firm also secured an additional $4,787.00 in costs against Dependable Carburetor.
March 6, 2013
With the goal of making the victims of a traumatic accident whole, the Law Offices of Kenneth N. Greenfield undertook to represent a husband and wife who had been injured while taking a leisurely Sunday drive on their motorcycle. Defendant, who was driving an automobile, made a sudden and unexpected left turn in front of Plaintiffs’ motorcycle. Plaintiffs were thrown from their motorcycle and sustained significant bodily juries, including a punctured lung, multiple fractured ribs, a fractured clavicle and a broken scapula. The husband underwent a painful nerve graft surgery and the wife underwent knee surgery for her torn meniscus.
February 8, 2013
The matter proceeded to appeal before the Second District Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment dismissing the Plaintiffs’ lawsuit for misjoinder and the case was remanded. Thirteen out of fourteen plaintiffs settled their lawsuit for a grand sum of approximately $25,000. One plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit before the case went on appeal.
December 6, 2012
The Law Offices of Kenneth N. Greenfield successfully defended an off-road race car driver whose vehicle unavoidably veered into a crowd of spectators during a race event. The accident resulted in eight fatalities and numerous injuries to spectators, attracting a media storm. The driver was named as a defendant in over a dozen lawsuits. In only a little over a year after the lawsuits had been filed in federal court, the Law Offices of Kenneth N. Greenfield successfully obtained a dismissal in favor of the driver.
December 17, 2012
Kenneth Greenfield and Alexandra Selfridge prevailed at trial while representing the sellers of a high performance automotive business. The sellers turned the business over to the buyers, and they began to run the business. Shortly thereafter, the buyers claimed that they discovered fraud on the part of the sellers about the business. As a result, the buyers refused to pay the full purchase price, abandoned the business, and stopped paying rent to the landlord. The landlord sued both the sellers and the buyers for unpaid rent. The sellers sued the buyers for the remaining amount of the purchase price of the business. Thereafter, the buyers sued the sellers for their money back.
The landlord settled its case with the buyers for $50,000 before trial. Also before trial, the landlord dismissed its lawsuit against the sellers. The Law Offices of Kenneth N. Greenfield obtained a defense verdict in favor of the sellers with respect to each of the buyers’ causes of action against them. In addition, the sellers obtained a $152,450.46 judgment against the buyers on their breach of contract cause of action. The sellers were also awarded $223,137.50 in contractual attorney fees and $7,694.65 in costs, for a total of $383,282.61, plus interest.
The buyers were a Limited Liability Company and an individual. Notably, the trial court pierced the corporate veil of the LLC, and found that the individual buyer was liable for the full amount of the judgment. This particular issue is currently on appeal.
August 17, 2012
Our firm’s attorneys are available for seminars regarding the “12 Month Suit” limitation provision in California property insurance policies. The seminars focus upon the origin, purpose, application, and interpretation of such provisions. In addition, we explain how to calculate the one-year period in the context of losses where discovery is delayed. Further, our firm provides recommendations for questions to ask during a recorded statement when the contractual limitations provision may be applicable. Please contact us for more information.
May 29, 2012
Alexandra Selfridge presented a seminar to the San Diego Legal Secretaries Organization regarding substantive, strategic, and procedural considerations in connection with Motions for Summary Judgment in California State Court. Ms. Selfridge also spoke about the recent amendment to California Code of Civil Procedure section 473c, which now allows for the adjudication of issues, even if the issue does not completely dispose of a cause of action.
April 5, 2012
Alexandra Selfridge prevailed at trial while representing an Insurer Defendant in a breach of insurance contract case. The Plaintiffs discovered a leak in their kitchen at the end of January 2010, and presented a claim to their insurer. It was Plaintiffs’ position that the leak was short-term, and therefore covered under the relevant policy of insurance. During Defendant’s investigation of Plaintiffs’ claim, however, the insurer determined that the leak had been ongoing for at least one month, and possibly for several months, before it was
discovered by Plaintiffs. Defendant ultimately denied Plaintiffs’ claim on the ground that the loss was excluded under the terms of the insurance policy. The subject policy excludes property damage caused by leakage occurring over a period of more than 14 days. Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendant.
After 28 minutes, the jury reached a unanimous defense verdict. As Plaintiffs failed to obtain a more favorable judgment than the $5,001 Code of Civil Procedure section 998 Offer by Defendant, Defendant was entitled to recover its expert witness fees, in addition to costs.
February 23, 2012
Janice Y. Walshok prevailed on a motion for summary judgment on behalf of a major insurer client in an insurance bad faith action pertaining to property damage. Ms. Walshok argued that the insureds’ claims were time-barred pursuant to the policy’s one-year suit limitation provision. The court agreed, and granted the summary judgment motion.
February 7, 2012
Mr. Greenfield presented a program entitled, “Jury Voir Dire in the New Age” to the San Diego Defense Lawyers. Mr. Greenfield shared thoughts, theories, and strategies regarding jury selection that he has developed after having tried more than 30 jury trials. There was standing room only at the event!
December 20, 2011
On a second, separate action arising out of the 2009 Southern California wildfires filed by numerous homeowners alleging “soot and ash” damage, the Law Offices of Kenneth N. Greenfield filed motions for summary judgment as to each of the homeowners. The firm’s aggressive motion practices, and careful strategizing, resulted in plaintiffs dismissing their lawsuits in exchange for a waiver of costs. The early disposition of the lawsuit, which exposed the client to significant potential liability, saved the client substantial fees and costs.
November 16, 2011
Kenneth Greenfield and Alexandra Selfridge prevailed at trial while representing the tenants in a case involving a breach of the Implied Warranty of Habitability by the landlords. The tenants moved into a La Jolla rental home in 2002. In 2006, the tenants discovered that the home was infested with mold, friable asbestos, and chronic water leakage from the exterior.
The tenants contended that the mold, asbestos, and moisture conditions contributed to the occupants’ constant illnesses, that the landlords had been aware of the conditions long before the home was rented to the tenants, and that the landlords refused and failed to remedy the situation when it was brought to their attention. The tenants contended that the landlords breached the lease agreement, and breached the Implied Warranty of Habitability. The landlords denied any breach.
The jury found that the landlords breached the lease agreement, committed negligence, and breached the Implied Warranty of Habitability. The Law Offices of Kenneth N. Greenfield obtained $200,000 in rent abatement damages for their clients.
The landlords’ request for a new trial and request for judgment notwithstanding the verdict were both denied. The tenants’ motion for attorney fees, request for costs, and request for prejudgment interest are currently pending
August 31, 2011
The 2009 Southern California wildfires caused significant property damage throughout the State. In addition to the many valid property damage claims that arose out of that event, there were a myriad of frivolous “soot and ash” claims made as well.
In an action arising out of the 2009 Southern California wildfires filed by fourteen separate homeowners, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth N. Greenfield filed a demurrer on the ground that the plaintiffs were improperly joined. The tentative was in favor of the insurance company. The plaintiffs’ attorney filed a Notice of Related Cases which continued the ruling on the demurrer and threatened a transfer of the case to another judge. The Law Offices of Kenneth N. Greenfield successfully opposed the plaintiffs’ Notice of Related Cases. After a third appearance before the court, the Law Offices of Kenneth N. Greenfield’s demurrer was sustained without leave to amend.
This matter is currently on appeal.
August 19, 2011
Janice Y. Walshok prevailed on a motion for summary judgment on behalf of a major insurer client in an action for insurance bad faith. The insurance company was exposed to significant liability regarding the sexual assault of a number of minors. The issue was whether the insurance policy provided coverage for injuries arising out of sexual molestation in light of a recent decision by the California Supreme Court in Minkler v. Safeco Insurance Company of America (2010) 49 Cal. 4th 315. Ms. Walshok successfully persuaded the court that the facts of the case were distinguishable from the Minkler decision. The court agreed, and ruled that the insureds were barred from coverage.