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December 2014

Gordon & Rees San Francisco Team Wins Unanimous Defense Jury Verdict

On Nov. 24, Gordon & Rees San Francisco partner Margie Lariviere, with the assistance of partner Jordan Altura, won a unanimous defense jury verdict on behalf of a national disability insurer in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Within an hour of closing arguments, the seven jurors concluded that our client had properly denied the plaintiff’s claim for total disability benefits in late 2011 after having paid the claim for seven years. The plaintiff was a dentist who alleged that two slip and falls in 2004 caused mild-traumatic brain injury, depression and anxiety.

The trial included testimony from 10 doctors: two neurologists, two neuropsychologists, three psychiatrists, and three psychologists. The Gordon & Rees trial team showed that the plaintiff had misrepresented her true functioning capabilities to her treating doctors who certified her disability and that her claimed traumatic brain injury could not account for her symptoms. Four experts testified that the plaintiff was malingering, consciously faking symptoms for secondary gain – in this case, the tax-free receipt of monthly disability benefits.

Prior to the trial, Lariviere, with the assistance of associates Tino Do and Michael Pursell, prevailed on a motion for partial summary judgment, knocking out the plaintiff’s bad faith and punitive damage claim.

For a link to the court order, click here.

Jordan S. Altura