Panel reverses murder conviction, cites judicial misconductApril 20, 2015
A state appellate court has reversed a mother's 50 year-to-life sentence for second-degree murder in the death of her newborn after finding that the trial court judge improperly withheld evidence, disparaged the defense's expert witness and bolstered the prosecution in the jury's presence.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge W. Charles Morgan, "through his comments, conveyed to the jury his belief that the defense case was meritless and the prosecution's case was strong," wrote 4th District Court of Appeal Justice Kathleen E. O'Leary in a 50-page unpublished opinion. The "cumulative effect of the trial judge's misconduct and the evidentiary errors requires reversal." Justices William W. Bedsworth and Richard M. Aronson concurred. People v. McGee, G050402 (Cal. App. 4th Dist., filed Sep. 6, 2012).
Marlo Sheree McGee was a 30-year-old mother with sickle cell anemia who gave birth to a healthy daughter named Keira in 2007. A month after the baby's birth, McGee found the child in her crib not breathing around 3 a.m. The child was pronounced dead by paramedics who arrived a short time later, and an autopsy revealed three blunt force trauma injuries to the skull as well as methadone in the newborn's blood.
Andrew S. Mestman of the state attorney general's office repeatedly referred to McGee as a "lazy drug addict who loved drugs more than she loved the health of Keira," according to a trial transcript cited in the opinion, despite the fact that evidence showed McGee had therapeutic, not excessive, levels of prescribed medication in her system that doctors had said would not interfere with her breastfeeding.
"There was a lot of racist code language used throughout this trial," said McGee's appellate counsel, Mark J. Geragos of Geragos & Geragos PC. "After I read the transcript I was appalled." McGee is African-American.
When trial defense counsel Miles Clark III of Clark, Clark & Associates PC attempted to show that McGee's medications often resulted in her becoming drowsy and unsteady, and that any injury the child sustained could have been accidental and linked to the mother's involuntary intoxication, Morgan repeatedly prevented the defense's key witness, a toxicologist, from testifying about the drugs' side effects and the mother's condition.
The expert attempted to raise the importance of sickle cell disease in the case both to highlight the severity of the mother's pain and to explain how the child's internal bleeding in the head could have appeared more severe than the injury that caused it due to her possibly also having sickle cell anemia. But Morgan interjected, saying "I'm not going to allow this complete fabrication or potential fabrication to come into evidence."
When the expert said that the judge was not allowing him to respond, Morgan responded by saying, "Doctor, you know, I'm in charge."
Both statements occurred in front of the jury, and the appellate court repeatedly disapproved of the fact that the judge did not call defense to sidebar, but chose to disparage him openly and leading the jury to believe that throughout the trial the court found the defense incredible.
"The trial judge belittled and discredited Pietruszka, the defense's key witness, when in the jury's presence he repeatedly told Pietruszka there was nobody on this 'earth' or 'planet' who could say Keira's death was accidental," the justices said. "Although the judge may have intended to say no expert could testify as to the manner of death, given the judge's general hostility toward the defense, it is far more probable the jury interpreted the judge's statement to mean no juror could reasonably conclude her death was accidental."
Interestingly, the justices found that there was sufficient evidence to establish that McGee did inflict the injuries causing her daughter's death - the fact that McGee was alone with the child for hours with the door locked after 10:30 p.m., when other family members had last seen the baby in good health.
But "the critical issue at trial was whether her death was intentional or accidental," O'Leary wrote. Finding that the error violated due process under the Constitution, the panel found that cumulative effect of the judge's conduct was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.
"One of the lessons here is that you need to get on the record exactly what the judge is doing, and if you're objecting to it you have to explain why, even if the judge is ordering you not to talk," said Geragos. "It's the basic fundamental oath that every lawyer takes, to zealously represent your client even at the risk of harming yourself."
Galgiani and Geragos take on San Joaquin County in federal courtApril 18, 2015
A federal judge in Sacramento heard arguments Friday morning on a motion to open 2,600 pages of documents from the investigation into bodies found east of Stockton in 2012.
California Cop Place on Leave For Allegedly Tickling CorpseApril 13, 2015
Mark Geragos, the lawyer representing the family members of the man who was killed, told the Day-to-day News that Bakersfield police officer Aaron Stringer pulled on the deceased Ramiro James Villegas' toes whilst saying "tickle tickle," manipulated the dead man's head and told a trainee that he "loved" playing with dead bodies.
Leon Rosby Verdict: Jury Finds Owner of Dog Shot by Hawthorne Police Not Guilty of Dissuading WitnessMarch 10, 2015
The owner of a Rottweiler shot to death by a Hawthorne police office was found not guilty Monday of dissuading a witness, and jurors deadlocked in his favor over whether he interfered with officers by playing loud music at a special weapons team operation.
Three-Year Federal Investigation of Ansun Biopharma, Inc. Ends With No Criminal ChargesJanuary 7, 2015
The three-year investigation of San Diego based biotech company Ansun Biopharma, Inc. concluded without any criminal convictions. Ansun cooperated with the United States Attorneys Office in San Diego in arriving to both a criminal and civil settlement.
Accusations fly as State Bar of California leader Joe Dunn fights ousterDecember 8, 2014
The agency that regulates California's lawyers is once again beset with conflict, riddled by accusations involving expense accounts and ethics.
The turmoil became public last month when the board of the State Bar of California fired its executive director, Joe Dunn, a former state senator from Orange County.
Zillow Sued for 'Shocking' Sexual HarassmentDecember 1, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO — Lawyers with L.A.'s Geragos & Geragos have slammed Zillow Inc. with its third employment lawsuit in a month—this time alleging the online real estate company fostered an "adult frat house culture" that led to extreme sexual harassment.
The complaint filed Monday centers on former Zillow sales consultant Rachel Kremer, who claims she was fired in August after resisting repeated sexual overtures from male supervisors.
Geragos Firm Accuses Zillow of Workplace AbusesNovember 20, 2014
A pair of employment suits filed in the Central District of California on Wednesday blasts Zillow Inc. for allegedly failing to pay overtime, denying meal breaks and retaliating against an employee.
The suits were brought by Mark Geragos, a Los Angeles lawyer famous for representing A-list celebrities including Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Nicole Ritchie and Chris Brown. His firm, Geragos & Geragos, has teamed up with Costa Mesa firm Samini Scheinberg.
Nevada County judge delays ruling in Bigelsen caseNovember 14, 2014
A Nevada County judge delayed ruling Thursday on a motion to suppress evidence in the case of holistic physician Harvey Bigelsen.
Superior Court Judge Candice Heidelberger, citing a need for more time to analyze the multiple briefs filed in the case in recent days, said she would rule at a 9 a.m. hearing on Nov. 25, or earlier in written form if possible.
Sen. Dunn Files Whistleblower Action Against California State BarNovember 13, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - In a whistleblower lawsuit filed Thursday, former Sen. Joseph Dunn says the State Bar fired him as its executive director for exposing malfeasance and "egregious improprieties."
Dunn, who was fired on November 7, claims he was targeted after he discovered that the bar's chief trial counsel, Jayne Kim, removed 269 backlogged cases from official reports released to the public in order to make her office appear more productive.
Fresno pastor pleads no contest to gun charges; rape charges droppedOctober 8, 2014
Rape charges have been dismissed against the Rev. Donald Lockhart of Fresno, who has been waging a three-year legal battle in Fresno County Superior Court to clear his name.
Lockhart, 62, pleaded no contest to felony assault with a firearm for shooting “a warning shot” at a man near Roosevelt High School in June 2011. Lockhart told police he feared the man, a former tenant.
Adam Carolla Settles Lawsuit Over Popular Podcast Business in Midst of TrialSeptember 9, 2014
A day after being cross-examined on the witness stand at a trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, Adam Carolla has come to a settlement with his ex-producer Donny Misraje, a former long-time friend who helped the comedian and Fox News contributor build what has been called the world’s most downloaded podcast.
Injured Driver Files Lawsuit in Highway 17 Fatal CrashJuly 18, 2014
SANTA CRUZ -- One week after a big-rig driver barreled into 10 vehicles on Highway 17 near Los Gatos, a 37-year-old Capitola woman injured in the crash filed a negligence lawsuit against the driver and his Madera County-based trucking company.
Nicole Albaum was driving a Pontiac to a nursing class at De Anza College in heavy traffic about 7:50 a.m. July 10 when Ravinderbal Singh lost his brakes and jackknifed a big rig hauling two trailers of dirt, Singh told reporters after the crash. Albaum was in the third car struck by the big rig. Daniel McGuire, 25, of Santa Cruz was in the fifth car hit, according to the California Highway Patrol. McGuire died. Six others also were injured.
Ex-Utah detective charged with manslaughterJune 19, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah prosecutors on Thursday charged a former police officer from a troubled department with fatally shooting an unarmed 21-year-old woman during a 2012 drug investigation.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced at a news conference Thursday morning that a single count of manslaughter had been filed against Shaun Cowley, 33, a former narcotics officer in West Valley City.
Family Hires High-profile Attorney to Sue Sacramento County
April 15, 2014
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The family of a man killed by sheriff's deputies is suing Sacramento County, and they just received some high-profile legal help.
Attorney Mark Geragos, famous for representing Michael Jackson, singer Chris Brown and Scott Peterson, is now representing the family of Dennis Dean. Dean was killed by sheriff's deputies after he was taken into custody in April 2012.
Los Angeles Book Festival Declares "Mistrial" For Honors
March 18, 2014
The 2014 Los Angeles Book Festival has named “Mistrial” by Mark Geragos and Pat Harris (Gotham Books)as the grand prize winner of its annual competition honoring the best of world publishing.
An insider’s guide to the criminal justice system from two of America’s top defense attorneys, the book offers a look at how the system operates and dishing the inside story of such prominent cases as the O.J. Simpson murder trial and Michael Jackson’s molestation case. The candid, no-holds-barred look at criminal justice will be an eye-opener for any citizen who wants to know what really goes on in a courtroom.
Scottie Pippen files countersuit over Malibu altercation
February 25, 2014
Scottie Pippen has filed a countersuit against a Malibu man who alleged the former NBA All-Star assaulted him at a restaurant last year.
Camran Shafighi filed a $4-million lawsuit against Pippen, accusing him of a “brutal and unjustified physical attack" that allegedly occurred outside upscale Nobu restaurant after Shafighi had sought a picture with the former Chicago Bull.
But in a cross-complaint filed earlier this month, Pippen’s lawyer Mark J. Geragos alleged Shafighi cursed at Pippen using racial slurs, spat on him and his children and said, “I’m going to kill you.”
The cross-complaint also alleges that Shafighi was “extremely aggressive and noticeably intoxicated” and calls for unspecified damages “according to proof.”
Rottweiler owner sues Hawthorne over police killing of dog
February 14, 2014
A Hawthorne man is suing the city in connection with the fatal shooting of his pet Rottweiler by police last year in an incident that was caught on video and viewed nearly 3 million times online.
Leon Rosby filed the lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, naming Hawthorne police Officers Christopher Hoffman, Michael Matson and Jeffrey Salmon as defendants. Rosby alleges violations of civil rights, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and is asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Voice for Justice: $18 Million Settlement Reached in Flushmate Exploding Toilet Class Action
February 7, 2013
A settlement worth $18 million has been reached in a class action lawsuit alleging that Sloan Valve Company sold defective pressurized flushing mechanisms that could cause toilets to explode. People who owned or previously owned toilets equipped with the Flushmate system will receive a cash payment as a result of the settlement. If approved, the settlement will resolve five federal class action lawsuits. The Flushmate is also the subject of a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recall that provided free repair kits to owners who asked for them.
Geragos Attorney Named to Superior Court
December 27, 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday appointed local class action attorney Shelley Kaufman as a judge on the Los Angeles County Superior Court to fill a vacancy created by a retiring judge.
Kaufman, 56, heads the civil litigation department at Geragos and Geragos in downtown Los Angeles. She was a lead attorney in two class action settlements for $37.5 million against two prominent insurance companies on behalf of Armenian genocide descendants.
Chris Brown Hit-And-Run Case Crumbling: Two Charges Dismissed
July 24, 2013
After Chris’ probation was revoked on July 15 following a hit-and-run case, the ‘Fine China’ singer seemed dangerously close to spending up to four years in prison. But new developments suggest the case will be dismissed soon.
The Los Angeles city attorney’s case against Chris Brown is crumbling one charge at a time. Prosecutors dismissed two of the three charges in the hit-and-run case against Chris on July 23. Read on for more details. Chris Brown Hit & Run Case Crumbling — Two Charges Dropped
After prosecutors dismissed misdemeanor charges against Chris of driving without insurance and driving without a license, only a hit-and-run allegation remains, according to the Los Angeles Times. Chris’ attorney, Mark Geragos, has filed a motion to dismiss the final charge, saying Chris reached a settlement with the other driver, Olga Kovalenko, whose Mercedes he allegedly rear-ended in May. .>> Read More
Shelley Kaufman named to Mirena PSC
July 23, 2013
Shelley Kaufman has been named to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC) in the Mirena IUD drug litigation in the Federal MDL set in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. An MDL – multi district litigation – court is set up in many cases that involve large numbers of people in order to avoid duplication of efforts by both plaintiff and defense attorneys.
For plaintiffs, MDL courts can save on overall expenses which must be paid out of any monies plaintiffs may recover in their cases. Rather than plaintiffs suffering repeated costs of discovery, research, deposition of experts, trial preparation and other expenses necessary to prosecute any one case, MDL court expenses are shared across the litigation by all the cases corralled into the MDL.
Mirena® is an intra-uterine device ("IUD") made of flexible plastic that is inserted by a healthcare provider during an office visit. Mirena® IUD is manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceuticals. The FDA approved Mirena® IUD in 2000 as a drug, rather than as a medical device. The system releases levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestogen directly into the uterus for birth control. Mirena® IUD was also approved in 2009 to treat heavy menstrual bleeding.
Lawsuits have been filed on behalf of women who received the Mirena® IUD alleging that: Bayer failed to use reasonable care in designing Mirena® IUD and that the company failed to properly and thoroughly test Mirena® IUD before releasing the drug to the market, failed to properly and thoroughly analyze the data resulting from the pre-marketing test of Mirena® IUD, failed to conduct sufficient post-market testing and surveillance of Mirena® IUD and designed, manufactured, marketed, advertised, distributed and sold Mirena® IUD to consumers without an adequate warning of the significant and dangerous risks, failed to exercise due care, and negligently continued to manufacture and market the device after Bayer knew of adverse effects.
There have been numerous reports of serious Mirena® IUD side effects and complications, including spontaneous perforation of the uterine lining or uterine wall, migration of the device from its original position after being inserted, abscesses, infertility, inflammation of the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and internal organs (peritonitis), intestinal perforations or obstruction, pelvic inflammatory disease and the need for hysterectomy.
GERAGOS & GERAGOS continues to offer free lawsuit consultations to individuals who may have experienced Mirena® IUD problems. Free case evaluations are available by calling 1-213-625-3900 or by filling out the form on this page.
Mark Geragos on His New Book ‘Mistrial’
by KTLA 5 Morning News Crew
April 17, 2013
"Recognized criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos joined us to talk about his new book ‘Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works… and Sometimes Doesn’t’. His list of high-profile clients include Michael Jackson, Susan McDougal, Chris Brown and Mike Tyson. He heads Geragos & Geragos, a ten-member law firm in Los Angeles that focuses on trial work, both criminal and civil.
The book includes tales of oversexed jurors and expertly placed false stories that whipped the media and public support into a frenzy. The book is availbe on Amazon and nationwide in all bookstores.
>> Read More
A Few Good Defense Lawyers
Wall Street Journal
April 10, 2013
Beware of clients who ask if your fee includes a bribe to the judge—and other best-practice tips from the country's top defense attorneys.
By DAVID LAT
"Sometimes the public has to be reminded that the word criminal in criminal lawyer—like the word baby in baby doctor—is a description not of the professional, but rather of the clientele." This observation, from Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz's 1982 memoir, "The Best Defense," might sound hyperbolic. But there is no denying that criminal-defense lawyers, like their clients, are often presumed guilty. Defense attorneys are frequently accused today of using dark arts to win acquittals for clients who clearly "did it."
In "Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works . . . and Sometimes Doesn't," two of America's best-known defense attorneys, Mark Geragos and Pat Harris, take up the case of the defense attorney. The authors have worked together for 15 years, representing clients like Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder and Chris Brown, and between the two of them have tried more than 300 cases—an impressive number in this age of plea bargains and civil settlements.
"Mistrial" is three books in one: a memoir of celebrity lawyers, a primer on how to handle high-profile cases and a diagnosis of the ills of the criminal-justice system. The book's structure is straightforward. After introductions, the authors devote a chapter to each of the major players in the criminal-justice system: defense attorneys, clients, prosecutors, judges, police officers, jurors and journalists. The book concludes with recommendations for reforming a system that was created more than two centuries ago and is showing its age. Non-lawyers will most enjoy the chapter on clients, full of delicious tidbits of celebrity gossip. There is an item about an unnamed starlet "who was constantly getting into trouble." When she approached the authors about their representing her, she "became absolutely furious when we quoted her a price" (she expected them to represent her pro bono). There are thumbnail sketches of living clients, like Ms. Ryder and Mr. Brown—the latter, for example, is "extremely humble, almost to the point of being shy"—and longer discussions of deceased ones, like the rapper Nate Dogg and Sarkis Soghanalian, the international arms dealer known as "the Merchant of Death."
>> Read More
Mike Tyson's wife's lawsuit: Famed Mark J. Geragos is her attorney
April 6, 2013
Mike Tyson's wife is in a lawsuit against the person, or persons, allegedly harassing her and threatening her life and her family's life over the Internet, reported TMZ on April 5.Lakiha Spicer, who married the retired 46-year-old boxer in 2009, does not know the identity of the suspect (s), but she claims the defendant (s), identified by an IP address, is "extorting" and "making false allegations and accusations" against her, and it's all causing her emotional distress.
Spicer hired Mark J. Geragos as her attorney. The 55-year-old celebrity lawyer is famous for such clients as Winona Ryder, Michael Jackson, Nicole Ritchie, Chris Brown, Sean "Diddy" Combs, and more. Besides seeing Geragos at work in televised celebrity trials, he is also well known for being a regular contributor on such shows as "Anderson Cooper 360°," "Today Show," "Good Morning America," "Dateline NBC," "60 minutes," and
>> Read More
Don't they know who her husband is? Mike Tyson's wife 'sues unknown web tormentor over threatening emails'
April 5, 2013
You would think being married to a former heavyweight boxing champion would provide reasonable protection from harassment.
But it has emerged Mike Tyson's wife Lakiha Spicer is suing an unidentified assailant over threatening emails.
She is also accusing the mystery tormentor, who is identified only by their IP address, of menacing her family.
TMZ saw a copy of legal documents filed today in Los Angeles County on Friday, in which she claims she has been receiving emails threatening her life and her family's life.
Legal counsel: She has hired famed attorney Mark Geragos for the case.According to the suit, the defendant is also 'extorting' and 'making false allegations and accusations' against her.
While no mention is made of any specific threats, it does claim repeated contact is causing her emotional distress.
She has hired retained top attorney Mark Geragos, who previously represented the likes of Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder, to handle the case.>> Read More
WVC officer under investigation may be connected to Willard case
March 20, 2013
"Finally, a surprising twist Geragos revealed in the letter. He says, “as you’re aware a ‘mysterious’ fire erupted destroying the surveillance video which would have otherwise captured the incident leading to Ms. Willard’s death…We demand you preserve all evidence…”
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – FOX 13 has obtained new information in the shooting death of 21-year-old Danielle Willard. It points to a West Valley City narcotics officer who appears to be under criminal investigation as 19 cases with his name on them are in the process of being dismissed by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.
Gill is not naming the officer but the most of the potentially dismissed cases all have named Detective Shaun Cowley as an arresting officer.
The Salt Lake District Attorney is not being specific about what problems the cases have but they’re mostly drug related and Gill says there are questions about credible evidence. Gill felt he couldn’t prove the cases beyond a reasonable doubt so he’s filed motions to dismiss the charges.
“This is not something very typical but this is part of our ethical and legal obligation,” said Gill.
Gill says when West Valley Police learned of the concerns they brought in Salt Lake City police to investigate.
“West Valley came forward and involved another agency,” said Gill “Through that our office has been working with that agency and as our office became aware of these issues that led to the action we took today. ”This latest investigation comes on the heels of another high-profile unsolved West Valley case. 21-year-old Danielle Willard was killed November 2nd in an officer-involved shooting at the Lexington Park apartments. That too was a drug-related case.
Willard’s mother has hired LA attorney Mark Geragos who represented Michael Jackson, actress Winona Ryder and Scott Peterson. Geragos told FOX 13 he believes Shaun Cowley is one of two officers who shot Willard.
>> Read More
Jurors ask Jodi Arias about religion, memory
March 6, 2013
"It becomes too difficult, too tempting for a juror to lose their role as an impartial fact-finder and slip into the role of an advocate, and I think that's contrary to what the whole justice system is based upon," said Los Angeles-area defense attorney Mark Geragos.
PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias was peppered with a wide range of questions Wednesday as jurors in her murder trial asked about everything from Mormonism to the definition of a derogatory name she says her lover called her before she killed him.
Arizona is one of just a few states where jurors are allowed to ask questions of witnesses during a criminal trial as a matter of law, meaning the judge is required to notify the panel of its right to pose queries. In most other states, the process is either banned altogether or it's left up to individual judges to determine whether jurors can question witnesses.
Judge Sherry Stephens previously said the jury had about 100 questions for Arias, but by day's end, more than 150 were asked, and additional queries continued to come in. Arias is set to take the stand Thursday for a 17th day as Stephens will continue to read questions aloud.
Arias spent Wednesday responding occasionally with calm, concise answers, as she was quizzing repeatedly over her memory lapses from the gruesome attack. Other answers meandered and were met with objections from attorneys, at times from both the prosecutor and defense lawyers simultaneously.
Many questions focused on things that just don't add up — how Arias can recall specific details of raunchy sexual encounters with Travis Alexander, yet says her memory is "scrambled" when she tries to remember events from the day she killed him.
Arias is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2008 death of Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. She says it was self-defense, but police say it was a premeditated killing. She faces the death penalty if convicted.Arias initially told authorities she had nothing to do with Alexander's death, then blamed it on masked intruders before settling on self-defense. Her repeated lies to authorities in the days after his death, and her methodical efforts to create an alibi and avoid suspicion have been center stage throughout the weekslong trial.
Alexander had been shot in the head, stabbed and slashed nearly 30 times and had his throat slit.
>> Read More
Robosurgery Suits Detail Injuries as Death Reports Rise
March 5, 2013
“People are being wheeled into operating rooms every day without the full knowledge that they are putting their lives at risk in the hands of a robot,” she said in an interview in the Los Angeles offices of her attorney, Mark J. Geragos.
After Michelle Zarick complained of excessive vaginal bleeding, her doctor found growths in her uterus that needed to be removed. One option: robot surgery, described by her gynecologist as “the latest, greatest” technique available.
With nimble robotic instruments doing the delicate work usually performed by doctors hands-on, there would be less pain and bleeding, she was told.
“In my mind, there was no alternative but to use this fabulous technology,” she recalls thinking.
Five weeks later, she wished she hadn’t. That’s when Zarick felt something pop while she was in the bathroom, looked down and saw her intestine protruding from her vagina. Now, four years later, the 41-year-old Zarick has a hip-to-hip scar from corrective surgery, constipation from damaged rectal muscles and a diminished sex life, she said in an interview.
“It didn’t help me one bit, the robot,” said Zarick, who lives in Lincoln, California and filed suit in December against Intuitive in regard to her hysterectomy. “It forever changed my life for the worse.”
Robot systems made by Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG) are linked to at least 70 deaths in informal incident reports sent to U.S. regulators since 2009, according to a review by Bloomberg News. Now, lawsuits like Zarick’s, one of at least 10 filed in the last 14 months, are adding new details about dangerous complications involving the da Vinci robots made by Intuitive.
Intuitive, based in Sunnyvale, California, dominates the robot-surgery field. It’s the only company whose system is cleared in the U.S. for soft tissue procedures that include general surgery, prostate operations and gynecological surgery, said Angela Wonson, a company spokeswoman. Intuitive fell 2.5 percent to $527.59 at 9:43 a.m. New York time.
>> Read More
Money Men KO'd My Wallet For $5 MILLION
February 25, 2013
Mike Tyson and his wife are suing financial advisors they claim embezzled more than $300,000 from them ... and ultimately cost them around $5 million.
Tyson filed the suit against SFX Financial Advisory Management Enterprises today in L.A. -- and in the docs, obtained by TMZ, he claims SFX advisor Brian Ourand siphoned off the money from his accounts.
Additionally, the Tysons claim Ourand purposely gave them "deceptive and faulty financial advice."
According to the suit, Ourand has quite the pedigree -- having represented several other superstar athletes like Allen Iverson, Dikembe Mutombo, and Juwan Howard.
Tyson, and his attorney Mark Geragos, claim Ourand's scheme, which they discovered in 2011, has stopped Tyson from digging out of the bankruptcy he filed 10 years ago -- and set him back $5 mil.>> Read More
Famed attorney Mark Geragos takes on student lawsuit against DSUSD
February 21, 2013
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Famed attorney Mark Geragos is known for clients like Michael Jackson and singer Chris Brown. He is now representing two students at Gerald Ford Elementary School in Indian Wells, who claim their fourth grade teacher Robert Keith Bryan molested them last school year. The allegations sparked an assault investigation and led to his arrest last August.
"One of the things you hope for in a civilized society, when you drop your kids off at school, that someone's looking out for them," said Geragos.
The high profile criminal defense attorney says that hope was tarnished for some families in Indian Wells.
>> Read More
Mike Tyson Pummels Live Nation With $5M Lawsuit
February 20, 2013
Mike Tyson is used to squaring off against opponents in the ring. But the boxing legend is hoping to best his latest foe through the legal system.
Tyson and his wife Lakiha are suing events giant Live Nation and its subsidiary, SFX Financial Advisory Management Enterprises, claiming that the person that Live Nation appointed to look after their finances embezzled from them, causing them damages "in excess of $5,000,000."
According to the lawsuit, the Tysons signed on with SFX in 2005, as Iron Mike was attempting to settle a bankruptcy that was severely hampering his earning potential. (The complaint claims that the bankruptcy prevented the Tysons from earning more than $225,000 in "non-fight" income.)
>> Read More
Attorney Ben Meiselas of Geragos & Geragos Inspires the Next Generation of Lawyers at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic School's Career Day.
February 13, 2013
Catholic schools throughout the nation celebrated Catholic Schools Week, a national celebration of the value a Catholic education provides to students and the community. The celebration took place rom January 27th to February 1st and consisted of a variety of fun and enriching activities for our students. On Monday students created banners depicting the theme for this year which was "Raise the Standards". On Tuesday students were visited by various professionals for Career Day and were allowed to dress in their chosen vocations gear. Throughout the week students participated in "Penny Wars" and raised over $600 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Other activities included, Twin Day, Principal for a Day, Classroom Buddies and Student and Teacher Appreciation day.
We would like to take this time to thank all of the wonderful speakers that took time out of their busy schedules to make this year's Career Day the best one ever. Our students and staff are extremely grateful for all the magnificent presenters who visited with our students to discuss their professional and educational experiences. You all made a tremendous impact on our students and we hope that you will come back and visit us again.
Specifically we would like to thank: Ben Meiselas of Geragos and Geragos, Glen Dake of Glen Dake Landscape Architect, Sgt. Dave Nelms and his CHP team, Deputy Marcus Cox of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Officer Martinez of Los Angeles County Animal Control, Fire Captain Frank Reynoso of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Tom Nuñez of State Farm Insurance, Wendy Lee of the Graham Library, Ret. Engineer Mr. Terry Benson, Principal Guillermo Hernandez of Middleton Middle School and Principal Lupe Hernandez of Huntington Park High School.
Geragos & Geragos files lawsuit on behalf of victim injured by Bayer's defective Mirena IUD
In Melody Williams and Ronail Williams v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc. (U.S.D.C Southern District of California, Case No. 3:12-cv-02669), Geragos & Geragos is representing a victim injured by the Mirena IUD. The lawsuit alleges that the Mirena label does not warn about spontaneous migration and perforation post-insertion of the IUD. The Plaintiff in the case was forced to undergo surgical removal of the Mirena, developed severe pain, suffered from infection, and underwent numerous procedures.
To review a potential Mirena injury lawsuit with the lawyers at Geragos & Geragos Click Here or call 213.625.3900
Former Michael Jackson attorneys reach $2.5 million settlement in jet videotaping case
March 19, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos and his law partner have settled a lawsuit for $2.5 million against the owner of a defunct charter jet company that secretly recorded the men and Michael Jackson as they flew from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara for the pop star to turn himself in on child molestation charges.
The amount awarded to Geragos and partner Pat Harris will be difficult to collect because defendant Jeffrey Borer is insolvent, his attorney Lloyd Hirschbaum said. The agreement was reached Friday, the last court day before a re-trial in the case was scheduled to begin to determine how much Geragos and Harris were owed.
Borer attempted to sell the video, which contains no audio, of the flight to media outlets after Jackson's surrender. Geragos, Harris and their attorney Brian Kabateck have argued that the lawyers had an expectation of privacy on the private jet that flew them and Jackson from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara in November 2003. The video, which has never been released, also violated the attorney-client privilege, the said.
>> Read More
Insurance company ordered to pay homeowner $8 million
March 18, 2012
An elderly Hollywood Hills resident whose home was nearly destroyed when a dump truck crashed into it, rupturing a gas line and causing an explosion, was awarded more than $8 million after jurors found that his insurance company of more than 50 years failed to honor its contract.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court jury last week found that Residence Mutual Insurance Co. not only acted with malice and fraud in failing to fulfill its $220,000 policy with Robert Christopher, who was 86 at the time of the 2008 accident, but noted that its conduct was directed at a senior citizen, who is considered under California law more vulnerable than other members of the population.
"The insurance company did everything possible to try and torpedo this World War II veteran's case," said attorney Mark Geragos. "You wouldn't treat your worst enemy the way this insurance company treated this policyholder of more than 50 years. This should be a message to insurance companies that you never put your interests before the interests of the insured."
>> Read More
MORENO VALLEY: Hung jury in second molestation trial
February 6, 2012
A jury deadlocked for the second time in the trial of a former Moreno Valley man who was charged with 21 counts of molesting a female relative.
The jury said Thursday that they were hung, 7-5, in favor of not guilty for charges against Victor Ung, 51, a Department of Defense contracted computer technician in Harvest, Ala.
Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek to retry the case a third time.
"We will be looking at the state of the evidence and the likelihood of proving it to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt," Riverside County district attorney spokesman John Hall said.
Ung initially was charged with 98 counts of sexually abusing a girl starting when she was 3 years old. He could have faced 29 consecutive life sentences on those charges.
The girl said Ung molested her more than 750 times from 1994 until 2003. Ung had moved to Alabama when he was charged in 2008, and was extradited to face trial.
A judge threw out many of the counts midway through the case, finding insufficient evidence.
A jury deadlocked in the first trial, 9-3, in favor of guilt.
Ung was represented by high-profile defense attorney, Mark Geragos, who previously represented Michael Jackson in his molestation trial.
>> Read More
4 Years, 5 Months Later, the Bennett Family Can Smile
January 13, 2012
Twenty-four hours after the family's civil suit trial against the California National Guard suddenly ended at the start of Day Six, Gerald Bennett, the best known of the litigants, was bursting with smiles.
Looking brighter than he ever did during the days of grim testimony, Mr. Bennett said that "I feel excellent, excellent."
Did you get what you wanted in the settlement?
"Yes," later adding a selection of salty observations.
Four years and five months after their sister was beaten to death with a baseball bat at the Culver City National Guard Armory, Mr. Bennett and his sisters Suzette and Deborah walked out of a downtown Los Angeles feeling reasonably compensated for their horrid loss.
At the start of the session, the Bennetts' lawyer, Mark Geragos, informed Judge Kevin C. Brazile that agreement had been reached with Dep. Atty. Gen. David Adida.
Terms, as always, are a tightly guarded secret.
>> Read More
Armory Death Trial: Sgt. Says He Tried to Warn Authorities Harris Was in Danger
January 7, 2012
A member of the California Army National Guard testified Friday that he grew frustrated with both his commanders and Culver City police when he tried to warn them about the bizarre behavior of a colleague who said he wanted to cause a recruit to lose her baby and ended up killing her.
Taking the stand in a wrongful death suit filed against the state by the family of murdered National Guard member Joann Crystal Harris, Sgt. Erik Hein said that instead of being praised for his efforts to have Sgt. Scott Ansman's actions investigated before Ansman killed Harris, he has felt a backlash within the National Guard.
Ansman beat 29-year-old Harris to death with a baseball bat on Aug. 24, 2007 on the gymnasium floor of the Culver City armory. Ansman - a married father of three - mistakenly believed Harris was pregnant with his baby.
"I've lost faith in the command and the system from that point on and I just felt my career took a nosedive after that,'' Hein testified in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Attorney Mark Geragos - representing three siblings of Harris - said Ansman easily lured Harris to the armory because Guard members never told her that Ansman had been outspoken about wanting to get rid of her baby.
>> Read More
9th Circuit to reconsider Armenian genocide case en banc
November 10, 2011
A federal appeals court has ordered an en banc rehearing of a challenge to a California statute that has spawned lawsuits against insurance firms on behalf of victims of the Armenian genocide.
The case, against two German insurers and their parent company, Munchener Ruckverischerungs Gesellschaft A.G., or Munich Re, will be reheard in oral arguments during the week of Dec. 12 in San Francisco, according to a Nov. 7 order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Earlier, a three-judge panel had upheld the statute, reversing its own initial decision dismissing the case.
"We're delighted that the court has agreed to rehear the decision," said Neil Soltman, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Mayer Brown who represents Munich Re. "We think reversal of the initial decision was obviously incorrect and we're glad to have the opportunity to present it to the full en banc court."
>> Read More
New Evidence Leads to Mistrial in Hearst Ranch Fatal Accident Case
November 3, 2011
A mistrial was declared this week in the case against a Newport Beach man accused of crashing a vehicle and killing a passenger at the Hearst Ranch airstrip in 2009, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Judge Michael Duffy declared the mistrial Monday after jury selection had begun in the case against 41-year-old Kurt Naegele.
Defense attorneys Mark Geragos and Eugene Harris announced their intention to call an expert witness to testify that, according to his opinion, Naegele wasn't the actual driver of the Range Rover that rolled over Sept. 18, 2009, at the Hearst Ranch airstrip.
>> Read More
CNN Given Kudos for Not Showing Michael Jackson Autopsy Photo, Until it Does
October 12, 2011
On AC360 Tuesday night, with John King sitting in, Michael Jackson friend and former attorney Mark Geragos commended the network for not showing the autopsy photo of Jackson, which was introduced at trial Tuesday.
"Kudos to your network, unlike some other networks, for not showing the autopsy photo," said Geragos. "It's inexplicable to me why that's being played by other networks."
"We're not going to show it," said King. "We have some standards here."
But during the 3pmET hour today on CNN, Brooke Baldwin introduced a segment on the case by showing the photo.
Sarkis G. Soghanalian, arms dealer dubbed 'merchant of death,' dies at 82
October 10, 2011
Sarkis G. Soghanalian, 82, an international arms dealer known as "the merchant of death" who sold French howitzers to Saddam Hussein and a U.S. cargo plane to Moammar Gaddafi, and who also provided his unique services to the CIA and FBI, died Oct. 5 at a hospital in Hialeah, Fla.
He reportedly suffered from heart disease; his death was confirmed by his former lawyer, Mark Geragos.
Mr. Soghanalian had a gargantuan presence in the multibillion-dollar arms market, both because of his heft - he weighed 300 pounds - and because of his seemingly limitless abilities.
>> Read More
Geragos & Geragos Attorney Shelley Kaufman to Speak at NBI Seminar on September 27, 2011
September 12, 2011
Pasadena, CA- Shelley Kaufman, an attorney at Geragos & Geragos, will be speaking at the National Business Institute's live seminar, "Anatomy and Physiology 101 for Attorneys" on September 27, 2011.
This course is designed for attorneys (personal injury, insurance, workers' compensation, disability) and other legal professionals who would like a better understanding of their cases' medical aspects. Others who may benefit include: insurance claims managers, workers' compensation managers and human resource managers.
>> Read More
Mark Geragos Speaks at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Toronto
August 6, 2011
Attorney Mark Geragos spoke about the "'Implicit Bias' and the Myth of Equal Justice" during the 2011 American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Toronto. With more than 1,400 legal programs, events and presentations by the foremost law experts, the ABA Annual Meeting is the nation's premier gathering of legal professionals.
Everyone has a right to a fair trial, and it is the job of lawyers, judges and court personnel to make sure it happens. As a result, they constantly raise questions about the admissibility of forensic evidence, implicit bias victim's rights, fraud and the suitability of expert witness to provide testimony. The latest in these areas were among the topics covered during the 2011 American Bar Association Annual Meeting, August 4 - 9, in Toronto.
Through examining recent cases including the arrest of prominent Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who was arrested while he pushed his way through the jammed front door of his home; and the unprecedented immigration workplace raid in Postville, Iowa; various panels will outline and discuss various issues in criminal justice.
>> Read More
Crime Boss Let Off Easy
July 9, 2011
A former crime boss in Azerbaijan faces just a few years in prison after a plea deal yesterday in connection with the largest Medicare fraud in U.S. history, according to his attorney.
The alleged godfather, Armen Kazarian, 47, faces 30 to 37 months in prison after a plea deal yesterday, according to attorney Mark Geragos.
Most of the 43 other members of the Armenian-American crime network indicted in the $100 million scam head to trial next June, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
"Obviously, we're happy to resolve this without a trial, and it's a long way away from what the government originally alleged," Geragos said.
>> Read More
War Crimes Prosecutor to Address Armenian Cause 2.0
June 6, 2011
KWASHINGTON-Nicholas Koumjian, a leader in international genocide and war crimes prosecutions, will speak at Armenian Cause 2.0, the Armenian National Committee of America's conference, being held in Washington from June 24-27, on the future of Armenian American advocacy.
Nicholas Koumjian (Pennsylvania State University, B.A.; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, J.D., and; University of Southern California, MBA), an internationally known and widely respected lawyer specializing in international criminal law, has more than a decade of hands-on experience helping to prosecute war crimes and genocide around the world.
He has recently entered into private practice associated with the law firm of Geragos and Geragos in Los Angeles, intending to specialize in cases concerning international criminal law and human rights.
>> Read More
Mistrial declared in alleged bribery trial
June 1, 2011
SAN BERNARDINO - A Superior Court judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case against two Los Angeles-area businessmen accused of bribing a county supervisor's former chief of staff.
After more than three days of deliberating, jurors in the case against Arshak and Vartan Kouladjian could not reach unanimous verdicts on any of the three felony counts charged to each defendant. Judge Michael Smith declared a mistrial after probing the jury to determine if anything else could be done to help break the splits.
"I'm satisfied at this point in time that any further deliberation would not likely result in a unanimous decision, one way or the other," Smith said.
Jurors voted 6-6 and 9-3, in favor of guilty, in the two bribery counts, the jury foreman told the court. The jury voted 7-5, in favor of guilty, on one count of attempted bribery. Prosecutors can retry the case. The Kouladjians are scheduled to return to court Aug. 19 for a pretrial conference.
Defense attorney Mark Geragos, who represented Vartan Kouladjian, said he was pleased with the results.
"It's clear to me, given the splits, I think that this case should never be retried," said Geragos, adding that he was hopeful the District Attorney's Office would dismiss the charges.
California gas station owners sue BP subsidiary
May 5, 2011
LOS ANGELES - About 100 gas station franchise owners sued BP PLC's California subsidiary Wednesday along with two other companies over an electronic payment system that they say cheated them and their customers, sometimes charging as much as $1,000 for a tank of gas.
In the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, attorneys Mark Geragos and Brian Kabatek contend that BP forced retailers to buy a defective software system which malfunctioned and often crashed, causing them to shut down their stations and lose customers.
>> Read More
Risking Jail Time, Trainer Again Vows He Won't Testify Against Bonds
March 1, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO - Greg Anderson, the personal trainer who has long stuck by his childhood friend Barry Bonds, indicated to a federal judge yet again Tuesday that he would not testify in Bonds's perjury trial.
Anderson, who prosecutors say gave Bonds steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, nodded when Judge Susan Illston of United States District Court asked him if he planned to refuse to testify in the trial, which begins March 21. "He's nodding yes," Anderson's lawyer, Mark Geragos, said as Anderson stood silent next to him. "He's taking the not testifying to the nth degree."
>> Read More
Unity speaker: MLK's message still needed
January 17, 2011
HUNTSVILLE, AL -- Lawyer Mark Geragos, the first speaker who was "not of color" to deliver the keynote address for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast, assured a crowd of more than 1,200 Monday that King's message is for everyone. Geragos, a prominent civil and criminal law lawyer based in Los Angeles whose work has exonerated several unjustly convicted people, said there is reason for all people to celebrate the work of King and other Civil Rights pioneers.
>> Read More
New trial ordered in Fresno Bee carrier shooting
November 27, 2010
A new trial has been ordered for a Fresno man serving a life prison sentence after a jury convicted him of shooting a woman delivering newspapers. It was the second time the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno has reversed a Fresno judge's ruling that denied a new trial for Tannen Soojian. In 2007, a jury found Soojian guilty of kidnap, robbery and the attempted murder of Joyce Ahumada. She and her teenage son were delivering The Bee when she was shot in the chest on Shaw Avenue east of Clovis in April 2004.
>> Read More
Armenian American cab drivers sue to stop Santa Monica regulation
December 22, 2010
A judge Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order barring Santa Monica from instituting a new taxi franchising system that a group of Armenian American cab drivers say discriminates against them.
>> Read More
Zoo Settles With Brothers in Tiger Attack
June 02, 2009
The San Francisco Zoo agreed Thursday to pay $900,000 to two brothers who survived the fatal attack by an escaped tiger on Christmas Day 2007, sources familiar with the case told The Chronicle.
The agreement with Kulbir, 25, and Amritpal "Paul" Dhaliwal, 20, resolves claims the brothers brought in U.S. District Court against the city, zoo and Sam Singer, a crisis public relations consultant the zoo hired after the attack, one source said.
>> Read More
Anniversary of Shooting Marked by Family
January 09, 2009
A memorial service was held Wednesday commemorating the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of a man by La Habra police officers who said he was wielding a tire iron. Michael Sungman Cho, 25, was shot on the afternoon of Dec. 31, 2007, outside a liquor store near Whittier Boulevard and Walnut Avenue.
In June, the District Attorney's Office cleared officers Pete DiPasqua and John Jaime, saying their actions were legal. Jaime was shot and wounded during a 2005 traffic stop and recovered. The following month, Cho's parents filed a civil suit against the city and officers claiming wrongful death and negligence. The civil trial is set for January 2010.
>> Read More
FROM THE MARGINS: Are we doomed to repeat mistakes?
April 07, 2009
A lot has been said about the false incarceration of Edmond Ovasapyan by the Glendale Police Department. The 28-year-old spent eight months in prison for the crime he did not commit and was later released as the Glendale police officers found evidence of his innocence.
There seem to be two approaches on how to view this experience.
>> Read More
Glendale man falsely accused of murder awarded $1.3 million
February 24, 2009
Edmond Ovasapyan, 28, who spent eight months in jail before being cleared of charges, sued the Glendale Police Department A federal jury Wednesday awarded $1.3 million in civil damages to a Glendale man who was falsely accused of murder and spent eight months in a Los Angeles County jail before being cleared of the charges.
Attorneys for Edmond Ovasapyan, 28, sued the Glendale Police Department in U.S. District Court for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, saying that the detectives who arrested him in connection with a 2005 home-invasion slaying ignored exculpatory evidence, including his alibi.
>> Read More
Jury Orders Pfizer to pay $38 million
February 03, 2009
A California jury has ordered drugmaker Pfizer to pay $38 million to a leading Bay Area medical research nonprofit for stealing trade secrets to develop a pain relief drug.
A Santa Clara County Superior Court jury reached the verdict Monday in a 2004 lawsuit filed against Pfizer by the San Bruno, Calif.-based nonprofit Ischemia Research and Education Foundation.
>> Read More
Calif Family Sues Cigna Over Refused Transplant
January 30, 2009
The family of a 17-year-old leukemia patient has sued health insurance giant Cigna Corp. for her death in 2007 after the company initially refused to pay for a liver transplant.
The lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court by the family's attorney, Mark Geragos, alleges breach of contract, unfair business practices and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit accuses Cigna of delaying and rejecting valid claims, which resulted in the wrongful death of Nataline Sarkisyan.
>> Read More
Feds Raid Home Of Greg Anderson's Mother-in-Law
January 28, 2009
FBI and IRS agents raided the home of Greg Anderson's mother-in-law Wednesday in what Anderson's attorney said was a tactic to ratchet up the pressure on his client to testify for the government in the upcoming Barry Bonds perjury trial.
Mark Geragos, Anderson's attorney, said 20 IRS and FBI agents raided the Redwood City, Calif., home of Madeleine Gestas, the mother of Greg Anderson's wife.
>> Read More
Wrongful Death Settled For $5 Million Dollars
January 14, 2009
FACTS: The case arises out of the death of Andrea Lorena Meza, wife and mother, who was struck by a Walnut Valley Unified School District bus on Oct. 26, 2007 while walking to the Cyrus J. Morris Elementary School to pick up her eight-year old daughter.
>> Read More