RECENT JURY TRIALS

SONOMA COUNTY

Jury verdict of $380,000, including punitive damages. We represented plaintiff, a retired drywall installer. Defendants defrauded plaintiff in order to purchase a winery, gaining access to almost all of the equity in plaintiff’s previously unencumbered home. After an 11-day trial, the jury awarded plaintiff $380,000.00, including punitive damages. After the verdict was announced, Sax called his wife outside of the courtroom and told her, “I think we hit a home run.” A bailiff overheard and said, “A home run, and then some!” After numerous post-trial motions, an appeal, and a cross-appeal, the trial court’s findings in favor of plaintiff were affirmed in full.

Dismissal of criminal charges against a commercial fisherman after a four-day jury trial. We showed that our client, the defendant, had been falsely accused of stealing commercial fishing gear. Defendant’s accusers, who were business competitors, improperly abused the process of the legal system to exact revenge against our client, who had informed law enforcement of the accusers’ illegal fishing activities.

Favorable defense verdict on behalf of a client accused of kidnapping. Our client was charged with an alleged kidnapping. He was acquitted after a trial that lasted only two days, and ended on Christmas Eve.

Effective defense against allegations of domestic violence in a jury trial lasting five days.
 

LAKE COUNTY

Favorable defense verdict on behalf of commercial landlord accused of Interference with Contract, Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage, and Punitive Damages. We represented defendant, a commercial landlord from San Francisco. Plaintiffs, the owners of a bar in defendant’s commercial shopping center in Clearlake, entered into an agreement with another party to sell their bar and liquor license. Before plaintiffs’ agreement to sell became final, defendant requested additional back rent for seventeen years, based upon a long-standing “gentlemen’s agreement” between defendant and plaintiffs. Later, plaintiffs’ sale fell through. Plaintiffs blamed defendant, suing him for Interference with Contract, Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage, and Punitive Damages. After a four-day jury trial, the jury was only out for one hour before they decided by 11-1 on the first cause of action and 11-2 on the second cause of action that defendant was not a substantial factor in the failure of plaintiffs to sell their bar and liquor license.
 

FEDERAL COURT

Six-figure settlement with power saw owner for policy limits; five-day jury trial against power saw manufacturer for products liability, negligent design defect, and failure to warn. We represented plaintiff, who severely injured his right hand while working with a power saw at the home of the saw’s owner. Unknown to plaintiff, the saw had a defective blade guard. We settled with the saw’s owner for policy limits before filing an action against the saw’s manufacturer and seller for products liability, negligent design defect, and failure to warn. Richard Sax knew he had an uphill battle, but nevertheless took the matter through a five-day jury trial in federal court. The jury deliberated for two days before returning a defense verdict.

Jury trial for violations of Civil Rights against the City of Oakland Police Department. This was one of the very first cases brought against some rogue Oakland Police Department officers referred to as “Midnight Riders.” The police officers had physically beaten and planted false evidence on criminal suspects.

Products liability jury trial against a major retailer and the manufacturer of a hazardous and cheaply-made deep fryer aimed at a low-income market. We represented plaintiff, who was severely burned by a deep fryer that, unknown to him, contained boiling hot oil. The deep fryer had limited stability, no shut-off switch, no warning light, and other hazards. At the conclusion of the trial, Sax was complimented by the Hon. Bernard Zimmerman, who has presided over hundreds of jury trials with some of the best trial lawyers. Judge Zimmerman said, “This was a very professional job by the attorneys. They were respectful to the court and the attorneys cooperated.” Defense counsel said, “Good job, Richard.”