Law School/Year: Washburn School of Law, 1997
College/Year: Washburn University, 1994
Personal Injury & Property Damage, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability, Civil Litigation
Although not a “major case” in terms of economic value, one of my most rewarding cases involved a 48-year-old woman injured in an auto collision. After conservative treatment did not heal her neck injuries, she underwent a three-level cervical fusion surgery. Her case faced several challenges. For example, she received two felony convictions less than five years before the collision and, before I became involved in the case, committed perjury about the existence of her felony convictions. The defendants insisted that the collision did not prompt the need for surgery. Despite settlement demands by the client’s first attorneys, the defendants made no settlement offers. The defendants were optimistic that a jury would dislike the plaintiff because of her criminal convictions, perjury, and personal background.
Her first attorneys referred the case to me two months before trial. I obtained a 30-day trial continuance in order to conduct further investigation, obtain testimony from certain witnesses, and prepare for trial.
As I got to know my client, I was reminded of the adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” I learned that my client was a responsible, single parent of a straight-A high school student. After her felony convictions, my client overcame drug addiction, became active in her church, and enrolled in college. When the collision occurred, she was two semesters shy of earning her paralegal certificate and eager for a fresh start. Her injury and the neck surgery delayed her education, but she ultimately completed her studies. I admired her resiliency, tenacity, and her dedication to her daughter. I was confident that a jury would sift through the personal attacks and find the truth in my client’s case. Ultimately, the defendants proposed mediation, where the case settled for $375,000 one month before trial.
After working as a defense lawyer, I began representing plaintiffs in 2004. I represent people who have been seriously injured by others’ dangerous conduct. My practice includes defective products, motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, dangerous property conditions, and construction site incidents. Nearly all of my clients are referred by other attorneys, including former opposing attorneys. Past clients include teachers, nurses, contractors, business owners, homemakers, military personnel, students and law enforcement officers.
I have obtained over $34 million in judgments and settlements for my clients. Each victory enabled my clients to receive necessary medical treatment and medical equipment, recover lost wages, obtain any educational or professional retraining necessary to return to work, and make-up for other harms.
I currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, an association dedicated to preventing injuries, educating the public, improving the skills of attorneys, and preserving individuals’ access to justice through our court system.
I am active in the San Diego County Bar Association. I previously served as chair of the Bar’s General Civil Litigation Section and continue to volunteer in the attorney mentor program. Other professional memberships include the American Inns of Court, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, the Consumer Attorneys of California, and the American Association for Justice.
I was raised in Kansas by my father, a longtime elevator constructor. I am the first member of my extended family to attend and graduate from college. I attribute my work ethic, sense of fairness, and sense of humor to my father.
After law school, I worked as an attorney on the island of Yap, located in the western Pacific Ocean. After 2½ years on the island, I moved to San Diego. I have two children and enjoy coaching their baseball, softball and soccer teams.