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"We're here to fight for you so that you get the best possible outcome."
- Renée J. Nordstrand

Case Results | Current Cases | 2012 Binding Arbitration Award

∗ Selected cases listed. Every case is different. Past case results are not a guarantee, and similar results may not be obtained in your case.

$1,200,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Motorcycle v. Automobile Accident

FACTS: Client was riding his motorcycle when a woman, intending to turn left, drove her vehicle in front of him. Client laid down his motorcycle to avoid impact and fractured his wrist. Client underwent two unsuccessful surgeries and ultimately had a wrist fusion surgery. Woman driving the car yelled at client at the scene while he was on the ground that the accident was his fault and he would not get a penny from her.

Confidential Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Premises Liability

FACTS: A 65-year-old woman was exiting a big-box store and fell when her shoe got stuck in an expansion joint. Defendant refused to provide the construction plans so we obtained the approved plans from the city, located the architect who drew the plans, and proved that the expansion joint was not safe because it was too wide and not built in conformance with the approved plans.

INJURIES: Left wrist fracture.

Confidential Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Motorist opened door in path of bicyclist

FACTS: Due to the nature of our client’s injury, the insurance company did not dispute his claim. We were able to settle this case quickly.

INJURIES: Client developed Peyronie’s disease, which required surgery to correct.

$750,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Auto Accident

INJURIES: Burst fracture L1, arm fracture distal radial, nasal fracture

$750,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Personal Injury

FACTS: Homeowner removed guard from electric grinder. Client was not wearing required eye protection. Lawsuit against homeowner.

INJURIES: Orbital fractures, blindness right eye

$690,000 Settlement ( $370,000 for man and $320,000 for woman.)

TYPE OF CASE: Truck Accident

FACTS: Big Rig Truck ran through intersection colliding with elderly couple’s vehicle.

INJURIES: 86 year old man, Post-Concussion Syndrome, head injury caused acceleration of preexisting, mild dementia 80 year old woman suffered loss of consortium and shoulder impingement.

$750,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Auto Accident

INJURIES: Minor shoulder and elbow surgery in man with kidney disease leading to kidney failure

$625,000 Settlement during Trial

TYPE OF CASE: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

FACTS: Defective wall heater caused Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Lawsuit against property management company and property owner for failure to clean heater as required in lease agreement.

INJURIES: Memory Loss- cognitive impairment

$595,000 Judgment at Trial

TYPE OF CASE: Bike Accident

FACTS: Bicycle in bike lane struck by pick-up truck.

INJURIES: Non displaced tibia plateau fracture, Acetabular Tear. No surgery

Settlement with driver $550,000
Settlement with shopping center $175,000

TYPE OF CASE: Car Accident/Premises Liability

FACTS: Elderly driver accidentally stepped on gas pedal instead of brake and ran over client in a parking lot. Claim of negligence against driver and negligent design by property owner.

INJURIES: Hip and leg fractures/Shoulder injury- tear to rotator cuff tendon

$525,000 Settlement for Policy Limit

TYPE OF CASE: Bike/Truck Accident

FACTS: Client riding bicycle struck by pick-up truck turning left.

INJURIES: Fractured left leg

$500,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Auto Accident

FACTS: Motorcycle parked perpendicular to traffic sideswiped by automobile.

INJURIES: Fractured hip, no surgery

$335,750. Arbitration award

TYPE OF CASE: Pedestrian Accident

FACTS: 85 year old client crossing street in unmarked sidewalk at intersection struck by auto turning left.

INJURIES: Knee fracture/shoulder rotator cuff injury

$326,472 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Wrongful Death

FACTS: Kaiser negligently misread an MRI report and failed to timely diagnose and treat the deceased's pancreatic cancer.

INJURIES: Death due to pancreatic cancer

$301,950.00 Arbitration Award


FACTS: Claim against landlord who allowed dangerous dog to live on property. 61 year old client had complained to landlord about neighbor’s dangerous dog. Dog attacked client.

INJURIES: Scarring on left leg and emotional injuries.

$300,000 Binding Arbitration

TYPE OF CASE: Automobile Accident

FACTS: Client claimed her light was green as she drove through an intersection, and another vehicle turned left and struck the front of her car. Defendant claimed client was at fault for driving too fast, disputed the nature and extent of injuries, and claimed her injuries preexisted before this accident.

INJURIES: Cervical and thoracic strain, L-5 S-1 annular tear, hip and back pain.

$300,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Rear-End Automobile Accident

INJURIES: Tear to ligaments in dominant right hand; cervical, thoracic, and lumbar strain and myofascitis.

$295,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Premises Liability

FACTS: Elderly Client / Grocery store trip and fall over corner of wooden pallet protruding from display.

INJURIES: Hip Fracture

$250,000 Settlement Policy Limit

TYPE OF CASE: Pedestrian Accident

FACTS: Pedestrian hit by vehicle.

INJURIES: Both legs broken

$225,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Premises Liability

FACTS: Woman with preexisting knee and back pain walking in parking lot fell 3 feet into improperly guarded loading ramp.

INJURIES: Knee Arthroscopic surgery/Back Pain

Jury Awarded $219,667.63 + Cost Award for $10,565.98

TYPE OF CASE: Auto Accident

FACTS: Client struck from the rear while waiting at a stop light. Insurance company offered $20,000 to settle.

INJURIES: Thoracic Spine bulging disc touching spinal cord.

$200,000 Arbitration Award

TYPE OF CASE: Auto Accident

FACTS: 80 year old woman’s vehicle struck from behind at low speed.

INJURIES: Back Injury

$150,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Auto Accident

INJURIES: Arm fracture

$125,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Rear-end auto accident

FACTS: Two years after suffering a rear-end collision, our client’s medical bills came to $16,000. The at-fault driver’s insurance company offered the client $18,000 to settle and denied the client’s claim that she needed shoulder surgery due to the accident. NordstrandBlack PC took the case, and six months later, settled it for $125,000.

INJURIES: Torn rotator cuff. Client underwent surgery two years after the accident; temporary neck and back complaints.

$120,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Premises Liability

FACTS: Client in motorized wheelchair struck on sidewalk as he passed by exit to parking lot by auto leaving parking lot. Case against property owner for failing to properly maintain the landscaping so driver could readily see pedestrians on the sidewalk.

INJURIES: Elbow fracture

$100,000 Settlement for Policy Limit

TYPE OF CASE: Bike/Auto Accident

FACTS: Bicycle struck by auto in intersection.

INJURIES: Fractured wrist

$90,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Motorcycle Accident

FACTS: Motorcyclist stopped at stop light struck by auto.

INJURIES: Left knee injury

$85,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Bike/Auto Accident

FACTS: Bicycle struck by automobile.

INJURIES: Broken clavicle. No surgery. Healed without incident.

$80,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Motorist opened door in path of bicyclist

FACTS: An Uber driver stopped on the side of the road and the passenger exited the vehicle directly in the path of traffic and struck our client, who was riding by on his bicycle. The insurance company offered a low settlement, which NordstrandBlack was able to raise to $80,000.

$78,000 Settlement


FACTS: Dog unleashed on beach ran straight toward client, who was recovering from knee surgery and thought the dog would run into her knee. Client moved quickly to avoid dog who did not run into her.

INJURIES: Re-injured knee

$65,000 Settlement


INJURIES: Lacerations, and punctures of the lower lip

$60,000 Settlement


FACTS: While in her car, a woman was holding hot soup between her legs. She opened the lid and spilled some, burning her genitalia. Plaintiff claimed the soup was too hot. Defense denied responsibility.

$40,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Premises Liability

FACTS: 19 year old UCSB student injured when skateboard hit uneven cement path while skateboarding at UCSB.

INJURIES: C-3 Fracture with mild displacement. Healed without incident

$40,000 Settlement

TYPE OF CASE: Auto Accident

FACTS: Woman riding horse on horse trail adjacent to road. Van came around corner too close to horse which caused horse to rear and client to fall to ground. No injury to horse.

INJURIES: Soft Tissue Back Pain


CASE NAME/NUMBER: Silva v. Gucciardi, Patrino dba Advance Investments

TYPE OF CASE: Pit Bull Attack and Mauling

JUDGE: Honorable, Retired Patricia L. Collins

LENGTH OF TRIAL: Four hour binding arbitration

AWARD DATE: November 2, 2012

CLAIMANT REPRESENTED BY: Renée J. Nordstrand, NordstrandBlack PC

RESPONDENTS REPRESENTED BY: Gina Weihert for State Farm Insurance Company

Claimant - Lester Zackler, M.D., neuropsychiatrist, testified, Stephen Bresnick, M.D. plastic surgeon wrote a report which was submitted.
Respondent - none

SUMMARY OF DAMAGES: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Adjustment Disorder caused by dog attack and mauling, experienced as depression, fear of large dogs, and withdrawal from society. Dr. Zackler testified Claimant would benefit from 6-12 months of psychotherapy (cost $7,000-$11,000) and psychiatric medication management for at least 2 years (cost $2,000). Claimant’s difficult upbringing made her more susceptible to the trauma and less able to cope.

Scarring, unsightly and prominent on left leg, particularly near shin, measuring 1½ inches at largest point. Puncture wound scars around knee. Report from Stephen Bresnick estimated fat injections to smooth out area (cost $3,500 x 2 procedures), scar revision, which would not make a huge impact (cost $2,000), and laser therapy with bleaching (cost $1,500.)

Pain and suffering: Claimant had severe pain for a total of 4 months. After the first month the wound became infected and Claimant had to go to the wound clinic weekly for 3 months for painful wound care. Due to pain Claimant couldn’t put weight on her leg for 4 months and required the use of a walker to ambulate. She had nightmares of the attack for 2 weeks and was awakened by pain in her leg at night for months.

Claimant worked as a bookkeeper for many years. She claimed $1,300 in lost wages when she couldn’t work due to pain from the wounds. She claimed that due to her PTSD and Adjustment Disorder she retired 10 months after the attack when she was eligible for early retirement because she needed to get away. She moved out of the State but then realized that she continued to experience anxiety and fear so she moved back to California. She testified that she intended to find another job because she needs the money. Claimant asked to be compensated for the time she took early retirement and for an additional 3 months for her to find another job.

FACTS: Claimant contended that she lived at the triplex for 13 years. Two years before, a 75 pound un-neutered pitbull-mastiff dog moved in next door to her. After immediately and continuously complaining to management regarding the dangerous condition presented by the dog, Claimant was attacked by the dog on May 20, 2011 as she passed by the apartment where the dog’s owners lived to take out her trash. The dog pushed open the door and bit into her right knee. She was able to jerk her knee from the dogs mouth and he immediately bit into her calf area, braced his hind legs in a crouch and yanked on her leg for possibly 5 minutes before the dog’s owner appeared and the dog let go. Claimant was too afraid of the dog to leave her apartment until her friend forced her to go to the hospital 48 hours after the mauling.

CONTENTIONS: Respondent contended that Claimant showed signs of exaggeration of symptoms and malingering on the MMPI, that the medical treatment suggested by Claimant’s plastic surgeon was not necessary and an attempt to build up the damages and that Claimant’s claim of lost wages was not reasonable given the fact that she continued to work for 10 months after the attack.

SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS: Case was arbitrated pursuant to Stipulation of the parties for binding arbitration with a mini-maxi of $100,000 low and $300,000 high. Arbitrator was unaware of the mini-maxi agreement. $100,000 was paid after the Stipulation was signed.

RESULT: TOTAL AWARD: $439,685.66

TOTAL ECONOMIC DAMAGES: Past Economic Damages: Medical: $6,985.66, Loss of earnings: $9,865.71. Future Economic Damages: Loss of Earnings (3 months) $3,834.29, Future Medical: $19,000


RESULT DATE: April 30, 2012

Felicity Walker v. Burl Beveridge (1379892) 12-JV_1865

Hon. Donna Geck

Santa Barbara Superior

TOPIC: Personal Injury

SUB TOPIC: Auto v. Auto


VERDICT: $219,668

Plaintiff - Renée J. Nordstrand (NordstrandBlack PC, Santa Barbara).
Defendant - Charles Wessler (Law Offices of Gregory J. Lucett, Glendale).

Plaintiff - Alan Moelleken, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Santa Barbara.
Defendant - Stephen Nagelberg, M.D., orthopedics, Downey.

FACTS: On March 26, 2009, Felicity Walker was driving her Honda Civic when she was involved in a rear end collision. She presented to the UCSB walk in clinic a few hours following the accident. Her doctor cleared her for snowboarding the following day. She went snowboarding the next day, but could only complete two runs because she was not feeling well. She returned to the doctor two weeks later complaining of mid-back pain. She was later diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and was involved in a second accident on Nov. 10, 2011. Walker sued the driver who admitted liability but disputed the extent of the impact, claiming it was not serious. The second accident was similar to the first accident. She also claimed that the second accident exacerbated her mid back injury.

INJURIES: Eleven months later, Walker was diagnosed with a degenerative disc disease and underwent several rounds of physical therapy and received epidural injections. Defendant disputed the extent of Walker's injuries, claiming that Walker had engaged in various activities that evidenced she was not as injured as she claimed to be. Walker claimed she suffered a bulging disk, central protrusion, annular fissure, and moderate impression on the ventral aspect of the thoracic cord. Walker also claimed that it took some time for her to feel the symptoms because it took a while for the disc material to leak into her spinal canal and cause symptoms.

DAMAGES: Walker claimed $68,678 in past medical expenses caused by the first collision and approximately $40,000 caused by the second collision. She also claimed future medical expenses, including, among others, $200,000 for physical therapy, doctor visits and MRIs for her lifetime or until she undergoes surgery.

RESULT: The jury rendered a verdict for Walker. She was awarded $219,668 in total damages, which included $68,668 for past medical expenses, $15,000 for future economic damages, $36,000 for future economic damages, and $100,000 for future non-economic damages.

∗ Selected cases listed. Every case is different. Past case results are not a guarantee, and similar results may not be obtained in your case.

Current Cases

Pedestrian Suffered Electrical Injury from Downed Power Line

NordstrandBlack PC filed a lawsuit against the City of Santa Barbara, Southern California Edison, and several subcontractors. The facts are thus: after a severe microburst in SB on Sunday, September 3, 2017, many trees were knocked down or otherwise damaged. In the area of San Pascual and Sutton Avenue, a large ficus tree dropped a huge limb onto a car, trapping people inside. No injuries were reported from that incident, but the City of Santa Barbara called a contractor to remove the tree. Two days later, another limb fell from the same ficus tree, made contact with a power line, and knocked it to the ground. Our client suffered severe electrical injury when he came into contact with the live wire. A bystander saw the entire incident. As paramedics and fire crews arrived to contain a house fire started by the downed power line, the bystander pulled our client to safety. He was rushed Cottage Hospital in critical condition. He suffered 2nd-degree burns on 40% of his body and spent months in a burn center, undergoing several skin grafts.

We have retained both an electrical expert and a tree expert, who determined the ficus tree was 50-60 years old and should have been removed. The responsible parties knew the tree was dangerous because another portion of the tree had fallen two days prior. Based on our research, we contend that the ficus tree was a dangerous condition because it was not properly trimmed, maintained, and inspected by the City. In addition, we contend that Edison and its subcontractors failed to maintain, prune, and inspect the tree to prevent it from contacting its power lines.

During recovery, our client lost his health insurance because he had just aged out of his parents’ plan, but we were able to help him obtain excellent medical care. He also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after this incident. NordstrandBlack PC arranged to get him treatment from a psychiatrist and therapist as well.

This case is currently pending.

More about the incident:

NOOZHAWK: Man Critically Injured by High-Voltage Power Line in Santa Barbara

Motorcyclist Hit While Lane-Splitting

Our client is an experienced motorcyclist of 30+ years. On the day of his accident, he was wearing full gear – leathers, helmet, gloves, boots, etc. He was lane-splitting legally at 5 mph over the speed of traffic when he saw a female driver in front of him momentarily creep over the lane line before correcting her vehicle’s course. Thinking she was now paying attention, the motorcyclist moved to pass her vehicle. The vehicle hit him. Our client suffered a serious shoulder injury, but the at-fault driver’s insurance company is denying liability on the rather preposterous notion that because our client had previously noticed their insured’s inattention, it was his fault for attempting to legally pass her.

This case is currently pending.

Catalina Tourist’s Leg Sliced by Dangerous Cart

While visiting Catalina Island, our client was walking with his friends on a crowded sidewalk. They passed in front of a dive shop with golf carts parked in front. These carts took up at least 25% of the sidewalk, and NordstrandBlack PC is investigating whether this was a violation of Catalina law. Our client moved toward the carts as a courtesy to allow people to pass him by and his leg came in contact with a cotter pin on one cart’s wheel, which sliced a 2-to-3-inch laceration that exposed the inside flesh. The wound was described as “really nasty”.

NordstrandBlack PC hired a premises liability expert to go to Catalina to investigate and inspect the carts. Since the dive shop denies ownership of the cart that caused our client’s injury, and people park carts everywhere, we have to prove it was the shop’s cart, or that the shop used the dangerous cart, or that they knowingly allowed a dangerous cart on their premises.

We are taking depositions to prove the dive shop had no written procedures or policy to inspect these carts for safety. Our expert is working to establish how the cotter pin protruding is a clear danger to customers, and that the danger can be easily remedied - in fact, our preliminary investigation shows that it costs less than .60 cents per cart to fix!

By searching Google Earth, NordstrandBlack PC also found a picture taken a year later at the same dive shop that appears to show the same cart. We are deposing Google to establish the authority of the photo.

We helped our client find a physician to treat his scarring. In addition, we assisted him in getting surgery for the nerve damage done to his leg.

This case is pending trial in November 2018.

Man and Dog Attacked by Pit Bull with Priors

As our client walked his elderly pit bull dog past a residence that is used for drug & alcohol rehab, a lessee of the house and his pit bull dog were at the front door, which was open. The dog charged, and bit our client’s dog’s ear, which required $1,200 surgery to treat. During the attack, our client tried to protect his dog, and was viciously attacked by the dog, which knocked him to the ground, causing him shoulder and knee problems.

This case was complicated by the fact that our client had prior PTSD from unrelated incident. About a year after this attack, he had to be hospitalized for nervous breakdown, which was caused largely by the attack. NordstrandBlack PC was able to settle part of the case with the house’s landowner for $37,500; as part of settlement, landowner, who claimed he did not know about the aggressive dog on his property, agreed to contact his lessee. We were able to get the at-fault dog owner and the rehab) to contact us with their insurance information, which includes a substantial policy.

Because of our successful settlement with the landowner, our client will be able to get psychological treatment, which will help him and us to pursue the main claim against the at-fault parties. In researching this case, we contacted local law enforcement, who told us this dog had multiple prior attacks on record. In fact, it had recently been through a hearing to euthanize it the week before it attacked our client and his dog.

This case is currently pending.

Pedestrian Hit by Santa Barbara City Vehicle

Our client is a developmentally disabled man who was legally crossing the street in a crosswalk with a green light when a Santa Barbara City employee in a city vehicle clipped him. He staggered backward and fell, suffering a fractured hip.

Within a few weeks, we settled the case with the insurance company for the elderly man for his policy limit of $100,000 and are pursuing our client’s UM/UIM coverage.

This case is currently pending while our client recovers from her injury.

Woman Struck in Carpinteria Parking Lot

Our client, a 70-year-old woman, was walking in a parking lot at the end of an aisle in Carpinteria when an elderly driver barely hit her and immediately stopped. She fell and broke her hip. The driver denies that his vehicle made contact with our client, and denies liability.

This case is currently pending.

Man Injured by Hospital Chair Collapse

Our client, a big man, took his elderly mother to the hospital. While he was filling out paperwork on her behalf, the chair he was sitting in collapsed underneath him. He hit his knee, tore his shoulder, and twisted his back. He required three separate surgeries to fix each issue.

Within a few hours of when our client returned to the hospital, the broken wood chair had been replaced with a metal chair. He asked the hospital janitor if he could see the original chair, and the janitor showed him. Our client found a warning label that said the chair must be checked every 6 months to make sure it’s sound.

NordstrandBlack PC found out that the hospital never inspected these chairs, and at least 60 had broken before the one that injured our client. We are currently trying to determine if other parties are to blame besides the hospital, such as the manufacturer or distributor of the defective chair.

This case is currently pending.

Biker Suffered Severe Foot Injury from Guy Anchor Cable on Railroad Property

Our client was in his early twenties, and lived with his parents near railroad tracks. One day, he was riding a dirt bike adjacent to the tracks when his foot hooked on metal cable – the bike went forward, but he didn’t, and he suffered multiple broken bones and torn ligaments in his foot and ankle. This will be a lifelong injury for the young man.

NordstrandBlack PC took a deposition of the railroad company, which admitted they failed to properly inspect the property after the pole and guy anchor were supposed to be removed by a contractor. However, the railroad is arguing it is immune to lawsuits. This issue has to be decided. We have brought a third-party contractor that failed to remove the guy anchor wire into the lawsuit.

This case is currently pending.

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