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Stephen M. Garcia
Stephen M. Garcia represents victims of elder and nursing home abuse and is known as one of the leading civil litigators in the country. He is Senior Partner at Garcia & Artigliere, where the firm’s practice is focused on elder abuse, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death of the elderly.
Serving Los Angeles County and other cities nationwide, Garcia has served as counsel in litigation leading to over $1.25 billion in compensation awarded to afflicted parties and consumers across the United States. These cases involved insurance bad faith, medical malpractice, elder abuse, nursing home abuse, and products liability.
NOTABLE VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS
Just a few of the notable verdicts and settlements obtained by Garcia include:
- $38.6 million settlement for a paralyzed young mother, which is the largest settlement under California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act in history.
- The first class action certified, and ultimately settled, for a significant recovery of over one thousand dollars per class member against a Resident Care Facility for the Elderly, for understaffing everywhere in the U.S.
- $1.25 million settlement on behalf of a Korean War veteran from the Veteran’s Administration. This was one of the “top settlements of the year” as reported in the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
- Over $25 million in settlements against long-term care providers for rampant understaffing of their facilities.
- A seven-figure recovery for a resident of the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s facility, which allowed a serial sexual abuser to run free until uncovered by Garcia’s efforts.
- $5.2 million elder abuse trial verdict by a Santa Monica court where a resident suffered 16 falls at a licensed residential care facility for the elderly
- A verdict of over $5 million for an aggrieved elder in Fresno, California, the largest EADACPA verdict ever in the county.
- $2.4 million verdict for another aggrieved elder in Fresno County, which was settled as Garcia was about to give opening statement in the punitive damage phase of the trial.
- Another seven-figure verdict for an aggrieved elder in the Pasadena Courthouse.
- A “top ten largest punitive damage” of the year verdict for an aggrieved elder, as reported by the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
- Garcia has served as counsel in matters leading to over 25 seven-figure recoveries for clients
LEGISLATIVE ANALYST FOR ELDERS IN CALIFORNIA
Garcia has served as a legislative analyst on behalf of elders in the State of California regarding legislation affecting the rights and safety of elder and infirm adults and those to whom their care is entrusted. He has testified before the California Legislature in support of legislation advancing the rights and concerns of California’s elders and those to whom their care is entrusted.
Garcia’s appellate efforts include:
- Authoring the amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Consumer Attorneys of California in the seminal matter of Inclan v. Covenant Care (March 25, 2004 California Supreme Court), wherein the Supreme Court of California distinguished Elder and Dependent Adult abuse claims from those of “professional negligence” confirming his long held belief that California Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.13 does not apply to elder abuse claims.
- Fenimore v. Regents of University of California (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 1339, 1348-1349. There, the Court held that, “[A] violation of staffing regulations may provide a basis for finding neglect. Such a violation might constitute a negligent failure to exercise the care that a similarly situated reasonable person would exercise…”
- Thrower v. GranCare (2018) 889 F.3d 543, wherein the Court brought an end the frivolous removal of cases against long term healthcare providers to Federal Court.
- Muccianti v. Willow Creek Care Center (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 13, wherein the Court confirmed that a judgment against a healthcare facility for elder abuse pursuant to EADACPA could not be vacated because there was reasonable probability that interests of nonparties and the public would be adversely affected and the parties’ reasons for requesting reversal did not outweigh erosion of public trust that could result.
EDUCATION, BACKGROUND & EXPERIENCE
Garcia received his Bachelor’s degree in 1982 from Loyola Marymount University and his Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola University in 1985.
Prior to becoming a civil trial lawyer in 1993, Garcia was a criminal trial lawyer. The Law Offices of Stephen M. Garcia, founded in 1987, was purchased by the nationally-recognized elder abuse and nursing home abuse litigation boutique firm Wilkes & McHugh in 2001. Garcia served as Wilkes & McHugh’s managing attorney for the western United States for 2 years prior to returning to his own firm in April 2003.
Garcia’s nationwide practice grew rapidly with elder abuse, nursing home abuse, truck accidents, and wrongful death cases litigated across the country. As his practice grew, in addition to the California office, Garcia opened new offices in Arizona, Washington, Florida, Arkansas, and Kentucky.
Garcia has concentrated on his civil trial practice since 1993, following 9 years of focusing on criminal trial advocacy. He has served as lead counsel on behalf of disenfranchised consumers in cases including, insurance bad faith, medical malpractice, elder abuse, nursing home abuse, and products liability. Garcia served as counsel in class actions brought on behalf of consumers against such major diverse corporations as Allstate Insurance Company, Tenet Healthcare, Pennzoil, Medtronics, Hewlett Packard, Countrywide Home Loans, Sun Healthcare Corporation, The County of Los Angeles, Sony, British Airways United Airlines, Motorola, State Farm Insurance Company, and AT&T. Garcia has also served as a staunch defender for those companies who hold themselves up to the highest ideals of service and wish to work towards the absolute best practices to provide quality service to those whom they serve.
Garcia has served as lead class counsel in the nationally-certified class actions Morgan v. Medtronics and In Re Bluetooth; as well as serving as lead counsel in the California action certified for class approval effecting the lives of over 22,000 elder and infirm California residents in Smietana v. Pleasant Care et al.; lead counsel in the California action certified for class approval effecting the lives of over 25,000 elder and infirm California residents in Benkle v. Longwood; lead counsel in the California action certified for class approval effecting the lives of over 35,000 elder and infirm California residents in Williamson v. Ensign Group; lead counsel in the California action certified for class approval effecting over 4,000 elder and infirm adults in California and another 2,000 in Oregon in In Re Sunwest Healthcare; as lead class counsel in the California action certified for class approval effecting over 2,000 elder and infirm adults in California In Re Sun Mar and as class settlement counsel for fraudulent practices by AOL and Best Buy in a national class action settlement entitled Gergel v. AOL, as well as being named to the executive committee of a national class actions including Obi v. Hewlett Packard, In Re Imphonics (rebate fraud venued in Washington D.C.), and In Re AT&T, to name a few.
ADMITTED TO PRACTICE
Garcia is admitted to practice in all State Courts of California, Washington, Texas, Arizona, and Kentucky as well as in the United States District Court for the Northern, Southern, Central, and Eastern Districts of California, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, the United States District Court for Arizona, and the Ninth Circuit.
Garcia has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Consumer Attorneys of California and the Board of Governors of Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
Garcia and his firm have been recognized by peers and others with numerous awards and accolades through the years, including:
- Named as one of the top 30 Plaintiff’s lawyers in the State of California by the Daily Journal.
- Named on multiple occasions as one of the top Boutique law firms in California
- Named as one of the top “500 leading Plaintiff’s Lawyers in America” by the national publication LawDragon Magazine.
- Named one of the “500 Leading Lawyers in America” by LawDragon Magazine. He was one of only 100 Plaintiff’s lawyers throughout the nation so named.
- Named on repeated occasions by the National Law Journal as a National Trailblazer in elder law.
- Recognized as a California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) award winner by California Lawyer Magazine.
- Named one of 2,500 nationwide “Fellows of The American Academy of Trial Counsel” (whose membership is by invitation only and limited to just 1.5% of America’s lawyers).
- Garcia is also a member of the prestigious “Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum” whose membership is limited to attorneys who have been awarded and collected multi-million dollar verdicts.
- Garcia was honored to be named a member of the prestigious “Super Lawyers” of Southern California by Los Angeles magazine on numerous occasions, including 2000 through 2019. He was also named one of the “Super Lawyers Top 100”.
Throughout his years of practice, Garcia has been a frequent lecturer advocating the rights of elders and those to whom their care is entrusted at Continuing Education seminars before such groups as The Florida Judges College of Advanced Judicial Studies, The Los Angeles County District Attorneys, American Health Lawyers Association, USC’s Andrus School of Gerontology, The Southern California Association of Defense Counsel, the American Academy of Legal Nurse Consultants, Consumer Attorneys of California, California Advocates of Nursing Home Reform, the California Healthcare Association, Loyola Law School, Whittier Law School, Judicate West, and numerous other entities.
Lectures given by Garcia include:
- Third Annual Senior Executives Course (USC Andrus School of Gerontolgy)
- Concerns About Long Term Healthcare Litigation (Olympia Medical Center November, 2015)
- “Protecting Assets While Qualifying for Medicaid” (National Business Institute Seminar , Summer 2015 Pasadena, California)
- “Multi-level Representation in Long-term Healthcare: Ethical Quagmires” (Louisville Bar Association Spring 2015 Ethics)
- American Healthcare Lawyers Association, Long Term Care and the Law (Phoenix Arizona, February, 2012
- Florida College of Advanced Judicial Studies (Fort Meyers, Florida, May 2010)
- Abuse in the Long Term Care Setting (Los Angeles County District Attorneys Criminal Justice Institute’s Tenth Annual Symposium October 2009)
- Using Cy Pres to Right a Wrong (California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform Annual Convention June 2009)
- Why the Other Side is Just Wrong (American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants-National Convention April 2009)
- Elder Abuse—Perspective Required (Consumer Attorneys of California November 2008 Annual Convention)
- ClassActions-A Tool To Improve Long Term Care (California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform Annual Convention May 2008)
- Elder Abuse-It is Important and Why (American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants-Sacramento Chapter-April 2008)
- Utilizing the Consumer Legal Remedies Act to Improve Long Term Care (Consumer Attorneys of California, February 2008)
- Elder Abuse: What A Plaintiff’s Counsel Looks For In Evaluating and Presenting a Case” (Southern California Association of Defense Counsel Annual Convention (February, 2006)
- “Elder Abuse-Discovery You Need” (Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles Annual Convention September 2005)
- “Avoiding Caps in a Wrongful Death Action Predicated on Elder And/Or Dependent Adult Abuse Pursuant to the Elder Adult and Dependent Adult Abuse Pursuant to the Elder Adult and Dependent Adult Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act” (California Regional Trial Lawyers Association Conference June 2005)
- “HMO’s Abuse Elder and Dependent Adults Every Day-How We Can Stop Them” (Consumer Attorneys of California College of Trial Arts 2004 Winter Meeting-March 2004)
- “Good Care is Not Always Enough” (California Healthcare Association Annual Convention-October 2003)
- “Using the Elder Abuse Act to Sue Insurers and HMO’s” (Consumer Attorneys of California 42nd Annual Convention, April 2003)
- “Elder Abuse Is Not Medical Malpractice” (Consumer Attorneys of California 41st Annual Convention, April 2002)
- “Profits Over People, it’s a fact proving it to a jury” (Consumer Attorneys of California, 40th Annual November 2001)
- “Formal Discovery: Is it worth the effort?” (Consumer Attorneys of California 1999)
- RCFE’s Freedom From MICRA (Consumer Attorneys of California 1997; California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform 1998)
- Dealing with Objections in Difficult Cases from an Ethical Point of View (Consumer Attorneys of California 1996)
- How to Litigate the Elder Abuse Case (California Advocates of Nursing Home Reform 1999)
- Resident Counsel’s, “Your Eyes and Ears” (California Advocates of Nursing Home Reform 2000)
- “Re-Victimizing the Nursing Home Plaintiff; Making a Bad Case Referral” (Long Beach Probate and Estate Planning Counsel – November 2001)
- “Views from Advocates and Neutrals”, Judicate West (April 2001).
Garcia’s published works include:
- Ruling is a Win for Vulnerable Nursing Home Patients (Los Angeles Daily Journal March 28, 2017)
- Nursing Home Staffing: The Life Blood of Quality Care and Your Case (Kentucky Bar Briefs, November 2015)
- Scope of a Power of Attorney in the Nursing Home Arbitration Context- A Post Ping Case Law Update (The Advocate, Kentucky Justice Association, Publish Date: May/June 2014 Volume 42, Number 3)
- “Responsible Nursing Home Abuse Litigation-Pressure Ulcers and Falls” (Kentucky Justice Association—The Advocate—Jan/Feb 2014)
- “Navigating the Corporate Structural Maze; The Keys to Discovering Recoverable Assets.” (American Association of Justice 2008)
- “Class Actions Against Long Term Healthcare Providers for Failing to Provide Services of the Standard and Quality Advertised after Alvarado v. Selma Convalescent Hospital: A New Approach” (Consumer Attorneys of California Beaver Creek Meeting, February, 2008)
- “Avoiding Caps in a Wrongful Death Action Predicated on Elder And/Or Dependent Adult Abuse Pursuant to the Elder Adult and Dependent Adult Abuse Pursuant to the Elder Adult and Dependent Adult Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act” (The Forum Magazine, January/February 2006)
- “HMO’s Abuse Elder and Dependent Adults Every Day-How We Can Stop Them” (Consumer Attorneys of California College of Trial Arts 2004 Winter Meeting-March 2004)
- “It’s Not Just for Nursing Homes Anymore – Using the Elder Abuse Act to Sue Insurers and HMO’s” (Consumer Attorneys of California 42nd Annual Convention)
- “Elder Abuse, It Is Not Medical Malpractice” (Consumer Attorneys of California 41st Annual Convention April 2002)
- “Dealing with Obligations in Difficult Cases From an Ethical Point of View” (Consumer Attorneys of California 34th Annual Convention)
- “RCFE’s: Freedom from MICRA” (Consumer Attorneys of California 36th Annual Convention)
- “Formal Discovery, is it Worth the Effort?” (Consumer Attorneys of California 38th Annual Convention)
- “Profits Over People, It’s A Fact: How to Convince the Jury” (Consumer Attorneys 40th Annual Convention)
- “Distinguishing Elder Abuse Claims from ‘Professional’ Negligence Claims: Why Section 425.13 Does Not Apply to Elder Abuse Claims” (Consumer Attorneys of California Forum, Vol. 30, No. 6, July/August 2000)
- “Skilled Nursing Facilities – How Many Time Can We Tell You ‘It’s Not Medical Malpractice!’” Verdict Magazine, January 2003.
Garcia has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law, teaching elder abuse litigation at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and has served on the Board of Directors of the South Bay Volunteer Center. He is also a continuing supporter of the Richstone Center, a volunteer organization wholly devoted to addressing issues relating to child abuse treatment and prevention. He is a founder and member of the Board of Directors, of Urban Compass a group whose mission is to end the cycle of death and violence in the inner city. Garcia is also a member of the Board of Directors of One Revolution, an organization whose goal is to create social change through visibility and opportunity for disabled persons and their families.