Stephen Garcia Named to Daily Journal’s 2018 Top Plaintiff Lawyers List

Partner Stephen M. Garcia was recognized by Daily Journal as a 2018 Top Plaintiff Lawyer, one of only 30 attorneys named to the list. Mr. Garcia was selected for his successful representation of victims of elder and nursing home abuse as well as additional recent notable settlements on behalf of plaintiffs.

This summer, Mr. Garcia obtained a $38.6 million settlement – the largest health care settlement in California history – on behalf of a young mother, Kristina Brightbill, who suffered a stroke while she was visiting her ill son in a Southern California hospital. The lawsuit alleged that the facility ignored Brightbill’s stroke symptoms, leading to her severe impairment. The hospital and numerous treating physicians were sued for medical negligence, loss of consortium and violations of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act.

Mr. Garcia commented, “The facts were horrible. They couldn’t take it to a jury. This outcome is sending a shockwave through the medical community. Hospitals are now the new frontier for challenges under [the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act].”

Daily Journal also noted Mr. Garcia’s representation and resulting $53.6 million settlement in a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of Genesis HealthCare and its subsidiaries. As one of six cases resulting from the investigation, Garcia & Artigliere filed a False Claims Act against Woodland Care Center, a Genesis subsidiary, alleging medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy and hospice services.

Additionally, Mr. Garcia was recognized for prevailing at the state appellate level in 2016 in a case that established that understaffing can amount to neglect for the purposes of the act. Fenimore v. Regents of University of California (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 1339, 1348-1349

“The upshot of that opinion is that understaffing constitutes the recklessness component of EADACP,” Mr. Garcia said. “That puts defendants in a much more perilous position, because it significantly increases the remedies available to plaintiffs, including damages for pain and suffering, punitives and attorney fees and costs. Because most nursing homes are chronically understaffed, the health of residents is chronically endangered. This helps fix that.”

Click here to read Mr. Garcia’s Daily Journal 2018 Top Plaintiff Lawyers profile.