The Cooper Law Firm Results

Mr. Cooper, in both his current firm and former firm, has had tremendous success obtaining significant recoveries for his clients in labor/employment cases and personal injury/wrongful death cases. Below is just a sampling of the settlements and jury verdicts Mr. Cooper has helped secure on behalf of his clients. As these results indicate, The Cooper Law Firm is equipped to handle your case, regardless of its size or complexity.

Click on the links below to learn more about any of these cases or topics.


Labor and Employment Class Actions

Automobile Defect Cases
     Tire Failure/Rollover
     Rollover/Roof Crush
     Seatbelt and Airbag Defects

Miscellaneous Cases

Auto Accident Cases

Trucking Cases

Premises Liability Cases

Road Design Cases

Sample of Non-Confidential Verdicts and Settlements

$9.4 million in an auto accident case

$4.2 million in a negligent security case

$4 million in an motorcycle v. auto wreck case

$1.7 million in a trucking case

$1.3 million in an auto accident case

$1.3 million in a road design case

$400,000 in a premises liability case

Case Summaries

Labor and Employment Class Actions

The Cooper Law Firm, along with its co-counsel, have successfully prosecuted and resolved numerous labor/employment class actions involving wage and hour violations by some of the largest employers in California and the United States. Confidentiality agreements preclude revealing the details of these suits, but we can report the following recent settlements:

  • $20,000,000 for computer engineers denied overtime pay
  • $19,500,000 for grocery store employees denied meal and rest breaks
  • $16,500,000 for bank account executives and loan officers denied expense reimbursement and overtime pay
  • $13,800,000 for telecommunications project managers and account managers denied overtime pay
  • $8,000,000 for retail store employees denied meal and rest breaks and forced to work off-the-clock
  • $4,000,000 for restaurant managers misclassified and denied overtime pay
  • $4,000,000 for armored car employees denied meal and rest breaks
  • $3,500,000 for transportation industry employees denied meal breaks
  • $3,100,000 for computer software testing employees denied overtime pay
  • $2,500,000 for newspaper carriers misclassified as independent contractors
  • $2,500,000 for mortgage loan officers denied proper wages and reimbursement of business expenses
  • $2,000,000 for pet groomers denied reimbursement for necessary tools and equipment
  • $2,075,000 for computer hardware and software engineers denied overtime pay
  • $1,800,000 for software engineers denied overtime pay
  • $1,650,000 for restaurant employees forced to work off the clock, not provided meal and rest breaks, and not reimbursed for business expenses
  • $1,600,000 for retail store employees denied vacation pay
  • $1,400,000 for retail store employees forced to work off the clock, not provided meal and rest breaks, and not reimbursed for business expenses
  • $1,250,000 for account executives of beer distributing company denied expense reimbursement and overtime pay

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Auto Accident Cases

Cessay v. VCA

Farma Kane was a passenger in the back seat of a car being driven by her father, Omar Kane. She was 14 months old and was properly restrained in a car seat. Mr. Kane was on the job at the time delivering veterinary materials for his employer, VCA. Mr. Kane negligently rear-ended a vehicle stalled on the freeway, and as a result of the collision, Farma Kane was rendered a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. Because Mr. Kane was working when he caused the collision, Mr. Cooper’s firm brought a claim against Mr. Kane’s employer under the theory of respondeat superior. The employer moved for summary judgment on the ground that bringing his daughter with him on his route was outside the scope of Mr. Kane’s duties. Following extensive briefing and oral argument, the court denied the employer’s motion, after which the defendants agreed to pay $9,450,000, a sum that will provide a stream of income to care for Farma for the rest of her life.

Kingsley v. Beam

Scott Kingsley was riding his motorcycle when Donna Beam, who had been drinking, pulled out in front of him. Mr. Kingsley died in the accident. Mr. Cooper’s firm took this case to trial, and the jury in a conservative venue awarded Mr. Kingsley’s wife and daughter $4 million in damages, including $2.4 million for Mr. Kingsley’s pain and suffering. The Georgia Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the verdict in Beam v. Kingsley , 566 S.E.2d 437 (2002).

Alexander v. Alexander

Ellen Alexander, a 78-year old renowned opera singer from New York, was on vacation in California. While she was riding as a passenger in a car, the driver lost control, collided with a truck, and struck the center divider on the freeway. Ms. Alexander was injured in the accident. Initially, the driver only disclosed $300,000 in insurance coverage, but further investigation by Mr. Cooper revealed an additional $1 million umbrella policy. The insurance company tried to defend on the basis that Ms. Alexander was not wearing her seatbelt, but ultimately both companies agreed to pay their policy limits, for a total recovery of $1,300,000.

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Trucking Cases

Lawler v. Cresco Lines and Georgia Pipe

John Lawler was killed on his way home from work when a truck driver lost control of his rig, slid into the median of the freeway, and ran into the footing of an overhead sign, which fell on Mr. Lawler’s vehicle. Through extensive investigation, Mr. Cooper’s firm proved that the truck lost control because a load of PVC pipe on the truck shifted due to improper loading at the pipe company. The firm took this case to trial, during which the driver and trucking company paid their insurance limits of $1 million. The case continued against the pipe loading company, against whom the jury awarded over $1.7 million to Mr. Lawler’s parents. The verdict was unanimously affirmed on appeal in Georgia Pipe Co. v. Lawler , 584 S.E.2d 634 (2003).

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Automobile Defect Cases

Tire Failure/Rollover

Bell v. Ford and Continental Tire North America
Hall v. Ford and Continental General Tire
Garza v. Ford and Continental General Tire
Rupp v. Ford and Continental General Tire
Vanelli v. Ford and Continental General Tire

In each of these cases, Mr. Cooper represented the family members of people who died when a General tire tread separated on a Ford Bronco II, and the Bronco II rolled over. Through a nationwide investigation, his firm uncovered evidence of at least 38 other similar accidents involving these same defective products. The firm was also consulted and quoted by the national news media – including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times – regarding evidence the firm had developed showing that the tire company had covered up defects in its tires from the federal government and had conducted a silent recall of its tires.

The firm’s relentless determination and discovery of wrongdoing led to significant confidential settlements for each of its clients. The Hall and Garza cases settled during trial.

Yabuku v. Bridgestone/Firestone

Eleven year old Italia Hines was severely injured when a Firestone Wilderness AT tire suffered a tread separation, causing the vehicle she was in to lose control and roll over. The firm represented Italia through her parents and sued Firestone for defects in the tire that led to the separation. The confidential settlement Mr. Cooper negotiated for Italia will help to compensate her for her injuries and provide a significant stream of income for her in the future.

Woods v. Ford, Continental General Tire, JR’s Tires, and Sam’s Club

The Woods family was returning from a church campout in their Bronco II when the General Grabber tire on the left rear blew out. Fermy Woods, who was driving, could not control the Bronco II, which rolled over. Fermy’s husband and one of her three sons died in the wreck. In addition to exposing the inherent defects in the vehicle and the tire, Mr. Cooper’s firm determined that the tire failure was due in part to a bad patch job and that the tires put on the vehicle by Sam’s Club were larger than the recommended size. By aggressively pursuing all sources of liability, the firm was able to recover a substantial confidential sum for Mrs. Woods and her two surviving sons.

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Rollover/Roof Crush

Bone v. Mitsubishi
Gordon v. Mitsubishi

In these cases, Danelle Bone and Kathryn Gordon were severely injured when their Mitsubishi Montero Sport SUVs rolled over due to design defects. After intensive litigation and investigation by Mr. Cooper’s firm, Mitsubishi agreed to pay the clients significant confidential sums to compensate them for their injuries.

Adcock v. Honda

Larry Adcock was rendered quadriplegic when his 1999 Honda Civic CRX rolled over and the roof crushed down on his head. The firm was able to show that the roof was too weak and that it was inadequately tested by Honda. Mr. Adcock received a substantial confidential settlement.

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Seatbelt and Airbag Defects

Zaboli v. Mazda

Nancy Zaboli was rendered a quadriplegic by the defective seatbelt in her 1992 Mazda Protege. Mrs. Zaboli was short-statured, and the automatic shoulder belt in her Protege was designed such that it would come across her neck instead of over her shoulder. Mrs. Zaboli was involved in a moderate (20-25 mph) accident, and the belt “clotheslined” her, causing her catastrophic injury. Mr. Cooper’s firm not only proved this design was defective, but that it violated Mazda’s own internal standards regarding belt fit. They also defeated Mazda’s summary judgment motion, in which it argued the Zabolis’ claims were preempted by the federal motor vehicle safety standards. The firm was to secure a confidential settlement for the Zabolis that Mazda acknowledged was the most it had ever paid in a seatbelt case before trial. This settlement was structured to take care of Mrs. Zaboli for the rest of her life.

Millsapp v. Kia and TRW

Joyce Gail Millsapp was driving her 1996 Kia Sephia home from work when another car drove in front of her, causing a collision. Mrs. Millsapp was wearing her seatbelt, and her airbag deployed. Tragically, both the seatbelt and the airbag were defective. The seatbelt contained 16 inches of extra webbing, allowing her to move too far forward, and the airbag was too large, causing her head to snap back. As a result, Mrs. Millsapp is a quadriplegic. As part of its exhaustive investigation, Mr. Cooper’s firm secured testimony from a former TRW engineer involved in the development of the airbag at issue, who testified that the airbag was defective and dangerous for drivers like Mrs. Millsapp. Shortly after Mr. Cooper disclosed this evidence, the case settled for a substantial sum that will pay for Mrs. Millsapp’s needs for the rest of her life.

Markstein v. DaimlerChrysler, TRW, Honeywell, and Autoliv

Glenn Markstein was killed in a head-on collision in his 1994 Chrysler LeBaron convertible. His airbag failed to deploy, and his seatbelt failed to restrain him, allowing his head to strike the windshield header. During the case, Mr. Cooper’s firm uncovered evidence that Chrysler had failed to adequately test its airbag sensor system in collisions like Mr. Markstein’s. At a mediation requested by the defendants, they were able to negotiate a significant confidential settlement for Mrs. Markstein and her two children.

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Premises Liability Cases

Lee v. Wal-Mart

Katoria Lee stopped at a Wal-Mart just after 1:30 a.m. to pick up some groceries after getting off work. In the parking lot, she was shot in the back by a car jacker, who was trying to steal her car with her son still inside. Mr. Cooper’s firm filed suit against Wal-Mart and the assailant, Eric Riggins. They developed evidence that, despite notice of numerous other crimes in the parking lot, Wal-Mart failed to provide adequate security to its customers. The firm further discovered that Wal-Mart had destroyed a surveillance videotape of the incident after being put on notice of Ms. Lee’s claims. During the trial, the court instructed the jury that the destruction of the videotape by Wal-Mart was prejudicial to Ms. Lee’s claims and created a rebuttable presumption that what was on the videotape was harmful to Wal-Mart.

Following a 7-day trial, the jury entered a verdict in favor of Ms. Lee for $4.2 million, for which both Mr. Riggins and Wal-Mart are fully responsible. In the Judgment, the Court included an additional award of over $175,000 in pre-judgment interest against Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart failed to accept an early offer to settle the case for an amount less than what the jury ultimately awarded. Including this interest, the Judgment against Wal-Mart totals just over $4,175,000.

Gutkowski v. Hilton

In a brutal crime that made statewide headlines, Alice Gutkowski’s husband, Ronald, was murdered by Timothy Dawson in his Hilton Hotel room in downtown Atlanta. Mr, Cooper’s firm brought a claim on behalf of Mrs. Gutkowski against Hilton due to the inadequate security that allowed Mr. Dawson to go up the elevator and gain access to Mr. Gutkowski’s room. Following substantial and aggressive litigation, Hilton agreed to pay Mrs. Gutkowski a significant confidential sum.

Carroll v. Atlanta Fulton County Zoo

Beverly Carroll was seriously injured when she fell on a portion of uneven pavement at the Atlanta Fulton County Zoo. Through its investigation, Mr. Cooper’s firm uncovered evidence that Zoo employees had seen the problem and considered it a trip hazard. Mrs. Carroll had $30,000 in medical expenses, and the firm was able to secure a settlement of $400,000.

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Road Design Cases

Wilson v. Department of Transportation

Misty Wilson was driving home from work when her right tires drifted off the side of the road. Because the road had not been properly maintained, there was a large drop off between the asphalt road and the dirt shoulder. This defect caused Mrs. Wilson to lose control of her vehicle and run into a power pole. Mrs. Wilson was killed in the accident. Mr. Cooper’s firm took this case to trial, and the jury awarded Misty’s husband and daughter over $1.3 million. The verdict was not appealed.

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Miscellaneous Cases

Cone et al. v. Schlotzsky’s

Mr. Cooper’s firm represented over twenty individuals who contracted hepatitis A in the spring of 1997. Through its investigation, the firm proved that they had all contracted the disease from eating contaminated food at a Schlotzsky’s Deli. The cases made statewide headlines and forced the closure of the subject deli. The evidence the firm uncovered allowed them to negotiate significant confidential settlements for all of its clients.

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