Expertise on Suing Public Entities

GBW’s Geoff Wells shared his insight and expertise on suing the government in tort claims against public transportation at a recent seminar in Orange County. On February 28, 2019, Wells led a discussion at an MCLE Seminar for the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association (OCTLA) about the challenges plaintiff lawyers face when suing a public entity. The seminar titled Suing the Government-Cutting through the Red Tape covered how to determine whether it’s a governmental entity or not; who and what you need to include in the government tort claim; time frames and the statute of limitations and late claims.

Wells discussed a case he successfully resolved involving a Los Angeles woman who suffered significant orthopedic injuries and a mild traumatic brain injury after a Los Angeles Metro bus sideswiped a dump truck and collided with her car in Hollywood. The 2012 accident sent 35 people to the hospital. The client sued Los Angeles County, the dump truck company and the truck manufacturer for negligence, product liability, and emotional distress. The defendants resolved the matter in an out of court settlement.

By offering some specific examples of the steps attorneys need to take to ensure the best outcome for their client, Wells had this advice, “When in doubt, you need to bring all the governmental entitles possible into the case that are involved, and let them explain why they should not be involved,” said Wells who warns that timing is critical. “Because if you don’t file your government claim in a timely manner, you can miss the statute of limitations.”

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