Learn about the largest civil rights settlement in City of Phoenix history.
Phoenix woman subject to illegal and invasive search by Phoenix PD.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $3,150,000. Clients were family of four involved in a car accident with a farm vehicle. Client’s oldest daughter was paralyzed from the waist-down in the collision. The People’s Law Firm secured $3,150,000, more than the limits of the farm’s commercial insurance policy, as compensation for the family. The Firm then successfully negotiated down over $4 million in ERISA “SuperLiens” to ensure an in-pocket recovery of over $2 million for the client.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $1,120,000. Client was an attendee at a gun show in Phoenix, Arizona when he was shot in the torso by an inadvertently fired gun. Gun show had a policy of “no loaded guns” at the show, but did nothing to enforce it. Client hired Steve Benedetto of The People’s Law Firm to serve as his lead attorney in the case. After three years of prosecuting Client’s claims, Mr. Benedetto secured a total of $1.12 million in confidential civil settlements from the gun show, the State of Arizona (the landowner where the gun show was held), the exhibitor who sold the loaded gun, and the exhibitor who inadvertently fired it.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $1,000,000. Client was riding in a Polaris RZR when it rolled over unexpectedly, resulting in the crushing and ultimate amputation of his dominant hand. Client hired Steve Benedetto of The People’s Law Firm, who learned that the driver and owner of the vehicle both had policy exclusions for off-road vehicles. Through prelitigation investigation, Mr. Benedetto learned that the ATV was equipped with an aftermarket roll-cage that featured a “hand-hold” on the cage – thus encouraging riders to grab it in order to stabilize. Mr. Benedetto made a claim for policy limits against the roll-cage designer. After an initial denial of liability based on a comparative fault argument under Arizona law, Mr. Benedetto briefed an argument that California’s strict products liability law would apply and ultimately persuaded the carrier to tender the $1 million policy limits on that basis.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $500,000. Client was surviving widow and children of 41-year-old man who was died of a deep-vein thrombosis four months after a crash with a commercial truck. Client hired Stephen Benedetto to pursue claims on behalf of wrongful death beneficiaries. In pre-litigation discovery, Mr. Benedetto learned a number of problematic facts: Client was likely speeding entering the intersection; client was not wearing his seatbelt; client and his wife were both undocumented immigrants; because of client’s undocumented status he had no proof of employment and could not assert a cognizable lost-wage claim under Arizona law; and, most concerningly, client had cocaine in his system both at the time of the crash and at the time of death. The latter fact was potentially crushing, given an Arizona statute that prohibits an impaired plaintiff from recovering any sums if a jury finds that he is at least 50% at fault. After filing a complaint, trucking company invited Client to mediate. Mr. Benedetto retained expert reconstructionist and toxicologist to render opinions on causation; prepared extensive demands (including video); and ultimately negotiated a settlement of $500,000.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $500,000. Client suffered a partial amputation of his thumb in a motorcycle collision. Client’s commercial insurance company denied coverage, claiming that his motorcycle was not a covered vehicle. Client hired The People’s Law Firm, who investigated and discovered that the insurance company’s exclusion violated Arizona law. Steve Benedetto wrote a demand letter providing the insurance company with 48 hours to pay the $500,000 limits of the client’s policy or be sued for bad-faith. Case settled in 47 hours.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $420,000. Client was driving through an intersection when she was t-boned by an oncoming vehicle making an illegal turn into her. Client had long history of prescription opiate addiction and prior spinal and hip surgeries. Client incurred $110,000 in medical specials. Client retained Steve Benedetto to assert claim against carrier. Mr. Benedetto prepared a video demand package, hosted on a website, ultimately resulting in a confidential settlement of $420,000.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $150,000. Client was a 50-year-old woman who went on a Segway tour on dirt trails in the Sonoran Desert outside of Scottsdale, Arizona. Tour company assigned Client an “on-road” Segway not designed for off-road use. Client broke her fibula when her Segway struck a rock and she was thrown from it onto the ground. Client incurred less than $100,000 in medical specials, and hired Steve Benedetto to assert claims against the tour company. Company defended on the ground of (a) two signed pre-activity waivers, acknowledging the dangers of off-road Segway use, and (b) witness testimony that supported an argument for comparative fault, and invited the Client to pre-litigation mediation. Client agreed, and Mr. Benedetto ultimately negotiated a confidential settlement of $150,000.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $125,000. Client was 50-year-old woman shopping for a stool at a national hobby store. Client suffered an injury to her cervical spine when, after removing from a shelf, she sat on it and it failed. Client hired Steve Benedetto to assert claims against the store and stool manufacturer. Mr. Benedetto filed suit for failure to warn. Store defended on the ground that the stool was up on a shelf and was not intended for use; client had preexisting cervicalgia; MRI revealed no new injuries; and surgery was not reasonable necessary or related to the fall. At mediation, Hobby Store and Stool Manufacturer agreed to settle for cumulative total of $125,000.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $125,000. Client (Ms. Marie) is a transgender female inmate who was housed in an all-men’s facility of the Arizona Department of Corrections because of her gender-assignment at birth. Client was coerced into performing sexual acts on a corrections officer on two different occasions. The State had no less than three complete defenses to liability (statutory absolute immunity for corrections officers, qualified immunity for public employees, and the statutory elimination of vicarious liability of the state for felonious conduct), as well as statutory entitlement to retain 80% of any judgment as the inmate’s “rent.” Steve Benedetto of The People’s Law Firm was hired as lead counsel, and was assisted by associate Heather Hamel. Through discovery, they developed theories that would defeat the statutory defenses. After making no offers in the first two years of the case, the State agreed to settle its liability for $125,000.
AQUITTAL. Client (Mr. McRae) was a political demonstrator at the Arizona State Legislature, during public hearings on irregularities in the 2016 presidential primary elections. After being targeted for wearing a “Guy Fawkes mask” on top of his head, client was arrested and forcibly removed from the State House of Representatives without legal cause. Client was charged with resisting arrest and prosecuted. Steve Benedetto was the client’s only representation, and after a 2-day jury trial secured a Not-Guilty verdict following jury deliberations for just 15 minutes.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $68,000. Client prosecuted a section 1983 case against the State of Arizona for excessive force and wrongful arrest. Client suffered only soft-tissue injuries, and incurred less than $5,000 in medical expenses. The State made no settlement offer pre-litigation; increased to $18,000 after Client’s acquittal in criminal trial; and ultimately increased to $68,000 following depositions of the three primary police officers involved and disclosure of expert witnesses. Steve Benedetto was the client’s only representation.
CIVIL SETTLEMENT: $120,000. Client is a blind man who was attempting to use a convenience store restroom when he inadvertently walked near a police officer who was attempting to use a urinal. The police offer shoved client, who pushed back in an effort to defend himself. The officer than brought Client to the ground, handcuffed him, and charged him with aggravated assault on an officer. Client was held overnight in jail, but had limited bruising and no medical specials related to the incident. Steve Benedetto and Heather Hamel The People’s Law firm, who assisted in securing a “turn-down” by the county prosecutor; presented a compelling notice of claim with video to the City; and ultimately secured a $120,000 settlement as compensation for Client and his minor daughter.
$150,000 for assault resulting in client’s torn rotator cuff
$125,000 for motor vehicle accident and UIM with $100k limits (following bad-faith threat)
$100,000 for dog-bite resulting in torn rotator cuff (pre-litigation)
$100,000 for MVA with hospitalization but no identified injury
$90,000 for fall of 5-year-old girl at Fitness club that resulted in $4,000 in medical specials
$45,000 for fall of 35-year-old woman at national drug store chain
$36,000 for fall at Las Vegas nightclub
Dismissal of assault charges against client wrongfully arrested and detained
Dismissal of DUI charges against woman arrested without probable cause
Dismissal of DUI charges against “dreamer” to avoid DACA-revocation