$175,000 Settlement with Los Angeles Department of Water & Power for Frying Factory Machinery
In April 2014, Los Angeles business trial lawyer Jeffrey Cowan obtained a $175,000 settlement against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (“DWP” or “LADWP”) based on the DWP having repeatedly damaged a Los Angeles manufacturer’s machinery by sending excessive electricity to the premises for years.
Guardian Pool Fence Systems, Inc. makes, distributes and sells its own proprietary fences designed to keep young children from drowning in swimming pools. Between 2010 and the spring of 2012, the factory’s CNC machines in its Van Nuys factory repeatedly malfunctioned – even after being serviced, replaced and serviced again by the nation’s top expert. Eventually, the company thought to test how much electricity it was receiving. Doing so revealed that the LADWP had been sending electricity beyond its own acceptable ranges to Guardian Pool Fence System’s premises. The DWP admitted this in a written report.
Guardian Pool Fence Systems then had Los Angeles business trial lawyer Jeffrey Cowan of The Cowan Law Firm in Santa Monica submit an administrative claim for damages pursuant to the California Government Tort Claims Act (Government Code § 815 et seq). The LADWP denied the claim almost immediately.
Attorney Jeffrey Cowan and Lawyer Ilana Makovoz win Lawsuit Settlement against DWP
Jeffrey Cowan and Ilana Makovoz of The Cowan Law Firm then sued the DWP in Los Angeles Superior Court. The DWP again tried to avoid liability for its actions by filing a demurrer arguing that it could not be held responsible for its wrongful actions based on rules that the DWP itself had promulgated. Guardian Pool Fence Systems opposed the DWP’s motion (with lengthy briefing on the applicable constitutional and statutory legal issues), and the Superior Court eventually over-ruled the motion and ordered that Guardian Pool Fence System’s lawsuit should proceed. After minimal discovery and a mediation with retired Superior Court judge Robert W. Thomas, the lawsuit settled for $175,000.