The Beverly Hills trial lawyers at Levitt Leichenger & Aberle, Attorneys at Law, represent the victims of personal injuries caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of another. We also represent individuals and businesses in a wide variety of employment matters and business-related disputes. See below to learn more about our work in medical malpractice, business disputes, and employment matters, or visit the individual pages linked herein for information on motor vehicle accidents, spinal cord injuries, and premises liability.
- Automobile, Motorcycle & Bicycle Accidents
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Premises Liability
- Medical Malpractice
- Business Disputes
- Employment Matters
Doctors and other healthcare professionals are expected to perform with the degree of skill and learning of the average professional in the field. When a doctor or hospital performs below this standard, causing harm, the injured patient may sue to recover damages in a medical malpractice claim. Common bases for medical malpractice claims include:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
- Continuing an ineffective course of treatment
- Drafting or filling the wrong prescription
- Failure to obtain informed consent before treating
- Surgical mistakes, including performing the wrong surgery or performing surgery on the wrong part of the body
- Leaving foreign objects in the body after surgery, such as sponges or medical instruments
Given the particular issues unique to medical malpractice, it takes a qualified and experienced personal injury trial lawyer to properly prepare a medical malpractice case for trial. For instance, expert testimony is typically required to establish that the doctor performed below the acceptable standard of care. Also, the defense will commonly assert that the plaintiff caused or contributed to the injuries by failing to follow doctor's orders following the procedure, or by failing to fully disclose an accurate medical history prior to treatment.
Doctors, hospitals, and their insurers fight malpractice claims vigorously both in the courtroom and in the legislative chamber. They have achieved some measure of success in the Capitol, resulting in special rules regarding the damages that are recoverable in a medical malpractice suit. Non-economic damages (pain and suffering) are capped at a maximum of $250,000, regardless of the level of incompetence or nature of the injury that resulted. However, injured patients can still recover for the full amount of economic damages, such as additional medical expenses and lost wages due to missed work or diminished earning capacity.
Business and contract disputes can touch any aspect of your company, and trouble in any one area can disrupt your entire operations until it is resolved. We work to resolve disputes quickly and efficiently so you can expend less time, money, and effort on the business dispute and devote your financial and human resources to running your company, which is the reason you went into business in the first place. Our firm can help you in the following areas:
- Buying, selling, or leasing property or equipment
- Partnership disputes
- Business dissolutions
- Employment agreements
- Covenants not to compete
- Trade secrets
- Fraud, unfair business practices, and other business torts
California has adopted the doctrine of employment "at-will," meaning that an employee may quit at any time or be fired at any time for a good, bad, or no reason. However, there are many significant exceptions to this rule which can give rise to a claim of wrongful termination.
First of all, the existence of an employment contract can change the employment from at-will to requiring discharge only in accordance with the terms of the agreement. The contract may not even be written, but the employee may be hired with the oral understanding that he or she will only be fired "for cause" or "for good cause." Other company documents, such as employee handbooks and policies, may make similar assertions that bind the company. Public employees are usually protected from termination except for certain statutorily-enumerated reasons, and they are entitled to an administrative hearing before the termination can be effective.
Even if the employment is at-will, an employee cannot be fired for a reason which is illegal or against public policy. Examples of this type of wrongful termination would be a discriminatory firing based on the employee's membership in a protected class (see Discrimination below), or firing an employee in retaliation for reporting illegal conduct or a violation of workplace safety regulations, also known as whistleblowing.
Employees are protected by state and federal law against illegal discrimination at every stage of employment, from the application and interview, through hiring, transfer, assignment, promotion, and termination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, gender (sex), and religion.
Since the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, other laws have expanded these basic protections. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides similar protections for people with a disability. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees over 40 from job decisions based on the person's age. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) makes pregnancy a protected status, as well as childbirth and related medical conditions. Most recently, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was passed to protect employees from unfavorable job actions based on genetic information which may be revealed to the employer.
Sexual harassment in the workplace originally consisted of quid pro quo conduct, where a supervisor conditioned favorable job treatment on the subordinate's compliance with requests for dating or sexual favors. Today, sexual harassment has expanded to include a hostile work environment which is created by unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which is so severe and pervasive that it creates an intimidating atmosphere or interferes with work performance. A hostile environment can be created by a supervisor or by peers, through actions such as unwelcome touching, the use of sexually explicit language or dirty jokes, the presence of graffiti or pornography, or rude or obscene gestures.
Today, men can be subject to harassment by women as much as women can by men, and the law recognizes same-sex harassment as well, meaning that men can be harassed by other men and females by other females.
Compensation/Wage and Hour Claims
The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for a minimum wage and requires overtime to be paid for work over 40 hours in a week. California law goes further, providing a higher minimum wage and requiring overtime beyond an eight-hour day as well as a 40-hour week. State law also mandates that rest and meal periods be given at certain intervals throughout the workday. Complaints of violations concerning overtime, rest periods, and meal breaks, along with expense reimbursements, are the most commonly litigated issues in this area of law.
In Los Angeles or statewide, if you have been injured in an automobile accident, a slip and fall, or an instance of medical malpractice, or if you have a business dispute or employment wrong that needs to be put right, contact Levitt Leichenger & Aberle, Attorneys at Law, at (323) 655-1101 or by e-mail, for a free initial consultation to find out how we can help.