Lisa N. was driving home from work in San Luis Obispo on Halloween, 2001. As she traveled north on Highway 101, a bell pepper truck went out of control, crossed the road and stuck her vehicle, instantly killing Lisa. In the process, the truck driver killed another woman and injured two others while driving off a steep embankment. He too died in the accident.
Investigation by the California Highway Patrol determined the truck driver had methamphetamine in his system and had failed to hook-up the brakes on the trailer he was pulling. As he built up speed going downhill, the truck brakes could not stop the vehicle.
Lisaâ€™s husband, Mark, hired attorney James Murphy to represent him and his son, Alex. Ultimately, local attorney Todd Porter represented the husband of the other woman who was tragically killed.
A $5,500,000.00 settlement was initially obtained against the trucking company, exhausting available insurance. A third attorney then settled out of the case for an additional $250,000.00. Mr. Murphy and Mr. Porter continued to litigate the case against the entity that monitored the road project and against the company in charge of the construction project.
Another settlement of $115,000.00 was then effectuated against the construction company. Ultimately at mediation, the entity in charge of the project paid an additional $1,250,000.00. As part of the settlement, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Porter included a condition that the Plaintiffs could sue the insurance company who had insured the project but refused to defend or indemnify.
Mr. Murphy and Mr. Porter obtained an assignment of that entityâ€™s rights to sue their insurance company as part of the settlement. Mr. Murphy and Mr. Porter proceeded to file a bad faith lawsuit against the insurance company who had failed to meet its obligations, with all proceeds to be paid to the clients of Mr. Murphy and Mr. Porter.
After two years of aggressive litigation, the insurance company settled the case for another $4,500,000.00. $2,500,000.00 was paid to Mr. Murphyâ€™s clients. The total recovery for Mr. Murphyâ€™s clients for this case exceeded $5,000,000.00. The litigation lasted seven years.
Testimonial by Mark N.:
â€œJim Murphy is as aggressive a lawyer as you will ever see. He is also extremely sensitive to the needs of his clients. He kept me informed at all stages of the case as to every decision made. Jim earned my trust and proved throughout the seven year litigation that my trust was well-placed. As the result of these recoveries, I was able ensure my sonâ€™s future was secure, guarantee him an education, and to pay him a stream of income for the rest of his life. I was able to recover enough money to make a huge change in my life. I am deeply grateful to Mr. Murphy and for the outstanding, dedicated work he did on behalf of my family. Not only was Jim a fighter, he was creative in his approach to the litigation. He did not back down from any battle with anyone. Jim is a very tough lawyer. I remain close personal friends with Jim and will remain friends with him for the rest of my life. Jim is a fantastic attorney.â€