SAN DIEGO (February 7, 2011) –Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP announced today that the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal has recognized two Luce Forward cases from the past year as Top Plaintiff and Defense Verdicts in California in 2010.

Partner Chris Healey and the team of attorneys who received a $677 million verdict against Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. were recognized for achieving one of the Top 10 Plaintiffs’ Verdicts by Dollar Amount. In addition, Peter Klee and Charles Danaher’s win for Deerbrook Insurance in Du, et al. v. Deerbrook Insurance Company was selected as one of the Top 10 Defense Verdicts.

“We are pleased to see these attorneys recognized for their immense dedication to clients and marked success this past year,” said Kurt L. Kicklighter, Luce Forward’s Managing Partner. “They are an example of the tremendously talented trial lawyers we have practicing in offices throughout the state.”

On July 6, 2010, Chris Healey and a team of Luce Forward attorneys—together with co-lead counsel, Michael Thamer and W. Timothy Needham of the law firm of Janssen, Malloy, Needham, Morrison, Reinholtsen, Crowley & Griego LLP—obtained a $677 million verdict against Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. and 22 nursing facilities it operates in California. The verdict was one of the largest nationwide in 2010 and the largest ever against a nursing home chain. Its outcome is already changing practices in the nursing home industry to improve the service for the elderly. The Luce Forward team included Aaron Winn, Charles Bird, Stewart Gardner, Christopher Rowlett, Ben West, and James Danaher.

For the Deerbrook verdict, partners Peter Klee and Charles Danaher represented Deerbrook Insurance Company when the plaintiff claimed that Deerbrook unreasonably refused to accept an offer to settle a claim against its insured for the $100,000 policy limits, even though it had accepted liability and it was clear that the damages far exceeded the policy limits. Because the claim was not settled, the case against the insured went to trial resulting in a $5 million verdict. In the subsequent bad faith suit, it was alleged that Deerbrook should be responsible for the entire amount of the judgment against its insured because of its failure to settle the claim for the policy limits. Although “bad faith failure to settle” cases are often considered unwinnable in a jury trial, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Deerbrook Insurance after deliberating just 28 minutes.

About Luce Forward
Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP is a full-service California law firm with a national reputation in more than 30 different areas of law. Since its founding in San Diego in 1873, Luce Forward has grown to become home to approximately 200 attorneys in six offices statewide including San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angles, Carmel Valley/Del Mar, Orange County and Rancho Santa Fe. For more information, visit

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