California VerdictsFind out about the most important recent California cases, selected by VerdictSearch editors. Coverage includes Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, San Francisco and San Diego counties. Subscribe to VerdictSearch for access to all California verdictsPricing Options
Suit: Sister died from fire due to negligent repair of mobile home
Los Angeles County
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles
burns; other-death; other-loss of society
Wrongful Death; Premises Liability – Fire, Dangerous Condition, Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance
Michael Vasquez and Anthony Vasquez v. Garvey Tyler LLC, Refoua LLC, Equitable Portfolio Corp., and Portfolio Management LLC,
May 28, 2014
Anthony Vasquez (Male),
Michael Vasquez (Male),
Estate of Camile Vasquez (Female, 49 Years)
Curd, Galindo & Smith;
Anthony Vasquez, Michael Vasquez, Estate of Camile Vasquez ■ Kenneth A. LaFaso;
Law Offices of Kenneth A. LaFaso;
Anthony Vasquez, Michael Vasquez, Estate of Camile Vasquez
Garvey Tyler LLC,
Portfolio Management LLC,
Equitable Portfolio Corp.
Samuel A. Wyman;
Wolfe & Wyman LLP;
Refoua LLC, Garvey Tyler LLC ■ Mary Ann Schiller;
Wolfe & Wyman LLP;
Refoua LLC, Garvey Tyler LLC ■ None reported;
Portfolio Management LLC, Equitable Portfolio Corp.
Nautilus Insurance Group for Garvey Tyler LLC and Refoua LLC
On March 20, 2010, plaintiffs’ decedent Camile Vasquez, 49, became trapped inside a mobile home she inhabited at a trailer park in El Monte due to it being locked with a padlock on the outside when a fire broke out. A neighbor eventually freed Vasquez, but she sustained severe burns to over 36 percent of her body. Vasquez ultimately died on May 25, 2010. The decedent’s brothers, Anthony and Michael Vasquez, sued Garvey Tyler LLC and Refoua LLC, the owning entities of the subject trailer park and mobile homes. The decedent’s brothers alleged that Garvey Tyler LLC and Refoua LLC were negligent in the repair and maintenance of the mobile homes, creating a dangerous condition and causing the decedent’s wrongful death. Equitable Portfolio Corp. and Portfolio Management LLC were also originally named as defendants in the case, but they were ultimately not pursued by the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs’ counsel argued that the subject trailer park had numerous safety and code violations, including Health & Safety Code § 18029.6, which requires smoke detectors to be installed in mobile homes. Counsel contended the fire was caused by an electrical defect in the subject trailer’s junction box. Counsel also contended that the sliding exterior door on the decedent’s trailer was not functioning, so the defendants’ chose to remedy the broken door by locking it with a padlock. Thus, plaintiffs’ counsel argued that when the fire broke out, the decedent became trapped. Defense counsel argued that the decedent caused the fire by leaving a stove on and that it was the decedent who put the padlock on her door. Counsel further argued that no code violations existed on the subject trailer park premises.
Camile Vasquez sustained severe burns to over 36 percent of her body. She ultimately died on May 25, 2010, allegedly due to injuries related to the fire. The decedent was 49. She is survived by her two brothers, who referred to her as their baby sister. The decedent’s brothers sought recovery of non-economic wrongful death damages for the loss of their sister’s love and affection. They also sought recovery of punitive damages for the alleged malicious actions of Garvey Tyler LLC and Refoua LLC in failing to repair the sliding door and, instead, installing a padlock to lock the door. Defense counsel argued that the plaintiffs were owed zero damages and that decedent died from underlying liver disease.
The parties agreed to a $950,000 settlement, which was finalized via the guidance of mediator Steven Kuhn, of Judicate West.
Steven R. Kuhn
$1 million (policy limits)
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs’ counsel. Counsel for Garvey Tyler LLC and Refoua LLC did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls, and Equitable Portfolio Corp. and Portfolio Management LLC were not asked to contribute.