Simona Farrise has established herself as among the top lawyers in the country. In 2007, she founded the Farrise Firm, P.C. The firm was started in California with offices in Oakland and Los Angeles. The Firm’s mission is broad with a vision focused on great service to the “three Cs” – Clients, Colleagues, and Community – because we know that collectively we can accomplish so much more than our individual efforts could produce. Our vision sees that “everything is impossible until someone makes it possible.” We intend to make possible many otherwise impossible things.
Prior to the exciting launch of the Farrise Firm, Simona Farrise was a principal and co-managing partner with one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs toxic tort and product liability law firms. Ms. Farrise is a sought after national public speaker on a variety of legal topics.
Ms. Farrise’s years of practice have primarily involved representing plaintiffs diagnosed with asbestos-related terminal cancer. In addition to asbestos cases, Ms. Farrise has litigated other complex products liability cases as well as insurance bad faith actions. More recently, Ms. Farrise has been co-counsel with Equal Rights Advocates in a landmark class action employment case alleging sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and wage and hour violations for the approximately 2000 person workforce at the Thunder Valley Casino located north of Sacramento, California.
In the asbestos field, Ms. Farrise has litigated a number of low dose, take-home, female and other non-conventional asbestos exposure cancer cases. She has tried to verdict cases solely alleging premises liability and proven for purposes of triggering a legal duty to protect workers and consumers that the toxic dangers of asbestos were known by industry by 1941. Notably, Ms. Farrise achieved a verdict in excess of $20 million for a woman suffering from mesothelioma who was exposed as a child to asbestos fibers from a lumber yard that were brought home on her father’s work clothing, and was additionally exposed to asbestos fibers released from non-friable flooring in her family’s childhood home.
1993 – J.D., Golden Gate University School of Law
2005 – LL.M in Social Justice, University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law
MAJOR MATTERS SIMONA FARRISE WAS LEAD COUNSEL ON:
1. Liu v. Janssen Research & Development, LLC ($8 Million), Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC432264 – October 16, 2015
A Los Angeles jury found a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson responsible for the wrongful death of 25-year-old Leo Liu who died in a clinical trial of the dangerous anti-psychotic medication, Risperdal. Janssen Research and Development will pay the decedent’s mother $8 million in damages.
Liu, who lived in Los Angeles, suffered from schizophrenia and was under the care of a local psychiatrist who convinced him to take part in a human drug trial paid for by Janssen. Leo, who was not capable of giving consent because of his mental illness, agreed to be in a test trial.
In 2009, the psychiatrist ran a battery of tests on Leo that indicated abnormalities with his health. Instead of recognizing that Leo had a heart condition, Janssen employees ignored the warning signs and pushed forward and administered the drug. After injecting Leo with Risperdal, tests showed more abnormalities, however the Janssen physicians did nothing to intervene after Liu showed signs of medical distress.
Leo died of cardiac arrest several days after his first dose of the drug. Leo’s mother, Marion Liu sued Johnson & Johnson claiming the drug company uses the mentally ill for human experimentation in an effort to make money.
“Leo was tragically used as a human guinea pig to test a dangerous drug without taking proper safety precautions, all in the name of profits,” said lead plaintiff attorney Simona Farrise. “We are happy that justice prevailed today for Leo and his family,” said Farrise.
Risperdal is a drug plagued with problems and its off label use has cost Johnson & Johnson billions of dollars in litigation fines.
“This verdict proves that it’s high time for drugs companies that conduct research on human beings to put the health and safety of their subjects first and foremost,” said co-lead counsel Daniel Balaban.
Marion Liu is represented by plaintiff attorneys Simona Farrise of Farrise Law Firm and Daniel Balaban of Balaban | Spielberger.
Trial Judge: Honorable Richard Fruin, Dept. 15, Los Angeles County Superior Court, (213) 633-0515
2. Medina v. BorgWarner, Inc. ($39.89 Million), Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC 432930 – Aug. 14, 2013
On August 14, 2013, a Los Angeles, CA jury found in favor of the family of a 79-year-old man who died in 2010 of mesothelioma and awarded $38.891 million in total damages, $6.39 million to compensate the family’s loss, and $32.5 million to punish asbestos clutch maker BorgWarner who the jury found acted with malice and oppression in its conduct of making and selling automotive clutches from 1928 through at least 1989. Trial lasted approximately 4 weeks beginning on July 16, 2013. Defendant BorgWarner was found 35% responsible for the death and its automotive clutches found to be defective in that the products failed to carry adequate warnings regarding the deadly asbestos content and associated health risk.
Decedent was exposed to asbestos from BorgWarner clutches while working at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Van Nuys, CA from 1959 through 1988. Decedent was a hardworking 79-year-old father, grandfather and great-grandfather in exceptional health before being diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2010.
Trial Judge: Honorable Robert O’Brien, Dept. 21, Los Angeles County Superior Court, (213) 974-5619
3. Keeney v. John Crane, Inc. ($5.55 million), Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC 457255 – Jan. 27, 2012
On January 27, 2012, a Los Angeles, California jury awarded more than $5,550,000 to a man diagnosed with mesothelioma (an asbestos cancer) and his male domestic partner. Trial lasted 4 weeks. The jury deliberated for 14 court days before finding Defendant John Crane, Inc. 12% negligent and strictly liable for its asbestos packing and gaskets which exposed plaintiff to asbestos and was a substantial factor in causing his cancer. The injured plaintiff was a hardworking 70 year old pump mechanic who was exposed to John Crane’s asbestos packing and gaskets while he worked at C&H Sugar in Benicia, California from 1979 to 1995. Plaintiff’s male domestic partner was awarded damages for the loss of his partner’s consortium. During trial, defendant removed the case to Federal Court that quickly granted plaintiffs’ remand motion sending the case back to trial four days later.
Client: Richard Keeney and Howard Garcia, individuals
Trial Judge: Honorable Amy Hogue, Dept. 34, Los Angeles County Superior Court, (213) 974-5677
4. Radford v. BAE Systems, San Francisco Superior Court, Case No. CGC-09-488061
After a protracted five year legal battle in the San Francisco Superior Court, and after a full jury trial and subsequent appeal, plaintiff and defendant have fully settled and resolved their differences on confidential terms. In the underlying case, plaintiff claimed defendant BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair Inc. wrongfully terminated his employment and failed to prevent race discrimination. BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair Inc. denied plaintiff’s allegations. Other lawsuits on behalf of other African American employees of BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair Inc. were filed by both Farrise Law Firm and The Liberty Law Office and are set for trial in 2014 and 2015.
Client: Randall Radford, individual
5. Farag v. Ford Motor Company ($4.35 million), Los Angeles Sup. Court, Case No. BC431525 – Dec. 13, 2010
On December 13, 2010, a Los Angeles, CA jury awarded $4,355,987 in monetary damages and found Ford Motor Company acted with Malice, Oppression or Fraud in its conduct towards plaintiff warranting punitive damages. As the jury actively deliberated the amount of punitive the case was resolved on confidential terms. The case was the second time Farrise’s client prevailed over Ford Motor Company at trial. Ford was accused of causing an asbestos cancer, mesothelioma, by exposing plaintiff, an automobile repair mechanic, to asbestos from its automobiles and automotive components.
Client: Sanna and Nasseem Farag, individuals
Trial Judge: Honorable James R. Dunn, Dept. 26, Los Angeles County Superior Court, (213) 974-5651
6. Harrell v. Ford Motor Company ($1.6 million), Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No BC423696 – August 12, 2010
On August 12, 2010, a jury awarded Farrise clients $1.6 million and found Ford Motor Company and International Harvester (Navistar, Inc.) responsible for 67 year old plaintiff’s mesothelioma, an asbestos cancer. Trial lasted four weeks. Pre-trial Ford Motor Company offered plaintiffs a nominal sum as part of an apparent national litigation strategy by the company which denies any responsibility whatsoever for its role in exposing thousands of automotive mechanics and their families to harmful asbestos in its automotive products including brakes, clutches and gaskets which it incorporated for more than eight decades in vehicle designs with absolutely no warning to consumers and users, rather than responsibly resolving matters with injured claimants. Defendant Navistar, Inc. fka International Harvester made and sold trucks and equipment that incorporated deadly asbestos into brakes, clutches, and gaskets beginning in approximately 1930 and continuing without warning of the hazards for decades through at least the 1980s.
7. Stewart v. Union Carbide Corporation ($9.20 million), Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC384224 – November 18, 2008
On November 18, 2008, a jury awarded $9,200,000 including $6,000,000 punitive with 85% to Farrise’s client after a five week trial. Plaintiff, a 59 year old career plumber, was exposed to Union Carbide’s asbestos at construction projects in Los Angeles in the 1970s. Plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal cancer only caused by asbestos exposure. Union Carbide Corporation is a maker and seller of dangerous chemicals and a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical. From 1963 through 1985, Union Carbide mined asbestos and processed millions of tons of raw fiber at its King City, mill under the brand name Calidria asbestos. The evidence showed defendant did not adequately warn of the asbestos dangers from using its products. Internal corporate documents confirmed Union Carbide’s management knew about the deadly nature of the asbestos it sold, but actively hid and concealed hazard information from the public including customers and users.
Clients: Larry and Janet Stewart, individuals
Trial Judge: Honorable Alan Rosenfeld, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Central Civil Dept. (213) 974-5637
8. Shahabi v. Fluor Corporation ($14.87 million), Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC 379085 – August 2008
(One of Top California verdicts 2008)
A Los Angeles, California jury awards $14,876,000 to plaintiff after a month long trial and found Fluor Corporation of Texas 45% responsible for plaintiff’s mesothelioma, an asbestos caused cancer. The jury found Fluor Corporation exposed plaintiff to asbestos. Plaintiff, a naturalized U.S. Citizen was exposed to asbestos by defendant corporations when he worked at 4 oil refineries in Iran. Defendant Fluor made, sold and installed asbestos containing products and is a worldwide oil refinery builder. Defendant exposed plaintiff and many others to deadly asbestos for decades with no warning of any hazard or health risk. Farrise was hired as the lead trial attorney by Los Angeles Firm Waters & Kraus aka Waters, Kraus & Paul.
Trial Judge: Honorable Robert S. O’Brien, Los Angeles Superior Court.
9. Karen Peterson and Jeffrey Peterson v. Hill Brothers Chemical Corp. ($20+ million), Alameda County California Superior Court, Case No. 2001-031817 – 2002
Case was (American Law Journal 2002 Top Verdicts in the country.)
Farrise represented a 42 year old female plaintiff in one of California’s largest verdicts for 2002 at $20+ million asbestos case). At the time, this verdict was the largest net asbestos verdict ever awarded to a plaintiff in an asbestos case in California’s history. On June 4, 2002, after a six week trial, a jury awarded in excess of $20 million to plaintiffs finding Hill Brothers Chemical Company (100%) for plaintiff’s mesothelioma, an asbestos cancer. Defendant Hill Brothers Chemical Company is based in Orange, California. Peterson, age 42, was exposed to asbestos as a child in her own family home from products manufactured by defendant Hill Brothers Chemical Company from the time of her birth until she left home at age 18 to attend college. The asbestos-containing cementitous magnesite floor which exposed plaintiff to asbestos is still in place in tens of thousands of homes today. Trial evidence included an estimate of 4 million square feet of the flooring still in place in family homes in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California. The jury found defendant acted with malice, oppression or fraud and a punitive damage phase was started. Defendant settled the action at trial for $19.5 million and a waiver of punitive claims. After, plaintiffs’ death in 2002, Farrise sued Hill Brothers on behalf of Karen’s husband and children in a wrongful death case which was confidentially settled.
Trial Judge: Honorable George Hernandez, Alameda County Superior Court.