• Mercury Casual Co. vs. City of Pasadena

    Posted September 6, 2017 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Mercury Casualty Co. v. City of Pasadena, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 732
    The Court of Appeal Determines That a Tree Qualifies as a Work of Public Improvement For Purposes of Inverse Condemnation if the Tree is Deliberately Planted by or at the Direction of the Government Entity as Part of a Planned Project or for a Public Purpose or Use

    City of Pasadena (City) owns more than 60,000 trees as part of its “urban forest” and adopted city-wide policies for protecting, maintaining, and removing trees that are part of the City’s urban forest. In 2011, a storm brought hurricane-force winds to City uprooting more than 2,000 trees. One of those trees fell on a home, insured by Mercury Casualty Company (Mercury), causing severe property damage.

    In 2012, Mercury sued City for inverse condemnation alleging City was liable for the damage caused to the insureds’ home because City owned the tree. After a four day bench trial, the trial court entered judgment in Mercury’s favor, finding the tree that fell on the insureds’ home was a work of public improvement that supported an inverse condemnation claim. The court awarded Mercury $800,000 in damages for insurance benefits paid to the insureds, and an additional $329,170 in costs under Code of Civil Procedure § 1036.

    On appeal, however, the Court found that City was not inversely liable because the tree that fell on the insureds’ home did not constitute a work of public improvement. The Court of Appeal agreed with City that there was no evidence that City planted the tree as part of a construction project serving a public purpose, such as a roadway beautification project to support finding a public improvement. Therefore, the court reversed the judgment and post-judgment order awarding costs.

    This ruling stands as a reminder that courts will continue to entertain assertions that an urban forestry program can constitute a public improvement for purposes of inverse condemnation liability. The cause of action, which carries with it entitlement to expert and attorney fees, remains viable whenever a street tree causes property damage.

    Should you like more information on how to defend against inverse condemnation claims, please contact Brian J. Bergman at (310)-470-6110 or bbergman@bdgfirm.com.

  • Bergman Dacey Goldsmith Announces Best Lawyers 2018

    Posted August 15, 2017 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith proudly announces that shareholders Gregory M. Bergman and John P. Dacey have been selected as Best Lawyers for 2018. Best Lawyers® is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers® is widely seen as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer after a rigorous and transparent peer-review survey process. The selection of Mr. Bergman and Mr. Dacey reflects the high level of respect earned among their colleagues for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity.

  • Shareholder BRIAN J. BERGMAN Named 2017 Rising Star by SUPER LAWYERS MAGAZINE

    Posted July 3, 2017 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith is pleased to announce that shareholder Brian J. Bergman has been selected as a 2017 Southern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine. Rising Stars are considered the best attorneys who are under 40 years old. These attorneys are selected through a nomination and research process where they are ranked on a point scale. No more than 2.5 % of the lawyers in the state are named to the list.

    Brian Bergman’s practice focuses on environmental, land use, eminent domain, construction, and general business litigation. Mr. Bergman represents the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“LA METRO”) in eminent domain actions related to the Regional Connector and Purple Line Extension projects. He has represented clients on matters before the EPA, South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Air Resources Board, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control. Mr. Bergman also regularly represents public and private entities in multi-million dollar construction disputes. Mr. Bergman has specific expertise in the prosecution and defense of construction claims involving delay, disruption, acceleration, stop notices, performance bond actions, and claims under the California Public Contracting Code.

    Mr. Bergman is a co-founder of the Litigation Counsel of America’s International Institute of Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law (“IINREEL”). Mr. Bergman is also on the executive committee of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Litigation Section.

  • Gregory M. Bergman Named Top 10 Environmental Lawyer by United States Lawyer Rankings 2017

    Posted June 27, 2017 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith is proud to announce that shareholder, Gregory M. Bergman, has been named “One of the Top Ten Environmental Lawyers” by United States Lawyer Rankings for the tenth year in a row. The 2017 rankings are attached.

    Lawyers are nominated for inclusion in the United States Lawyers Rankings by members of the bar and judiciary and by senior management of large corporate and institutional clients. Rankings are based on confidential questionnaires, which include general inquiries on the lawyers’ legal abilities; negotiating, drafting, and oral advocacy skills; and ability to develop creative solutions when faced with new issues.

  • Join us for a Free CA Fellows MCLE and Reception

    Posted February 9, 2017 By in Recent News With | No Comments

    Gregory M. Bergman,
    Co-Chair of the California Fellows
    invites you to

    “The Psychological Mechanisms of Legal Blame”

    An MCLE Presentation and Reception
    Sponsored By:

    Janice Nadler
    Research Professor, American Bar Foundation
    Professor of Law, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

    Professor Nadler’s research examines psychological blame, as it is influenced by the wrongdoer’s motive, the wrongdoer’s character, and the victim’s character. After receiving a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, Professor Nadler spent her early career first as a public defender, and then in civil litigation. Since 2000, Professor Nadler’s academic research has focused on social norms, compliance with the law, perceptions of injustice, negotiation, and dispute resolution.

    Whether you work in civil litigation, criminal law, or academia, or you are simply intellectually curious, you will not want to miss this event.

    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Registration Opens at 4:30 P.M.
    MCLE Presentation* Begins Promptly at 5:00 P.M.
    Reception at 6:00 P.M.

    City Club Los Angeles

    555 S. Flower Street, 51st Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90071

    Validated on-site parking is available courtesy of
    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith.

    This is a free event, but requires registration.
    Space is limited. Please register early.

    To register, please click here or

    contact The Fellows office at fellowsevents@abfn.org or (800) 292-5065.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

    *Bergman Dacey Goldsmith will provide 1 hour California General MCLE credit.

    American Bar Foundation
    750 North Lake Shore Drive
    Chicago, Illinois 60611

  • Rein in the Reptile – Methods to Combat the Reptile Trial Strategy

    Posted February 8, 2017 By in Recent News With | No Comments

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