$5,635,396.24 Nisevic v. City of Los Angeles
John Torbett tried a case that involved damage to real property and the destruction of extremely valuable personal property. The plaintiff was a successful photographer who had photographs on several covers of Vogue Magazine and had shot advertisements for Gucci, Versace and other famous brands. The City of Los Angeles refused to acknowledge responsibility for its sanitary sewer backing up into the ground floor office of the plaintiff. After waiting two years for his day in court, the plaintiff obtained justice.
After a bifurcated trial in Santa Monica in which the judge ruled in the plaintiff’s favor on liability, a jury was chosen for the damages phase of the trial. After a three day trial to determine damages, the jury came back with a damages award of $5,035,548.00. An award of attorneys fees, pre-judgment interest and costs raised the amount of the final judgment to $5,635,396.24.
This verdict sent a message to the City of Los Angeles that they need to take notice and honor their duty under the California state constitution to provide property owners with just compensation for damage caused by a public work owned by the city.