Sanford “Sandy” Cipinko, San Francisco personal injury lawyer, was recently nominated for the prestigious San Francisco Trial Lawyer of the Year award. Sanford is a graduate of University of California’s Hastings College of Law and has been providing legal counsel to Bay Area residents for more than thirty years. He is widely recognized in the San Francisco legal community for his in-depth case preparation, minute attention to detail and his aggressive litigation style.
The San Francisco Trial Lawyer of the Year nomination stems from the Jeffrey L. Miller v. Sutter West Bay Hospitals (dba California Pacific Medical Center and Sutter Health) case. Mr. Miller was fired on October 25, 2007 following close to nine years of exemplary service as the Department of Transplantation Director. Miller filed a lawsuit against CPMC for his alleged wrongful termination. The lawsuit alleges that he was fired due to his refusal to participate in illegal activities involving stealing from Medicare, operating an unlicensed clinic and providing illegal kickbacks to physicians in exchange for referrals.
In June, 20011 Diane Josephs and Dennis Blum of Josephs and Blum brought on Sanford Cipinko as co-counsel, after working tirelessly for more than 3 years on case preparation. Sanford had a short period of a few weeks in which to gain understanding of the complex nature of the litigation being brought against Sutter Health and CPMC before going to trial on July 25, 2011. With a myriad of pleadings and close to twenty five depositions to review, one of which lasted seven days, the task was immense. The defendants made a pre-trial settlement offer of fifty thousand dollars, and during the course of litigation made a final offer of three hundred thousand.
According to Dennis Blum, “Mr. Cipinko began the trial with the most masterful voir dire I have ever seen”. Sanford also made the opening and closing statements and prepared and conducted examination of the majority of key witnesses, while Blum and Josephs continued impressive legal writing. CPMC and their legal team attempted to use their vast resources to win by employing 4 lawyers to work on the lawsuit as well as hiring a highly paid technology expert. The witnesses for the hospital were well coached by the defense.
Counsel for the defense argued that Jeff Miller, during the course of his 7 day deposition, was caught in numerous lies. Defense claimed that Miller was not in fact terminated due to his complaints about alleged illegalities, but instead he was fired due to dramatically declining job performance at the end of his employment, which was documented with performance reviews.
Despite relentless efforts by CPMC and their legal defense team, CPMC was found guilty by the jury of wrongfully terminating Jeff Miller and that his termination was in fact a retaliatory termination. Mr. Miller was awarded $1,096,883.90 by the jury. Following the verdict, Mr. Miller brought a motion for significant attorney’s fees and the matter was settled by the defendants.
The Elite Lawyer Project would like to congratulate Sanford M. Cipinko, San Francisco personal injury lawyer, for his prestigious nomination as San Francisco Trial Lawyer of the Year.