Practice Areas Overview

Anwyl, Scoffield & Stepp, LLP is a Sacramento law firm focusing its practice on civil litigation matters, with an emphasis on insurance defense.  Trial attorneys practicing with the firm have significant expertise in the following areas:

Public Entity and School District Defense

Attorneys at Anwyl, Scoffield & Stepp have successfully represented public school districts and other public entities in an array of litigation matters.  The firm has handled numerous cases involving serious accidents, including defending public entities in claims of catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death.  The firm has also defended public employers in charges of employment discrimination and related matters. The following cases are examples of results achieved by the firm.

Dangerous Condition of Public Property – Defense Prevails on Offer to Compromise

Plaintiff, an adult, alleged he was injured when a swing on a school playground broke, causing him to fall to the ground and injure his foot.  Plaintiff was on the playground on a weekend with his children.  There were no school or school district staff on site, and no witnesses to the accident.  Plaintiff was a construction worker and the injury caused him to be disabled from his customary work for over one year.  Demands prior to trial were in excess of $300,000.  The defendant made an Offer to Compromise pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure §998 in the amount of $50,000.  The jury deliberated for three days, ultimately finding that a dangerous condition did exist.  The jury awarded special damages of approximately $46,000 and general damages of $10,000.  They then found the plaintiff to be 70% at fault, reducing the award to approximately $16,800.  Because the defendant prevailed on its Offer to Compromise, it was awarded its costs, resulting in a net verdict to plaintiff of approximately $7,000.

Defense Verdict for School District

Plaintiff was a 38 year old electrician and owner of an electrical company performing a retrofit of a high school.  During the course of that retrofit, he used scaffolding  provided by the school district to access overhead lighting in the gymnasium.  While using the scaffolding, one of the adjustable legs collapsed causing the scaffolding to tip resulting in the Plaintiff falling approximately 25 feet to the gymnasium floor.  The Plaintiff sustained significant injuries to his feet, ankles and both legs.  He underwent several surgeries and had medical expenses in excess of $500,000.  In support of his claim, the Plaintiff alleged that the scaffolding had not been properly maintained by the school district and that the adjustable leg was missing a component piece that kept it from locking in place.  The Plaintiff also alleged that he had not been informed that the scaffolding had outriggers which, if used, would have prevented the scaffolding from tipping.  The district put on evidence that the scaffolding had been used over  a period of two weeks by both the Plaintiff as well as his employees and that the last person to adjust the legs on the scaffolding had not properly locked them in place.  The district also established that the plaintiff had been “rocking” the scaffolding while standing on the top of it in order to move it across the floor without having to climb down from the scaffolding and push it into its next location.  The jury found in favor of the district and denied the entirety of plaintiff’s claim.

Defense Judgment for School District

Plaintiffs were a six year old non-verbal autistic boy and his mother.  They claimed that the autistic child had been physically and mentally abused by an aide in his Special Day Class.  This abuse allegedly consisted of slapping the child, yanking at his arms, and using more force than necessary to restrain him.  The suit was brought against the aide, the teacher who supervised the class, the school principal and the school district.  The school employees and the District defended the case by presenting evidence that no abuse had occurred, and also that the techniques utilized were recognized techniques for teaching severely autistic children.  A Superior Court judge, acting as the trier of fact, found in favor of  the Defendants.

Construction Defect Litigation

Lawyers at Anwyl, Scoffield & Stepp have a wealth of experience in construction defect litigation, including quality of construction matters and issues relating to the contractual relationship between general contractors and insurance companies.

Favorable Verdict for Builder

Anwyl, Scoffield & Stepp, LLP defended the general contractor in a case involving contentions by the owners of six houses that the structural engineering and framing for the houses was not property done to withstand lateral movement from the predominant force in the area – wind.  Plaintiffs contended the houses were swaying in the wind and were physically damaged.  Civil engineers, structural engineers, and general contractors were retained as experts to testify about the issues.

Using computer modeling to demonstrate engineering principles and practices to the jury, it was successfully established that the general contractor’s design of the houses met the standard of care.  A verdict in favor of the builder on all structural design and framing issues was achieved.

Majority of Plaintiffs’ Issues Barred

In a case involving claims of improper design and construction of a large apartment complex, settlement was quickly reached after phase one of a trial that was split into two phases – statute of limitation issues, and liability and damage issues.

As lead counsel on the statute issues, Anwyl, Scoffield & Stepp LLP, on behalf of its client, carried the burden of proof to establish that timely claims were not filed under several statutes governing the claims.  Phase I was tried to a successful verdict barring approximately 95% of plaintiff’s case.  After Phase I, the balance of the case settled quickly.

Construction Law

Our construction attorneys practice in all phases of the law for Mechanics Liens, Stop Notices and related bond claims for private and public construction projects.

Employment Discrimination, Defamation, and Wrongful Termination Defense

The firm’s attorneys have substantial experience defending public and private employers in employment-related litigation.  The firm has successfully handled cases of employment discrimination, defamation, and wrongful termination, among others.  The following cases are example of results achieved by Anwyl, Scoffield & Stepp.

Racial, Gender, and Age Discrimination – Defense Verdict

Plaintiff, a fifty-four year old African-American woman, was an Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at a school district who was appointed by the outgoing Superintendent to fill the position on an interim basis.  When the Superintendent position was later posted for hire, she applied for the position.  Her application was not only denied, but the Board of Supervisors eliminated the position of Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, then  assigned her to teach in a special education classroom.  She sued the school district and the individual members of its Board of Supervisors who had made the decision, alleging that she had been discriminated against due to her race, gender and age, and also that she had been defamed in the process.  She presented evidence of approximately $400,000.00 in economic damages and requested twice that amount in emotional distress damages.  Had she prevailed, she also would have been entitled to statutory attorneys’ fees.  The District presented evidence that its hiring, elimination of position and transfer decisions had nothing to do with discrimination but were each based upon District needs together with the relative qualifications of plaintiff and the other individuals involved.

Defamation – Dismissal

Plaintiff sued a national retail pharmacy for defamation, among other causes of action, after a pharmacy employee incorrectly identified plaintiff as the person that committed an armed robbery at the store.  The defendant demurred to the complaint based on California Civil Code §47 which provides for an absolute privilege for publications made in any official proceeding, which applies to testimony or statements to officials conducting criminal investigations.  The court sustained the demur, and the plaintiff dismissed the action.

Products Liability Defense

Companies involved in placing products into the stream of commerce are constantly exposed to claims of product defects or inadequate warnings, whether they were the manufacturer, distributor, retailer, or involved in some other part of the chain.  The lawyers at Anwyl, Scoffield & Stepp defend the interests of these companies by working with industry experts to show that they followed applicable safety standards and acted appropriately according to accepted customs, practices, and course of dealings in the industry.

Product Liability – Defense Verdict

Plaintiff sustained the loss of an eye when a pair of sunglasses he was wearing were shattered when struck by a frisbee disc.  Plaintiff contended that the eye glasses had not been properly designed and inadequate warnings had been given regarding the danger associated with glass lens rather than polycarbonic lens.  The defense offered through testimony of its own employees as well as expert witnesses, that the eye glasses met the appropriate ANSI Standards for eye wear and the industry standards regarding warnings and advertisement for usage.  The jury found in favor of the manufacturer of the eye wear.

Real Estate Law

Anwyl, Scoffield & Stepp practices in real estate law matters.  The firm handles a range of real estate litigation, including fraud, negligence, misrepresentation, and other matters arising out of the purchase and sale of real estate.

Business Litigation

No matter how well-drafted the agreement, contractual disputes and other conflicts are often an inevitable part of doing business.  Anwyl, Scoffield & Stepp has an established reputation and commitment to quality representation in business litigation, and can protect the interests of businesses large and small in virtually any dispute that arises.

Experienced Northern California Civil Litigators

Anwyl, Scoffield & Stepp LLP offers quality defense representation from attorneys with extensive courtroom experience and a proven record of success.  In the counties of Yolo, El Dorado, Placer, San Joaquin, and Solano, and throughout Northern California, contact us today.