Cases

The Mezzetti Law Firm handles general civil litigation, which includes the following types of cases:

Personal Injury / Child Sex Abuse

The Mezzetti Law Firm has successfully represented victims of child sex abuse in cases against individual perpetrators and the entities who employ them without providing adequate protection and supervision. The total amount of jury verdicts and settlements obtained on behalf of more than 30 such victims exceeds $34,000,000 to date. Having represented plaintiffs in the statewide proceedings known collectively as "Clergy I", "Clergy II", and "Clergy III" against various Roman Catholic churches and organizations, we are familiar with the wide-ranging nature of conduct by priests, pastors and bishops at St. Martin of Tours, St. Patrick Proto-Cathedral Parish, Five Wounds Portuguese National Parish, the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Diocese of San Jose, the Diocese of Monterey, the Diocese of Marin, Mount St. Joseph Carmelite Monastery, the California Province of the Society of Jesus ("Jesuits"), the Sacred Heart Novitiate Jesuit Center, the First Pentecostal Church of San Jose, the Saratoga Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ("Mormons"), the Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos, the Diocese of San Diego, and the Seattle Archdiocese. We have also brought claims for sexual misconduct against biological fathers and grandfathers, potential employers, psychiatrists, counselors and Kaiser Permanente medical personnel.

In our experience, perpetrators of child sex abuse expend significant amount of time and effort identifying and befriending future victims before attempting any physical sexual act. Boys and girls with low self esteem are frequent targets. Perpetrators are likely to enjoy a position of power and authority over the victim, as has happened in churches, hospitals, schools, and private homes.

Through a process called "grooming", a perpetrator earns the trust and respect of a potential victim and his or her family. By helping a child with homework, athletic activities, and socialization, the perpetrator is able to learn the child's particular weaknesses. Longer-term grooming activities may emphasize the child's height and weight, or may feature a system of points or treats as rewards for following the perpetrator's rules.

Over time, the child begins to confide in the perpetrator. The perpetrator may address the child's concerns about puberty, adolescence and sex. Magazines, video, alcohol and drugs may be used to increase a child's interest in sex. Ultimately, when physical sexual abuse begins, the minor is too afraid of disappointing his or her confidante (the perpetrator) to report the sexual misconduct. Often, victims mistakenly believe that they are "the only one" and are afraid that no one will believe them if they report the abuse.

Many child victims continue to express love and respect for their perpetrators well into adulthood, even as they struggle with significant psychological injuries. In some cases, the victim does not connect the childhood abuse with the psychological harm until the victim has children of his or her own. In other cases, the memory of the abuse is repressed for years. If you are struggling with these issues, contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Contact child protective services or law enforcement in your area if you know of or suspect child abuse.

Personal Injury / Wrongful Death

Wrongful death claims may arise from conditions as diverse as negligent driving, poorly maintained roads, construction and manufacturing defects, and even irresponsible treatment of elderly persons. While no amount of money would ever make up for the loss of a loved one, an experienced attorney may be able alleviate the burden.

Insufficient insurance coverage is a common problem when significant injuries are inflicted. Unfortunately, many insureds do not inquire as to their coverage until after they have been injured. If you have questions about your coverage, consider a consultation before an accident happens.

Rights of Likeness and Personality / Misappropriation

Rob Mezzetti's effective representation of clients asserting rights of privacy, personality and publicity was recognized by the Tort Trial and Insurance Section of the American Bar Association, to which he has lectured on those topics. Drawing from his extensive experience in the area, he is able to resolve many of these matters without resort to litigation.

Real Property Disputes

Every effort should be made to create or maintain a good relationship with your neighbors. However, disagreement over the location of fences or property lines, growth of trees and foliage, or unauthorized use and trespass quickly and frequently turns friends into enemies.

Have you noticed that someone has trimmed or cut down your tree without permission? Are your leaves turning a strange, blue-green color? Are you suffering the ill effects of a neighbor's noise, dust, or other nuisance? An unauthorized cross-property line attack is actionable, whether done with a nail, chainsaw, chemical, or by an old-fashioned gardener.

Trees contribute not only aesthetic but monetary value to property. It is easy to understand that a clean, canopied, tree-lined street is more appealing than a barren or unkempt one. It is difficult to determine exactly how much one tree adds to your property value, or how much a particular view is worth. Damage due to pests, poison, and natural disaster can complicate matters. Experienced lawyers and experts can help.

Eminent Domain

Under certain circumstances, a governmental agency may take your property for public use. When this occurs, you are entitled to adequate notice and just compensation.

The Mezzetti Law Firm has secured just compensation for property owning clients from the City of San Jose, County of Santa Clara, and the State of California for public uses ranging from freeway and airport expansion to the BART extension. Through its effective representation, the Mezzetti firm obtained $2,555,000 for a client even though the opening offer was only $49,000.

If your property or neighborhood is in the sites of the government, seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Probate Litigation

Spouses often make an estate plan when they start their families. The plan may include wills, trusts, and durable powers of attorney (general/financial and healthcare). It may even include an oral promise to make a will, or a promise that upon the death of one spouse, the survivor will leave everything to their children.

After the death of a spouse, it often happens that the surviving spouse remarries one or more times. Relations between the children and the new spouse may be tenuous at the outset. When the estate plan of the original spouses is changed to include the new spouse, the relationship understandably deteriorates. Over time, the health of the surviving spouse also declines, raising concerns about undue influence and elder abuse.

Of course, this dynamic can be devastating to families, siblings, care givers, home care providers and residential care facilities. If you are concerned about any of these very sensitive issues, seek legal advice as soon as possible and contact your local adult protective services representative to report any abuse.

Business Litigation

Enforceable business relationships range from formalized incorporation and limited liability companies to informal oral partnerships. Regardless of size, every business person should make it a goal to avoid litigation wherever possible.

One way to reduce the likelihood of litigation is to seek the advice of a lawyer experienced in the field before entering into any business relationship with a third party. Even so, litigation may arise because of a simple misunderstanding, lack of clarity in business documents, or outright dishonesty. The Mezzetti Law Firm has been involved in hundreds of corporate, LLC and partnership litigation cases.