La Verne Law Graduate Helps Clients Win $5 Million in Damages
Yasmine Hussein wanted to pursue a career in law to help people.
Hussein, who graduated from La Verne Law in May 2012, is already doing that. She was recently part of a trial team that won $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages in an insurance bad faith claim heard in Riverside Superior Court.
Hussein works for Liddy Law Firm in Pasadena. She helped attorney Donald G. Liddy represent business owners who sued their insurance company, alleging it acted in bad faith in adjusting the claim. The plaintiffs, a husband and wife, own a third-generation, family-run company that provides water well drilling services to clients throughout Southern California. They invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a drill rig and insured it through their insurance carrier.
When the drill rig broke down, the couple essentially had to cease operations. They went to their insurance company, which delayed them for months and even refused to pay to ship the rig to Oklahoma for repairs under a reservation of rights. As a result, the company was forced to lay off employees and almost went out of business. Despite knowledge of the insured’s precarious position, the insurance company continued to delay and even accused the business owners of fraud.
“There is case law out there that says it is per se bad faith to accuse your insured of fraud and have nothing to back up the allegation,” Hussein said.
After a seven-day trial, the jury unanimously agreed to compensate the business owners for lost profits, attorney fees, and awarded $3.5 million in punitive damages.
The business owners were thrilled and grateful. All they wanted was to get back to work, Hussein said.
“It was vindication,” she said. “It was almost two years of getting the run around and watching the business struggle. They put everything into their business and were watching it slowly die.”
Hussein said it was exhilarating and rewarding to help the couple.
“The feeling that I experienced listening to the verdict is exactly why I went to law school,” she said. “I always wanted to work in law in a position where I could help people who have been taken advantage of. This was a classic example of that. You feel like you are working for the right side. You know you can go to bed at night knowing you have done right by someone who truly deserves it.”
In addition to her career, Hussein helps La Verne Law with recruitment efforts in Canada. Hussein moved from Canada to attend law school. Her brother, Adam, already had moved to California to attend La Verne Law and Hussein had visited and thought it would be a good fit for her too. She was right.
“I always liked the idea of smaller class sizes and having more interaction with my professors,” she said. “I always felt that I had a support system whenever I needed anything.”
Canadian students interested in La Verne Law appreciate Hussein’s perspective. She understands how to navigate challenges such as establishing a credit history and getting a social security number.
“When I first moved here, I couldn’t get a cell phone. I didn’t have any credit history,” she said. “It’s just the little things everyone takes for granted,” she said.
Hussein also tells prospective students about the benefits of living in Southern California. Now that she is out of school, she has had more time to explore beaches, mountains, hiking trails and other areas.
“There’s such a diversity of things to see and do,” she said.