California appeals court upholds $20 million settlement for burn victim
The California Court of Appeal’s Second District recently upheld a ruling made by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury in June 2014 that awarded almost $20 million to 27-year-old Pengxuan “Dean” Diao, who claimed in a personal injury lawsuit against Southern California Gas Co. that the utility company was responsible for a natural gas explosion in San Gabriel which severely burned him on Jan. 19, 2011.
Diao also filed a lawsuit against Richard Liu and Joanna Cheung, the owners of the Marshall Street home where the accident occurred.
Jurors awarded Diao a total of $19,876,818, noting that SoCalGas should be responsible for $18.1 million, while the remainder of the award should be paid by the landlords. Kevin Boyle, Diao’s legal counsel, said SoCalGas admitted its liability regarding the accident before trial proceedings and that the jury’s only job was to assign the amount of damages.