Dale Minami

Top rated Personal Injury attorney in San Francisco, California

Minami Tamaki LLP
Dale Minami
Minami Tamaki LLP

Practice Areas: Personal Injury; view more

Licensed in California since: 1972

Education: University of California Berkeley School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2024
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Minami Tamaki LLP

101 Montgomery Street
Suite 825
San Francisco, CA 94104 Visit website

Details

Founder of the San Francisco-based law firm, Minami Tamaki LLP, Dale has transitioned to the role of Senior Counsel.  He has, and still is, handling personal injury and wrongful death litigation for the past 50 years, including claims resulting from auto accidents, pedestrians, defective products, slips and falls and other situations where persons were injured through the negligence of others.                               

Mr. Minami has been recognized as one of the top personal injury lawyers in the Bay Area.  He was selected by Law & Politics Magazine as one of the Super Lawyers for each year from 2004 through 2023 in the Personal Injury category, one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers for Northern California from 2007 through 2023, one of the Top 10 personal injury lawyers in Northern California from 2013 through 2018 and one of the Best Lawyers in America by the Best Lawyers group for 2015-2023.  He has received an “AV” rating by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest rating for competence and ethics issued by that publication, and reserved for attorneys designated as outstanding in their field. 

Dale has been involved in significant litigation involving the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other minorities, including  Korematsu v. United States, a lawsuit to overturn a 40 year old conviction for refusal to obey exclusion orders aimed at Japanese Americans during WWII, originally upheld by US Supreme Court in a landmark decision, United Pilipinos for Affirmative Action v. California Blue Shield, the first class action employment lawsuit brought by Asian Pacific Americans on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans, Spokane JACL v. Washington State University, a class action on behalf of  Asian Pacific Americans to establish an Asian American Studies program at Washington State University and Nakanishi v. UCLA a claim for unfair denial of tenure which resulted in the granting of tenure after several successful grievance hearings and widespread publicity over discrimination in academia. 

In 1968, Mr. Minami graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California as a member of Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor's degree in political science. He obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of California at Berkeley in 1971. He is licensed to practice law in California, before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.

Since his admission to practice in 1972, Mr. Minami has built an impressive resume. In addition to obtaining outstanding results for clients, he co-founded the Asian Law Caucus, the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the Asian Pacific Bar and the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, and he serves on the advisory boards for several foundations and organizations.

Mr. Minami has been involved in the judicial appointment process and in establishing or influencing public policy and legislation. President Clinton appointed him as Chair of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund in January 1996. Mr. Minami has served as a member of the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission and has chaired the California Attorney General's Asian Pacific Advisory Committee, advising the State's Attorney General on key issues. He has also served as a Commissioner on the State Bar's Commission on Judicial Nominee's Evaluation, and on Senator Barbara Boxer's Judicial Screening Committee, which made recommendations for federal judicial appointments.

Minami is the recipient of numerous awards, including the the ABA Medal, the American Bar Association's highest award, the ABA's Thurgood Marshall and  Spirit of Excellence Awards.  He has received numerous other awards including the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's Trailblazer Award, the ACLU Civil Liberties Award, honorary Juris Doctor degrees from the University of San Francisco and McGeorge Schools of Law, designation of a dormitory at U.C. Santa Cruz as the Queen Liliuokalani-Minami Dormitory, Berkeley Law's Citation Award, the naming of a public interest fellowship in his name at Berkeley Law, the naming of the Minami Impact Award from the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area and awards from the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, the Asian Law Alliance, the Asian Law Caucus, the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, among others.

His firm, Minami Tamaki LLP, has also received the Firm of the Year and President's Awards from NAPABA and the Asian Pacific Fund Award, respectively.

 

Practice areas

Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff

Focus areas

Animal Bites, Brain Injury, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury - Plaintiff, Premises Liability - Plaintiff, Slip and Fall, Trucking Accidents, Wrongful Death

  • 100% Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff

First Admitted: 1972, California

Professional Webpage: http://www.minamitamaki.com/attorneys/daleminami/

Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Board Member Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok and Lee Foundation  
  • Chair, Civil Liberties Public Education Fund Commission, appointed by President Clinton, 1994.  
  • Member, Senator Barbara Boxer's Judicial Screening Committee 
  • Chair, Attorney General's Asian/Pacific Advisory Committee
  • Commissioner, State Bar of California, Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, 
  • Commissioner, State of California Fair Employment and Housing Commission 
  • Co-Executive Producer, (with Philip Kan Gotanda) of "Drinking Tea" and "Life Tastes Good", both of which were screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Advisory Boards of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation
Honors/Awards:
  • Employment Law Center's Matthew Tobriner Award
  • "The ABA Medal was established to honor a member of the bench or bar who has "rendered conspicuous service in the cause of American jurisprudence." ABA's  highest award.  , ABA Medal, American Bar Association, 2019
  • For public service to the San Francisco Bay Area Community, Coro Foundation Achievement Award, Coro Foundation, 1986
  • For outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of National Asian Pacific American Bar Association lawyers who have paved the way for advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Trailblazer Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, 1996
  • Boalt Hall Distinguished Service Award, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 1996
  • For individuals who have strived to ensure that justice works for those who are the most vulnerable among us, Mathew O. Tobriner Public Service Award, The Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, 2002
  • For an individual who serves as an inspiration and role model to Asian Pacific Islander youth, Vision Award, Japanese American Youth Organization of the Japanese American Citizens League, 2005
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Alameda County Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, 2012
  • Citation Award from U.C. Berkeley's School of Law
  • One of the 500 hundred Best Lawyers in America by Lawdragon Magazine, 2005 and 2013-2014, Lawdragon, 2014
  • Community Service Award, Centro Legale de la Raza, 1983
  • For services to Japanese Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area, Community Service Award, Japanese Cultural and Community Services of Northern California, 1988
  • For individuals or organizations whose actions, programs and missions promote a just society, Justice in Action Award, Harry Dow Memorial Fellowship, 1988
  • Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 1995
  • For attorneys who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession, Spirit of Excellence Award, American Bar Association, 1997
  • For recognition of long-term contributions by members of the legal profession to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States, Thurgood Marshall Award, American Bar Association, 2003
  • For recognition of exceptional individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions in advancing justice and equality, Justice in Action Award, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, 2009
  • "AV" rating by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory Highest Rating
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's Trailblazer Award, Trailblazer Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, 1993
  • Top 3% of attorneys in the nation by The Legal News
  • For extraordinary pro bono legal services, State Bar of California President's Pro Bono Award, State Bar of California, 1984
  • For service to the Asian Pacific American and Islander community, OCA Leadership Award, Organization of Chinese Americans, 1989
  • For someone who has shown courage and commitment to protect civil liberties and constitutional rights in the current political climate, Fred Korematsu Civil Rights Fund Award, Fred Korematsu Civil Rights Fund, 1994
  • Leadership Award, Japanese Community Youth Council, 1995
  • Organization of Chinese Americans, San Mateo Chapter, 2001
  • For individuals who have made lifetime contributions to the advancement of civil liberties, Civil Liberties Award, American Civil Liberties Union, Northern California, 2003
  • For recognition of outstanding efforts to promote diversity in the legal profession, in particular, to recognize efforts that ensure the full and equal opportunity of all persons for entry and advancement in California's legal profession, Diversity Award, San Mateo County Bar Association, 2010
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Co-Founder, Asian Law Caucus, Asian Pacific Americans
  • Member, Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans ("CAPA21")
  • Member, Asian Law Alliance
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • Chair, California Attorney General's Asian Pacific Advisory Committee, State's Attorney General, 1988-1990
  • Co-Founder, Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, the first Asian American Bar Association in the United States
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
Representative Clients:
  • Spokane JACL v. Washington State University, a class action on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans to establish an Asian American Studies program at Washington State University
  • United Pilipinos for Affirmative Action v. California Blue Shield, the first class action employment lawsuit brought by Asian Pacific Americans on behalf of Asian Pacific Americans
  • Oscar-Winning Filmmaker Steven Okazaki
  • Nakanishi v. UCLA, a claim for unfair denial of tenure which resulted in the granting of tenure after several hearing and widespread publicity over discrimination in academia
  • Olympic Gold Medal skater Kristi Yamaguchi, 1992
Educational Background:
  • University of Southern California, B.A. in Political Science, Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, 1968, 1968
Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • Dormitory at U.C. Santa Cruz named "Queen Liliuokalani-Minami" dormitory, 1997
  • Honorary Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law, 2010
  • Honorary Juris Doctor Degree from McGeorge School of Law, 1995
Verdicts/Settlements (Case Results):
  • Rear-end collision: $650,000 Settlement. An 85 year old man was driving on the freeway, when the traffic ahead of him came to an abrupt stop.  He was able to stop, however the defendant was looking at his GPS device and slammed into the rear of our clients car with his SUV at 65 miles-per-hour. The force of the impact caused our clients vehicle to slam into the car in-front of him, and subsequently the next three cars in front were damaged.  Our client suffered an unstable transverse fracture of his T-8 vertebra, both lungs were partially collapsed, and multiple left and right rib fractures.  He was hospitalized for 49 days, and required his T 6-11 vertebrae to be fused.  Dale Minami and Mark Fong represented the plaintiff., 2007
  • Garbage Truck vs. Pedestrian: $3.5 Million settlement. A 62 year old mechanic, was crossing the street to warm up his car early in the morning. While in the crosswalk he was struck by a garbage truck.  As his son was walking to the car, he discovered his father laying in the street next to the parked truck. He suffered a fractured skull, brain damage, broken ribs and was diagnosed with cognitive defects after recovering from his other injuries.  Dale Minami and Mark Fong represented the Plaintiffs., 2010
  • Wrongful Death - Big Rig vs. Pedestrian: $2.3 Million. Dale Minami represented a 41 year old man who was the father of two children and husband of an immigrant Chinese American woman.  Our client's car had stalled on the freeway and he was walking on the shoulder to find help for his family. A big rig traveling in the same direction as our client lost control in inclement weather and jack knifed. The trailer part of the big rig slammed into the man, killing him instantly.  The big rig driver claimed that the accident was unavoidable.
  • Rental car vs. automobile: $1 Million settlement, policy limits. Case involved an intersection collision in which our client was struck by a left turning rental car and suffered neck injuries. Surgeons at a SF hospital operated on him but partially severed his spinal cord rendering him a hemiplegic.  We recovered the policy limits of the driver's insurance policy, settled a claim for reimbursement of medical bills and disability payments of $660,000 by the workers compensation insurance company for $25,000 and no credit for future benefits, thus guaranteeing our client lifetime care., 2011
  • Pedestrians vs. Motor Vehicle - Couple Hit by Truck: $385,000 Settlement. An elderly couple were attempting to cross a wide street in Berkeley when they were struck by the defendant.  After they had passed the mid-way point of the crosswalk, they noticed a vehicle that was not slowing down to let them cross.  The defendant claimed to have the sun directly in his eyes, and did not brake until the last second.  The wife sustained multiple pubic fractures, while the husband sustained a broken femur.  Both required hospitalization for a number of days.  The case was settled out of court with the defendant by Dale Minami.
  • Strict Liability - Dog Bite: $300,000 Settlement. A 32 year old female student from Japan, was visiting her friend who owned a large pit bull/Welsh corgi mix.  While our client was petting the dog, he suddenly jumped up and bit her viciously in the face.  There was no warning, growling or barking and the dog bit off one-third of her upper lip causing a serious deformity.  Because our client did not have the resources for reconstructive surgery, we were able to find her an excellent physician who was willing to perform 3 major surgeries on a partial lien.  In the first, surgery, the physician built a "skin bridge" from the lower lip to the upper lip to allow natural skin to grow on the bite site.  The next surgeries helped correct the scarring to restore the natural "bow" of the upper lip.  While our client still suffers a slight deformity, the surgeries restored her appearance almost completely.  The case was settled by Dale Minami for the policy limits of the homeowners insurance policy for $300,000.
  • Product Liability - Defective Propane Tank: $1.98 Million Settlement. While attending a barbeque at a friend's home, our client was burned on over 35% of her body when an overfilled propane tank vented gas with explosive force.  The tank spewed forth a stream of fire injuring our client, as well as two others.   We sued the manufacturer of the barbeque unit for defective design and failure to warn, the propane supplier for overfilling the tank, the owners of the property for improperly storing the tank underneath the grill and the manufacturers of the components of the tank.  All defendants denied liability and we proceeded to litigation.  One week before trial, the court granted our clients a summary judgment on the issue of the failure to warn.  The defendants appealed but one month before their appeal was granted, Dale Minami was able to settle the case with all defendants for $1.98 million.
  • Underinsured Motor Vehicle Accident: $2.65 Million Settlement. Our client was severely injured in an automobile crash in which a messenger ran a red light and crushed her vehicle.  She had been in a coma for over a month.  The driver only had a $15,000 policy and his employer had no insurance.  Both defendants disappeared and the insurance company later declared insolvency. Outraged by the defendants' and the insurance company's irresponsibility, Dale Minami still filed a lawsuit, obtained a default judgment of over $2.4 million (which was uncollectible at the time) but still filed the judgment in Florida where the insolvent insurance company purported conducted business.  After a very convoluted legal journey, the Department of Insurance in Florida was able to settle a fraud claim against the owners insurance and in 2004, Dale Minami was contacted by the Department of Insurance.  He negotiated a $2.65 Million settlement., 1993
  • Wrongful Death - Pedestrian vs. Underinsured Motor Vehicle: $100,000 Arbitration Settlement. The surviving family members of a doctor who was killed by a car brought a claim against their own insurance company and the driver who struck him.  The highly regarded doctor was jogging across a busy street in the crosswalk when he was struck by the defendant motorist.  It was raining heavily that night, and the motorist claimed to have never seen him.  Witnesses all testified that the defendant had been driving too fast for the conditions and that he should have been aware of pedestrians, as there were lines of people waiting to see a movie.  Dale Minami was able to obtain a $25,000 settlement from the defendant motorist, and the $75,000 policy limits from the clients' own underinsured motorist insurance policy.
  • Commercial Truck vs. Pedestrian: $5 Million Settlement. A 75 year-old mother of 5 and grandmother of 10 was out for her morning walk. While crossing the street in the crosswalk, she was struck on her left side by a commercial truck. After striking her, the truck rolled over the lower half of her body and dragged her approximately 6 feet. She suffered a crushed pelvis and required multiple surgeries, including amputation of her left leg.  The settlement provided our client with lifetime medical and home care so she never had to worry about her future. Dale Minami, Mark Fong, Seth Rosenberg, and Eunice Yang represented the Plaintiff., 2010
  • Wrongful Death – Accident in Company Vehicle:  $725,000 Settlement. Our clients were the surviving wife and daughter of a man who died from a motor vehicle accident.  After a long day of transporting clients to Pebble Beach and an evening of karaoke, the decedent fell asleep in the backseat of a company owned van, when the van, driven by a company employee who fell asleep, veered off of the road and crashed.  He later died at the hospital as a result of the injuries suffered during the accident.  The employee driving the van had the company's permission to use the vehicle.  The wife and daughter filed a lawsuit based on future wage loss the husband provided, medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of consortium.  The case was settled with the employer before going to trial., 2001
  • Pedestrian vs. Underinsured Motor Vehicle: $300,000 Settlement. As our client was crossing the street in the crosswalk with a green light, the defendant drove from behind him, made a left turn and struck him.  Our client smashed his head on the windshield and was thrown off the hood of the car onto the pavement.  The defendant driver had an insurance policy limit of only $15,000.  Due to the severity of the injuries, Dale Minami was able to obtain another $275,000 from our client's own insurance policy, which represented the policy limits of our client's policy.
  • Premises Liability - Fall From Deck: $234,000 Settlement. A medical equipment salesman visited a residence with a real estate agent to prospectively lease the home.  When the two stepped onto the deck in the back yard, the deck gave way, causing both to fall over 12 feet to the ground.  Our client suffered a torn meniscus and severe internal injuries to his cervical discs. He also suffered a significant loss of earnings, and was forced to change careers.  Our client brought a lawsuit against the owners of the home, and the construction company who built the deck.  The homeowners settled out of court for $34,000 and the construction company settled for $200,000.  Dale Minami represented the Plaintiff.
  • Defective Product - Student Killed by Tire of Truck Trailer: $1 Million Settlement. Our clients were the parents of a 21 year-old graduate of UC Santa Barbara and a soon-to-be medical student.  She was driving on the freeway when the wheel on a commercial truck's trailer broke loose, flew through her windshield and killed her.  The Defendant trailer owner and wheel fabricator disputed who was primarily at fault; however, there was no dispute that cumulatively all defendants were at fault for her death.  The company which welded the faulty wheel assembly was uninsured.  The case settled for the $1 million policy limits of the trailer's owner.  Dale Minami, Mark Fong and Seth Rosenberg represented Plaintiffs.
  • General Negligence - Man Suffers Brain Damage as a Result of Heart Attack at Gym: Confidential Settlement. Represented were the family members of a 56 year-old chemist who suffered a heart attack while using weight lifting equipment at the gym.  The employees of the gym were not trained in CPR, and there was no Automated Electronic Defibrillator at the gym.  The man was unconscious for over nine minutes before paramedics arrived and is now in a permanent vegetative state due to the brain damage he suffered from lack of oxygen.  The case settled for a significant amount for both the client and his wife.  Dale Minami represented the Plaintiff.
  • Taxi Cab vs. Pedestrian:  $1 Million Settlement. A 65 year-old retired woman was hit by a taxi cab while walking in the crosswalk in San Francisco. She suffered traumatic brain injury resulting in vision problems, headaches, cognitive defects, personality changes, lack of coordinated muscle movements, incontinence, difficulties with memory and attention span and depression. After mediation, the case was settled for the policy limits of the taxi cab's policy.  Dale Minami, Mark Fong and Seth Rosenberg represented the Plaintiff., 2008
  • Government Liability – Motor Vehicle Accident - Blind-Spot Created Unsafe Intersection:  $275,000 Settlement. Our clients were traveling straight through an intersection on a green light when the defendant driver attempted to make a left turn, also on a green light, and hit our clients' car.  The defendant driver did not see our clients' vehicle because of a blind-spot created in the intersection due to a mass public transit support column in the median of the road.  This intersection has been the site of many car accidents under similar circumstances, and had been well documented by the city since the early 1970s.  One client suffered fractured C6 and C7 vertebrae which were required to be fused.  She was forced to wear a "halo," a neck brace that is fixated to the body and head, for three months.  The City settled the case out of court.
  • Wrongful Death - Motor Vehicle Collision: $1.9 Million Settlements. Our clients were the parents of two young adult passengers in a car who were killed in a collision when the young Japanese driver of the car made a left hand turn and was slammed into by an SUV heading the opposite direction at 65 miles-per-hour, 20 miles-per-hour over the speed limit.  The SUV driver claimed she could not avoid the accident as the Japanese driver turned suddenly in front of her but our recovery of the "Black Box" proved that the SUV was going over 60 mph before the accident and at impact, over 15 mph over the stated speed limit.  The driver of the car whom our clients' children were riding in was an unlicensed driver whose father lived in Japan and we sued on the basis of negligent entrustment.  Despite the difficulties of jurisdiction, the Hague Convention laws and the proof liability against the father, we were able to obtain the policy limits of $500,000 from the SUV driver and $1.4 million for both families from the Japanese driver and her father.  Dale Minami was the lead counsel.
  • Wrongful Death - Pedestrian vs. Truck: $500,000 Settlement. Our firm represented the five surviving members of an elderly man who was run over by an 18-wheel truck while crossing the street.  He and the 18-wheel truck were both at a stop light traveling in the same direction.  When the light turned green, our client's family member began to cross in the crosswalk, as he made it halfway across the intersection, the truck driver suddenly made a right hand turn, running over the pedestrian.  There were no witnesses and the defendant truck driver disputed liability claiming that the pedestrian was in his blind spot.  We discovered a video outside of a store on the corner where the accident occurred which clearly depicted the failure of the driver to see the pedestrian or make any attempt to avoid the collision.  The driver then pled guilty to a misdemeanor manslaughter conviction.  Dale Minami and William Kwong settled this case out of court.
  • Government Negligence - Pedestrian Killed by Bus: $425,000 Settlement. Our client was the 96 year-old mother of a man who was run over by a city bus, and eventually died five days later in the hospital.  He was crossing the street, and had a green light.  The bus driver ran the red light, and as the bus was approaching our client's son frantically waived his arms to get the bus driver's attention. The bus driver hit our client's son while he was clearly in the crosswalk, and continued to drag him until a witness yelled and honked at the bus driver to stop.  The son of our client was taken to the hospital, where he suffered for five days, until he could no longer fight and his life support was removed.  Dale Minami was the attorney for the plaintiff.

Office location for Dale Minami

101 Montgomery Street
Suite 825
San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone: 415-788-9000

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