Justin Smulison

/ Southern California Best Lawyers 2018

When James P. Frantz opened his firm’s doors in 1979, he had two goals: to offer injured clients and their families well-deserved, personalized representation and to reach favorable outcomes. The resolute San Diego solo practitioner defied the odds, thrived as a trial lawyer, and eventually evolved his practice into a formidable plaintiff’s injury firm with offices throughout California.

“I have always felt a calling to help families who have been victims of injury or [suffered] the loss of a loved one,” Frantz says. “Whether we settle or go to trial, I want my clients and their families to walk away feeling empowered.” 

Now with seven offices throughout California, Frantz Law Group has evolved into one of California’s leading law firms, well known for making wrongdoers, including individuals, corporations, and governmental entities, fully accountable for their negligence.

Frantz Law Group has represented thousands of victims of negligence by wrongdoers in high-profile trials, class actions, and multidistrict litigation. The firm has achieved verdicts and settlements of more than a half billion dollars and has even influenced national public policy.

History in the Making

Frantz Law Group represents more than 8,500 Los Angeles area residents who are victims of the Porter Ranch Gas Blowout, which is believed to be the country’s largest-ever methane gas leak. The firm is currently serving on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to oversee and assist in developing the litigation against SoCalGas and Sempra Energy. 

“We have the privilege of directing the litigation (with others) of the largest mass tort gas leak case in U.S. history,” says Frantz. “The entire firm is working tirelessly to make a difference in our clients’ lives, secure maximum compensation for their physical, emotional, and economic injuries, and bring about regulatory changes that will prevent similar catastrophes from occurring.” 

Instituting Change

When the families of four deceased United States Marine pilots demanded justice, they hired Frantz Law Group. The firm obtained a $55.4 million jury verdict* against SDG&E (Sempra’s subsidiary) for a deadly helicopter crash during a nighttime training exercise due to the company’s failure to light its utility towers at Camp Pendleton. Prior to the jury verdict, SDG&E adamantly refused to offer any compensation to the families.

As a result of this litigation, SDG&E finally installed safety lights on the tower in question and on all other base towers at Camp Pendleton to prevent another tragedy. 

Setting Records

As the firm was preparing for a professional negligence suit involving compensatory and punitive damages, the insurance defense counsel made a final offer of $100,000 prior to trial. Frantz felt his firm could achieve a better result for the client. After a five-week trial, the jury awarded a $223 million verdict.* It was the largest jury verdict at the time in San Diego County, and it is currently the second largest in San Diego County history. 

Influencing Policy

Frantz helped lead the fight to ban dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids (ephedra), which have been linked to heart attacks and strokes. After obtaining an $18.5 million verdict* in a class action against an ephedra supplement manufacturer, Frantz was called to testify before Congress as an expert on the stimulant’s dangers. His testimony, and that of other experts, led the Food and Drug Administration to permanently prohibit the sale of ephedra-based supplements. 

“We’ve helped prevent many people from dying or being harmed from the negligence of others and will always strive to do so,” says Frantz. “That is Frantz Law Group’s proud legacy.”