N. Asir FiolaPartner
Asir Fiola is a partner in Selman Breitman’s Orange County Office and is a Member of the firm’s General Liability, Toxic Tort/Environmental, and Products Liability Practice Groups. Asir represents insurance and private clients in all areas of civil litigation, including cases arising out of automobile accidents, construction accidents, construction defects, subrogation claims, breach of contract, premises liability, employment disputes, wrongful termination, assault and battery, false arrest, and exposure to toxic substances, including asbestos. Asir’s clients include rental car companies, product manufacturers and suppliers, retail stores, transportation companies, and individuals in the public eye. Asir is not limited to the Orange County area, as he has experience in representing clients in disputes that involve catastrophic injuries, employment issues, or business disputes all over southern California, including Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties.
Asir’s extensive experience in General Liability provides him with a unique ability to focus on the medical aspects of a case, to determine whether a party's claimed injuries are truly related to a particular accident/incident, or whether the party's injuries are unrelated. After reviewing thousands, if not millions, of pages of medical records over the years, Asir is confident that he can see through an opposing counsel's arguments that his/her client's life has been shattered by a particular accident/incident. While that may be true in some cases, there are other cases in which a party is exaggerating his/her injuries, and Asir is uniquely qualified to pinpoint such exaggerations, through being able to review and, more importantly, understand the applicable medical records. Asir is often asked to perform a pre-litigation review of medical records, to assist in settling a claim before it gets to the courts, thereby saving his clients time and money.
While Asir is skilled at negotiating settlements, he is not afraid to try a case, when necessary. He has over 10 years of trial experience, and opposing counsel know that he cannot be bullied into accepting a settlement which does not fit the value of the case. He works closely with Clients to prepare for deposition and trial testimony, in a way that puts his clients at ease in a process which can be daunting. After winning at trial, Asir also has the ability to draft appellate briefs, which makes him a uniquely versatile asset to the firm.
Asir is called upon by clients and insurance companies to give presentations on various subject matters relating to civil litigation, including the amount of damages that a plaintiff is entitled to recover for past medical treatment, pursuant to the Howell v. Hamilton Meats line of cases. He has been recognized as a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers Magazine, along with many other accolades. Asir has published materials relating to the circumstances under which administrative agencies, rather than the courts, may definitively interpret federal statutes. While serving as a clerk to Justice William F. Rylaarsdam, California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three, Asir drafted several appellate opinions and researched a variety of civil and criminal issues for Justice Rylaarsdam. Asir's publications are available on his articles page.
Asir grew up in Orange County, but his family is originally from El Salvador. He is fluent in Spanish. Asir reflects Selman Breitman's commitment to diversity, which serves to strengthen ties with a community where a growing number of persons only speak Spanish. Asir presently resides in Orange, California with his son, Nick, an energetic high school student. When not helping clients with their legal needs he spends his time playing basketball, working out, hiking, and making sure that Nick stays out of trouble.
- Represented a well-known actress in a premises liability case. Plaintiff tore the medial meniscus in his right knee, while working in our client's backyard. He claimed that the property was negligently maintained, and made a $1 million demand. At trial, argument was made that plaintiff was fully healed from his injury, following arthroscopic surgery and a few months of physical therapy. After the start of trial, plaintiff's demand was reduced to $475,000, which still far exceeded the value of the case. After six days of trial, a verdict was obtained that was substantially less than plaintiff's bottom-line demand.
- Represented client department store in a suit in which plaintiff, a cashier, was suspected of stealing money from the cash register. Plaintiff was questioned by security personnel, and later terminated for theft. Plaintiff sued for wrongful termination, racial discrimination, and false imprisonment. A motion for summary judgment was filed, arguing that plaintiff was not detained for an unreasonable period of time, and that he was not discriminated against because of his race. A dismissal with prejudice was obtained in exchange for a nominal amount, with the summary judgment motion pending.
- Represented a bus company and its driver who were providing para-transit services to members of the public who are not able to use buses running regular routes because of physical and/or mental disabilities. This was a wrongful death case brought by a father whose 16-year old daughter was killed while a passenger in a car involved in the intersection accident with the bus. The plaintiff claimed that the bus ran a red light, causing the accident. The jury returned a defense verdict in favor of the bus company and the driver.
- Defended a client who was severely injured while a guest at his friend's home, walking through a clear glass sliding door and suffering scarring to his face. Settlement of $300,000 was obtained on client's behalf.
- In a wrongful death suit arising out of an automobile accident, motion for summary judgment was granted for two clients because there were no triable issues of material fact as to whether those clients owed a duty to plaintiffs. A third client was extricated from the case through a motion for terminating sanctions, based on plaintiffs' failure to comply with the court's discovery orders.
- Represented client department store in a case involving a plaintiff who attempted to steal cologne from the store. Plaintiff was detained by retail store security personnel, and claimed injuries arising out of the detention. Motion for summary judgment was granted in favor of client, based on the merchant's privilege, which allows a retailer to detain a customer when there is probable cause to believe that the customer has stolen the merchant's goods.
- Plaintiff was injured when a "shepherd's hook," a metal rod used to get clothes down from higher areas of client department store, fell and struck plaintiff on the head. She claimed a significant brain injury, along with soft tissue injuries, following the incident. During investigation of the matter, divorce documents were located that contradicted plaintiff's claimed lost earnings. After four days of trial, a favorable settlement was obtained on behalf of client department store.
- Very favorable settlement of personal injury claim against a popular racetrack was obtained after the jury submitted questions during deliberations suggesting that a defense verdict was likely.
- Represented various manufacturers and suppliers of construction materials in cases alleging toxic exposure to asbestos. Many cases resulted in an early dismissal of the client after depositions were taken, while others resulted in favorable settlements well before trial.
- Defended client construction contractor against a claim by a plaintiff that he was exposed to asbestos through the work of client. Summary judgment was granted based on lack of causation.
"Christensen v. Harris County: Pumping Chevron for All It's Worth - Defining the Limits of Chevron Deference,"; Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judges, Vol. 21-1, Spring 2001, No. 1.
- Wrote the appellate opinion Sheehy v. Franchise Tax Board (2000) 84 Cal. App. 4th 280, addressing the issue of whether penalties assessed on a taxpayer violated California's prohibition against charging usurious interest
Business & Community Activities
Volunteered to be a mentor to underprivileged students in the Project HOPE School Foundation. Project HOPE is a school designed to provide children without permanent homes with the educational opportunities that many families take for granted.
Mr. Fiola stays active through regular gym workouts and weekly basketball games. He started playing golf in 2007, and he hits a decent shot on occasion. He enjoys supporting the UCLA Bruins' athletic teams, and loves to read. Mr. Fiola has one son, Nicholas, with whom there is never a dull moment.
Professional Associations And Memberships
- Rising Stars: 2009-2010, 2012-2015
- Orange County Bar Association (Member)