Jewel Kolling Basse is a senior partner in the Litigation Department at Gordon & Rees and has extensive jury trial, arbitration and mediation experience. Her practice focuses on complex civil litigation, including high exposure product liability, employment, civil rights, and personal injury matters. Prior to joining Gordon & Rees in 1990, Ms. Basse transitioned from a career in criminal law. From 1976-1980, she served as Assistant District Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco and was appointed Assistant Chief of the Misdemeanor Division in 1977. She prosecuted a variety of misdemeanors and felonies, including narcotics and fraud cases, and was a member of the Assault-Robbery Felony Trial Team from 1978 to 1980. Ms. Basse was appointed by the San Francisco Superior Court Judges to serve on the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Commission from 1981 to 1987.
San Francisco Bar Association (former member of Judicial Evaluation Committee)
California Bar Association
American Bar Association
Asian American Bar Association
Ms. Basse is actively involved in the community and is a member of Gordon & Rees’s Diversity Committee.
Ms. Basse's representative experience includes:
Dhaliwal v. San Francisco Zoological Society, City and County of San Francisco, Singer & Associates Inc: A Siberian tiger escaped its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo and attacked three people. One victim died and two others suffered various injuries. After the attack, the zoo hired public relations firm Singer & Associates, Inc., which announced that the victims taunted the tiger prior to the attack. The parents of the deceased victim sued the zoo and the City and County of San Francisco for negligence, and Singer & Associates for defamation and sought damages for medical costs and pain and suffering. Separately, the two surviving victims sued Singer & Associates for defamation. The case received extensive international media attention. The parents of the deceased victim settled at mediation and the matter with the surviving victims settled for $750,000. The case was handled by Ms. Basse and San Francisco Partner Charles Custer.
Chrystie v. MV Transportation, Inc.: Plaintiff, a 67-year old man disabled from a previous stroke, was riding in defendant's paratransit van when the driver suddenly braked in rush-hour traffic. Plaintiff, who was not wearing a seat belt at the time, was propelled into the dashboard where he hit his head and became a quadriplegic. Plaintiff claimed the driver was negligent in driving the vehicle at a high speed and failed to properly secure the plaintiff's seat belt. There was conflicting testimony about whether the plaintiff had removed his own seat belt and what speed the van had been traveling at the time of the accident. Plaintiff's settlement demand at multiple mediations and at a settlement conference remained at $15 million. During closing argument, counsel for plaintiffs asked for an award of over $21 million. The jury returned a verdict of $6.6 million, but concluded the plaintiff was 50% comparatively at fault, resulting in a significant reduction of damages and a verdict of $3.2 million to the plaintiff and $50,000 to his wife. No punitive damages were awarded. The matter was handled by Ms. Basse and San Francisco Partner Charles Custer.
Gregerson v. Charles M. Shulz Museum: Plaintiff alleged that her left hand was injured when a 125 pound metal door slammed on it. Plaintiff claimed permanent left hand contracture and disability, and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome that had spread to both legs confining her to a wheelchair. Plaintiff's jury demand was in excess of $12 million. Ms. Basse argued that there were significant contradictions in plaintiff's testimony and inconsistencies between the medical records and the alleged injuries. After a 5 1/2 week trial, the jury returned a 12-0 defense verdict after less than one hour of deliberation.
Bell v. Nor-Cal Moving Services, Inc.: Plaintiff was an African-American foreman alleging hostile work environment, racial harassment, and wrongful termination. Plaintiff was terminated after unacceptable behavior at a client job site. Plaintiff's five-year employment history with the defendant included being promoted as the defendant's first African-American foreman, as well as defendant company's decision not to take punitive action when plaintiff tested positive for illegal drug use and was convicted of driving under the influence, both which happened prior to his promotion. Plaintiff's jury demand was $1 million. After 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a defense verdict on behalf of Ms. Basse' client/employer of no liability.
M.R. v. Kinaleek Stables, Inc.: Plaintiff, a 35-year old female, finished exercising her horse at defendant's stables and proceeded to walk her dog on the property. She was assaulted and raped by an assailant who was never identified or apprehended. Plaintiff's demand was $2 million. Plaintiff's contentions included asserting that defendants had a duty to add lighting, provide security patrols, and change the grading of the walking path. Ms. Basse contended that sexual assault was not reasonably foreseeable, that defendant owed no duty to prevent the attack, and causation was speculative. Ms. Basse's motion for summary judgment was granted two weeks prior to trial. The court determined that plaintiff could not establish causation as a matter of law. The judgment was affirmed on appeal.
Harris v. Camping Unlimited for Retarded Children Inc.: Plaintiffs brought a wrongful death action after the accidental drowning of their mentally disabled 18-year old son at defendant's camp. In this case of stipulated liability in which Ms. Basse represented the camp, it was established that the camp did not follow its own rules concerning pool area activity. Plaintiffs asked the jury to award $1.5 million or $750,000 to each plaintiff. The defense offer of $500,000 at the mediation remained open until trial. A verdict of $500,000 was returned after a 10 day trial. (The parties had stipulated to funeral expenses of $7,500).
Lim v. Harris Ranch: A 76-year old father of six was struck and killed a week before he was to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary and four days before his 77th birthday, by defendant's truck in a crosswalk. Decedent had a prosthetic leg and walked with a cane. Plaintiffs' demand was $5,000,000, defendants offered $500,000, with an indication of more. After a two week jury trial, the jury awarded Ms. Basse's client a defense verdict in one hour and 15 minutes. Plaintiffs withdrew their motion for a new trial after requesting a dismissal in exchange for waiver of costs.
Tort & Product Liability
J.D., Lincoln University, School of Law, 1972
B.A., Political Science, University of Southern California, 1967
Top Rated Lawyer-AV® Preeminent™,
Best Lawyers in America® distinction in Personal Injury Litigation (2011-2013)
Super Lawyers® distinction in the fields of Personal Injury Defense: General, and General Litigation
Champion of the People Award