Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
Marvin Lanter —Consumer Attorneys Member of the Month

At the CAALA Board of Governors meeting on Sept. 29, First Vice President John Torjesen announced that Marvin Stuart Lanter was being honored as Member of the Month for September.

Lanter has more than 25 years experience in civil litigation and became a CAALA member in 1980. He graduated from New York’s Brooklyn College in 1972 and earned his J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco. He is a sole practitioner in Century City and his practice is devoted primarily to personal injury cases including automobile accidents, slip and fall accidents, product liability premises liability, medical malpractice and wrongful death cases.

Active in numerous volunteer causes, Lanter received a Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Volunteer Service from the L.A. County Bar Association Dispute Resolution Services and a Certificate of Appreciation from the L.A. County Superior and Municipal Courts for pro bono services rendered as an arbitrator/mediator and settlement officer.

Last June, Lanter contacted me (Stuart Zanville) at the CAALA office, telling me that “Lawsuits seem to have a bad reputation today, but we all know that lawsuits result in good things happening and that because of lawsuits, fewer people are seriously injured.”

He asked whether CAALA could help communicate that message.

He then went on to give me an example of one of his cases that showed how a lawsuit had resulted in something good for society. I wrote about his case in the September issue of Advocate.

The case was one he had litigated for more than two years against the City of Los Angeles, involving a dangerous intersection in the San Fernando Valley, at the farthest northwest corner of the City of Los Angeles.

Over ten years, there had been more than 60 accidents at the intersection, including one involving Lanter’s client. Citizen complaints had been filed, and requests were made to put in a traffic light, but nothing was done to make the intersection safe.

Lanter’s case settled one month before it was scheduled to go to trial, but more importantly, a few days later, a traffic light was installed by the City at the dangerous intersection.
That would have been enough to show how lawsuits can have positive results, but Lanter decided to send a press release to the local newspaper in the Santa Clarita Valley.

In August, the newspaper ran a story and picture about the traffic light that had been installed at the intersection.

The article quoted Lanter about why he had pursued the lawsuit:

“After I parked at the intersection, I saw cars going by fast and knew it was really dangerous,” Lanter said. “I knew something had to be done.”

But, there’s more to the story.

The day that the article ran, Lanter received the following e-mail from a woman he had never met:

“I saw the article in the newspaper this morning with a photo of the new signal installed by the City of Los Angeles at Sierra Highway and The Old Road. Having spent years writing letters and calling various government officials and agencies, the result you and your Reseda client obtained through litigation is an incredible benefit to the entire community. It’s disappointing that it would take the consequences of a terrible accident to extract this change out of government. However, please pass along my thanks and gratitude to your clients. I hope they recover from their injuries. Congratulations for the excellent result of your litigation.”
--Jo Ellen Rismanchi
Canyon Country Resident

“When CAALA President Ray Boucher introduced the Member of the Month recognition program, he told us he was looking for our association’s unsung heroes, those who represent the best attributes of CAALA in both their personal and professional lives,” said John Torjesen. “Marvin Lanter certainly represents those attributes.”

Mr. Lanter can be reached at www.lanterlaw.com.