Firm News

Farella Braun + Martel Secures Long-Awaited Victory for 91-Year-Old Pro Bono Client

August 30, 2011 Announcement

SAN FRANCISCO, August 30, 2011 - Farella Braun +Martel’s John Martel secured a long-awaited victory on behalf of pro bono client Mamie Teixeira in a case involving fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress and financial elder abuse.

Mamie Teixeira, 91, depended, for more than half her income, on an annuity payment from a Lifetime Annuity Agreement she made in 2001 with the defendant, Dwayne A. Cardoza.  In 2009, Cardoza notified her that, notwithstanding the apparent terms of the agreement, he had fulfilled his obligations and would stop making payments in 2010.  Teixeira, brought the matter to the Santa Cruz office of Senior Citizens Legal Services (SCLS –, and Martel took on the pro bono case, filing a complaint on Teixeira’s behalf in Nov. 2010.

“Senior citizens, unfortunately, have become targets for financial exploitation and may not always be aware of their legal options.  This case proves that it’s never too late to fight back when one’s legal and financial rights are being trampled.  Mamie fought back,” said Martel.  “This case was particularly gratifying as a chance to use the courts to help the elderly achieve the legal rights and access to justice they deserve. At 80 years of age myself, I wondered if this would be perceived as an instance of the halt leading the blind. But with help from Akshay Verma and others at FB+M, Mamie’s rights were fully vindicated.”

“John Martel and the team at Farella did an outstanding job from the outset,” said Terry Hancock, directing attorney at SCLS.  “The case was complex, but John was able to litigate it to a successful conclusion in a matter of eight months. We look forward to continuing to work with Farella Braun + Martel on future cases that threaten the legal rights of seniors in our communities.”

Notably, Martel and his team obtained a rare temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction requiring the annuity payments that had been stopped to resume and continue through the trial process.  As a result of the final settlement, reached on Aug. 12, the day before trial, Teixeira will receive a monthly payment for the remainder of her life, in addition to substantial compensatory damages.

Farella Braun + Martel represents clients throughout the United States and abroad in sophisticated business transactions and high-stakes commercial, civil and criminal litigation. Founded in 1962, the firm is headquartered in San Francisco and maintains an office in the Napa Valley focused on the wine industry. Farella Braun + Martel lawyers are known for their imaginative legal solutions, dynamism and intellectual creativity. With an unwavering service ethic and interdisciplinary team approach, the firm is committed to advancing clients’ objectives in the most effective, coordinated and efficient manner. Farella Braun + Martel is a green business.