Our firm is not like other trial lawyer firms. When we find a problem, we conduct a thorough investigation and file lawsuits to fix the problem. However, after the lawsuits, we take the next step. We strive to create law. We often will draft, support and help pass legislation to fix the problem once and for all.
For example: Insurance companies sold elderly individuals financial bank products that were a terrible
investments. The reason insurance companies sold these products was so they could make a very large fee (and commission) for selling these investments, called annuities. This specific case followed a pattern much like other insurance fraud cases:
An insurance broker would get a list of people who were likely to buy these products. The insurance agent, knowing that elderly people were often the most easily tricked, would sell an older person an investment that would take 30 years to pay benefits. They would then target people over the age of 65. That means to get your money back and profit from the investment, an average person would have to live to over 95. Most people do not, and that was the basis of multiple lawsuits filed by Ernst Law Group.
After the lawsuits were tried to verdict or settled (there were multiple eight-figure results), Ernst Law Group helped draft and work on legislation to fix the entire industry.
A few years later, no elder can be sold an annuity without significantly more oversight, warnings and investigation beforehand.
We find that the most valuable clients are sometimes not the ones that make you the most money, but rather they are the clients that leave an impact on your soul. These clients that are unable to pay for legal services but are in need of a firm that has the reputation and background for simply doing the right thing can, and will, make all the difference.
Pro Bono Work The Ernst Law Group Has Done:
The Ernst Law Group helped draft and work towards making the legal community a better place for lawyers across California. Here are a few things that the Ernst Law Group has participated with in the last decade:
The Electronic Discovery Act was a bill passed directly as a result of problems that occurred in the Ernst Law Group cases time and again. Documents would be produced in litigation in paper format, without a corresponding electronic version. The legislation completely re-wrote the process of demanding documents through a subpoena, at inspections, through discovery.
For the entire text of the bill, see the California Legislative information here:
The Ernst Law Group is consistently looking for new investigations to make California a safer place.
Currently, Don Ernst is working with numerous other groups to set up a special Veteran’s Court in the County of San Luis Obispo. Participants in the setup include Dan Dow and the District Attorney’s’ Office, the Veteran Administration, the Probation Department and the Sheriff’s Department. Veterans returning from combat zones and overseas assignments regularly suffer from PTSD, as well as alcohol and drug dependency, as a result of their military experience. They should be given special consideration under the law. Working with the District Attorney’s Office, the Defense Bar, the Bar Association the Sheriff and other stakeholders, this Veteran’s Court is becoming a reality.
Continuing education has always been a priority for Don. His firm began holding educational seminars before mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) was a requirement in California. When MCLE became a requirement, his law firm was certified to provide classes and programs based upon past history. That certification was transferred to the Central Coast Trial Lawyers Association after it was founded in 1990. The administration and seminars of the Central Coast Trial Lawyers Association have been operated out of his office from inception through 2010.
Don Ernst served as the San Luis Obispo County Bar President in 2002 and 2003. During his term, he founded the county’s first Lawyers Referral and Information Service. In addition to the corporate formation of the LIRS, his office provided the office space, computers and administrative services to get the LRIS operational. He served on the board of directors for years and still participates in the LRIS today.