May 17, 2012


VC056485 / VC056553

Gary Eto Settles Wrongful Death Case Arising Out of Illegal Garage Conversion for $770,000

In May, 2012, Gary Eto settled a wrongful death and multiple injury case arising out of a residential house fire resulting from an illegal garage conversion, for Seven Hundred and Seventy Thousand Dollars ($770,000.00).

The case, Pulalasi, Fiaseu, et. al, vs. Gonzales, McGrew, et al., Case No. VC056485 consolidated with Case no. VC056553 was filed in June, 2010, in the Norwalk Courthouse of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The subject property was located on Cedar Street, in Bellflower, California.

Defendant McGrew purchased the subject property in or about 2003 and sold it to the Gonzales defendants in October, 2006. McGrew was a licensed general contractor. While McGrew owned the property, he rented it out to various tenants.

In or about August, 2005, McGrew allegedly “allowed or directed” one of his tenants, to convert the garage at 9429 Cedar, into two bedrooms and a living space. This tenant was also a tenant of the Gonzales’ after Gonzales bought the property.

Plaintiff Tuipala Pulalasi and decedent Lenee Pulalasi resided at the property inside one of the two converted bedrooms inside the garage in 9429 Cedar. Alex and Ruth Fiaseu, along with their children, also stayed at the property.

The deadly fire occurred on June 19, 2008, in the garage at 9429 Cedar while the Gonzales’ owned the property. Relatives (the Boat plaintiffs) were staying at the residence on Cedar that evening because of graduations.

Lenee Pulalasi died in the fire. Minor children Raina Fiaseu, Ariana Fiaseu, Ananaiah Fiaseu and Shadrach Fiaseu were also sleeping in the garage and all suffered injuries. The defendants made several unsuccessful attempts to get the case “thrown out of court” by filing motions for judgement on the pleadings and motions for summary judgement.


The defendants settled five (5) days before trial, and the court approved the settlement on May 17, 2012. See, also, article published in Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 8, 2012, “Verdicts and Settlements.”