Members and Staff
|James A. Creason, Partner
|Maria K. Aarvig, Partner
|Jeffrey D. Tucker, Partner
|Rocco J. Alexander, Partner
|Larry Dunlap, Associate
|Diane K. Huntley, Associate
|Dina Taulli, Associate
|Elizabeth Otley, Associate
|Marian Drake, R.N., Nurse/Paralegal
|Dennis R. Carlson, Office Administrator
James A. Creason, Partner
James A. Creason is a partner in the firm, and specializes in the handling of medical malpractice litigation. Born in Santa Monica, California on June 16, 1952 and raised in Orange County, Mr. Creason attended the University of Southern California, graduating in 1974. He received his legal education from Pepperdine University, receiving a juris doctor in 1977 with Dean’s Honors.
In addition to his criminal trial experiences while at the Orange County Public Defenders Office, he was assigned to the Civil Division and tried numerous conservatorship cases involving general medical and psychiatric issues and testimony. In 1981, he went into private civil practice, and for over twenty years has focused his practice on civil litigation of medical practice and pharmaceutical issues. Mr. Creason has, over the course of his career, handled over one hundred jury trials, in addition to countless court trials and arbitration hearings. His trial experience includes medical malpractice litigation, pharmaceutical litigation, suspicious insurance claims, and general tort liability. Additionally, Mr. Creason has served as a Judge Pro Tem in Riverside Superior Court and as an arbitrator in Riverside and Orange Counties. He also lectures in the fields of medical malpractice, risk management, suspicious claims, and general civil litigation.
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Maria K. Aarvig, Partner
Maria K. Aarvig is a partner of the firm practicing primarily out of the Riverside Office of Creason and Aarvig, LLP. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ms. Aarvig attended law school at Western State University in Fullerton, graduating cum laude and receiving a J.D. degree in 1990. Her legal education was enhanced by her service as an extern to Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was admitted to the State Bar of California, the U.S. District Court, and U.S. Court of Appeals in June of 1990.
Ms. Aarvig’s practice has always centered on defense litigation, including defense of public entities and private corporate clients against tort claims, catastrophic injury cases, road design claims, allegations of civil rights violations, allegations of sexual misconduct, assault and battery, and professional liability. Her clients include school districts, local public agencies, risk pools, major hotel chains, insurance companies, shopping malls, and manufacturers. Her practice has also focused on management-side employment litigation and pre-litigation investigations, where she has assisted her clients in dealing with claims of discrimination, retaliation, violation of the American with Disabilities Act, and other alleged violations of Title VII and FEHA, sexual harassment or misconduct, and hostile workplace claims. Her litigation practice has afforded her extensive jury trial experience as well as hundreds of arbitrations and mediations. Ms. Aarvig is proud of her long record of successes in ending litigation before trial by means of demurrers, motions to dismiss, and summary judgment motions. Her practice includes all phases of litigation, including providing pre-litigation counsel to avoid lawsuits, all aspects of litigation at the trial level, and appellate work. Her appellate work has resulted in several published opinions in the areas of employment law, police liability, and insurance law.
Ms. Aarvig’s legal skills are constantly updated through her participation and membership in the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino County Bar Associations, the Desert Bar Association, the State Bar of California, the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, the Public Agency Risk Management Association, and the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities.
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Jeffrey D. Tucker, Partner
Jeffrey D. Tucker is a Partner in the Irvine office of Creason & Aarvig, LLP. Jeffrey completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences. Jeffrey worked for several years in the computer industry, with three years at Northrop’s Electronics Division. He also worked for the Braille Institute, giving hearing tests to the students before discovering his interest in the law. A foundation in the law practice was laid through his father’s work as insurance defense counsel for several general liability carriers for more than thirty years.
While attending law school part time at Western State University College of Law, Jeffrey worked as a clerk for his father’s law firm, where he gained extensive experience in handling insurance subrogation actions involving automobile accidents, premises liability and property rights. Jeffrey also found the time to raise a family, having two of his four children while attending law school.
Jeffrey’s legal practice involves litigation of medical malpractice claims, premises liability, and employment litigation. Jeffrey has defended hundreds of medical negligence claims for doctors, nurses, health clinics, and hospitals, and has defended premises liability claims for businesses of various sizes (including Four Star Hotels), cities and public schools. He has also handled sexual harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination claims for various clients, including international corporations and institutions of higher learning. Jeffrey has been involved in dozens of jury trials, arbitrations and mediations, and has experience in appellate work as well. His ability to work closely with medical professionals, and to identify and isolate complex issues in the medical malpractice, employment and general liability arenas makes Jeffrey not only an asset to his clients, but to his co-workers as well.
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Rocco J. Alexander, Partner
Rocco J. Alexander is a Partner in the firm, and for the last nine years has specialized in the handling of medical malpractice litigation. Rocco obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University. While interning for Judge Dumanis in the San Diego Superior Court, his interest in the law began to grow. He attended California Western School of Law where, prior to graduating, he interned at Thorsnes, Bartolotta & McGuire in San Diego. Rocco has been with the firm since 2002 practicing in the area of defense litigation including defense of public entities, doctors, and hospitals. The majority of his cases focus on professional liability and medical malpractice.
Rocco’s personal concern for his clients’ rights, and determination to provide an effective and thorough defense, is evident in the results he achieves for the doctors he represents.
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Larry Dunlap, Associate
Larry Dunlap is an Attorney in the Irvine office of Creason & Aarvig LLP. Larry completed his undergraduate education at California State University Fullerton, earning a B.A. degree in business administration in 1973. He went on to receive his J.D. from Western State University College of Law in 1978. Larry’s legal education included participation on his law school’s Law Review, where he was a published author and was later elected as Editor-in-Chief.
Prior to beginning his higher education, Larry served three years in the United States Army, including a term in Vietnam. After an honorable discharge from military service, the native Californian returned to Southern California and soon thereafter took the first steps that would lead him to a legal practice.
Larry began his legal career as a solo practitioner, where he concentrated on general and personal injury litigation. Since 1990 his emphasis has been in the area of insurance defense litigation, liability defense, product liability, and insurance coverage analysis. During his many years of practice, Larry has gained extensive trial, arbitration, mediation and appellate experience. Larry brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the firm, as well as an eye for spotting evolving trends in the law, which he shares with his co-workers and clients.
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Diane K. Huntley, Associate
Diane K. Huntley is an Attorney in the Riverside office of Creason & Aarvig, LLP. Born and raised in Riverside, Diane completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, Riverside, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science in 1986. Diane attended law school at Southwestern University in Los Angeles, receiving her Juris Doctor Degree, Cum Laude, in 1989. Diane’s legal education included participation in Southwestern’s Law Review, where she was a published author and Note and Comment Editor.
Diane began her legal career as an Associate in Riverside, where she had a general civil litigation, appellate and transaction practice. Thereafter, to accommodate her two children, Diane worked primarily as a research and transaction attorney for several small firms in the Riverside area. Diane has a diverse background in handling litigation matters, as well as extensive experience in drafting contracts and other business transactions. Diane currently practices in that area of defense litigation, representing public entity and private corporate clients.
Diane is a member of the Riverside County Bar Association and has participated in the Leo A. Deegan Inns of Court and Public Service Law Corporation.
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Dina Taulli, Associate
Dina Taulli is an attorney in the Irvine office of Creason & Aarvig, LLP. Ms. Taulli obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California, in 1994. She graduated in the top third of her class from Western State University in 1999, on the Dean’s List and the Honor Roll. She has devoted her career as an attorney to medical malpractice defense and has handled cases from inception through trial. Ms. Taulli brings her style of aggressiveness to the firm, and is well known for being detail-oriented and unrelenting on securing details important to the resolution of cases.
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Elizabeth Otley, Associate
Beth Otley is an attorney in the Riverside office of Creason & Aarvig, LLP. Ms. Otley graduated from Winona State University in 1999, and thereafter graduated with honors from the Santa Clara University School of Law in 2008. She received four CALI Awards for Academic Excellence while attending law school, and was on Honor’s Moot Court. She was inducted to the Award of the Coif as the result of her academic accomplishments. She served as a research attorney to the Honorable Aurelio Munoz and the Honorable Elizabeth Allen-White of the Los Angeles County Superior Court before entering private practice. She is an active member of the Orange County Bar Association, and currently serves at the co-secretary to the OCBA Community Outreach Committee. She also remains active in enhancing the legal education of incoming attorneys, and is an Associate Professor for the Chapman University School of Law. Her legal experience includes representing carriers on questions involving insurance coverage opinions and insurance litigation in addition to civil practice in the fields of business litigation and torts. This experience has been an asset to the firm in handling complex matters.
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Marian Drake, R.N., Nurse/Paralegal
Marian Drake has a nursing career that spans twenty-six years. She has been a supervising nurse in a large intensive care unit and has worked in the neo-natal and pediatric intensive care units. She has been working as a nurse/paralegal since 1989. Ms. Drake has worked with the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants in presenting seminars and lecture series. She has also been active with the American Heart Association in monitoring and educating the general public regarding coronary artery disease.
Marian has been a valuable asset to the firm for over fifteen years, and assists with the marshalling and interpretation of the voluminous medical records generated by medical malpractice litigation. She also keeps current information on medical experts in all areas and assists with coordinating the effort to keep the experts fully informed and prepared. Marian also assists in the firm’s general liability cases, and has a keen eye for medical fraud and illegal practices.
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Dennis R. Carlson, Office Administrator
Dennis Carlson provides a significant and important contribution to the firm by keeping the lawyers busy practicing law while he handles the business operations of the firm. Dennis obtained his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting in 1980 from San Diego State University. Dennis began his career working as a staff accountant with a Southern California CPA firm. Finding an aptitude for handling all business affairs in a small to medium sized law firm, Dennis shifted his focus to law office administration. Dennis has twenty-five years experience as a law office administrator.
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