Professional Profiles

Vanessa Whirl-Grabau


California Western School of Law, San Diego, California

  • J.D. – 2011
  • Honor: Moot Court

University of Nevada, Reno

  • B.A. – 2009

Bar Admission(s)

  • Washington
  • California
  • Texas 

Court Admission

  • U.S. District Court – Southern District of California


On the litigation team at THOMAS LUCAS, Vanessa Whirl-Grabau, (licensed in California, Washington and Texas), represents insurance and personal clients alike in cases involving elder abuse, wrongful death, auto/trucking, catastrophic injury, premises liability, products liability, subrogation, defamation, business disputes, contamination/environmental, property/easement disputes, sexual assault, negligent hiring/retention, property damage/fires, discrimination, civil rights, as well as other non-traditional cases where insurance defense is triggered.

Ms. Whirl also serves as private counsel or Cumis counsel, representing both individual or corporate interests.

Her interpersonal skills and communication contribute to her strong client relationships and her ability to work amicably with opposing counsel. Her prior experience in plaintiff litigation also adds to her well-rounded understanding of litigation and the law as a whole. Vanessa excels in oral advocacy and her ability to represent the interests of her clients and appeal to a jury.

Recent Representations

Elder Abuse Litigation

  • Represented 54-bed residential care facility for the elderly, through trial as second chair, in suit filed by the family of a dementia resident that eloped from the facility.
  • Numerous elder abuse cases focusing on development of and alleged failure to treat, decubitus ulcers.
  • Represented long term care facilities (large and small) in allegations of improper supervision, insufficient staffing, failure to train, failure to obtain medical treatment and failure to meet the needs of residents.

Product Liability Litigation

  • Represented well-known superstore retailer and kitchen appliance company in serious burn cases in which a coffee press was alleged to be defective.

Premises Liability Litigation

  • Successful drafting of motion for summary judgment on third-party criminal conduct allegations against a small donut shop in Los Angeles. Obtained successful dismissal of all causes of action against the client; affirmed on appeal.
  • Representation of apartment complex following slip and fall on black ice.
    Defense of major bulk-retailer following serious injury of a child after climbing a cat tower on display in the retailer’s warehouse.
  • Multiple representations of personal injuries cases arising on properties from improper contracting practices.

Automobile and Trucking Litigation

  • Numerous defense representations in catastrophic injury, brain injury, and deaths, stemming from high impact car/trucking/motorcycle accidents.

Business Litigation

  • Representation of medical partners after breach of joint practice agreement.
  • Business dispute defense following sale of coffee carts and break down of the business relationship.
  • Breach of contract/implied contract following failure to repay a loan between friends.

Property Damage Litigation

  • Numerous fire cases including private homes and high-end San Diego restaurants.
  • Water damage, mold, and tree root encroachment defenses.

Professional Affiliations

  • San Diego County Bar Association, Member, 2012–present
  • San Diego Defense Lawyers, Member, 2013–present; Board of Directors, 2016–present
    Lawyers Club, Member, 2017

Community Involvement

  • Pro Bono Honor Society – hours dedicated to YWCA Legal Clinic, 2010 – 2011
  • Gamma Phi Beta
  • Phi Alpha Delta