RUNAWAY TRAIN: Work train loses control during a mountain pass descent and derails at 60 MPH, resulting in serious injuries to conductor. The train was based in Alaska, but the accident happened in Canada. We successfully pursued this claim under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act in Alaska, and obtained a substantial confidential settlement for the injured railroad worker.
ADA/FAILURE TO ACCOMMODATE: Longtime railroad worker exposed to battery acid fumes. After three months he is given full release to return to work. Railroad medical department arbitrarily refuses to allow him to return to work. Railroad has the worker examined by a medical doctor, then tries to suppress the examination report. We obtained a judicial order compelling release of the report, and after lengthy litigation the railroad conceded our client was entitled to work. Railroad pays a substantial confidential settlement.
TRAINS COLLIDE: Two trains approach each other on main line track. Train 2 disregards stop signals and collides with the middle of train 1, without braking, at 50 mph. Engineer of train 1 is surrounded by wreckage but suffers no physical injury. Claim settled out of service for substantial confidential amount for post traumatic stress disorder.
PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILMENT: We represented approximately 30 passengers and train crew who suffered varying injuries when a passenger train derailed due to defective track. As of this point, all but one of those claims have been resolved.
TRAIN YARD INCIDENT: Longtime switchman had dominant hand crushed between railroad cars during switching. Employee was alone and there were no other witnesses. Railroad spent a substantial amount of money on expert witnesses and claimed accident was employee’s fault. Railroad also claimed employee could work as a locomotive engineer despite loss of his hand, and offered a video purporting to show a one-armed engineer at work. After considerable work and expense, we were able to effectively counter the railroad’s defenses, and obtained a substantial confidential out-of-service settlement.
NON-RAILROAD WORKER FALLS OFF OF CAR: Industry worker is working on top of railroad car, brakes fail to hold and car starts to roll. Poorly conceived fall protection line drags employee off car and causes him to fall to ground and suffer severe injury. Employer industry provided worker’s compensation and was immune from suit. We obtained a substantial settlement against the railroad which supplied the railroad car, even though the incident was not on railroad property and the railroad did not have the right to control the accident location.
CLOSE CLEARANCE: Conductor is riding rail car through an industry. Steel pallets are left too close to the track and conductor’s leg is pinched between a pallet and car. Railroad tries to blame employee for his own injury. We prevailed and obtained a substantial confidential settlement.
FAILED GRAB IRON: We have handled several cases involving injuries caused when a grab iron unexpectedly breaks in use. Under general law, we would normally have to prove the railroad knew or should have known the grab iron was defective and likely to break. The Safety Appliance Act imposes strict liability on the railroad if the car is “in use”. On several cases, the railroad attempted to get our strict liability claims dismissed, claiming the “in use” requirement does not apply to yard switching. We fought and won each of those motions, and obtained substantial confidential settlements for our clients.
TRAIN COLLISION: Two trains collide on the main line at a high speed and everyone on board is killed. In one of the cases, the railroad attempted to blame the accident on the train crew and actually sued the deceased employee for the cost of replacing the locomotive and other equipment destroyed in the accident. We successfully fought the railroad’s efforts and were able to get a judge to dismiss the railroad’s claims. In addition, we obtained a confidential settlement for the benefit of the surviving family.
CUMULATIVE TRAUMA: The statute of limitation on railroad injury claims is generally three years, and it starts to run from when the employee knew or should have known there was an injury caused by work. In one case we handled, the employee injured his knee 15 years earlier and had settled the claim for a small amount of money. After 15 years, the employee’s knee had gotten worse and he was facing a total knee replacement. We successfully avoided the statute of limitation and asserted the railroad negligently assigned the employee to a job when it knew the job was likely to make his knee worse. We obtained a substantial settlement for this trainman who was already close to retirement.
VAN ROLL OVER: A deadhead crew hauler van lost control in snow and ice and rolled over, injuring several of the occupants of the van and killing the driver. The railroad claimed the accident was partially the fault of the passengers, who had authority to control the driver. One of the passengers suffered brain damage and could not longer work or care for himself. We were able to assert parallel state law claims that allowed us to add his wife’s claim to the case. Mock jury trials were used to evaluate trial tactics and determine jury reaction. This case settled for a substantial confidential amount shortly before trial.
TAMPERING WITH EVIDENCE: We represented the engineer and conductor in a train that collided with a commercial truck at a crossing. A judge later found that a railroad supervisor tampered with the evidence. The judge found the railroad liable because of the tampering and the cases were settled for a substantial confidential amount.
BICYCLE v. MOTOR VEHICLE CASES:
Client riding bike along curb was run off road by METRO bus, which ran over and crushed his foot. Confidential settlement.
Client participating in organized bike ride when overtaking motorist failed to allow sufficient clearance. The vehicle struck the cyclist, knocking him off his bicycle and breaking his shoulder. Confidential settlement.
Experienced cyclist traveling at 20-30mph on straight road. Motorist crosses road from left, allowing insufficient clearance. Cyclist strikes vehicle. Confidential settlement.
Client on bicycle on main arterial, descending a hill. Motorist fails to yield to cyclist and enters road from a stop sign. Policy limits settlement.
Cyclist on main cycling route participating in an organized bike ride. Motorist enters roadway from stop sign without yielding, causing collision. Case brought to arbitration with maximum award amount.
Group of cyclists riding on rural road. Vehicle turns left into the cyclists injuring four. We represented all four cyclists, cases settled for confidential amounts.
MOTOR VEHICLE CASES:
Man driving to work on a freeway in the morning. He is struck by a truck/travel trailer that had gotten lost and was going the wrong direction on the freeway. Multiple leg fractures, confidential settlement.
Passenger in vehicle killed by drunk driver, confidential settlement.
Motorcyclist strikes truck that entered the roadway, violating his right of way. Death, confidential settlement.
Motorcyclist was forced off of the road by a commercial truck turning right from an inside lane. His injuries were massive and consisted of left femur fracture, L2 and L3 blowout burst fractures, ruptured diaphragm, aspiration pneumonia, mild closed head injury, major recurrent depressive disorder and more. We brought suit against the truck company as well as the driver of the truck and obtained a substantial confidential settlement.
We have handled many traffic accident cases, too many to list in this short space.
NON-VEHICLE CASE: Young man is working on the construction of the Seattle bus tunnel. He is installing waterproofing using a heat gun and transformer. The equipment suffers a short and he is electrocuted and dies. Confidential settlement. As part of the settlement a plaque is installed in the tunnel memorializing his life and untimely death.
MINOR SEXUAL ABUSE CLAIMS: We have prosecuted a number of claims on behalf of victims of child sexual abuse. These cases are sensitive and confidential, and in order to protect our clients’ privacy we will not reveal any details.
The sexual abuse of a child does severe damage to the child’s mental health. Children usually lack the capacity to understand what has happened to them, and typically the feelings are buried, only to resurface years or decades later. Often these victims develop problems with family and relationships later in life and seek counseling to help them understand their problems. After a period of counseling, these victims can sometimes begin to discover how their current emotional difficulties can relate to the abuse they suffered as a child.
In one case handled by our office, we were able to establish new law that protects the rights of the victim. The decision in that case established new law on the time limits for filing suit. This new law substantially favors the victim.
OBSTETRIC CLAIM: Infant injured during traumatic delivery. Child developed cerebral palsy and was a quadriplegic. According to the judge who approved the settlement, it was the largest settlement in the history of that county for a medical negligence claim.
BARIATRIC SURGERY: Patient with weight problem given stomach stapling operation. The operation failed because incorrect procedures were followed. Confidential settlement.
PULMONARY EMBOLISM: Patient, inactive for two weeks from an injury, went to the emergency room for treatment. Although the doctors suspected a pulmonary embolism, no orders for medicine were ever given. Next morning the patient was put on a treadmill for testing, resulting in death. Confidential settlement without litigation.
UNNECESSARY HYSTERECTOMY: Young woman saw obstetrician for pelvic pain. The obstetrician diagnosed a pelvic infection, told the patient she needed a hysterectomy, and one was performed. In fact, the woman was not infected and the hysterectomy was unnecessary. Confidential settlement.
TM has represented and advised numerous clients regarding their rights under various federal and state statutes that provide protection to individuals who are disabled or have to periodically miss time off work due to their health conditions or the health conditions of family members.
For instance, we represented a railroad employee who was exposed to sulfuric acid fumes while performing his job duties. After being off work for several months, the injured worker’s doctor released him to return to work. However, the employer railroad refused to allow the injured worker to return to work, stating that it believed he could not safely perform his job. TM filed a lawsuit on behalf of the worker with claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Washington Law Against Discrimination.
As a result of motions filed by TM, a federal judge ordered the employer railroad to produce the reports it had received from several doctors whom the railroad had sent the worker to for neuropsychological evaluations. The doctors’ reports confirmed that the worker could safely perform his job duties with minimal accommodations by the railroad. Shortly thereafter, the railroad agreed to pay a large amount to settle with the injured worker rather than to proceed to trial, where it would have faced a potentially even larger jury verdict.
Thornton Mostul also represented two women who were oulled out of service by their employer railroad for medical reasons. The employer returned them to work after we threatened it with an ADA action if the railroad did not reasonably accommodate them by modifying thier jobs. In both cases, we were able to get our clients back to work without having to file suit.