Hagens Berman's personal injury group prides itself on going above and beyond the expectations of our clients. To help you understand the depth and tenacity of HBSS, we have selected several clients to comment on the performance of our attorneys both in and out of court.
A brief description of each case is listed below along with comments from each client.
An elderly woman left to suffer when a nursing home administrator stole her pain medication
A testimonial from son Bill Bjarko
An innocent man crushed by falling logs
A testimonial from victim Guy Randal
A worker burned when a high-pressure gas line in severe disrepair exploded
A testimonial from victim R. Rios
A newborn who suffered permanent brain damage and severe developmental delays as a result of medical malpractice
A testimonial from grandmother B. Waller
A child hit by a negligent driver
A testimonial from victim B. Hernadez
An innocent driver killed in an unnecessary high-speed police chase
A testimonial from brother-in-law P. Deluca
Car accident survivor falls victim to a hospital's negligent care, causing him brain damage and irreparable damage
A testimonial from wife, D. Bloomquist
A disabled man survives abuse and rape
A case overview of Eric Busch v. DSHS
A neglected, malnourished and abused multiple sclerosis patient
A case overview of Jay Caulfield v. Kitsap County
A case of severe spousal abuse, wife held hostage on 28-foot sailboat and severely neglected
A case overview of Linda David v. State of Washington, DSHS
Bill Bjarko's mother suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis that left her in constant, crippling pain. After his mother's death, Bjarko learned that the drug-addicted nursing home administrator had been systematically stealing her pain medication, robbing her of a peaceful and pain-free existence. Bill Bjarko describes how Tony Shapiro of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro helped his family.
When my siblings and I first learned that our mother had been tortured by the woman whom we had entrusted to care for her, we knew that we had to do something to stop this from happening to other elderly people. But we needed an expert to guide us. Unfortunately, our first attorney let us down, stalling on the case for over a year and advising us to accept a dismissive settlement offer. My brother had heard of Hagens Berman (now Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro) and when we talked with Tony Shapiro about our case, he immediately understood the emotional turmoil of our situation and agreed to help us. Teaming up with Hagens Berman was the turning point in our family's experience. Tony was the advocate that we had been looking for.
At the time my mother was admitted to the center, she suffered from crippling rheumatoid arthritis that prevented her from caring for herself. Often confused and unable to identify where she was or what day it was, my mother suffered in constant pain and could not move, or even sit up, without assistance. Our family only wanted her to be comfortable and pain free at the end of her life. The doctors kept increasing the dosage of her pain medication, but her agony seemed relentless.
Tony immediately understood our family's shock and anger upon discovering that the hospital administrator was a drug addict who had been surreptitiously removing the high-dosage pain medication patches that had been prescribed for my mother. As soon as my mother was given a new patch, the administrator would find a reason to meet with her and take it away. It was unbelievable that anyone would target a helpless, bedridden, 60-pound woman.
Tony's compassion was matched only by his professionalism. From the very first minute of the litigation through the conclusion of the proceedings, I was impressed with Tony's leadership and his ability to work with the local Montana counsel. He marshaled the resources of the local attorneys and directed them onto the key issues of the case. Tony's grasp of the situation, his ability to quickly adapt to nuances in Montana law and ask the right questions at the right time was awe inspiring.
Tony's understanding of the law is unrivaled. Not only did he mediate effectively with the defendant's counsel-knowing exactly when to push and when to listen-he was able to compassionately communicate with us about what he and this civil case could accomplish. He helped my family understand that the mediation couldn't undo what had happened to my mother, but that we could do our best to make sure that it didn't happen to anyone else.
My family rests easier now because we know that we did everything that we possibly could to bring this atrocity to light. There is no looking back. We had the best on our side. Tony and his team explored every angle and brought my mother justice.
I speak for all of my brothers and sisters when I say we wanted the best representation possible to support our mother's interest, and we found it in Tony.
After he and his truck were crushed by logs hurtling off a logging truck that overturned on an overpass, Guy Randal came to Tony Shapiro of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro for help negotiating with the insurance company. He describes his experience with Tony below.
Read the March 19, 2003 Seattle Times article on the settlement in this case.
It was my wife who first suggested that I go to Hagens Berman (now Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro). She'd heard of Hagens Berman's record and, now that I've worked with Tony, I know why he is such an important part of the firm. We couldn't have found a better advocate.
When the accident happened in June 2001, I was driving back to my office and without any warning-four logs tumbled off the overpass above, crushing my truck with me inside. All I remember is a flash of white and then green, which I now know was the barrier fence that I crashed into on the other side of the median. Who is prepared for logs to come raining down? You can't anticipate that. You can't forget it either.
My biggest fear going into this case was that the jury would have no compassion or understanding of what I went through, and continue to go through. While I had significant physical injuries, I've had three operations to repair damage to my leg and hand, the psychological and emotional damage is perhaps the most difficult. To this day, I can't drive under an overpass without anxiety and in some degree reliving the accident. I was concerned that illustrating that to a jury would be difficult, but Tony did a masterful job.
Overall, Tony's preparation for the trial was amazingly comprehensive. When the trial started, I knew that we had a strong case and that Tony was ready for most any contingency. That preparation turned out to be incredibly valuable and there wasn't a moment in the proceedings when I felt that we weren't a step ahead of the opposing counsel.
Today I stand here with a renewed confidence in our judicial system. It works. The jury listened. They were involved. They cared. But I know they only did that because Tony was so powerful in the courtroom. I am thankful not only for the verdict, but also for Tony and his commitment and caring. What can I say about Tony that wouldn't be a complete understatement? He is remarkable, tenacious and unyielding. He worked tirelessly on my case, exploring every possible avenue. I will be indebted to that man forever.
Over the last two years, he's also become a friend. Inside the courtroom, he made me feel comfortable and confident. His closing arguments were incredible. The insurance company didn't want to deal with me, but he made them face up to their responsibility. Outside the courtroom, he was in constant contact, not just to talk about the case but also to see how I was doing. Tony's phone calls were a daily pick-me-up, giving me the courage to keep going.
I'm taking it one day at a time, but I know that I wouldn't be able to even think about going back to work and getting back to my life if it wasn't for Tony. He gave me his all, and we won. My wife and I have a little bit of closure now, which gives us the opportunity to look to the future. Thanks Tony.
Rick Rios was working near a six-inch gas line when the pipe exploded at a chemical plant in Moses Lake. He describes his experience with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro attorney Tony Shapiro below.
When I first was injured, I worried about my health, my family and what my life would be like afterwards. Would the hospital become a second home for me? Would I be able to see?
But with Tony Shapiro as my lawyer, legal issues were the last thing on my mind. Tony knew the minute details about my accident and the law, explained the complex legal issues in simple terms, and above all, protected my family and me. With his hard work and dedication, Tony instilled confidence at every step.
My injury occurred in October of 1998 when an elbow on a high-pressure gas line ruptured, spewing a cloud of hydrogen-chloride acid on myself and three other workers. Acid burned my skin and eyes, and flowed into my lungs. One of my co-workers died in the accident. The acid reduced my lung capacity by one-third and increased my susceptibility to now very dangerous colds and flu. My vision, once nearly perfect, now has a fuzzy quality that will never clear up.
In the beginning, Tony understood that I needed sound advice and protection. Instead of speaking 'legalese' and holding back details, Tony thoroughly discussed my options. He resolved the most pressing legal issues and immediately began to explore the best outcome for my case. Later on when we discussed possible settlements, Tony asked questions about what I would need to provide for my family and worked hard to provide the right settlement for me.
In the courtroom, Tony acted with considerable poise and legal expertise. With his confident presence, measured voice and strong arguments, Tony made me feel comfortable and ready to answer any question.
Throughout the case, Tony supported me with whatever I might need, even if it wasn't related to the law. When creditors began to pressure me for payments on my house, Tony stepped in and made arrangements that satisfied the creditors and let me keep my house. He and his staff were available day and night to answer even the most mundane question.
Tony's courtroom savvy and detailed preparation paid off when it came time to settle. Although nothing can erase the effects of that day, I feel I received a very favorable outcome that will protect my family and I for the rest of our lives. This was all due to Tony's hard work and skill.
After her grandson was born with severe brain damage as a result of birth trauma, Bonnie Waller came to Tony Shapiro of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro for help. Below she describes working with Tony through this difficult time.
I am writing this to thank you for the tremendous work you have done, and to thank especially our lawyer, Tony Shapiro. Tony's professional expertise, exhaustive preparation, and compassion were instrumental in guiding my family through our case against the medical staff that delivered my grandson. From finding the absolute best-qualified medical experts to anticipating the other attorneys' actions, Tony left no stone unturned. I really feel he put his heart and soul into this case.
My grandson Damani was born Dec. 1, 1993, in fetal distress. As a result of birth trauma, Damani was born with irreparable brain damage. He has cerebral palsy, seizure disorders and severe developmental delays. Damani will need care for the rest of his life. Tony's work has resulted in a better quality of life for my grandson because we can provide a higher level of medical care.
Throughout our case, Tony was accessible and honest, and worked hard to build mutual trust. We were most impressed with his attention to detail in securing evidence, selecting key expert witnesses and with his overriding professionalism.
Tony thoroughly prepared us for what we should expect during every step of the process. This was especially crucial for my daughter Angie, Damani's mother. He prepared her for very painful questioning from the other attorneys and adamantly protected her from delicate issues, such as life expectancy, that would cause excessive distress. Tony showed great care and humanity in respecting my family's vulnerability.
Although I cannot disclose details of our case, we were thoroughly satisfied with the outcome and with Tony's superior representation.
Struck by a car at the age of seven, B. Hernandez spent several months recovering in a hospital while Tony Shapiro represented his case. He describes his experience with the Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro attorney below.
When my family hired Tony Shapiro to represent me in a lawsuit against a negligent driver, we got much more than an expert attorney, we found a friend. We appreciated not only the successful result Tony won for my case, a settlement that now pays for my college tuition, but also for the compassion and support he offered during the ordeal.
The accident happened in spring 1990 when I was seven-years-old. My cousins and I were walking to their house after school and as we crossed a busy intersection, a driver neglected to stop and her car hit me. As a result, I spent three months in the hospital recovering from surgery on my head and stomach and from a broken leg. After the hospital stay, I was confined to a wheelchair for a month and walked with crutches for another month.
Tony's commitment to our case was obvious in his thorough research and preparation, and in the effort he made to support my family. I can still remember the friendly way he talked to us in the hospital room, and the comfort, security and confidence we felt from his presence. We knew that we could count on Tony.
Now, as I begin my freshman year at Highline Community College, Tony's perseverance still makes an impact on my college and career plans. After watching Tony win my family's lawsuit, I have decided to become an attorney; I want to give others the same feeling of reassurance Tony offered my family. My tuition at Highline and later at the University of Washington and law school all will be paid for with the settlement Tony won for us.
Tony's professional ability, his commitment to my case, and his friendship went far above what my family had expected. He really fought hard for me, and he won.
Peter DeLuca's brother-law-in was killed as a result of a high-speed police chase, leaving the family with a deep sadness and months of complicated litigation. He describes how Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro attorneys handled his case below.
After my brother-in-law Matthew was killed in a head-on car collision during a high-speed police chase, my family needed answers; we needed someone to help us understand how someone minding their own business could be killed in what we thought was a reckless manner. We needed someone to stand up for us, ask the tough questions and face down the legal teams the law enforcement agencies put forward. In short, we needed a strong, unflinching legal advocate, and we found him in Tony Shapiro.
The police pursuit that ended in Matthew's death began when an officer from the Sultan Police Department stopped a motorist whose license plate tabs were expired. Without knowing the justification for the chase, a Snohomish County Sheriff's Deputy entered the pursuit, eventually colliding with the traffic offender causing a head-on accident that killed Matthew. Matthew died after spending eight days in a coma at Harborview Medical Center. He was 25-years-old and about to graduate from the University of Washington.
The three parties we sued, the Sultan City Police Department, Snohomish County Sheriff's Department and the traffic offender involved in the pursuit, worked together in a joint defense. The two law enforcement agencies disagreed on their levels of accountability, adding a lot of strain and frustration to the mediation process. Tony was a step ahead of the game, though, at every turn. He anticipated every contingency of the complicated lawsuit and methodically took apart their case. For example, he was able to anticipate a change in the Supreme Court stance on police pursuits, based on a similar case in California, that would have knocked out a major argument in our lawsuit.
Tony hired an excellent private investigator, pored over the details of the accident, and knew more about the events of the high-speed chase and subsequent collision than the law enforcement agencies. His meticulous research yielded an incredibly accurate accident reconstruction. With this data, he asked brilliant questions during the deposition process. In the end, Tony used these deposition interviews to uncover the truth and effectively dismantle the opposition.
Thanks to Tony's work, the settlement has allowed Matthew's parents to begin to put their lives back together after his death. We were as pleased as we could be with the lawsuit, given Matthew's tragic death. With thorough research and disciplined argumentation, Tony was very effective in representing our case.
In 2002, Dr. William Bloomquist was riding in the passenger side of a friend's vehicle when he was injured in a horrendous rollover accident. Dr. Bloomquist suffered several debilitating complications that were worsened by the treating hospital's negligent care. His wife, Dayna, sought the counsel of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro attorney Tony Shapiro, and shares how he helped her and her husband.
In 2002, our family suffered a devastating blow when my husband Bill was injured in a rollover. Not only did Bill endure a fracture in his neck, he later suffered a coma, brain damage, and other physical, mental and emotional pain that changed the course of our lives forever.
Initially, the physicians treating my husband predicted that he would come away from the accident without major long-term effects. They were so confident of his quick recovery, that they said he would go home after just a week in the hospital. But when Bill's condition worsened and the doctors became evasive in giving me information about his condition, I knew something else was wrong. I sought the advice of my family attorney who referred me to the expert counsel of Tony Shapiro.
At first I was anxious about going to any attorney. I knew that dealing with my husband's condition along with the legal issue would cause stress and hardship for my family and me. But despite these fears, I knew that I needed help to make sure that I had an advocate to stand up for my husband.
As soon as I met Mr. Shapiro I was immediately put at ease; I was in good hands. Not only was Tony compassionate about what my husband and I were going through, he was also aggressive and sharp, which assured me that he was going to fight for our case.
Tony did a phenomenal job of handling our case. He immediately recognized that my husband's problem was more complicated than the hospital had told us. He went through the medical records with great care. Tony amassed overwhelming evidence showing that there was major incompetence in the hospital's treatment of my husband's injuries, which resulted in brain damage and other physical problems that the accident alone did not cause.
Tony arranged for mediation between the hospital, the driver's insurance company and me. Going into the mediation, I was confident that Tony had compiled meticulous documentation and legal backing to support our case. Equally important, I felt that Tony truly understood the hole that was left in Bill's and my life as a result of the hospital's poor care. He forced the hospital and insurance company to examine how the accident and the hospital's negligence stole away the years of retirement that Bill and I had worked so hard to prepare for, and had just begun.
Because of his tenacity, the mediation resulted in a settlement that I believe was very fair.
I am very grateful for the excellent work that Tony Shapiro did on our behalf. He made this ordeal as painless as possible by handling every step with integrity, kindness and resolve. Though I am no longer able to care for Bill, who now lives in a care center, we will live the rest of our lives with the assurance that our financial needs will be met. Some days are difficult, as I question why this happened to Bill and me. But thanks to Tony, Bill and I are doing our best to move on with our lives.
The State of Washington, Department of Social and Health Services placed Eric Busch, along with two other men with severe developmental disabilities, in the same state-licensed facility. Despite receiving repeated warnings that these men were being abused and neglected and DSHS did nothing.
For several months, the men continued to endure inhumane conditions and profound abuse. When they were eventually rescued, an investigator from the Office of the Attorney General concluded that the men had been burned with cigarettes, handcuffed, beaten, and raped on countless occasions. Instead of accepting responsibility for its role in this tragedy, DSHS buried its head in the sand-even blamed the developmentally disabled men for their own injuries and suggested that the victims were fabricating the abuse.
David P. Moody was asked to serve as the lead attorney for each victim. The case was extraordinarily complex. It took almost three years for David to put the pieces together and bring the case to justice. In the process, a team of at least six attorneys, all representing DSHS, spared no expense in their attempt to thwart each claim being advanced on behalf of the disabled men. Backed by the extensive resources of the State of Washington, DSHS fought as hard as it could.
Finally, as the trial approached, DSHS offered to pay a small sum if the disabled men agreed to drop their claims and go away. The answer was a resounding "no." These men had an opportunity to tell their story and change the system. A six-week trial resulted in the largest jury verdict ever imposed against the State of Washington, DSHS ($17.8 million).
Today, Eric and the other disabled men enjoy each day in a safe environment, equipped with every therapeutic resource they might need for the remainder of their lives.
Jay Caulfield was suffering from late-stage multiple sclerosis. He maintained a few precious abilities, including the strength to hold himself upright for short periods and the coordination needed to turn the knobs on his wheelchair. However, without 24 hour care, Mr. Caulfield could not walk, brush his teeth, change positions in bed, use the shower, or dial the telephone to call for help. Mr. Caulfield was entirely reliant upon his caregiver—a man who was approved, paid, and allegedly monitored by the State of Washington, DSHS.
While placed with the state-approved caregiver—for a period of only 69 days—Mr. Caulfield was severely neglected, malnourished, and abused. By the time Mr. Caulfield was rushed to the Emergency Room, his weight had plummeted to a mere 80 lbs. Upon admission, Mr. Caulfield had class IV bedsores that cut to his bones, his temperature was 105.8 degrees, he was septic, and his blood pressure (60/37) indicating that he was near death. Fortunately, Mr. Caulfield survived. However, the few abilities that he previously enjoyed were extinguished forever.
David P. Moody represented Mr. Caulfield in a civil action against the caregiver and the governmental agencies that paid for, but failed to monitor, Mr. Caulfield's care giving arrangement. In the face of damning evidence, the defendants denied wrongdoing, asked the judge to throw out Mr. Caulfield's case and, when those tactics did not work, pointed their fingers at Mr. Caulfield himself. The jury did not accept any of the defendants' excuses. Instead, the jury returned what is believed to be the largest single plaintiff verdict in the history of Kitsap County ($2.62 million).
The defendants pursued an appeal that was not successful. Mr. Caulfield not only won the appeal, but the court's decision has been published and will serve as legal precedent to protect victims in similar circumstances in the future.
Linda David endured more than 12 years of torture, beatings, malnourishment, and neglect while trapped on a 28-foot sailboat, which was moored 200 yards offshore. When rescued in January 1997, Linda could not walk, her face and ears were replete with deep scars, several bones were broken in multiple places, the sockets of her eyes were so damaged that she could no longer see, her nose was shattered, her upper teeth were knocked out, and very few lower teeth remained. Linda was found completely immobile, layered in rags that were covered in dog hair, feces, and vomit. Upon Linda's admission to the emergency room, the smell of rotten flesh and garbage was so pungent that the attending nurses were forced to apply autopsy compound under their noses.
The story of Linda David was reported to be, and is still considered, one of the most severe cases of spousal abuse in U.S. history. As a result of her injuries, Linda is profoundly disfigured and suffers from extensive, irreversible brain damage. Linda is legally blind, cannot ambulate, and must use a wheelchair for the remainder of her life.
While Linda was being held captive by her abuser, the State of Washington, DSHS was responsible for ongoing oversight and management of Linda's care. Despite its legal obligations to do so, DSHS failed to provide even the most minimal level of protection. DSHS ignored clear warnings of abuse, failed to assess Linda's caregiving situation, and continued to pay Linda's abuser without any effective oversight. By the time Linda was found, it had become clear that, over the preceding twelve years, DSHS had induced, supported and fostered the brutal and prolonged torture endured by Linda.
As Governor of the State of Washington Gary Locke acknowledged:
"The system failed Linda David, the woman who was apparently kept in virtual bondage. . . . It's that simple. The system failed. People failed. Officials failed. . . . We cannot give Linda David back her good health. We can never completely heal her battered body. But, we can stop making excuses."
Nonetheless, DSHS did make excuses. The attorneys for DSHS flatly denied Linda's claim for damages and quickly jockeyed to heap blame on Linda herself. In contrast to the statements by Governor Locke, the attorneys for DSHS boldly stated "The injuries and damages, if any, claimed by [Linda] were proximately caused or contributed to by the fault of [Linda]."
David P. Moody was honored to serve as Linda's attorney. Working closely with Linda, her guardian, and a team of talented experts, David successfully secured the largest single-plaintiff settlement against the State of Washington, DSHS ($8.8 million).
Far more important than the money is the vast array of new opportunities in Linda's life. Today, Linda visits friends, goes on outings, paints, participates in the care and feeding of horses, and attends community events. Her days are filled with activities as she is accompanied by loving caregivers around the clock.
Despite her formidable limitations, Linda is the most courageous, charming, and lovable person one could hope to meet. In Linda's words "There are two choices—the positive and the negative. If you are smart, you choose the positive."