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 driver who suffered multiple injuries and PTSD after his stopped car was rear-ended by a van that failed to brake
Texas resident Stewart M. was en route to host a charity event in the Seattle area when traffic came to a standstill on Interstate 405. An electrician in a Sprinter van behind him neglected to slow down, rear-ending Stewart's rental car at a speed of approximately 60 miles per hour. Stewart suffered numerous serious injuries, including multiple torn labra, as well as severe anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). On the recommendation of a family member, he hired Tony Shapiro and Marty McLean of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP to negotiate a settlement with the electrician's insurance company, Liberty Mutual. He describes his experience with Tony and Marty below:
My whole family is personal injury attorneys down in Texas. Tony had worked with either my uncle or grandpa before. They referred me to him. I met Marty maybe six months after. They were both amazing people. Marty became my day-to-day. He was incredible in terms of the emotional roller coaster of PTSD and throughout the litigation process. He became a good friend over the course of a good year-and-a-half, almost two years.
It was a nightmare dealing with Liberty Mutual. I'd made a social-media post of 30 seconds of me dancing with my kids and my wife and they tried to say that means I wasn't hurt. Throughout all of that, Marty and Tony just held my hand throughout the whole thing. They never made me feel unimportant. Tony was a father figure. Marty was always there for me.
They kind of took on a good cop-bad cop role with the adjuster and the attorney for Liberty. It got to the point toward the end of the lawsuit that this attorney for Liberty Mutual would not even email Marty back. She would reach out to Tony, but not Marty. There were many aspects of personal injury law in the state of Washington that are very different from Texas, so their expertise helped tremendously. Every move they made was the right move.
I remember getting the phone call that they'd made an offer, which was even higher than what we were expecting. I felt like I could breathe for the first time in a year-and-a-half. I broke down multiple times during the process, but that was the first time I’d cried tears of joy.
Coming from a family of attorneys, I never felt like I was dealing with attorneys. I felt like I was dealing with friends instead of someone I'd hired to do a job for me. I felt like they actually cared about me as an individual and my family and what we were going through. My conversations with Marty were as long as they needed to be. He was equal parts therapist and attorney. It didn't matter what time of night; he would respond to texts and emails. Marty was always right there, every step of the way. We still talk every couple of days. I don't consider them attorneys for this lawsuit, I consider them friends for life.
A man suffers a fall due to city maintenance negligence
Hagens Berman's Personal Injury Team helped Gerard K. after suffering a fall in a crosswalk after warning the city that there was a risk in that same area due to a broken pipe. He describes his experience with Hagens Berman’s personal injury lawyers below:
I can only express my thoughts about the treatment of my case by Hagens Berman in the most positive language possible. Importantly, the outcome was everything I could have expected. More importantly, was the manner in which they achieved that outcome. Communications with all personnel working on my case was exceptional. I never had a doubt about where we were in the process and what the opinion of my attorney was regarding the necessary steps to get our settlement. All strategy decisions were made jointly and with complete, full explanations of the logic behind their recommendations. Every time I called with a question, answers were immediately forthcoming.
Issues of their compensation were thoroughly explained and well presented. I never doubted that I was being fairly represented, both monetarily and legally. I would be very happy to recommend them to any friend that needed legal counsel. I felt very comfortable that if they were brought an issue that was not in their “wheelhouse,” they would provide the best possible assistance to provide advice on other possible lawyers.
Thanks for your representation.
A disabled man survives abuse and rape
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.
A neglected, malnourished and abused multiple sclerosis patient
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.
A case of severe spousal abuse, wife held hostage on 28-foot sailboat and severely neglected
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."