The real and true story of how I ended upon the cover of WA St Super Lawyers Magazine 2019

In the middle of the Ride the Ducks trial Beth Taylor of Thompson Reuters called and asked if Super Lawyers could profile me for its annual magazine.  She wouldn’t take no for an answer.  Ross Anderson, a freelance journalist met me over a weekend.  We chatted a bit.  Over the next few months he read the press coverage of the Ride the Ducks trial. Watched episodes on Court TV.  And even came to trial.  A good part of the article was written before the verdict came down in February of 2019.

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Jane Doe Pseudonym Is Okay in Sexual Assault Lawsuit against "Celebrity"

Today a Federal Judge denied Defendant Nelly’s motion to dismiss a sexual assault and defamation case brought by the second plaintiff I’ve represented against him. In the first case, M.G. came forward with her identity because she had already been publicly identified and reporters were calling her within hours of the allege sexual assault. She was savaged through social media by fans of the rapper and others.

We filed this second lawsuit on behalf of “Jane Doe” so the plaintiff would be spared a similar horrible public ordeal.

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Phuong Dinh The Brave to give commencement address

Two extra years were needed for Phuong to graduate from North Seattle College after she was almost killed in the Ride the Ducks crash on the Aurora Bridge on September 24, 2015. She missed one whole year due to being at Harborview and the Kiero Rehabilitation Home. When she was able to enter school her injuries required her to take reduced loads. Including fitting in a total hip replacement surgery during winter break 2017. Phuong was the lead plaintiff in the Ride the Ducks trial that occurred from October 1 2018 through February 7, 2019.

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Ride the Ducks Trial Day 32: a chorus of objections

Skype witness Dr. Laukant is from Wisconsin – doctor for Rhonda C the former UPS driver who lives with her wife in Amish country.  We are avoiding calling doctors except for the cases involving surgery.  Here, the defense has denied all of the medical bills and so we need to go through the technical dance of having a primary care provider testify that the referrals were appropriate, the care reasonable and necessary, and the total hip replacement in particular related to the crash. 

In the first minute of testimony, ask if she’s a treating physician for the plaintiff, and Steve Puz objects. 

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Ride the Ducks Trial Day 30: The Hiraokas

Walk up stairs.  See the Hiraoka family.   One year ago took two trips in the space of two months to Japan to visit them.  First trip was a botch job because Scott did not realize you can only take depositions at the US Embassy in Tokyo.  Second trip the deposition went forward in the dingy embassy conference room. 

Dr. John Clark the lay witness is standing with them.   Greet them.  Walk into courtroom. Jesica tells me the interpreter is running late.  Then she tells me that our three witnesses for Tuesday are being stricken.  This is all awesome news first thing on a Monday morning.

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Ride the Ducks Trial Day 62: If We Could Turn Back Time: Closing Argument Ride the Ducks Trial

Jesica has marked off our half of the courtroom to reserve it for cocounsel clients, members of the law firm, and people who want to cheer us on.  Defense counsel ignore the signs and line up behind Jesica.  

 

Andrew shows me some of the transcript from yesterday.  Since I tactically missed it.  They are complaining about the second screen.  Conspiracy theorizing  am trying to block their view of the jury or vice versa.  So the judge tells them to move over next to us.  It’s even pettier than that though.  Remember the lego wall we built to keep them at least symbolically on the other side.  Well they have been stressing about that wall ever since.  They start to complain to the court that I might do something with legos during closing.  She shuts them down.  Seriously.  They are in a tizzy over a screen and legos on the eve of closing.  Gawd.

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Senate Moves to Amend Washington's Barbaric Wrongful Death Law of 1909

Yesterday, the State Senate, approved a motion to amend Washington’s wrongful death act.

According to the Associated Press:

In debate before the vote, the bill's sponsor said the provision stemmed from efforts by business interests at the beginning of the 20th century to block claims made by the families of Chinese miners killed in workplace accidents.

"This law has its roots in racist origins," said Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle. State documents date the provision in the law to 1909. Hasegawa's language echoed claims by the Korean parents of a student killed in the Ride the Ducks crash.

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Post Trial Motion: Ride the Ducks International Wants a New Trial and a New Judge

The jury renders its verdict. The media covers the story. The public sees the headlines. It looks like the case is over.

But no.

The 40 injured victims who have waited three and a half years for justice. Are still waiting.

Because Ride the Ducks International/its insurance companies have more legal moves to make.

Motion number one: Demand a new trial with a different judge.

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Your Honor: We object to ...the lego wall

I delegate the job of arguing legal motions and jury instructions to Andrew Ackley. He has this chore most days after trial and several full working days. At first sit at counsel’s table and watch him. But as the trial progresses, as soon as the trial day ends - bolt out of the door. Do not have the bandwith to listen to the tortuous exercise of compiling jury instructions nor the constant barrage of motions. Andrew is excellent. By dividing up these responsibilities can give full attention to preparing for the next trial day.

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How Not to Depose 54 Defense Expert Witnesses

We are running out of time. As we march towards trial too many depositions remain to be taken. We ask the four defendants to narrow their list of experts. They do no such thing. They ignore us. We ask for their experts’ opinions. The defendants tell us they won’t have them until after their experts review all of our experts’ opinions and depositions.

There is no way we are going to take 54 defense expert witness depositions. Why should we.

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Ride the Ducks Trial Day 19: Dr. Kleweno

Wake up too early.  Go back to pretend sleep.  Lie there.  Perform countdown of how long it will all take.  Remember Alysha has gone to the cabin with Nala and the house is totally quiet.  No Nala to feed or take potty.  Or to laugh with.  Reduce countdown.  Thirty minutes later have donned black cream and red plaid slim slacks, red shirt with ruffles, favorite Boss black jacket and pointy toe heeled boots with tassles that swing back and forth. 

One of the challenges in representing 40 people in a mass disaster trial is to put on their medical damages cases without taking weeks and weeks.We have been streamlining the case not only since before trial began, but also during trial.

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