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Lawsuit Settlements

TCLMD Congratulates its 2014 Super Lawyers

Every year, Washington lawyers are invited to nominate the top attorneys who they have observed in action. The research staff at Thomson Reuters, a national publisher, also searches for lawyers who have attained certain honors or results.

The candidates are then evaluated based on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Candidates are then grouped according to their primary practice areas, then by categories based on firm size. The attorneys with the highest totals from each category are selected.

In the end, only the top 5% of attorneys nominated are named “Super Lawyers.”

Tacoma Personal Injury Lawyers Named “Super Lawyers”

This year, TCLMDS is proud to announce that three of its attorneys made it on the list: Mike McKasy, John Durkin, and Shelly Speir.  Congratulations, Super Lawyers!

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Tenant Receives a Brain Injury on Unsafe Stairs in Rental Unit

On October 31, 2009, our client, Connie Moreno, was walking down a set of stairs in the rental unit where she lived. The stairs were very steep, and the treads were so narrow Connie’s feet did not fit on them. When she reached the bottom stair, she lost her footing and fell backwards, hitting the back of her head and neck on a metal railing.

Connie did not have any cuts on the outside of her skin, so she thought she would be okay. She got up and continued with her day. Connie did not know that the fall had caused tears in her vertebral arteries and that the blood supply to her brain was partially blocked.

Over the next six weeks, Connie began having severe headaches, and she became sensitive to light and sound. She started having trouble speaking and she became easily confused by projects that used to be easy for her. She felt tired, but couldn’t get good sleep because laying down hurt her head.

Brain Injury Attorney In Tacoma

Finally, in December, Connie’s headaches were so bad that she went to the doctor in tears. She vomited and collapsed while at the doctor’s office. Connie was taken to the hospital, where imaging studies revealed the damage to her arteries and the blocked blood supply to her brain.

Connie was placed on medication to help restore proper blood flow to her brain, but permanent damage was already done. Imaging studies showed that the lack of oxygen had caused tissue in Connie’s thalamus to die, causing an “infarct” or stroke. Connie was ultimately diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and post-concussive syndrome.

Connie hired Shelly Speir to represent her in a claim against her landlords.

Our investigation revealed that the stairs where Connie fell were not up to code. They were too narrow, and the treads on the individual stairs were different sizes. This was dangerous because the size of individual stairs helps us gauge our gait when we go down stairs, and any irregularities in the stairs interrupts the gait, creating a trip hazard.

We also discovered that Connie’s landlord was a contractor. He testified that before he rented the property to Connie, he measured the stairs. He claimed they were up to code, and did nothing to fix them before he had Connie sign a lease.

Connie and Shelly mediated the case in April 2013, and a settlement of $250,000 was reached.

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On February 17, 2009, our client was the back seat passenger of a Pierce Transit shuttle that was headed westbound on Highway 512.

The shuttle came to a stop for traffic ahead.  A semi-truck owned by Di Pietro Trucking did not stop and hit the shuttle.

The force of the impact caused our client’s head to whiplash and hit the back window, breaking out the glass.

Before to the collision, our client suffered developmental delays, but had never suffered from epilepsy.  Within 48 hours after the collision, she began having seizure activity ranging from short periods of staring to grand mal seizures.  The seizures were physically painful, but were also emotionally troubling to our client, who had the mental capacity of a five- to seven-year-old.  Our client’s doctors opined that she would need to take medication for the rest of her life to keep the seizures under control.

Shelly Speir settled the case for $591,095.  Because our client was on public assistance, Shelly helped to establish a special needs trust so her benefits would continue after she received her settlement. Also, her parents had not been appointed as her guardians, so Shelly helped them find a guardianship attorney and get officially appointed in court.

Our Tacoma Personal Injury Law Firm specializes in all sorts of highway collision claims.  If you have been injured in a collision in Tacoma or anywhere in the Puget Sound region please call our firm at 253.777.1900.  We are hear to help protect your rights and fight aggressively for a positive financial outcome for your injuries.


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In December 2012, Shelly Speir settled a case for a 58-year-old journeyman carpenter from Groton, Connecticut who had fallen on ice and snow in a Marysville Target.

Although Target had an Illinois property management company that had hired a local construction company to plow snow and deice Target’s parking lot, that work had not been done for several days during an extended snowstorm.

Our client slipped and fell in an accumulation of ice and snow, causing a full-thickness rotator cuff tear in his left shoulder.

The injury required immediate surgery. After completing his medical treatment, our client was still given a 13% permanent disability rating and could no longer work full time as a carpenter.

Shelly mediated the case against Target and the property management company and obtained a $68,000 settlement.

Because the construction company never responded to the lawsuit, Shelly took a default judgment against the company for another $82,000, bringing the total case value to $150,000.

Contact our Tacoma Law Firm TCLMDS 253.777.1900 if you have had a construction accident while being injured at work.  We represent clients throughout the entire Puget Sound region and will fight for your rights and deserved compensation.

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Mike McKasy just settled a case for a client against Winco Foods, a warehouse grocery store operation in Renton, Washington. The store serves over 6,000 customers per day and is open 24 hours a day.

The main exit walkway had a small area that was ripped up for repair and the partially completed project was left without any warnings or protective barriers for exiting customers.

Our client was exiting the store at 10:30 p.m. and fell in the hole in the walkway, severely injuring her knee. Our client was a 6th grade school teacher, and after having surgery on the knee, was left with residual problems in the joint. Winco and the paving company responsible for the job, Emerald Paving, agreed to settle the claim for $90,000.

Our Tacoma Law Firm specializes with clients that have received an accident or injury on a  pedestrian walk-way or on dangerous and defective property in all of Tacoma and the Puget Sound region.


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The estate of a Fircrest man who was killed when a Pierce County Deputy Sheriff hit his moped has settled its claim with Pierce County for $1,650,000.

Dale Neel was 61 years old and driving home from work on his moped when Deputy Jason Smith approached in the opposite direction travelling over 55 mph to a traffic stop already covered by another deputy and a Tacoma city policeman. 

Smith had his lights and siren on, so Neel moved from his position in the center turn lane to the curb.  Smith inexplicably crossed the center lane and entered the opposing lane, striking Neel at the curb.  Neel died an hour later in the hospital.

Smith was working under contract at the time for the City of University Place.  He had a history of 5 prior accidents, 3 of which had been determined to be “preventable” by the Pierce County Sheriff’s office.

Neel was survived by his wife, Linda, and two adult children.  Mike McKasy, attorney for the estate, said that as part of the settlement, Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor agreed to meet with Linda Neel to discuss what changes could be made to emergency responses by deputies that could avoid another tragedy.

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Our Tacoma Staff Helps Our Clients with Lawsuit Settlement Agreements

By Kelsey Frey and Alicia David

Congratulations!  You’ve just settled your case.  Now what?  First, one of the two following things will happen:

1)     The insurance company will send both the settlement check and release of all claims; or

2)     The insurance company will send the release first, wait until they receive the signed release back, then send out the settlement check.

Someone from our office will call and let you know that the release and check are in, and will make arrangements with you to sign.

When you are signing the check and release, we will also have you sign a W-9 form. The W-9 form is for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because the interest you earn while your settlement money is held in trust is considered taxable income.

Also, if a portion of your settlement was allocated for wage loss, that portion is also taxable income.

It’s Important to Understand the Process Before Funds are Released

Once you’ve signed the release, check, and W-9, the check will be deposited into a trust account at our bank.  The funds must remain in the trust account for at least 10 business days until the money has cleared.

Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.15A(h)(7) states, “a lawyer must not disburse funds from a trust account until deposits have cleared the banking process and been collected…”

The 10-business-day time period is the time frame recommended by the Washington State Bar Association and that is the procedure that our office follows.

While we are waiting to disburse funds to you, we will call your treating providers to find out if there are balances owing.

If you have PIP or health insurance, we will also find out what they have paid toward your treatment and confirm how much should be reimbursed.

Once the ten business days are up, we will call you to set up a time for you to come in and sign the settlement statement and pick up a check for your portion of the settlement.  Checks will be cut from your settlement to medical facilities and health or PIP insurance to pay off balances owed for injury-related treatment.

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Ladenburg McKasy Durkin, Inc. P.S.
6602 19th Street West, Tacoma, WA 98466

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