PCVA supported the Northwest Epilepsy Walk in 2012 and helped raise thousands of dollars for epilepsy research.
August 6, 2012
July 6, 2012
After a four week trial, a jury returned an $8M verdict in favor of our client against the Catholic church. The jury found our client was abused for more than three years by Daniel Adamson, a former teacher and principal at St. Benedict School in Seattle, and that the Oblate pastor at the school, Henry Conrad, failed to protect him after multiple complaints by our client and other boys.
June 12, 2012
A four-year legal battle over the wrongful death of a Tacoma boy came to an end yesterday with the entry of a $2 million judgment against the boy’s mother. The case has resulted in more than $4 million total in settlements and judgments.
Michael Lee Ravenell sued Ivory Wong, the State of Washington’s Child Protective Services and Multicare for the wrongful death of Ravenell and Wong’s three-year-old son. Michael Kekoa Ravenell was beaten to death in May 2008 by Wong’s boyfriend at the time, Noah J. Thomas. Thomas pleaded guilty to a charge of homicide by abuse and was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2009.
In the spring of 2008, the boy’s father repeatedly called CPS for help after noticing significant bruises on his son and his 18-month-old daughter during weekend visits. Despite confirming the children’s injuries, CPS workers continued to allow Wong to remain as primary care giver. CPS workers also knew of Noah Thomas’s presence around the children prior to the three-year-old’s death, but failed to run his name in its computer system.
“Had CPS done so,” Tacoma trial lawyer Darrell Cochran told reporters, “the agency would have discovered Thomas’s prior criminal conviction for beating and burning his own children.”
Monday, Pierce County Judge Susan Serko entered a default judgment against Wong for neglect and gross negligence by allowing Thomas to be home alone with the Ravenell children despite knowing of his violent past. The State and Muticare had both already settled out of court.
“The heartache for Mike Ravenell will never end,” the family’s attorney Paul Donion said yesterday. “But getting this judgment today at least forces a final measure of accountability for everyone involved in Kekoa’s death.”
May 10, 2012
by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News
Posted on May 10, 2012 at 2:47 PM
Bus driver who molested girls: ‘I’ll never understand the pain I’ve caused’
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Olympia School District did not do enough to protect a girl from a convicted child molester who drove buses for the district, according to parents of a 7-year-old victim. The family is now filing a claim against the district.
The parents of two other girls have already filed lawsuits as a result of Gary D. Shafer’s actions. Shafer was sentenced to almost 15 years in prison in 2011.
After his arrest, Schafer admitted to sexually assaulting young girls on the bus, sometimes even riding as a passenger on another school bus under the pretense of helping the driver with the students.
Abbigail Gutierrez, one of the mothers who has already filed suit, said she learned later that Shafer would have her daughter sit on his lap, tickling her and telling jokes to groom her. Gutierrez claims his behavior should have been a red flag to his co-workers and supervisors in the school district.
Gutierrez said her daughter is in treatment and still has anxiety about riding the bus and being around adult men outside of her immediate family. Her mother worries about the long-term affects the abuse will have.
In the newest claim against the district, attorney Darrell Cochran writes “According to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Shafer has sexually assaulted more than 20-30 girls who rode buses in the Olympia School District, from 2005 to December 2010, all of whom were either young girls or special needs students.”
Cochran represents two of the three families who have filed suit.
The district said it can’t comment on pending litigation, but in the past stated that Shafer passed all his background checks.
May 10, 2012
Attorney Darrell Cochran argued in front of Judges Gould, Bybee, and Bea in United States Court for the 9th Circuit in the Brendan McKown v. Simon Property Group Inc, et al. case on May 7, 2012.
April 12, 2012
The Monterey Herald has uncovered evidence showing that the Christian Brothers appear to have transferred assets between corporations in an effort to shield them away from survivors of child sexual abuse. You can read the full article here, including Seattle sexual abuse attorney Mike Pfau’s perspective on the timing and what it means for creditors in the Christian Brothers bankruptcy.
April 9, 2012
A King County judge denied class action status for property owners who sued the Port of Seattle over its use of SeaTac’s controversial Third Runway. The judge’s ruling means that thousands of homeowners affected by the Third Runway’s increased air traffic must each file individual lawsuits if they hope to recover for property damage caused by the roar of jet engines.
Plaintiffs Miriam Bearse, John McKinney and Darlene Moore sought permission from the court to represent all home owners who have lost property value due to the Third Runway in a single class action lawsuit. But in a 15-page written opinion issued on April 9, 2012, the Court denied the plaintiffs’ request and ruled that diminished property value, like that suffered by the plaintiffs, was too specific to each individual home and each homeowner for the lawsuit to be grouped together in a class action.
Tacoma attorney Darrell Cochran, who represents the plaintiffs, said that the court’s ruling will require all homeowners who have claims related to the Third Runway’s operations to come forward and file suit on their own. “We already have 333 people who were waiting to see how the court would rule,” Cochran said. “Now that class certification has been denied, we expect the number of people ready to file suit to protect their property rights to grow dramatically.”
If you are a homeowner who has lost property value or suffered other damages because of Seattle Tacoma International Airport’s Third Runway operations, please call us at 1-855-3RUNWAY (1-855-378-6929) to find out more or click here to contact us and learn more about your options regarding the Third Runway.
April 9, 2012
A New York bankruptcy court has issued firm deadlines for people to file claims against the Christian Brothers. Sexual abuse survivors must file a claim by August 1, 2012. All other claims, including claims for physical abuse, must be filed by May 11, 2012. People who fail to file a claim by the appropriate deadline may be forever barred from suing the Christian Brothers.
You can read more about our nearly decade-long fight against the Christian Brothers, including some of the damaging evidence we have gathered over time. We have also created a separate website about the bankruptcy process, including the deadlines for filing a claim against the Christian Brothers.
March 15, 2012
from the News Tribune, by Adam Lynn, February 5, 2012
A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy and his wife are suing a Gig Harbor pharmacy, claiming it twice gave their son incorrect dosages of medicine that made him very sick.
Darrell Cochran, attorney for Eric and Laura Carlson, filed the lawsuit in Pierce County Superior Court earlier this week. The suit names Olympic Pharmacy and Healthcare Services as the sole defendant.
The Carlsons seek unspecified damages.
Jeff Bond, owner of Olympic Pharmacy, referred calls to his insurance carrier in Iowa. A representative there declined to comment.
The lawsuit contends Olympic Pharmacy is “an imminent public health danger” because it has not instituted procedures to prevent similar problems.
“Plaintiffs hope to help prevent future injuries to their friends and neighbors who rely on this pharmacy and to recover fair and just compensation for their injuries,” the suit states.
The Carlsons contend Olympic Pharmacy in 2009 and 2011 improperly filled their son’s seizure medication, giving him too much of the medication both times.
The first time the pharmacy loaded eight doses of a drug called Lorazepam in a single syringe instead of single doses in eight syringes, the suit states. The boy lapsed into unconsciousness and was hospitalized with hallucinations.
Laura Carlson later called the pharmacy and was assured it would change it procedures to prevent another mishap, according to the lawsuit.
Cochran said in an interview the Carlsons decided to give Olympic Pharmacy a second chance, as they and other relatives had used it for years.
Last June, the boy had another troubling reaction after he took anti-seizure pills dispensed by Olympic Pharmacy, according to the suit. He spent time in the intensive-care unit of a local hospital as a result.
The Carlsons contend the pharmacy mistakenly filled the boy’s prescription with 600 mg pills instead of the 300 mg pills ordered by his doctor.
The couple claims Olympic Pharmacy was negligent in hiring, training and supervising the staff members who dispensed the medications.
The negligence inflicted emotional distress on the Carlson, “who for multiple days had to watch their son suffer in intensive car units, wondering whether he would survive, wondering if he would suffer a lifelong disability,” the suit states.
The couple also alleges Olympic Pharmacy violated the Consumer Protection Act.
“Plaintiffs also seek all damages afforded by statute, including treble damages, fees and costs as afforded by the Consumer Protection Act,” the lawsuit states.
Cochran said in an interview that the boy, now 13, has not suffered any apparent long-term effects, “but it will be a constant fear for both him and his family.”
“Every time there is some unusual change in behavior, the family worries about the overdose being a contributing factor,” he said.
March 13, 2012
Tacoma, WA: After a 7-year delay that included his case going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, a 12-year-old Key Peninsula boy with autism will finally get his day in court to prove that his school district was wrong for locking him in a closet as a means of discipline, according to the boy’s attorney, Tom Vertetis of Tacoma law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC.
In 2005, D.P., as the boy is known in the lawsuit, and his family sued the Peninsula School District in federal district court. The suit alleged that D.P.’s special education teacher at Artondale Elementary in Gig Harbor was violating the then-7-year-old’s civil rights and causing him extreme mental suffering by isolating him in a dark, locked 5’ x 6’ room, for indeterminate amounts of time as a form of punishment. The parents never consented to the teacher’s form of discipline.
“It’s unconscionable to think that a teacher in the 21st century could do this to a boy with special needs,” said Vertetis. Vertetis also said that sometimes the boy was so afraid in the closet that he would urinate and defecate on himself, with the teacher then making him clean it up. “The damage D.P. suffered at the hands of this teacher set his emotional state and educational progress back years,” Vertetis said.
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton sided with the school district and dismissed D.P.’s case, because the boy’s family filed suit before first having an administrative hearing with the school district.
D.P. appealed the case’s dismissal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The appellate court agreed with D.P. and reversed Leighton’s decision. The school district then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, but on February 21, the High Court refused.
The practical and lasting effect of the Ninth Circuit’s decision is to improve access to justice for disabled students. The decision will help courts separate which claims must first go through administrative channels from which claims may proceed directly to court. This has been a highly contentious issue in the courts and has often resulted in dismissal of disabled students’ claims. With guidance from the Ninth Circuit’s decision, both aggrieved parties and the courts can more easily determine where to first bring a claim. Knowing where to bring the claim is thought to reduce the number of dismissals of cases with disabled children, and ultimately give them greater access to justice.