Strong advocates for both plaintiffs and defendants in high-stakes personal injury litigation
We have substantial experience in the resolution of catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases and have tried scores of serious personal injury cases to verdict. Unlike most personal injury practices, we don’t limit ourselves to representing only plaintiffs or only defendants. This balance enhances our effectiveness in both roles — we have achieved multimillion-dollar recoveries for plaintiffs and defense verdicts and summary dismissals for defendants.
Our personal injury litigation practice encompasses all types of claims arising out of serious injury and death. Our lawyers have secured favorable results for individuals, families, property owners, and businesses in cases involving:
- Car collisions
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Premises liability claims
- Product liability claims
- Truck accidents
- Electrical contact and fires
- Gas explosions
- Boating and maritime accidents
Our personal injury practice draws upon our commitment to trial and courtroom-related work and our deep understanding of insurance coverage law. This combination yields high value for our personal injury clients who typically seek insurance recovery in one form or another, whether on the plaintiff or defense side.
Defense jury verdict for utility in $80M recreational use claim
GTTC partners Mark Wilner and Jeff Thomas, and associate John Cadagan, obtained a defense verdict in a month-long Zoom jury trial in October 2021. The plaintiff dove off a boat at the Quilomene Dune & Bay (the “Sandbar”) on the Columbia River in Kittitas County and struck his head on the river bottom, rendering him a quadriplegic. He then sued GTTC client Grant County Public Utility District. He alleged the Central Washington utility’s Wanapum Dam operations and its control over the mid-Columbia River waterway required Grant PUD to post a conspicuous sign warning of fluctuating water levels at the Sandbar pursuant to Washington’s Recreational Use Statute. The plaintiff asked the jury to award $79,193,239 after a three-and-a-half week trial. Approximately three hours later, the jury returned a defense verdict. The case was filed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The jury trial was held via Zoom – from jury selection through verdict – with opening statements, witness testimony, and closing arguments broadcasted on a live YouTube feed.
Unanimous multi-million dollar federal jury verdict in wrongful maritime death case
33-year-old Lia Hawkins was part of a small crew working in a Ballard shipyard as part of a project to turn a 300-foot long oceanographic-research vessel into a luxury floating hotel. She worked part time as an office assistant but, to avoid losing her job, helped the others with large-scale demolition of sections of the ship, including throwing heavy metal refuse through a gap in the ship’s fourth-floor railing into a recycling container four decks below. Lia disappeared from the workplace, leaving her car, keys and purse behind; her drowned body was later found in the water next to the ship. Her estate filed a maritime wrongful death action, alleging that Lia’s employer had failed to maintain a reasonably safe workspace on the ship, including having Lia—untrained in maritime matters generally and ship construction specifically—handling the demolition work. After a two-week jury trial in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Mark Wilner and Susannah Carr (along with co-counsel) obtained a unanimous $3.45 million verdict. In addition, the court awarded prejudgment interest and other relief, for a total judgment amount of over $4 million. The Court subsequently directed the U.S. Marshal’s service to seize the ship and auctioned it off to help pay the judgment.
$1 million settlement in pedestrian personal injury case
GTTC partners Mark Wilner and Jeff Thomas obtained a $1,085,000 settlement for long-time Seattle residents, Cynthia and Marguerite Civa. “The Sisters,” as they are affectionately known throughout the Capitol Hill neighborhood, were severely injured when struck by an SUV as they were crossing Broadway Avenue East on their way home. Following a failed early mediation, GTTC litigated the Civas’ case in King County Superior Court and eventually resolved the matter for a settlement involving payments of $200,000 limits from a personal lines auto policy, $850,000 from an excess business auto policy following coverage disputes, and $35,000 from underinsured motorist coverage.
Favorable defense outcome for utility following three-week “Stray Voltage” jury trial
Local Whatcom County farmers sued long-time GTTC client Puget Sound Energy, Inc. alleging that PSE’s electrical distribution system contributed to increased levels of neutral-to-earth voltage (sometimes called “stray voltage”) on the plaintiffs’ farm, which in turn caused approximately $6.5 million in lost milk production revenue. After a three-week jury trial in Whatcom County Superior Court during the summer of 2017, the jury rendered a net verdict for the plaintiffs for only $178,000. The case settled before entry of judgment for even less. GTTC partners Mark Wilner and Jeff Thomas defended the company and helped achieve this favorable outcome.
Multi-million dollar settlement for boy severely injured by baseball pitching machine
At a youth baseball club, a young boy had finished hitting drills in the batting cage and was picking up baseballs using his helmet as instructed when he was struck in the head by a baseball fired by a still-on “Iron Michael” pitching machine. As a result, the boy suffered a traumatic brain injury requiring a lifetime of special care. The boy’s devastated family sued the facility, alleging inadequate supervision of the children using its batting cages. Mark Wilner and Jeff Tilden represented the boy’s family in this complex three-year case. Following pretrial litigation in King County Superior Court, the parties reached a settlement that required the defendant to pay $2 million (primary layer insurance limits) and permitting a subsequent declaratory judgment action against the excess insurer for an additional $1.6 million—a lawsuit that settled soon after it was filed. As a result, the boy will receive the services he needs and the facility has strengthened its batting-case supervision.
Negligence case against apartment complex in hash oil explosion
A tenant manufacturing hash oil in his Bellevue apartment caused a massive explosion that destroyed ten apartments and their contents and injured residents. With the help of Michael Rosenberger, a tenant who lived next-door to the hash operation sued Hampton Greens Apartments and its property manager, Riverstone Residential West, for negligence. Despite having received a report of the drug operation, the complex and the property manager had failed to take action to commence eviction. After a bench trial, the King County Superior Court awarded GTTC’s client the full value of his destroyed property and general damages within the specific range asked for in closing argument.
Full trial and appellate court defense victory in gas explosion case
GTTC partners Mark Wilner and Jeff Thomas represented the largest utility in the Pacific Northwest and obtained a full dismissal on pretrial motion (affirmed by Washington appeals courts) in a multi-plaintiff, multi-million-dollar claim by firefighters arising out of a large Seattle gas explosion.
$1 million+ federal court jury verdict for pedestrian struck by truck
When their flight out of Bellingham Airport was delayed, a Canadian couple took a taxi to the Bellis Fair Mall to go shopping. After the cab driver dropped them off in a loading area at the mall, the woman was struck by an armored vehicle owned by Kenneth L. Kellar Truck Lines. With the assistance of Mark Wilner and Jeff Thomas, the woman and her husband successfully sued Kellar Truck Lines. The case resulted in a $1.3 million jury verdict for the plaintiffs.
Expert witness evidence in EMF tort case ruled inadmissible
In order to meet growing demand, Puget Sound Energy decided to replace an existing 52-year-old substation in Kirkland with a new and considerably larger one, which went on line in 2010. A group of homeowners sued PSE in King County Superior Court, alleging that the electromagnetic fields emanating from the substation were a public and private nuisance. The court ordered plaintiffs to submit scientific evidence, which included expert testimony. With Jeff Thomas’ help, PSE moved to exclude the plaintiffs’ expert’s declaration. After a three-day evidentiary hearing, the court ruled that the homeowners’ expert was not scientifically reliable. The homeowners appealed. The Court of Appeals certified the case to the Washington Supreme Court for direct review. In 2012 the Supreme Court affirmed. A plaintiffs’ ruling on this case could have had broad implications, potentially affecting 150 million homes across the U.S.