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Cases of Note

Maritime Law
$1.2 Million Dollars

Meyer v Devins, US District Court, W.D. of Washington, at Seattle.
In this action arising out of the sinking of the vessel West I, Mr. Carlson represented several surviving crew members of a ship allegedly scuttled by its owners in an insurance fraud scheme. The surviving crewmen drifted in life rafts in the open ocean for 14 days prior to rescue by a passing vessel, the USS Indomitable. In an odd coincidence, the ship West I was the same ship that was used to film the award-winning movie, Mr. Roberts.


Dramshop Action
$1.4 Million Dollars (with a guaranteed payout of $2.155 Million Dollars)

Shea v. Azteca Restaurant Enterprises and Christian, King County, Washington Superior Court.
In this case, Mr. Carlson proved that restaurant staff continued to serve an intoxicated patron, who later collided with the Shea family. Mr. Shea was killed, and the surviving family members injured. The case was difficult to prove because the server could never be identified. Eventually, Mr. Christian's companions reluctantly provided the evidence necessary to prove the case. The settlement provided lifetime financial security for Mr. Shea's wife and young children.


Insurance Law
Aetna v. Wadsworth, 102 Wn.2d 652, 689 P.2d 46.

In this dispute between a deceased's first and second wives over which one was entitled to the proceeds of a Group Term Life policy (where first wife was the named beneficiary), Mr. Carlson successfully argued before the Washington Supreme Court that the character of funds used to pay for the most recent term determines the character of a Term Life insurance policy (whether Separate or Community Property). The Supreme Court held that coverage purchased with community funds of the insured and his second wife entitled the second wife to ½ of the policy proceeds upon the insured's death, regardless of a contrary beneficiary designation. This case brought some predictability to an area of Washington Common Law which had been in a state of flux.


Construction Site Claims
$4.26 Million Dollars

Belcher v. Frontier Construction Company, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, AK.
Scott Belcher, a young construction worker, was catastrophically injured when he fell from a leased road scraper he was unable to stop due to inoperable brakes. Mr. Carlson took the case on referral from Alaska attorneys who had concluded there was no Third Party liability. Faced with the expiration of the Statute of Limitations in 6 weeks, Mr. Carlson identified the equipment owner and pieced together evidence to establish a record of shoddy maintenance as well as the owner's prior knowledge of previous accidents involving the same road scraper. Scott's lifetime specialized care needs were met, and his family provided for.


Lifetime Annuity
Milian-Antunez v. Prestige Custom Homes,

Mr. Milian-Antunez, a construction laborer, suffered debilitating injuries when he was trapped under a wall which had fallen due to the fault of other workers on the jobsite. A settlement was reached which provided for a lifetime income stream for this family, payment of all medical bills, and Labor and Industries benefits which included vocational retraining.


Premises Liability - Lifetime Annuity
Ratigan v. City of Renton

Andrew Ratigan suffered serious head injuries when he fell from his bicycle after losing control on a sidewalk damaged by tree roots. Mr. Carlson overcame a defense of governmental immunity to obtain a lifetime benefit stream for the child.


Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Wrongful Death
Dreier v. United States, 95 F.3d 1435 (9th Cir. 1996)

Ron Dreier, a U.S. Army soldier, died when he fell into a waste water drainage sluice on Fort Lewis, WA, and was swept to his death. He was off duty at the time. The U.S. district court dismissed the suit brought by his estate, concluding that the claim was barred by the Feres Doctrine, which bars claims by service members injured or killed while in the course of activity incident to their military service. Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135 (1950). Mr. Carlson won a reversal on appeal where he persuaded the appellate court to apply an "activities-based" analysis to Feres cases, thereby broadening access to civil justice for service members throughout the United States Armed Forces. This decision has been cited as "controlling authority" in more than sixty subsequent federal cases nationwide.


Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist
$889,500 Burkholder v. State Farm Insurance Company

The Burkholders were severely injured in a head-on collision in which the at-fault driver was killed. Mr. Carlson overcame a defense of "suicide-by-car" and obtained justice for the victims of this tragedy.


Defective Products
Villanueva v. Columbia Crest Winery

Ms. Villanueva was injured when the top of a wine bottle shattered during the cork extraction process, resulting in a severe laceration to her hand. Faced with a defense of improper use of the cork screw, a confidential settlement was nevertheless achieved which compensated Ms. Villanueva for the permanent injuries she suffered.


Disability Insurance
Lifetime Benefits
Crisostomo v. Standard Insurance Company

Mr. Crisostomo was unjustly denied disability insurance policy benefits after being diagnosed with Brugada Syndrome. Litigation resulted in a confidential settlement which included a lifetime benefit stream for this man.

© 2018 by William J. Carlson, Inc., P.S. All rights reserved.

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