Deadly Washington State Mudslide Leaves Families with Anguish and Unanswered Questions

Search and rescue crews continue to work near the towns of Oso and
Darrington a week after a mudslide left at least 24 people dead and numerous others missing.

The Darrington area, about 55 miles northeast of Seattle, experienced higher-than-normal rainfall, which may have triggered more than a square mile of earth to dislodge and cascade downhill. But other questions remain unanswered. The death toll has continued to rise as workers sift through the rubble that destroyed at least 30 homes.

‘Potential for a Catastrophic Failure’

The Seattle Times has uncovered a 1999 report filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that warned of “the potential for a catastrophic failure” at the site of the landslide.

“We’ve known it would happen at some point. We just didn’t know when,” Daniel J. Miller, co-author of the report, told the Times.

If this catastrophe was predictable, why are we only hearing of this now, after so many lives have been lost?

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Attorney Helps Grieving Family Obtain Answers

Ever since September of last year, local and national news has been thick with suspense over the case of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, who was gunned down by a police officer while seeking help from a motor vehicle accident in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At 2:30 a.m. on that fateful early morning, Jonathan Ferrell was on his way home from an after-work party when his car slid off a rural road. The wreck was intense, but Ferrell managed to kick out his back window, crawl from the embankment where the car landed, and make his way to a nearby house. Continue reading

Is Your Workplace Safe from Explosions?

The explosion in West, Texas came in the middle of a week of tragedy. On the evening of April 17, a fire at a fertilizer plant caused a massive explosion. The blast killed 14 people, injured hundreds of others, destroyed or damaged dozens of buildings and wounded the heart of the small town of 2,700 people. No foul play is suspected, making the explosion most likely a horrific accident.

The tragedy has caused Washington residents and officials to take a close look at potentially hazardous sites within the state. Continue reading

Was the Oregon Bus Crash Preventable?

Failing to learn from past experience: was the Korean tour company’s Oregon bus crash preventable?

Oregon bus crash

Photo by Randy L. Rasmussen, The Oregonian

With a heavy heart, I read about Sunday’s tragic bus crash on Interstate 84 near Pendleton, Oregon, which killed nine people and injured many more, all apparently tourists on a bus tour conducted by a Korean travel company (the Mi Joo Tour and Travel Company).  With relatives in the Pendleton, Oregon area, and having litigated bus roll-over cases as a personal injury attorney, I have traveled this section of road many, many times, during both winter and summer.  In the summer, under even the best of conditions, the westbound section of Interstate 84, with its treacherous downhill grade and convex curves, is concerning and requires great caution.  In the wintertime, it demands ultimate respect, with safe driving often requiring chains and speeds as low as ten (10) or fifteen (15) miles per hour.  One will often see professional drivers literally creeping at walking speeds as they drive westbound down I-84’s Deadman’s Pass in the far right-hand lane (the lane farthest from the steep ravines), with hazard lights flashing.

The saddest part of this bus crash, is the knowledge that it was most likely preventable.  Continue reading

Another Tragic Shooting — This Time in Bellevue

On Dec. 24, just after 1 a.m., one person was killed and another injured by gunfire just before last call at Munchbar, located at Kemper Freeman’s Bellevue Square. KING 5 News reported that several altercations led to the shooting. Reports also said several Seattle Seahawks players and reality TV star Aubrey O’Day were among a crowd of hundreds in the Munchbar when the shooting began.


An arrest warrant has been issued for Ja’mari Alexander Allen Jones, 19, who is suspected of carrying out the shooting. Continue reading

Is Cinemark Negligent in Batman Shootings?

colorado theater shooting

Monday, July 30: Earlier today, a Colorado court charged James E. Holmes, the 24-year-old gunman who killed 12 moviegoers and left dozens wounded when he opened fire in an Aurora, CO., movie theater during “The Dark Knight Rises,” with 142 criminal counts, including 24 of first-degree murder. Yet questions remain about the liability of Cinemark, the corporation that owns and operates the complex in which the Batman premiere was debuting.  Why, for example, weren’t armed guards and/or off-duty police present at the busy showing?

As the Huffington Post reports, the Colorado movie theater “didn’t have any uniformed security guards on duty the night of the shooting, even though other theaters operated by the same company did.”

Perey Law Group PLLC has vast and successful experience in cases involving inadequate security provided by large national corporations. In fact, one of our cases, Tolenoa v. Denny’s, resulted in the largest verdict of its kind: $46.4 million.

Case Similarities

The similarities between Tolenoa v. Denny’s and the Colorado shootings are starting to emerge: Continue reading

Wrongful Death Laws in Washington State

Washington state supreme court

When a life ends because of negligence or medical malpractice, the legal rights of the surviving husband, wife, parent, or other family members are commonly referred to as a “wrongful death” lawsuit.

Unfortunately, the wrongful death laws in Washington State do not treat everyone fairly.  A single adult that is not married is not as valued as a married adult under the eyes of the law.  That injustice has been considered by our state legislature on several occasions, but the politicians have never fixed the problem with the laws.  Lawyers at our firm have meet with politicians in Olympia to remedy this problem and will continue to lobby until the law is changed so it is fair to everyone. Continue reading