SEATTLE COMMITS TO ACCESSIBILITY FOR THE MOBILITY IMPAIRED

David Whedbee, MacDonald Hoague & Bayless lawyer and plaintiff in this ADA class action lawsuit, Reynoldson et al v. City of Seattle, worked successfully to win a settlement with the City of Seattle to ensure wheelchair users and others have dependable, safe access to the city’s entire transportation system and sidewalks.  Ably represented by Disability Rights Washington, Linda Dardarian, and Tim Fox, plaintiffs secured a settlement that entails construction of 22,500 curb ramps over the next 18 years and improvements in the way citizens may request new curb ramps and expedite repairs.  For full details on this settlement, click on the press release issue by the City.

Reynoldson Final Press Release

 

FEDERAL COURT AWARDS $15M FOR THE THOMAS FAMILY IN SWAT KILLING

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MacDonald Hoague & Bayless lawyers, Tim Ford, David Whedbee and Tiffany Cartwright were honored to represent the family of Leonard Thomas, an unarmed man shot and killed by police while holding his young son.  The jury found for the Thomas family and the estate on every count: unreasonable seizure, excessive force, false arrest, negligent investigation, deprivation of family relationship, using explosives to breach a home, causing severe emotional distress and unreasonably killing the family pet.  For more details on this case, please see the following links.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/15m-awarded-to-family-of-unarmed-black-man-killed-by-sniper/2017/07/14/ee0db78e-68f3-11e7-94ab-5b1f0ff459df_story.html?utm_term=.9aba717256bd

http://www.latimes.com/nation/sns-bc-us–sniper-shoots-man-lawsuit-20170715-story.html

https://url.serverdata.net/?aLma8-SzPZKfoOc4VcoVCL2QOX7e529kddSopmJgSsQGlVjnge97uMCZFXeFw80ItPG7aKbskUJ5VhxgECifpIHu4FXVhJ7vnVQiqRZq8FHQBbGwbfTOQKm9040xd0iKc

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/jury-awards-nearly-15m-to-family-of-unarmed-black-man-killed-by-swat-sniper-in-fife/

Federal Court Awards $1.8 million to Employee Wrongfully Terminated by Snohomish County PUD for her Disability

Federal District Court Judge John C. Coughenour today ordered the Snohomish County PUD to pay $1.8 million to a former customer service representative, after it wrongfully terminated her for perceived side effects from prescription medications for her chronic migraine headaches.

Coughenour said the PUD failed to accommodate Cynthia Stewart’s disability, and discriminated against her because of it, writing the PUD should have: “treated her as an employee with a medical condition, rather than a drug abuser.”

Ms. Stewart suffered debilitating migraine headaches the entire 23 years she worked as a customer services representative for the PUD.  In 2013, PUD supervisors began expressing frustration at Ms. Stewart’s need for time off to receive treatment for her migraines.  In October 2014, a supervisor claimed that Ms. Stewart showed signs of impairment after she returned from her doctor’s office where she received a shot of pain medication.  Even though the PUD knew any side-effects were a direct result of the medication prescribed for her disability, it forced Ms. Stewart to sign a last-chance agreement as a condition of her returning to work – effectively threatening to fire Ms. Stewart if it ever again suspected she suffered such side effects.  In April 2015, the PUD again suspected Ms. Stewart of being impaired after a doctor’s visit, and terminated her employment.  “The PUD treated Ms. Stewart like a drug addict and criminal, rather than accommodate her disability as the law requires,” said Shaeffer.

Washington law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and prohibits employers from taking disciplinary actions against employees for their disabilities, including disability-related conduct or medication side effects.

“This is a victory for all Washington employees who suffer from a disability.  Employees should be able to seek appropriate medical treatment without fear of losing their jobs,” said Joe Shaeffer, one of Ms. Stewart’s attorneys.

The damages award included compensation for lost wages, lost pension, and emotional distress.  The Court also directed the parties to apply for an award of attorney’s fees and costs, as well as an award to compensate Ms. Stewart for adverse tax consequences of the award.

Ms. Stewart was represented by Joe Shaeffer, Katie Chamberlain, and Sam Kramer of MacDonald Hoague & Bayless.

Trial Ordered In Police SWAT Team Killing Of Unarmed Man

A federal judge has ordered a trial of the civil rights claims brought by the family of Leonard Thomas, an African American man killed by a SWAT team at his home in Fife, Washington, in 2013. The Thomas family is represented by MHB lawyers Tim Ford, David Whedbee and Tiffany Cartwright.  The trial is set to begin June 19, in federal court in Seattle. Below are links that provide more details.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/trial-begins-in-swat-sniper-killing-of-unarmed-black-man-in-fife/

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/racial-bias-video-wont-be-shown-to-jury-weighing-police-shooting-of-black-man-in-fife/

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/family-military-tactics-by-cops-led-to-killing/

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/judge-jury-should-decide-whether-police-were-overzealous-in-fatal-shooting-of-fife-man/

http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/article154926244.html

 

Class Action Lawsuit for Wage Violations by Jackson Hewitt

Beginning in the 2013 tax season (approximately January 2014 through April 2014) and continuing to the present, Jackson Hewitt has run promotions offering $50-100 gift cards for qualifying customers who hired Jackson Hewitt to complete their tax returns. MacDonald Hoague & Bayless is suing Jackson Hewitt for deducting the value of these gift cards from individual tax preparers’ revenues, lowering their earned commissions. In doing so, Jackson Hewitt violated the tax preparers’ commission contract and Washington’s wage laws.

If you worked as a tax preparer during anytime from January 2013 to the present, we would like to hear about your experience. You may be entitled to recover lost compensation from Jackson Hewitt. Please email attorney Jesse Wing at jessew@mhb.com, or call him at (206) 622-1604.