News

Suing Seattle

Sun Sets on Seattle

Never Mind Nirvana, my third published novel, was set in the music scene of Seattle. This was an era when local bands became the focus of international attention.

Seattle, which had been sort of a cool secret, was suddenly famous. As Mark Arm of Mudhoney sang, “Everybody loves us. Everybody loves our town.”

There was the Seattle sound, the Seattle books, the Seattle movies, the Seattle-based Starbucks. Our rainy city had its day in the sun.

Eighteen years after Nirvana played “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on “Saturday Night Live,” Seattle is once again in a hot spotlight.

CHOP Shooting

On June 8, Seattle Police deserted their East Precinct building in Capitol Hill. Police Chief Carmen Best publicly denied giving the order. Nobody has owned the decision yet. As John F. Kennedy said, “Success has many friends. Failure is an orphan.”

Once the police vacated the precinct, the city ceded a six-block section of businesses and apartments. The area became known as CHOP, or the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest. There were other acronyms as well, such as CHAZ, Capital Hill Autonomous Zone, but the media mostly went with CHOP.

On June 20, Lorenzo Anderson was hanging out in the CHOP area when he was shot multiple times. He was nineteen. There were witnesses and videos. Everyone is a videographer these days, a boon to accountability.

Seattle Fire Department and police personnel knew Anderson was shot and in need of medical assistance. He was, in fact, bleeding to death. One video circulating on social media shows a man yelling at SFD medics sitting in an ambulance.

“You guys could be saving this man’s life right now…. You could be saving his life…. Sir, please explain, what’s going on? He’s dying. He needs your help.” 

Lorenzo never received medical assistance from the SFD medics who were staged about a block and half away. Instead, civilians drove him to Harborview Medical Center in the back of a pickup truck roughly 20 minutes later. He died there.

Prelude to a Lawsuit

Lara Herrmann and I filed a claim against the City of Seattle, King County, and Washington State for this wrongful death.

The city made numerous mistakes. Our claim is focused on two. One, Seattle officials created a dangerous environment, and two, city personnel failed to medically assist Anderson. There was no plan to provide essential services into CHOP, or at least not a working plan.

On one day the Mayor framed CHOP as a “summer of love,” and on another day city officials claimed the area was too dangerous for police and fire department personnel to do their jobs. Nobody was on the same page. Everyone had their own political agenda.

Our claim is a legal prelude to a lawsuit. We represent Lorenzo’s mother. Our goal is justice for Lorenzo’s family, accountability for the city, and answers for all of us.

There is still much to learn. Four TV stations covered the story, including Q13 and KOMO. Sara Jean Green at The Seattle Times also covered it, as did Matt Nagle at the Tacoma paper, The TW. I went on air with Dori Monson, Kirby Wilbur, and other radio stations. National media picked up the narrative and ran in a variety of directions, as the media is wont to do.

Ashley Hiruko at KUOW, a local NPR affiliate, ran a story on how the Seattle Police Department and Fire Department miscommunicated with each other the night Lorenzo was shot. Protestors were begging the SFD medics to come in for Lorenzo, but SFD’s confused communication with SPD contributed to the paralysis.

Trouble in CHOP was foreseeable, but city officials lacked the foresight.

More Shootings, More Lawsuits

After Lorenzo was shot, there were four more shootings and five more victims in CHOP, including a dead 14-year-old boy.

After police finally reclaimed their own precinct, and the abandoned area, the Seattle City Council voted to largely defund the police. The Mayor vetoed the bill. Oh, and Chief Best quit.

Stay tuned as this story continues. More claims and lawsuits have been filed, including one by local business owners and residents of the area formerly known as CHOP.

Personal Injury Lawyers

Meanwhile, as you likely know, I’ve been with Herrmann Law Group, a personal injury firm, since January of 2019. For my first year, I was primarily focused on our lawsuits against Boeing for the two crashes of the Boeing 737 Max 8. There have been numerous stories, and 60 Minutes Australia was one of the best. Many of the cases have since settled.

We still have work to do on our cases against Boeing, but this year I’m also working on a variety of other equally just causes. Please let me know if I can ever be of legal assistance to you, your family, or friends.

I’m continually pleased by the parallels between prosecution and personal injury work — pursuing justice, holding bad actors accountable, and helping people.

For more information about the transition from public service to private practice, you can read this cover story in The Tacoma Weekly or my author blog. Thank you.

Photograph by Alex Mertz


Working at Home

Lawyer Mark Lindquist Home Office

After I returned from Jakarta and Tokyo in late February, I went into a 14-day quarantine because of the coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19. About the time I was ready to return to our office at Herrmann Law Group, life changed. For safety, everyone at HLG started working from home. I already was.

One of my carryovers from the Prosecutor’s Office is Bill Bilichek’s mantra, “Do your job.” That’s what we are doing at HLG. Serving clients, accepting clients, and carrying on, albeit remotely. As I write this, I’ve been working at home for about seven weeks.

In early March, Governor Inslee issued a stay at home order for the entire state, which stays in effect until May 4, at least. I hear we should prepare for a long haul. The order will likely be extended in May, though restrictions will be scaled back.

With no end to working remotely in sight, I wrote an article for the Tacoma Weekly, “Top Ten Tips for Working at Home.” A writer before I was a lawyer, I am used to working at home.

If you’re also working at home, I hope you find it useful as well as entertaining. If you’re not working at home, see what you are missing.

Later, I posted the article on my blog, but an updated version that went out to the Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association, a.k.a. lawyers. In my blog post I add an eleventh tip in the spirit of Spinal Tap.

Also on my author blog, you can read the latest updates on our Lion Air lawsuit against Boeing. You can also find Lion Air updates in the news section of this site. We are making remarkable progress on behalf of 46 victim families.

Last year we filed the first vaping lawsuit in Washington State. That case is also moving forward. Vaping has fallen off the media map, as most everything has during this Covid19 crisis, but we are continuing to sign clients who have been injured from vaping.

As always, please let me know if I can help you with anything. I continue to enjoy the transition from local safety to global safety. As I told CNN, it’s about justice, accountability, and helping people.

Meanwhile, we come together by staying apart. Call me, FaceTime me, connect on social media.

Stay safe and remember: the Renaissance followed the Bubonic Plague.


Elevate Statecraft

Lawyer Mark Lindquist on statecraft

Statecraft is one of those semi-obscure words I like. Merriam-Webster defines statecraft as “the art” of governing.

We need more art in our politics. As President John F. Kennedy said, “If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place to live.”

Meanwhile, I’ve joined the vast majority of Americans who mostly tune out politics. In the past, I often quoted Russell Wilson who said, in response to negative chatter, “Tune out the noise.”

This year, I’ve tuned out the noise, the static, and almost the entire cacophony.

Partly this is because I am busy. I’m honored to be litigating one of the biggest public safety cases in the world. At Herrmann Law Group, we represent 46 victim families against Boeing in the crash of Lion Air Flight JT 610 out of Jakarta, Indonesia. The media attention has been international for good reason, including Sixty Minutes Australia.

We have settled some of our cases, but there is still much work to do. As I shared with CNN, our goal is “Justice for the victims, accountability for Boeing, and safer skies for everyone.”

We also filed the first vaping lawsuit in Washington and we are busy on a variety of other cases, including bus disasters, car crashes, and other personal injury matters.

Still, I could find time to tune in politics. On the rare occasions I do though, I end up shaking my head. For example, locally, there is the mayoral race in DuPont. One blogger, “Ranger Dave,” wrote the race has “created hate, divisiveness, and an ugliness that I have only seen on a national level.” The author has not attended many Pierce County political party meetings if he’s only seen this on a national level. I am nonetheless sympathetic to his point.

I admit I do not know anything substantive about the race in DuPont. I do know Mayor Courts in the way elected officials tend to know each other. He is an honorable man, a good guy, and an effective public official. These are qualities that mattered once in politics.

There was also a time when the mainstream media might endeavor to clear the water rather than dump more mud. Not these days. A local newspaper editor candidly advised me she did not particularly care if a story was true. She lost her job, as did an ethically-challenged colleague of hers, but I was told it was due to lack of web clicks rather than lack of honesty.

That said, I know journalists who share my belief the truth matters even if it doesn’t generate clicks, the dialogue needs to be elevated, and we all play a part. I also know public officials who share this belief.

Staying above the fray may not be good political strategy these days, but it is good life strategy almost always.

Some of the highest praise I’ve received, in my mind, was from The Tacoma Weekly in an article about my transition from public service to private practice. “He brought bipartisanship, civility, and integrity to the job.” This is a trifecta of worthy goals, even if temporarily out of fashion.

I do not think I am alone in missing the artful, high-minded rhetoric of Presidents Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and John F. Kennedy. Obama rejected the division of blue states and red states in favor of “the United States.” Reagan spoke about the United States as a “shining city on a hill.” And Kennedy urged us to focus on “what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.”

While a few of my brethren in the Democratic Party do not share my admiration of Reagan as a communicator, I still remember his healing speech to the nation after seven astronauts died in the Challenger disaster.

“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.'”

As a writer, I must acknowledge that Peggy Noonan wrote the speech and the language in quotes is from a poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. I am on Twitter and I follow Noonan.

Reagan, sometimes called the Great Communicator, said, “I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things. They didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation, from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries.”

This is one of the things generally missing from our dialogue today: great things, great ideas. Both the media and candidates are too often mired in the small, spun out in the trivial. This keeps many away from the media and politics. Alienation, in turn, worsens the problem.

Governor Jay Inslee ran a noble presidential campaign on a great idea — the need to defeat climate change. He dropped out after failing to penetrate the noise. As novelist Kurt Vonnegut would say, “So it goes.”

I am ever optimistic and believe we will eventually rise above the Balkanization, tribalism, fake news, and general noise of our current moment. For evidence, I cite our history of periodic backsliding as we move inexorably forward.

Mark Twain said, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uniformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” This is even funnier and truer today, except you have to add in television and Twitter and Facebook and so on.

The truth is out there, as the tagline for the television show X Files says. The problem is it takes work to find it and we are all busy.

Meanwhile, please support people who believe in statecraft and are willing to serve.


First Vaping Lawsuit in WA

Attorney Mark Lindquist of Herrmann Law Group filed first vaping lawsuit in Washington

We filed the first vaping lawsuit in Washington State last month. Our client, a police officer and Army veteran, was the picture of fitness and good health before vaping landed him in the hospital for three days.

Additional clients are signing up with us for legal representation. If you or someone you know was injured from vaping, please contact me at Herrmann Law Group.

As I told Dori Monson, marijuana has became as mainstream as beer and bourbon. So it needs to be regulated the same way we regulate everything else we consume. If you’re buying something in a state-licensed store, it ought to be safe. 

Right now, it’s the Wild West out there. Marijuana is the new gold rush and regulators have not caught up to the emerging industry.

I have long supported the legalization of marijuana. When I was the elected Prosecutor of Pierce County, we dismissed all of our pending marijuana cases immediately after marijuana was legalized in Washington. Further, we began vacating old marijuana convictions. I think it should be legal. I also think it should be safe. 

When you buy booze in a store, you know it’s not moonshine. Whether you’re buying Makers Mark or Muscatel, you know what you’re getting. Same should be true of marijuana. 

As reported in The Tacoma Weekly, our goals with the lawsuit are “justice for our client, accountability for the culprits, and a safer product.”

Friends in the marijuana industry sent me this informative article from Leafly about the hazards of the vaping market. This is real investigative work by Bruce Barcott, David Downs, and Dave Howard. 

Every significant news outlet in the Puget Sound region covered our news conference, including all four television stations, The Seattle Times, and Matt Nagle at local news leader The Tacoma Weekly. National news outlets also picked up the story, including U.S. News & World Report.

A few days after our lawsuit was filed, Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order to increase regulation of vaping products. His order was controversial, but I’m confident safety is his concern. As the Governor said, “We are interested in ensuring that adults and young people have known and regulated ingredients in vaping products.”

Meanwhile, I’m continuing to work on our lawsuits against Boeing for the two crashes of the 737 Max 8. We currently represent 44 victims of the Lion Air JT 610 crash in Indonesia and four of the victim families from the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

I’ve spent significant time this year in Indonesia getting to know our clients, their country, and the culture. I’ve also spent time in Chicago mediating with Boeing. This may be the most interesting and intense year of my professional life.

I have been blessed to do so much good work on safety issues as a prosecutor and now as a personal injury attorney. In case you missed it, here is a smart article about the transition from public service to private practice. 

And I’ve been posting about law, literature, and the latest pop culture developments at Miscellaneous Mischief, the blog of my author website.


Local Safety to Global Safety

Mark Lindquist and Bret Easton Ellis

Some news is fake, but it is still cool to wake up in Jakarta and see your case on the front page of The New York Times next to a story about Bret Ellis, a fine writer and friend of many years. The NYT, which still employs fact-checkers, got both stories right.

In January, I joined the Herrmann Law Group. I wrote about this in a previous post on this site, on my author website blog, and Facebook.

I am honored to to be meeting, learning about, and representing many of the victim families from the crash of Lion Air JT 610. I have spent most of 2019 in Indonesia. The victim families deserve lawyers who care about them and will fight for them. They have that.

In May, I was in Chicago where we filed our lawsuit against Boeing in federal court.

“Liability will not truly be in dispute here. Boeing is at fault. Their equipment failed. Their planes crashed twice,” Mark Lindquist, an attorney with the Herrmann Law Group who is representing the families of 26 victims of the Lion Air crash, told Yahoo Finance.

I also did an interview with 60 Minutes Australia as part of an excellent feature about the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. The New York Times has run several solid stories about the aircraft, the crashes, and the surrounding circumstances.

Local papers generally do not have the resources or talent to do true investigative reporting, often resorting to gossip-mongering instead, but Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times has written several well-researched, fact-based articles. He covered the filing of our initial lawsuit.

The story of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 is a cautionary tale about putting profits before people.

On March 10, 2019, a second, nearly new, Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed. This time it was Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302. The circumstances were eerily similar to the Lion Air crash. The same plane, the same defective equipment, the same fatal dive.

At HLG, we are also representing victim families from the Ethiopian Airlines crash. We have a head start with our experience and knowledge from working on the Lion Air crash.

The 737 MAX 8 has a new computer system, the MCAS, that essentially takes control of the aircraft from the pilots. The MCAS forces the nose down if it senses the plane may stall. In both of these crashes, the MCAS apparently incorrectly sensed a stall and forced the nose down into a fatal dive.

Preliminary reports from both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crash indicate that the pilots fought with the MCAS. You can see it in the flight patterns. The computer forced the nose down, the pilots brought the nose up, the computer forced the nose back down, the pilots brought it back up … until the computer overpowered the pilots.

At an international press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, I likened the MCAS to HAL, the villainous computer in the Stanley Kubrick movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. I saw nodding heads. Fortunately there were movie aficionados in the audience.

So why was the MCAS installed?

Aeronautical engineers believe the 737, which had an excellent safety record prior to these two crashes, became an unstable plane when the engines were moved forward. The MCAS was designed to remedy this instability.

So why were the engines moved forward at the expense of the plane’s airworthiness?

Because the business minds of Boeing, according to Forbes and other sources, believed they needed a more fuel-efficient jet to compete with AirBus, a French aircraft manufacturer. The goal of a more fuel-efficient aircraft makes sense. The problem is the plane was rushed into service and carrying passengers before it was safe.

Boeing did not fully inform pilots, the airlines, or even the FAA of the potential dangers posed by the MCAS. The manufacture downplayed the dramatic changes to the 737 for fear the information would negatively impact sales.

In other words, it all comes down to profits.

For more information on the Boeing 737 MAX and our lawsuits, check the HLG website and stay tuned to my professional Facebook page and personal Facebook page. I am also sharing stories on the blog of my author website.

It has been a great and fitting transition from local safety to global safety.


Herrmann Law Group

Lawyer Mark Lindquist in Jakarta

Back in the U.S. after more than a month working in Jakarta and on Bangka Island in Indonesia.

In January I joined the Herrmann Law Group. Great people, cool cases, good causes. We are representing a large number of family members who lost loved ones in the Lion Air crash out of Jakarta.

State Senator and WA State Insurance Commissioner Karl Herrmann founded the firm in 1950. His son Charles Herrmann and granddaughter Lara grew the firm further. We a personal injury firm that handles everything from aviation disasters to car crashes.

One of the firm’s more famous cases was featured in the movie “Tailspin.” Chuck represented 89 families of victims from Korean Airlines Flight 007, which was shot down by a Russian fighter jet. He won millions for the families.

My commitment to justice, accountability, and the public good continues.

Oh, and yes, I have been writing, too. I will keep you posted on my author blog.

In Indonesia, I became enamored with the culture, reading authors such as Pramoedya Anata Toer. Also, I started James Michener’s memoir, “The World is My Home.”

As Rudyard Kipling said, “This is a brief life, but in its brevity it offers some splendid moments, memorable adventures.”

I posted pictures from Indonesia on my Instagram page, which is my primary form of social media these days.

I will be returning to Indonesia as there is more work to be done. The families from the Lion Air crash are heartbroken. They deserve vigorous representation.

Check our Herrmann Law Group website for updates on the Lion Air case.


Thank You

Mark Lindquist thanks supporters

Friends,

My wife Chelsea, my daughter Sloane, and I are grateful for the support, assistance, and friendship from all of you.

I’ve been through countless elections. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve kept my faith that public service and politics are a noble endeavor.

In the 1980s I was involved in an intense congressional campaign. The consultant told me something I’ve turned over in my mind several times since: campaigns are more about the mood of the voters than the quality of the campaigns. You can run the best campaign in the nation and still lose and vice versa. Still, we carry on and continue to champion our values.

I’m proud of the three campaigns we ran and the contributions you all made. I was impressed by how our supporters stayed on a positive message of public safety and public service, praising the good people in the Prosecutor’s Office who helped make our community safer and improve the justice system. Thank you for bringing much needed graciousness and goodwill to the civic dialogue.

My life is blessed in too many ways to count, but my most important blessings are Chelsea, Sloane, family, and friends like you. As U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Hubert H. Humphrey said, “The greatest gift of life is friendship and I have received it.”


Crime is Down

Mark Lindquist and his family

Crime is down. Our neighborhoods are safer. Children are safer.

Using FBI numbers on serious offenses, last year crime was up by 7% in Seattle, up by 5% in Washington, but down by 4% in Pierce County.

In the nine years Lindquist has served as our Prosecutor, felony crimes in Pierce county have gone down 18%. Misdemeanor crimes are down 29%.

Our community is safer because Mark Lindquist is our Prosecutor.

The Prosecutor’s Office has helped reduce crime with a variety of innovative strategies. Lindquist formed an Elder Abuse Team to better protect vulnerable adults, a Gang Unit to reduce gang violence, and a High Priority Offender Program, which uses data-driven prosecution to get career criminals off our streets.

To better protect and serve survivors of domestic violence, Lindquist unified felony and misdemeanor domestic violence teams in the Prosecutor’s Office with victim advocates and law enforcement in one central location. Pierce County was the first in the state to do this.

Additionally, Lindquist has been a leader in championing Drug Court, Veterans Court, and Mental Health Court, as well as other improvements to the criminal justice system.

Pierce County was once a dumping ground for offenders from other counties, but the dumping has been dramatically reduced thanks to the leadership of Lindquist and other partners.

Pierce County has a colorful history and a bright future. We are safer than ever.


Our Community is Safer

Crime is down. Our neighborhoods are safer. Children are safer.

Our community is safer because Mark Lindquist is our Prosecutor.

Using FBI numbers on serious offenses, last year crime was up by 7% in Seattle, up by 5% in Washington, but down by 4% in Pierce County.

In the nine years Lindquist has served as our Prosecutor, felony crimes in Pierce county have gone down 18%. Misdemeanor crimes are down 29%.

Our community is safer because Mark Lindquist is our Prosecutor.

The Prosecutor’s Office has helped reduce crime with a variety of innovative strategies. Lindquist formed an Elder Abuse Team to better protect vulnerable adults, a Gang Unit to reduce gang violence, and a High Priority Offender Program, which uses data-driven prosecution to get career criminals off of our streets.

To better protect and serve survivors of domestic violence, Lindquist unified felony and misdemeanor domestic violence teams in the Prosecutor’s Office with victim advocates and law enforcement in one central location. Pierce County was the first in the state to do this.

Additionally, Lindquist has been a leader in championing therapeutic courts, such as Drug Court, Veterans Court, and Mental Health Court, as well as other reforms to the criminal justice system.

Pierce County was once a dumping ground for offenders from other counties, but the dumping has been dramatically reduced thanks to the leadership of Lindquist and other partners.

Pierce County has a colorful history and a bright future. We are safer than ever.


Conquer Lies with Truth

Rebutting Mary Robnett lies with truth

Mark is focused on public safety and public service. He stays above the fray as our Prosecutor and as a candidate.

At numerous community events, Mark discusses how the Prosecutor’s Office has protected elders, reduced gang violence, removed career criminals from our streets, and enhanced therapeutic courts for those with substance abuse or behavioral health issues. He is helping reform and improve our criminal justice system.

Mark is also committed to cultivating a public service culture in the office. The Prosecutor’s Office, Mark believes, must take a big picture approach to public safety.

This approach is working. Our community is safer. Using FBI numbers, while crime is up in Seattle and in Washington State, crime is down in Pierce County. Felony crimes are down 18% since Mark starting serving as our elected Prosecutor. Misdemeanor crimes are down 29%.

And at almost every community event, Mark discusses his lawsuit against Big Pharma. He aims to recover money for Pierce County to address the opioid crisis.

Mark believes in communicating about the work of the office with the community he serves. He believes in elevating the dialogue.

His opponent and her supporters, in contrast, mostly complain and attack former colleagues. They even file frivolous complaints and then complain about the money the county spends to defeat their frivolous complaints. Their juvenile negativity is emblematic of politics these days.

While Mark generally ignores the noise, there are times for rebuttal. Our campaign created a website to rebut some of Mary Robnett’s misinformation and false claims.

Mark likes to quote an old saying, conquer evil with good, anger with calm, lies with truth. 

You can read his short speech on safety and civility on this website.