Successful Settlement

I’m blessed to represent good people, albeit often in challenging circumstances.

Lawsuit Goals

Surviving family members of William Yurek wanted three things out of this lawsuit. One, justice. Two, accountability. And three, a change in city policies so this didn’t happen to anyone else.

Our firm achieved those goals for them. Philosopher Sun Tzu said, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” The same can be said of trials. While I have extensive trial experience, and I’m always ready for the arena, you can win without a trial. We did here.

Lawsuit Facts

On November 2, 2021, Mr. Yurek was having a medical emergency at home. His then 13-year-old son called 911. Medics delayed entry into his residence, however, to wait for a police escort. Mr. Yurek was mistakenly on a blacklist of people who were hostile to first responders. A previous tenant had been on the outdated list. Mr. Yurek should not have been.

Mr. Yurek’s young son had the presence of mind to not only call 911, but to call a second time when the medics were taking too long. After the second call, medics decided to go in without an escort. At that point, it was too late. Yurek died from cardiac arrest.

The family has always been grateful to the medics who broke protocol to go in and do their best. 

At the time of his death, Mr. Yurek was in recovery for addiction. An expert I hired believed Mr. Yurek would have had about a 25% chance of survival if the medics were not delayed by the mistaken blacklist. An expert for the city contended his chance of survival was lower due to pre-existing medical conditions, drug use, and other factors.

Either way, he lost whatever chance he had because of the delay.

Lawsuit Highlights Issue

Quick treatment is critical to surviving cardiac arrest. Prepping for trial, I learned every minute treatment is delayed can lessen a patient’s chances of survival by seven to ten percent.

The city was negligent in at least two ways. One, the city failed to keep an accurate and updated list. Two, the city continued to require police escorts for medics even though it was well known the Seattle Police Department was understaffed and delays were therefore foreseeable.

At the time of the incident, residents weren’t informed when their addresses were flagged. The practice disproportionately put renters and lower-income people at risk because they move more frequently. 

While I understand and appreciate the importance of safety for first responders, when a city keeps a list lives depend upon, it must be accurate. This one wasn’t.

Daniel Beekman at the Seattle Times wrote an excellent story about a 911 dispatcher who had warned the city this was a potential problem.

After our lawsuit was filed, the city announced it was revising its guidelines on use and maintenance of the blacklist, referred to as “caution notes.”  In other words, the city acknowledged and addressed the problem.

Lawsuit Success

National and local media covered the story when we filed and when we successfully resolved the case. Matt Nagle at The Tacoma Weekly, wrote, “Lindquist is the former elected Prosecutor for Pierce County. He had a strong reputation for supporting victims and victim families.”

That was certainly one of my goals as a prosecutor and it remains one of my goals as a personal injury attorney. Nothing is more satisfying than supporting my clients, winning justice for them, and holding wrong-doers accountable. This is especially true when it has a positive impact on our community.

Sometimes it takes a trial. Sometimes it takes a media spotlight. Always it takes preparation.

Knowing a lot of lawyers, I understand why lawyers are not exceptionally popular with the public. That said, I feel blessed to be one.