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, 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.

I’m grateful for this fitting transition from local safety to global safety.