Last week was a remarkable week for the Preg O’Donnell & Gillett firm.  Two defense verdicts were returned, one in a King County liquor liability case and the second in a Pierce County asbestos wrongful death case.

On October 11, 2011, David R. Antal obtained Preg O’Donnell & Gillett’s sixth defense verdict in 2011 following a five day liquor over-service jury trial in King County before Judge Dean S. Lum.  David represented a West Seattle pub/restaurant.  The claims arose out of a high speed accident on Interstate #5.  The plaintiff, a Seattle Police officer riding his Seattle Police Department motorcycle, was rear-ended by the co-defendant, a 43 year old woman who testified, along with two other lay witnesses, that the client served her alcohol after she was obviously intoxicated.  The accident allegedly occurred 20 minutes after she left the pub. Toxicologist testimony established that she had a .20 BAL when the collision occurred.  The plaintiff sustained a severe, permanent injury to his predominant hand and other less serious injuries.

The plaintiff alleged negligence against the driver of the car and the tavern.   The plaintiff’s hospitality expert and toxicologist testified that the tavern had over-served the driver.   The defense was able to convince the jury to the contrary.   After half a day of deliberations, the jury found that the driver was 100% responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries and awarded the plaintiff $220,000 against the driver alone.

The defendant driver had no insurance, so had the jury found the tavern owner 1% at fault, it would have to pay the entire damage award under Washington’s joint and several liability exception to fault allocation.  David was assisted by Associate Megan Coluccio and Paralegal Patrice Ray.

Preg O’Donnell & Gillett’s seventh 2011 defense verdict was returned by a Pierce County jury on October 13th in an asbestos wrongful death lawsuit in Pierce County, Washington.  The plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury to award $28.4 million.  Preg O’Donnell & Gillett attorneys Bill Fitzharris and David Chawes represented an electric power utility which had contracted for construction of the power plant in the early 1970s.  The plaintiff/decedent, an electrician involved in the construction of the plant, alleged that the utility had failed to warn about, or protect him from asbestos, which he claimed caused him to contract mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer.

In response, Bill and David presented evidence that the utility did not control the project construction site, but rather had hired experienced contractors, including insulators, to build the project, and had only taken possession of the plant after construction was complete.  The jury, in a 10-2 decision, determined that the utility was not negligent, because the plaintiff had failed to prove the utility knew of the dangers of asbestos in the early 1970’s and was not responsible for jobsite control during the construction project.  Paralegals Kim Swendt and Rindy Griffith assisted in preparation of the case.

This represents the 16th jury trial for the firm in the past 26 months.  The trials involved 14 different lawyers in two states and six counties.  The cases included timber trespass, construction defect, construction work site death, auto accidents, truck accidents, liquor liability, and, asbestos exposure leading to death.   Please visit our website at to learn more about these trials and our firm.