Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Caden Wondered What Labor Day Was “All About”

August 30, 2013

983641_890851624323_920012580_nEarlier this week, my eight year old son, Caden, asked what “Labor Day was all about”. Digging deep, from somewhere, I remembered it had, logically, something to do with workers, and probably had something to do with labor unions. Unsatisfied with my superficial answer, he pressed further. Ultimately, “I don’t know Caden” was my only response to several of his inquisitive questions. I resorted to for answers.

I wasn’t as uneducated as I suspected. I was right. Two points for “fake it ’till you make it” fathers everywhere. I learned Labor Day originally was a celebration of the “economic and social contributions of workers.” We as a nation have celebrated Labor Day since the end of the Pullman Strike in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland officially made it a federal law. The celebration was originally marked by a street parade to show “the strength and spirit de corps of the trade and labor organizations.”  After the parade, a festival was thrown for workers and their families. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the Selector movement.

Despite it’s historic beginnings, the Labor Day of today is nothing compared to the Labor Day of our grandparents.  To most Americans, the Labor Day of today marks only the end of the summer season, the beginning of the football season, and a darn good day to shop for a good sale.  Like its annual cousin, Memorial Day, the occasion is most often celebrated in campgrounds, beaches, backyards or swimming pools.  With those festivities, many of us choose to consume alcoholic beverages, some of us in excess.  As mentioned in my pre-Memorial Day post, I don’t care if you drink, I don’t care if you drink until you pass out and pee your pants.  That’s your business.  But please, please do so responsibly and safely.  Nominate a designated driver.  Don’t drink and drive.  Don’t risk injury or death to you, or to your friends, or to innocent victims of your stupidity.  If you find yourself in an intoxicated state, with no safe way to get home, know that there are options.  Take a bus, call a friend or family member, or call a professional service.l Pubfly, a local designated driving company offers a safe, convenient, and responsible way to get you and your car home safely.  Check them out.  Call them at 360-313-7645.  Or, if you find yourself in another state (it must have been a good night) check out this national database of designated driving companies.

Be safe. Be responsible. Be alive.


You’re Having Papa Murphy’s Pizza for Dinner Tomorrow Night

July 23, 2013

I bet you didn’t know you were going to eat Papa Murphy’s pizza for dinner tomorrow night.  Read below to find out why.


If you live anywhere near Battle Ground, Washington,  you have probably heard of the nightmare that is Justin Carey’s reality.  On June 10, 2013, like so many days before, 16-year old Justin woke up, got ready, and went to catch the bus for school.  As he waited, Shaun Johnson, for reasons yet unknown, recklessly drove her Nissan Maxima directly into Justin.  The force of the collision thrust Justin over 150 through the air before coming to a rest in nearby bushes.  He laid on the ground, dying and unable to move, for over an hour and a half while officers and deputies investigated the scene and interviewed with Ms. Johnson.  He was too weak to get their attention, and he was becoming weaker by the minute as blood seeped from his body.  It was only when a tow truck operator was preparing Ms. Johnson’s vehicle to be towed from the scene that Justin’s faint pleas for help were heard and his prayers answered.

Emergency responders arrived quickly and rushed Justin to the hospital.  The impact broke both of Justin’s femur bones and severed both of his femoral arteries.  Ultimately, doctors had no choice but to remove the lower part of his right leg.  Miraculously, after more than a month in the hospital, Justin is now home and adapting to  life without his leg.   He’s acknowledged that his career goal of being in the military no longer seems possible but he hopes “something good is going to come out of it.”

As a personal injury attorney, I have a small understanding of the impact this will have on Justin’s life for years to come.  I’ve followed Justin’s story and am amazed by the tremendous show of support here in Southwest Washington.  Home Depot for example offered time and materials to build a wheelchair ramp at Justin’s house.  Local restaurant, South Pacific Cafe and Lounge hosted a fundraiser to pay for a prosthetic leg.  Community donations have poured in to help the family.  These undoubtedly will help Justin and his family deal with his mounting medical bills.  I know enough however to know that the donations will cover just the tip of the medical-bill iceberg that has accrued.  Justin’s medical bills undoubtedly total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Papa Murphy’s CEO, Ken Calwell, has graciously offered to donate to Justin’s medical fund 20 percent of the proceeds from all pizzas sold in Clark County between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday July 24, 2013.  We all need to eat.  It’s too hot to cook anyway.  What better way to show our support for Justin and his family (and Papa Murphy’s) by having pizza tomorrow night.  Share this opportunity with your friends, and invite them to share it with their friends.  Let’s pull together as a community and show our support for Justin and his family.

Recreate on the Water But Do it Safely!

July 8, 2013


So between vacations and a busy work schedule I dropped the ball on my weekly blog post. I’m sorry. I spent the past week with friends and family in Salt Lake City, Utah and Bear Lake, Idaho. Where we had the opportunity to do something I haven’t done in several years—go boating with my family. It was great to get the old slalom ski out and cut the wake—even if not as aggressively as I was once able (just to be clear, that’s not me in the photo–that’s professional water skier Andy Mapple).

I was amazed at something I didn’t recall in years past. Namely, the other boats, wave runners, and Jet Ski’s that were following closely behind us in order to jump over the wake behind us. I noticed the same thing when my kids were being pulled behind the boat on a large inner tube. I couldn’t help but wonder what could happen if one of us fell into the water and the wave runner or Jet Ski couldn’t see or react in time. As if reading my mind, my father-in-law commented about how many people are ran over ever year in Utah by such carelessness.

This of course happens elsewhere too—not just in Utah. It happens in Washington. In fact, just a few years ago DK Ross was ran over by a motor boater while he kayaker on American Lake. He suffered serious brain damage, multiple broken bones, and an unimaginable skull fracture. His life and the life of his family will never be the same.

Tragedies such as these can be prevented by taking just a few simple precautions and paying extra attention while enjoying recreational water activities. Washington law prevents “operating a vessel in disregard of careful and prudent operation, or in disregard of careful and prudent rates of speed that are no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of traffic, size of the lake or body of water, freedom from obstruction to view ahead, effects of vessel wake, and so as not to unduly or unreasonably endanger life, limb, property or other rights of any person entitled to the use of such waters.”  RCW 79A.60.030. What does this mean?  Don’t drive your boat like a moron.

Washington law also has specific laws targeted at various water activities:

Specific to water skiing, Washington law requires:

  • There be at least two persons on the boat (an “operator” and an “observer”);
  • The water skier wear a personal floatation device;
  • That water skiing take place only between one hour prior to sunrise and one hour after sunset; or
  • No person to conduct himself or herself in a reckless manner that willfully or wantonly endangers, or is likely to endanger, any person or property.

RCW 79A.60.170.

Specific to the operation of “personal watercraft”, Washington law requires:

  • All persons aboard wear a personal floatation device;
  • The operator attach a “lanyard-type engine cutoff switch” to his or her person, clothing, or personal floatation device;
  • That the personal watercraft shall not be operated during “darkness”;
  • Operators be at least 14 years of age;
  • “A person shall not operate a personal watercraft in a reckless manner, including recklessly weaving through congested vessel traffic, recklessly jumping the wake of another vessel unreasonably or unnecessarily close to the vessel or when visibility around the vessel is obstructed, or recklessly swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision.”

RCW 79A.60.190.

In the end, if we can all follow a few common sense rules and watch out for other people on the lakes and rivers where we recreate, we can all have a more safe and enjoyable summer with many more to enjoy in the future.

Drink Responsibly this Memorial Day Weekend

May 20, 2013

Memorial Day is the national holiday where we as Americans join together to remember and honor those killed while protecting our freedoms. It also marks the beginning of summer and the longed for end of the rainy season. While the weather here in the great Northwest is often not as sunny or warm as we might hope, Memorial Day is still often celebrated in campgrounds, backyards, and local parks.  Along with barbecues and picnics, many Memorial Day celebrations include the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

In Washington, drinking and driving is a major cause of injury and death.  Far too often the injury is to innocent victims who’s only fault was to drive on the roads.  Interestingly, “drinking and driving” is not illegal in Washington unless the drinking leads to a level of intoxication that impairs one’s ability to safely operate their vehicle. According to Washington statutes, the “legal limit” of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in  an adult (21 years and older) is .08. This means that if an adult’s BAC is greater than .08, they are by law, under the influence.  Importantly, even if one’s BAC is less than .08, they can still be driving under the influence if their ability to drive is impaired.

In addition to the obvious criminal sanctions a drunk driver could face, he or she may also be civilly liable for all  injuries they cause to a member of the public. To carry last week’s post a step further, drinking and driving is no accident; it is a choice. Given the risk of significant injury and death it can hardly be justified and can no longer be tolerated. Make safe our roads–Don’t drink and drive

Legally, subject to a few limited exceptions, social hosts and other party-goers have no legal responsibility to protect the public from persons drinking at a party. However, as a father and husband, I like to think we all have a moral responsibility  to make sure our friends and family don’t drink and drive. There are many things that can be done to prevent injury by drunk drivers. This weekend, if a friend, or a loved one, or even a complete stranger with whom you are hanging out has been drinking, don’t let them drive. Make the choice to take their keys or call them a cab. Make safe our roads–Don’t let them drink and drive.

“Make Safe” Enters the World of the Blog

April 27, 2013

Something you should know.  I’m a personal injury attorney practicing in Vancouver, Washington.  If you were not completely put off by this, you should know that I’m also a husband to my amazing wife, Melissa, and a proud father to our three children.  Together, Melissa and I have chosen to make Vancouver our home as we try to raise our children in this crazy mixed-up world that is so different from the world in which we were raised.

Professionally, I’ve devoted my legal practice to getting fair compensation for clients injured by the carelessness of others.  I do my best to keep up-to-date on important legislation that could affect the rights of my past, present, and future clients–and my own friends and family.  In this professional role I have a unique bird’s-eye perspective of the common “rule violations” that cause injury and harm in our communities.  For the past few years I have often thought about writing a blog–I love to write; but, what interesting material could I bring to an internet already filled with blogs read by nobody but their author?  Then I knew.

Who knows how this will evolve?  I sure don’t.  But, in the infancy of Make Safe, I plan to write about issues and problems to make our  streets, our schools, our public spaces, and even our homes safer for our children.  I’ll write generally (no names or specifics) about issues presented by my own clients.  I’ll write about important legislation that will endanger us; or make our world safer.  I’ll write about important and far-reaching Washington  Supreme Court and Court of Appeals cases that change the “rules” of the game we all play.  Using these issue generators, I’ll try to move us all toward action and toward a safer community.  I’ll do my part to “Make Safe” Vancouver and urge you to do so as well.

I hope for this blog to be a place to convey information and perspective.  I hope it will be a sounding board from which I can be heard not only in our community, but in yours, and theirs.  I hope for it to be a place for you to look, search, and learn about what you can do to make our community a safer place to raise our children.

As I begin to “Make Safe” our community I invite you to share your thoughts and opinions.  Ask questions.  Present issues.  Reply.  I’m only one guy.  My network is only so big.  There are countless numbers of you.  Your networks literally cover the globe.  I encourage you to share Make Safe with your own networks–let’s see how far we can reach.  I look forward to taking this journey with you.

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