Mariano Morales has been entrusted by the people of the Yakima Valley to take on some of the most complicated and tragic cases in the area. In addition to routine motor vehicle collision cases, some examples of the other types of wrongful death and injury cases he has successfully handled are as follows:
Unsafe Student Loading Zone
Morales represented the mother of a 5-year-old child who was killed in the student loading zone at a school. The school principal had been warned for many years by parents and school personnel that the student loading zone was operated in an unsafe manner and was “an accident waiting to happen.” The School District denied responsibility, denied they had been warned and denied they had done anything wrong. Adding insult to injury, the School District instead blamed the mom for negligently supervising her child and accused her of causing his death. The case resulted in a hard-fought 3-week trial in which the jury awarded a record verdict against the School District. The School District appealed and lost. Because of this case, the courts now require school districts to design and operate student loading zones in a manner that is reasonably safe for students, setting a higher standard and making schools safer for children across the state of Washington.
Thirty-mile Fire Case
In one of the most tragic fatalities in Central Washington history, 6 fire fighters were burned and killed when a large forest fire raged out of control and trapped them. A federal investigation determined that many errors in judgment were made by U.S. Forest Service personnel which resulted in the deaths. Two Yakima mothers hired Morales, a former firefighter, to seek accountability for the wrongful deaths of their young daughters. Because of the federal laws granting immunity to the U.S. Forest Service, they were not legally able to hold the U.S. Forest Service accountable.
Undeterred in their quest for justice, these courageous mothers then pursued a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturers of the fire shelters and the National Association of State Foresters for defective design and faulty use instructions of the fire shelters. Because the shelters were destroyed by the federal government, the specific manufacturer of the shelters used could not be positively identified. The lawsuit named all manufacturers of the shelters, some of the largest corporations in America. After a vigorous 3-year legal battle, the defendants agreed to settle out of court rather than face trial. The instructions are now different, lowering the risk of future firefighters’ meeting the same tragic end.
Over-Serving Alcohol by a Restaurant/Bar
A restaurant served approximately 18 beers to a patron over a period of several hours. The patron left the restaurant extremely intoxicated, lost control of his vehicle and crashed though the restaurant doors, seriously injuring several innocent and unsuspecting patrons. The driver was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.22. The injured patrons sought out Morales to seek accountability from the driver and the restaurant. The driver was uninsured, so Morales first successfully pursued an uninsured motorist claim under the auto policy of the injured parties and then filed suit against the restaurant for serving alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual, in violation of Washington law. The restaurant owner destroyed the original records and prepared fraudulent records in an attempt to avoid accountability. Undeterred, Morales located the former waitresses out of state and proved the owner’s dishonest practices. Rather than face trial, the insurance company for the restaurant settled out of court and the owner was forced into bankruptcy and closed the restaurant.
Defective Dog Leash
A 5-year-old boy had his eyeball punctured by a defective, unsafe retractable dog leash. Morales was hired by the child’s mother, and he pursued a products liability claim against the importer and distributor of the leash. It was manufactured by an unknown company in China. Morales’ efforts resulted in the importer’s insurance company paying for the child’s past and future medical expenses. In order to prevent this from happening to other children, Morales also convinced the distributor not sell the leash in the state of Washington in the future as a part of the settlement. Children throughout the state are now safer because of this case.
Morales has successfully handled many fatality and serious injury cases against some of the largest semi-truck transporters in the U.S. By holding these companies accountable for the damages they caused through unsafe driving practices, Morales has helped to make our roads safer for your family.
Negligent Hay Stacking
A 1,200-pound hay bale fell more than 20 feet from the the top of a stack, landing on a worker and crushing him. The worker spent 3 months in a hospital and several months in a nursing home. He was not able to work again as a result of his injuries and hired Morales to hold the company who unsafely stacked the hay responsible for his life-long losses. Because Morales was hired several years after the accident, the specific company could not be identified, so he filed suit against all potential hay suppliers; after vigorous investigation, including subpoenas for records and many depositions, the likely company was uncovered and agreed to settle out of court rather than face trial.
This list goes on and on. Mariano Morales has achieved historic settlements and verdicts over the years for many persons injured or killed because someone else was not careful. Safety is always at the forefront of the cases Mariano Morales takes on. No two cases are the same, and Mariano Morales does not guarantee the result; the only guarantee he makes is that he will do his very best to achieve justice for you.