SGB attorneys contribute to the new edition of the WSAJ Product Liability Deskbook

SGB attorneys Tom Breen and Sims Weymuller were honored that the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ) asked them to write for the newly released  Product Liability Deskbook. The 24 chapter Deskbook is a comprehensive treatise, covering all areas of product litigation in Washington State. Both attorneys authored chapters in the Deskbook; Tom wrote on post-manufacture liability – Chapter 15, and Sims wrote on successor liability – Chapter 16.  Retired SGB attorney Janet L. Rice wrote a chapter on evidentiary issues in product liability – Chapter 20.

SGB has a long, proud history of representing people injured by defective products and this was an opportunity to further that service. These chapters demonstrate our commitment to staying on the cutting edge of product safety and liability issues and to providing high-caliber legal services to our clients. We hope that this work, coupled with the work of the other fine Washington attorneys who authored chapters, will help the citizens of Washington State obtain justice when faulty products fail and, ultimately, make our state a safer place to live.

SGB’s M. Lorena González Joins Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s Executive Leadership Team

SGB proudly announces that our colleague and friend, M. Lorena González, will join Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s administration as his Legal Counsel.  Sadly, after 7 years Lorena will be leaving SGB where she is a shareholder.  For nine years, Lorena has dedicated her law practice to giving voice to crime victims, working families and those seriously injured by negligence or misconduct.

Lorena has effectively leveraged her law degree to advocate both in the courtroom and in the community.  She has long been interested in public policy issues, as demonstrated by her extensive involvement in local and national advocacy organizations, such as OneAmerica, the largest immigrant advocacy organization in Washington State, the Washington State Association for Justice and the National Council of La Raza, to name a few.

In addition to her legal experience, Lorena’s personal background has also adequately prepared her to take this next step and new role.  She is a native Washingtonian and the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico.  Additionally, Lorena and her family worked as migrant farm workers in the lower Yakima Valley, where some of her family continues to live.

By taking this new position, we are confident that Lorena’s values, in combination with her legal and strategic talents, will enable her to assist Mayor Murray in shaping and advancing progressive public policies that will provide benefit to all Seattle residents.

“Although I will miss the rewarding work of helping people with individual legal problems, I could not pass on the opportunity to assist Mayor Murray in impacting individuals on a much broader scale,” said Lorena González.

SGB will miss Lorena’s contributions in the courtroom, but we look forward to her success in the public policy realm, now and in the future.

Mayor’s Office Press Release

SGB Attorney Colette Tvedt Appointed Indigent Defense Director

News Release ~ 05/08/2014

Seattle Defense Attorney Colette Tvedt Appointed Indigent Defense Director for Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (May 8, 2014) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) today announces the appointment of Colette Tvedt as indigent defense training and policy director. She will begin at NACDL this June. Tvedt has devoted her career over the past 25 years to representing poor people accused of crimes. She spent 18 of those years as a public defender and the last seven in private practice with the Seattle law firm, Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender, where she has continued to represent the indigent by court appointment in state and federal court, as well as serving without pay on the board of one of Seattle’s public defender providers.

NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer said: “NACDL is thrilled that Colette Tvedt will lead NACDL’s Indigent Defense Reform and Training Department. Colette brings an extraordinary breadth of experience to this position, with a long history of service to the accused and the profession – as a public defender, a private attorney, and as assigned counsel. Her commitment to high quality training and effective reform will position her to be a forceful advocate for indigent defense in this country. Her appointment reflects NACDL’s determination to commit substantial resources to the unfinished mission of ensuring that every accused person in the United States has access to the highest caliber advocate in any case in which a criminal conviction may result.”

In addition to a lengthy career as a criminal defense lawyer, Colette Tvedt has extensive experience training attorneys. She has organized training programs for hundreds of defense lawyers and served for several years as the director of the Suffolk Defenders Clinical Program at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. In recent years, in addition to her practice, she has served as professor of advanced trial advocacy at the University of Washington School of Law and at Seattle University Law School. Further, she is a six-time speaker at NACDL continuing legal education programs, including a stint as an NACDL CLE chair. Colette Tvedt is an honors graduate of Rutgers University, where she also attended law school.

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL’s approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.


The passing of Leonard Schroeter

Schroeter Goldmark & Bender is sad to announce that Leonard W. Schroeter passed away Monday, April 28, 2014, at the age of 89. Len was known with good reason as one of the most eloquent speakers about the suffering caused by the negligence of others. It was not only that he was brilliant, but he had thought about such things down to their very essence. He could talk about suffering because he understood it in a visceral way and then could communicate that understanding to a jury. There was no wrong Len was not willing and eager to right. No defendant too large or too powerful that he could be intimidated from going after. He was fanatical in his dedication to plaintiffs and the plaintiffs’ bar. Leonard was unforgettable. We are honored that our firm continues to bear his name, along with those of his two co-founders. A rabble rouser, a philosopher, a thinker, an orator, a writer, a mentor…Len was all of these and more.

He made his mark on this world and he will be missed.

SGB files class action on behalf of workers at a SeaTac parking lot that refuses to comply with the new $15/hr. minimum wage

Attorneys at Schroeter Goldmark & Bender (Martin S. Garfinkel, Adam J. Berger, and Lindsay L. Halm) have filed a class action complaint on behalf of workers from Extra Car Airport Parking, Inc. in SeaTac, who were not paid the $15.00 per hour minimum wage as required under the new SeaTac Ordinance that went into effect on January 1, 2014. For more information, see the attached press release and complaint.

Press Release


Seattle Times Article

SGB Attorneys file case in Federal Court on behalf of farmer workers

SGB attorneys Marty Garfinkel and Adam Berger and our friends at Columbia Legal Services filed a case in federal court on behalf of farm workers against a Yakima Valley grower concerning H-2A, guest worker violations. Read about it in the Yakima Herald.

SGB Creates New Law in Asbestos Cases

On March 3, 2014, Washington’s Court of Appeals handed down an opinion favorable to hard working people exposed to asbestos. In Farrow v. Flowserve USA, Inc., a case handled by SGB’s asbestos trial attorneys, Kristin Houser, Tom Breen and Bill Rutzick, Division I reversed a trial court’s decision that originally favored corporate defendant Flowserve. The new published case is important because it holds that so long as other corporate defendants have a similar motive when examining an adverse witness, the testimony of the witness can be used against a corporate defendant who for whatever reason did not attend the first deposition. A party wishing to use the testimony must show that those who were present at the deposition had a similar motive (e.g. to discredit the witness) as those who did not attend the deposition would have had.

There’s no question: when it comes to making good law on Washington asbestos cases, no other law firm has the track record like SGB. As the law firm with the longest tenure championing the rights of Washington victims of mesothelioma, this victory is particularly gratifying. In an era when asbestos law firms travel the globe looking for mesothelioma cases, we’re content to do what we do best: representing mesothelioma victims who live right here in Washington State – our home state.

The American College of Trial Lawyers has invited Rebecca Roe

SGB is please to announce that the American College of Trial Lawyers has invited Rebecca Roe to become an elected fellow.

“The College’s Fellows are chosen strictly by invitation and only after rigorous investigation. Fellowship is limited to one per cent of the lawyers in any individual State, to those lawyers who have distinguished themselves in trial practice for at least 15 years, not only as skilled trial lawyers who are recognized by judges and practitioners as the very best in their states or provinces, but as persons who ethics, moral standards, collegiality, and community standing are exemplary.” – John G. Roberts, Jr. Chief Justice of the United States