The fatal crane collapse in April 2019 is still fresh in the minds of many Seattle residents. Just weeks later, Dallas residents were shocked by a similar fatal crane collapse1. As investigations continue, some reports have surfaced citing common practices that may compromise crane safety and stability.

The Seattle Times describes a 2012 crane collapse where bolts were removed early in preparation for dismantling and removal. This crane was also located near Dallas, Texas. The Seattle Times goes further by saying:

“Several crane experts, after closely examining photos and videos of the crash, said they believe pins were removed early. And, they say, it’s a practice that has become common in the industry — a way to save time during disassembly — despite the safety risks they say it brings.” 2

These experts have also pointed out why removing pins early is an increasingly common practice. Removing pins early speeds up the disassembly process, which in turn saves money.

While the investigations are still ongoing, Labor and Industries has closed its investigation into the company that employed the crane operator clearing them of any violations. L&I is still investigating other companies3.

1, 3:



The Phillips Law Firm makes an unprecedented move this month in handing out its notable “What Were You Thinking!?” award.  Remember, it’s never a good thing to receive this award because it’s a reminder to the general public that you took some form of carelessness that endangered a member of your community.  So, the unprecedented move is?  We’re proud (actually abhorred) to announce this month that we have co-recipients for our monthly trophy.

Drunken, Texting Driver…What Were You Thinking!?

A Bonney Lake bicyclist was hurt at the end of August after being struck by a drunken and texting motorist.  The accident occurred at approximately 10 p.m. on state Route 410 at 171st Avenue East.  The 53-year-old bicyclist suffered a broken ankle and several abrasions from the collision.

Washington State Patrol troopers eventually arrested the automobile driver.  He was a 23-year-old resident of Lake Tapps.  According to troopers, he was drunk and sending a text message when the collision occurred.  The driver was later booked into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of vehicular assault.

Drunk driving is horrible.  Texting while driving is horrible.  To add insult to injury, the drunken, texting motorist failed to stop after the accident took place.  The driver eventually returned to the scene once another motorist informed him that he had hit a cyclist.

Texting Driver #2…What Were You Thinking!?

Our second award goes out to a teenage driver that struck and injured an unidentified 63-year-old female pedestrian in Arlington.  The accident took place in early September in the 17100 block of McRae Road Northwest.  The time of the incident was approximately 8:45 a.m.

The driver, age 16, was texting while operating her motor vehicle.  As she was texting, the side mirror of her auto struck the pedestrian and knocked her to the ground.  The pedestrian was taken to Providence Medical Center.  She suffered a broken hand, a broken hip and arm injuries as a result of the incident.

Unlike our drunken, texting driver above, we should note that the teen driver immediately pulled over following the accident and ran to check on the injured pedestrian.  “I was texting,” she said.  “I’m sorry.”  While the apology was a noble act, the act of texting while driving is a dishonorable one.

Texting While Driving is Illegal Folks!

Washington law unequivocally prohibits drivers from using cell phones or wireless devices while driving.  Washington created its cell phone law on June 10, 2010 in the hopes of deterring the use of cell phones while driving.  Under this law, police can pull a motorist over if they spot a driver holding a cell phone to his ear or texting while driving.  If found guilty of this traffic offense, a driver can face a $124 fine.  Additional Fines and other penalties can easily result if a crash is involved.

Why is Texting While Driving Illegal?

Texting while driving is illegal because the act is very, very, very dangerous.  For the doubters among us, consider the following:

  • According to the National Safety Council, as of this year alone, there have been over 500,000 automobile crashes that involve drivers using cell phones and texting.  This translates into one crash occurring every 30 seconds.
  • As estimated by (the official U.S. Government website for distracted driving), over 3,300 people were killed in distraction-affected vehicle crashes in 2012.
  • Thirteen percent of all drivers in the United States, between the ages of 18 and 20, admit to texting or talking on their cell phone at the time of an accident.

Drive Smart!

Regardless of the above statistics, many of us cannot resist the urge to talk on our cell phones or text while driving.  The truth though is that these acts can result in injuries to innocent people.  This took place in Bonney Lake, it took place in Arlington, and it can take place in your community unless we all become smarter drivers.  Lead by example and resist the urge to use your cell phone while behind the wheel.  Just drive smart!  Smart drivers are responsible drivers and they help increase the safety of us all.

Please note that if you’ve been injured in an automobile accident by a motorist that was using a cell phone, you have the right to file a civil suit to recover any injuries you may have sustained.  The skilled attorneys at Phillips Law Firm can help you exercise this right.  They’re here for you and they’re ready to provide justice today!


This month’s “What Was He Thinking” trophy goes out to Gav Seim, a self-proclaimed “Liberty Speaker” and Washington resident.  Seim recently pulled over, and admonished, a Grant County sheriff’s deputy for allegedly breaking the law.  Video of the incident has gone viral.

Typically, we award citizens with the “What Was He Thinking” trophy when they have foolishly placed other people in harm’s way.  Mr. Seim’s acts were obviously not foolish and they did not place anyone in harm’s way.  Nonetheless, his acts were so out of the norm that we had to pay them tribute.  While some people may award his acts, others may frown upon them.  We’re doing neither here.  We are simply recounting an event worth reporting on.  In doing so, we’re also saying (comically)…

Mr. Gav Seim, What Were You Thinking!?

According to video of the incident (which was posted on October 14th), Seim stopped a Grant County sheriff’s deputy for allegedly breaking the law by driving an unmarked car.  Let’s go back for a moment.  Seim not only stopped the deputy, but he reprimanded him.  Actually, he spoke to the deputy much like an officer would speak to a citizen.

The entire incident could form the basis for a perfect screenplay.  Follow along with us.

An ordinary citizen, Gav Seim, stops a sheriff’s deputy and approaches the car’s passenger side window.  Seim appears troubled.

Seim:  Hey, the reason I stopped you today is I saw this car was unmarked. 

The Deputy suffers from a loss for words.

Seim:  Is this a registered unmarked vehicle for undercover work?

The deputy patiently informs Seim that the car he’s in is for patrol work.  Seim counters back with a recitation of Washington law and informs the deputy that he is in violation of the Revised Code of Washington.  Seim then demands to see the deputy’s identification, registration and proof of insurance.

Deputy:  Can you see some ID of me?

Seim:  This isn’t a game.  It’s called law.

The two characters exchange dialogue.  The deputy finally hands over his ID to Seim.

Seim:  I’m not going to write you up today.  What I am going to encourage you to do is take this car back…you are in open violation of Washington State RCW.

Seim:  (almost imitating a superhero): If you continue to do this, you could be arrested.

The above is not fictitious.  The dialogue and descriptions are based upon the video of the incident.  Was Seim out of line in his actions; or, should they be applauded?  You tell us.  We’re curious to get your thoughts on the matter.

The Law in Question

Seim’s apparent concern was with RCW 46.08.065.  This law mandates that all publicly owned vehicles must be marked except for some Washington State Patrol vehicles, and other law enforcement vehicles that are given a special exemption.  Seim maintained that the law requires all vehicles to be marked unless for “special undercover or confidential investigative purposes.”  The Grant County sheriff’s deputy’s patrol car was not marked; and, as Seim fleshed out, the car was not being used for special undercover or confidential investigative purposes.

According to Kyle Foreman, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson, the car in question was a brand new patrol car and was awaiting custom sized decals.  “We commend deputy Canfield for his tact and diplomacy,” said Foreman.  “It was simply a brand new car awaiting a decal.”

Markings have since been placed on the patrol car.

“This isn’t a game.  It’s called law.” 

Phillips Law Firm is not entering into a debate on whether Seim’s acts were justified, honorable, disreputable, etc.  We are merely recounting an incident and handing out a dubious trophy in the process.  On the “What Was He Thinking” meter, this one is definitely on the lighter side.

But, our firm cannot pass on highlighting one of Seim’s quotes.  That being, “This isn’t a game.  It’s called law.”  The attorneys at Phillips Law Firm are never about playing games when it comes to personal injury victims.  These attorneys know the law and they stand ready to assert, apply and protect it.  Our firm is not about games, it’s about providing justice!


wildfirefighterThis month’s “What Were They Thinking” award sends the Phillips Law Firm to Oregon.  If you recall, these monthly awards are handed out to citizens that recklessly put other people’s lives and property in danger.  The award is given in the attempt to condone, and hopefully deter, similar reckless behavior.

The State of Washington has seen pure devastation this summer as a result of savage wildfires.  This is why this month’s award is handed out with nothing less than extreme confusion and displeasure.  We at the Phillips Law Firm have to ask the simple question…

Ms. Sadie Renee Johnson, What Were You Thinking!?

Sadie Renee Johnson, 23, recently confessed to starting a 51,000-acre wildfire in Oregon.  Her justification for igniting the blaze?  She wanted to help out her “bored firefighter friends.”

Ms. Johnson pleaded guilty in federal court in May to starting what became known as “the Sunnyside Turnoff Fire.”  The fire forced the evacuation of dozens of homes and resulted in damage to over 50,000-acres of property.  While the fire took only nine days to contain, it was not officially declared “extinguished” for almost two months.

Two days after she started the blaze, Ms. Johnson posted on Facebook: “Like my fire?”  Although she pled guilty in May, Ms. Johnson was sentenced early last month.

She was sentenced to 18 months in prison by US District Judge Marco Hernandez. She will also perform 200 hours of community service, as well as taking part in a six-month drug and alcohol treatment course. This was significantly less than the expected 5 years that was reported prior to her sentencing.

Think Before You Act

We often do things in a pure reactionary manner.  While driving a vehicle, for example, we may quickly swerve our car in order to avoid another motorist that fails to stop at a stop sign.  This action is taken with little or no thought.  Instincts replace reflections on the outcomes, impacts or possible results of a given act.

Typically, however, we have the time to reflect on our actions before taking them.  We have the time to question whether or not an act is safe.  We have the ability to consider whether an act is proper, pure, justified and/or legal.  Nevertheless, many of us fail to engage in this process of questioning and consideration.  In short, we don’t truly think before we act.

Ms. Johnson’s conduct helps reinforce this idea.  Yes, maybe her friends truly were bored.  But, and of course this is just a guess, maybe she would have acted differently if she thought about the safety and righteousness within igniting a wildfire that torched over 50,000-acres.

A simple mere thought never suffices though.  Thinking before you act involves much more than a quick consideration of an act’s goal.  Thinking before an action requires serious contemplation and a mature understanding of the world in which we live.

It’s obvious that Ms. Johnson did not engage in this type of thought process before her actions.  For her lack of thinking, we have to ask again…”what were you thinking!?”  Wildfires are never a joke.  In the wake of the Carlton Complex, we know this all too well.

The Phillips Law Firm understands that, unfortunately, many act without thinking about that act’s repercussions.  We also understand that these actions can easily cause injury and injustice.  This is one of the reasons we stand so entirely committed towards assisting those that have been harmed as a result of ill thought acts.

This is also one of the reasons we seek justice.  Of course, we seek justice for you.  But in doing so, we also seek to promote a better justice for us all.  This sense of betterment includes making people truly think before they act.


Seattle PoliceIt’s that time again when the Phillips Law Firm practices its dubious honor of highlighting a member in our community whose actions make us all cringe.  They make us cringe because the actions are unsafe.  They are careless.  They are foolish.  They place people’s lives in danger.

Rooted in our firm’s values is a belief in justice.  We believe in it and also work tirelessly to achieve it for our clients.  Our work is simply made more difficult when others act irresponsibly.  To help deter this irresponsible conduct, we believe it useful to emphasize those actions that should be avoided, reprimanded, and ridiculed.  To put simply, we seek to highlight a person whose actions make us all stand up and scream…”What Was He Thinking!?”

This month our “What Was He Thinking” award goes out to a drunk driver.  Go figure.  This driver was not only careless, but the driver gives new meaning to the phrase, “three strikes and you’re out.”

Strike One – Drinking and Stealing

The driver in question is an unnamed man we can refer to as “Mr. Ridiculous.”  On, or about, Friday, July 18th, Mr. Ridiculous consumed eight whiskey shots.  The approximate time of the last shot was somewhere around 6:00 to 6:30 pm.

Upon drowning himself in alcohol, Mr. Ridiculous decided to steal a Mustang.  He then took it for a spin through downtown Seattle.  Maybe now is a good time to remind everyone that drinking and driving do not mix.

Strike Two – Vehicle Collisions

At approximately 6:30 pm, Mr. Ridiculous sped drunk, in the stolen vehicle, the wrong way down 2nd Avenue.  He soon collided head-on with an Audi that was being driven by a valet.  The valet was not seriously injured.  However, Mr. Ridiculous’ reaction should be noted.  After the collision, our disturbed driver found it somehow meaningful to throw a bottle of whiskey out the Mustang’s window.  He then drove away.

Apparently one collision was not enough.  After colliding with the valet, Mr. Ridiculous sped off and eventually ran a red light at the intersection of 5th and Cherry Street.  The result was a second collision.  This time it was with a bus.

The driver and passengers of the bus were luckily not injured.  The collision though did damage the bus’s bike carrier.  It also severely damaged the Mustang.

Strike Three – Hello SPD

Mr. Ridiculous ended his drunken tour of Seattle in perhaps the most just of ways.  After colliding with the bus, the Mustang finally came to a stop at the corner of 5th Avenue and James Street.  For those unfamiliar with the streets of Seattle, this exact location is directly across from the Seattle Police headquarters.

Just moments after the Mustang came to a halt, SPD Public Affairs Sergeant Sean Whitcomb exited headquarters.  He spotted the Mustang, approached the vehicle, and courteously advised Mr. Ridiculous to remain at the scene.

Seattle patrol officers quickly arrived and arrested Mr. Ridiculous.  The charges filed against him included: hit and run, DUI and investigation of auto theft.  Sergeant Whitcomb declined to comment on the event.  He simply stated “please don’t post this” and “get back to work.”

Three Strikes and You’re Out!

For the record, the Phillips Law Firm is unanimous on one unified message regarding this event…”Mr. Ridiculous, What Were You Thinking!?”  A batter in baseball is declared out after three strikes.  However, Mr. Ridiculous, you should have been declared out after consuming eight shots of whiskey and stealing a vehicle.

The above facts involve serious crimes that threaten all of our safety.  Auto theft, driving while intoxicated, and colliding with vehicles are by no means good things.  They are reprehensible.  They are irresponsible.  They are a danger and pose risks of unnecessary harm to fellow motorists and pedestrians of all types.

Please learn a lesson from the above story.  It’s a true story that luckily did not involve harm.  However, it could have easily ended in severe injury and/or even a person’s death.  Don’t be ridiculous when it comes to alcohol use, operating a motor vehicle, or even exercising sound judgment.  Be smart and responsible.

If, for any reason, you have unfortunately been injured in an automobile accident, please contact our office today.  Our firm consists of a talented team of successful attorneys that are always available to help.  They can only help, however, if you contact them.


healthdepartmentAt Phillips Law Firm, we care about our clients.  We care about those people whose lives have been impacted by the careless and negligent acts of others.  Our firm works tirelessly to help ensure that these acts are condemned and those injured from the acts are delivered respite and reprieve.

In this aim, we would like to introduce a new monthly component to our blog.  Each and every month, we will highlight a professional or citizen that allegedly acted with undue care, negligence or complete disrespect for those under his guidance, treatment, or dependence upon safety.

We highlight these people to help convey what safety truly requires.  Our emphasis on these people is also aimed at deterring acts of complete unprofessionalism and acts of pure miscalculation that could easily give rise to danger or injustice.  The individuals we will highlight are those that would make any reasonable person stand up and scream…. What Was He Thinking!?

Arthur Zilberstein…What Were You Thinking!?

Arthur Zilberstein is a 47 year-old Seattle doctor.  In particular, he’s an anesthesiologist who practiced at Swedish Medical Center.  His license to practice medicine was suspended in early June for allegations of “lack of focus” and putting patients at risk.  Lack of focus might be an understatement.

The allegations surfaced amid accusations that Mr. Zilberstein sexted during surgeries that he performed or was a part of.  According to the Washington State Department of Health, Mr. Zilberstein exchanged nearly 250 text messages of a sexual innuendo while performing various procedures (e.g., Cesarean deliveries, pediatric appendectomies, epidurals, tubal ligations, and cardiac-probe insertions).  Here are a few examples to help clarify.

  • During a single cardiac probe insertion procedure, Mr. Zilberstein allegedly exchanged 26 text messages, all of a sexual nature.
  • During a stomach surgery, he allegedly exchanged 45 sexual related texts in less than an hour and a half.
  • During one Cesarean procedure, he allegedly exchanged 18 texts with sexual innuendo.  One text expressed, “I’m hella busy with C sections.”

And, Then there Are the Selfies

Mr. Zilberstein is not only accused of sending text messages of a sexual nature while performing medical procedures.  He’s also being accused of sending X-rated “selfies,” or cell phone pictures of himself cast in a sexually provocative depiction .  For example, in one such alleged picture, Mr. Zilberstein sent a selfie while wearing hospital scrubs and a badge with his genitals exposed.

And, Then there is the Patient and Sex Issue

Yes, it gets even worse.  Many of Mr. Zilberstein’s text messages and selfies were sent to the same woman.  This woman just so happens to be one of Mr. Zilberstein’s patients.  He not only sent texts and selfies to her cell phone, but he also invited her to visit the hospital for sex.

The two allegedly would arrange to meet in the doctor’s lounge or hospital call room for sexual encounters.  On one occasion, Mr. Zilberstein even invited his patient to park in the doctor’s parking lot to avoid paying for parking.  According to statements made in the case, Mr. Zilberstein initially obtained his “patient’s” medical records “not for medical purposes, but in order to view images of her for his own sexual gratification.”

And, Then there are the Prescribed Drugs

Yes, and even worse.  In addition to the above allegations, Mr. Zilberstein is also being accused of prescribing drugs without keeping or maintaining sufficient medical records.  Let’s do some math here people.  Follow the equation with us:

Sexting + X-rated selfies + Sex with a patient + Questionable prescription practices


Concerns, Issues, Problems, Bewilderment and Severe Dangers

Arthur Zilberstein attended medical school at UC-San Diego.  He completed his residency at the University of Washington.  He received his license to practice medicine from Washington State in 1995.  He will not be permitted to practice medicine in Washington until his charges are resolved.

We Have to Ask it Again

Mr. Zilberstein…What were you thinking!?  If the allegations above are proven true, Mr. Zilberstein could possibly lose his license to practice medicine for the rest of his life.  Further, even though there is no indication that anyone was immediately hurt by his alleged acts, Mr. Zilberstein’s actions could have easily placed the lives of his patients in danger.  Mr. Zilberstein’s allegations, if true, could have easily resulted in a number of suits involving negligence and medical malpractice.

The Phillips Law Firm does not, in any way, seek to make light of the above allegations.  We discuss them merely as a means to protect the safety of our clients and our fellow citizens.  All of us entrust our care with countless professionals every single week of our lives.  We should be able to rely on these professionals for competent and compassionate service.  Our firm delivers this service; and, we get a little upset when others cannot.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have been harmed or threatened when dealing with a medical professional.  We’re here to help in whatever manner we can!