commented on It's True, Seattle Cabs Suck
I served on a King Couny jury last fall in a civil court case involving Orange Cab, the driver, and a passenger. The moral of the whole case? Cab companies are scum who will turn on their drivers as quickly as their passengers. It's a game rigged to avoid liability at any and all costs.
This was a civil suit brought by a young man somewhat seriously injured (not life-threatening, but life-altering) in an accident in severe snow conditions as a passenger of Orange Cab. The driver was Somali and had been in the U.S. for less than a year and had never driven a car or spoken english before arriving here, let alone driven in icy conditions in Africa. Yet he obtained a cab license within a few months. The driver fully admitted negligence (in a nutshell, he had no idea what he was doing, was driving way too fast downhill on ice and lost control and 360-ed into a telephone pole); that was not a question. But the passenger was suing Orange Cab.
Orange cab denied both negligence and liability, and it basically boiled down to a case of whether the driver was an agent of Orange Cab or an independent contractor.
Cab drivers lease or own vehicles; the owner of the vehicle pays "association dues" to participate in Orange Cab's dispatch service, which amounts to dispatch computers/meters/credit card processing/and using their "brand". Orange Cab denies any "control" of the drivers, who are free to work their own hours and receive no salaries and pay no commission on fares to Orange Cab aside from credit card processing fees.
However, if the driver was proven to be an agent of Orange Cab, then Orange Cab was negligent and liable for putting that driver on the road given its public guarantees of safe and exceptional service ("Orange Cab: Forget the Rest, We're the Best"). This denial of control on Orange Cab's part and claim to be merely a dispatch co-op was essentially proven to be b.s. via a driver's manual that outlined all sorts of ways Orange Cab could control drivers and their brand via fines and penalties. A manual, ironically, that the driver sincerely claimed to have never seen before, almost certainly because he either had never been given it, or couldn't read it. The driver was as much a victim as the passenger, for the most part.
There was no debate that Orange Cab was negligent amongst the jury, it was just a matter of how much money to give the kid, who had some very minor credibility issues about the extent of his injuries. We gave him about $375,000.
Jul 25, 2012
commented on A Few Caveats to The Stranger's Arena Endorsement
I think it's amazing that something so reasonable that the majority of the public is in favor of, as well as media outlets as diverse as The Stranger and every sports radio station in town, is still met with opposition from certain politicians and The Seattle Times (which seems determined to will itself out of consequence).
Feb 17, 2012
commented on A Visual Definition of Mustaine
Apparently my definition of the 'mustaine' is very similar to a 'dirty sanchez,' and has Stranger readers up in arms. It's true, the details of the dirty sanchez were something I have remained mostly ignorant of in my life. But I think there's room for both definitions: the difference between the brown smear of a sanchez, usually applied on purpose, and the mustaine, is the more milky moustacheness of the latter (a different soup of fluids), and the fact that it is acquired more randomly (with different intentions behind it). You know you've been there.