Third Runway Litigators Will Meet Sunday April 19th

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Residents in the path of Sea-Tac Airport’s third runway, negatively affected by increased noise and toxic fumes, are meeting with attorneys on Sunday, April 19th to prepare a lawsuit against the Port of Seattle.

The meeting will be held at 2:30pm, Sunday at the SeaTac Community Center, located at 13735 24th Ave. South in SeaTac. Area homeowners are invited. Trial attorneys Michael Pfau and Darrell Cochran, known for a string of successful, high-profile verdicts and settlements, are partnering with Seattle personal-injury attorney Will Dixon.

Sunday’s meeting is a discussion of homeowners’ rights, and potential remedies available under the law. Concerned residents living near the third runway’s flight path first contacted and met with attorneys on Jan. 10th.

Sea-Tac Airport’s third runway went into use Nov. 20th, 2008. Originally, Port of Seattle officials stated in planning documents, such as the environmental impact statement, that the new $1 billion runway was needed to reduce delays during poor weather. But in recent public statements, port officials have said the third runway was always intended to be used at high-traffic times and 365 days a year.

Local homeowners believe the situation will only worsen as departing planes – not just incoming flights – use the new runway. Also, the port plans to shift more traffic to the third runway as it rebuilds the eastern runway.

There are at least two potential lawsuits that are likely to be filed by homeowners. The first, a class-action lawsuit, would focus on the legal principle of inverse condemnation. Basically, plaintiffs believe the fair-market value of their property has been diminished by government “takings” or damages – in this case, by the dramatic increase of planes flying the area for third runway take-offs and landings. Plaintiffs would seek to recover just compensation for damages based on measurably diminished property values.

The second case would be a nuisance or damages lawsuit representing individuals seeking compensation for personal injuries. Local homeowners say throughout the day, big commercial jets are flying over their homes, coating their lawns with jet fuel particles and leaving a wake of toxic fumes.

Michael Pfau and Darrell Cochran are partners at the law firm of Pfau, Cochran, Vertetis, Kosnoff. Pfau and Cochran have years experience in personal injury and class-action lawsuits. In February, Pfau and Cochran secured a $14.2 million settlement from the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and a New York-based Catholic order on behalf of two dozen men, who were sexually abused at a Kent orphanage, the Briscoe Memorial School, during the 1950s and 1960s. In 2007, Cochran secured a $13.5 million settlement on behalf of thousands of Washington state students affected by the abrupt closing of the now-defunct Business Computer Training Institute (BCTI).

Earlier this year, Cochran and Pfau left their longtime law office of Gordon Thomas Honeywell to open their own firm, with offices in Seattle and Tacoma.

Will Dixon is a seasoned lawyer with more than a decade of legal experience representing clients in numerous multi-million dollar cases in Washington state and federal courts. Dixon focuses on personal injury, wrongful death, and commercial litigation. Dixon also worked in Gordon Thomas Honeywell’s trial group with Pfau and Cochran before opening his open firm. (Dixon Law Firm,

The meeting will be held in the Banquet Room of the SeaTac Community Center, which is located at 13735 24th Ave South:

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