Charles Herrmann is an owner and senior litigator in our wrongful death and personal injury department. A Vietnam veteran, he left the army as a Captain after serving as an Engineer Advisor with the 5th Vietnamese Ranger Group. Returning home, he won the Dean’s Medal for Legal Argument at his alma mater Gonzaga University School of Law in 1975.
Charles began his legal career as a Pierce County Deputy Sheriff. He served as an investigator in the White Collar Crime Unit of the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Upon being admitted to the bar, he was appointed to a full Deputy Prosecuting Attorney position. Charles was appointed as the head of a Joint Law Enforcement Task Force, addressing juvenile prostitution. In that capacity, Charles was assigned detectives from the Tacoma Police Department and the Pierce County Sheriff’s office, as well as coordinating action with a Special Investigations Unit in Washington State Patrol and the Military Police at Ft. Lewis and McCord Air Force Base. Their combined efforts resulted in numerous felony pimping convictions of criminals preying on teenage girls.
Charles then went into private practice with his father, Former Senator and Insurance Commissioner Karl Herrmann. After several years practicing in the criminal defense arena, Charles moved into the field of wrongful death and personal injury. He became the CEO of Herrmann Law Group in 1976.
Charles gained an international reputation for his part in the litigation that arose out of the controversial shoot down of Korean Air Lines flight “KAL 007.” The airplane was shot down by the Soviet Union over Sakhalin Island in 1983. He represented the families of 89 victims. After secret and lengthy negotiations in Korea, Charles was able to secure the testimony of another Korean Air Lines 747 pilot – that cracked the case against the U.S. Federal Government and KAL. His role was portrayed in the HBO movie Tailspin and featured in the definitive book on the case Death of Flight 007. He eventually recovered $10 million dollars for one family alone and millions more for the rest of his clients.
In the late 90’s, Charles worked as a volunteer with the Center for Human Rights (Centro Derechos Humanos) in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. He served as an International Observer for the peace talks between the Mexican government and the Zapatistas, as well as in the subsequent national elections observing the voting process in several villages deep within the Lacandon jungle (Selva Lacandona).
Charles led the law firm in recovering in excess of $92 million dollars for 56 families of the victims of the crash of Korean Air flight KE 801 on August 6, 1997 near Agana, Guam. Further, he recovered $4 million dollars for the family of a Korean Air Force Major killed in a tragic accident at the National Test Pilot School in California. He then concluded cases before the Korean courts for 86 victims in the crash of Air China flight CA 129. The airplane crashed while attempting to land at the Gimhae Airport, near Busan in Spring 2002 as South Korea hosted the World Cup. At the same time, he successfully represented the families of 61 people killed in the disintegration of China Airlines flight CI 611 over the Straight of Taiwan.
Currently, Charles is leading an international team of lawyers representing 33 Hispanic victims of the crash of TACA flight 390 that overshot the runway while attempting to land at Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Five survivor cases filed in the USA, the largest of which settled for $1.75 million. The remaining cases are undergoing litigation in Honduras or before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica. He also represents 18 victims of the crash of the Mi Joo Korean tour bus that plunged over a cliff near Pendleton, Oregon in December 2012. Finally, he is representing multiple victims of the crash of Asiana flight OZ 214 at San Francisco in July 2013 before the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California.
He was recently chosen as the attorney for the family of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, the individual gunned down by police in Pasco, Washington in February 2015.