Table prepared by Hunter Ferguson, Brooke Sargeant and Markus Skeem.

Case & Background Issue(s)
K.P. McNamara, NW, Inc. v. Dep’t of Ecology

Ecology cited KP McNamara, NW, Inc. for violations of the Hazardous Waste Management Act (HWMA), chapter 70.105 RCW, for failing to follow procedures when shipping materials that KP McNamara had designated as “dangerous” and for receiving containers holding hazardous waste without a permit.

1. Whether a business’s designation of certain materials as “dangerous” waste under the “process knowledge” provision of the HWMA’s implementing regulations, WAC 173-303-070(3)(c)(ii), is dispositive of whether disposal of such materials must comply with applicable disposal regulations.2. Whether the Pollution Control Hearing Board properly imposed a civil penalty against KP McNamara’s CEO under the responsible corporate officer doctrine.
Families of Manito v. City of Spokane
Land Use/Municipal

Neighbors opposed a church’s request to modify a land use permit to allow for parking spaces on the ground that such change would result in decreased property values, increased traffic, and changed character of the neighborhood. A planner for the City of Spokane approved the modification request.

1. Whether modifying a permit request by increasing the number of parking spaces constitute a “change in the application for a permit” or a “substantial modification in density”?2. May a city planner, rather than the planning director, make a “quasi-judicial” decision regarding permit authorizations under the applicable city code?
State v. Matthews

Matthews withdrew a plea of guilty to charges of assault of a minor, and the trial court vacated the previous judgment and sentence. On rehearing, Matthews filed a motion to dismiss, which was denied for failure to make a prima facie case. The State also added statutory aggravating factors to the charges against Matthews.

1. Does a defendant’s withdrawal of a guilty plea, and subsequent vacating of judgment and sentence by the court without the dismissal of underlying charges, defeat the court’s personal jurisdiction over defendant?2. May the State add statutory aggravating factors to a charge upon rehearing when the statutes allowing those factors did not exist at the time of the alleged crime?

3. May a defendant appeal a denial of a motion to dismiss for failure to make a prima facie case when the case proceeded to verdict?

Parks v. Fink & Fink Law Group
Attorney-Client Rel’ship/Trusts, Wills, & Estates

Attorney Fink prepared a will naming Parks as beneficiary. The decedent did not have will notarized. Parks sued Fink for malpractice, alleging that an attorney has a duty of care to a beneficiary of a will to promptly execute that will.

1. Does an attorney owe a duty of care to a prospective beneficiary to have a will executed promptly?
GLV, Int’l v. Am. Rodsmiths, Inc.
Sale of Goods

Rodsmiths purchased fishing rods from GLV. When Rodsmiths failed to pay the outstanding balance, GLV filed collection action against Rodsmiths. The trial court granted summary judgment to GLV. Rodsmiths appealed, arguing that its allegations of defective merchandise and incomplete shipping created a genuine factual dispute as to the amount owed.

1. Do mere allegations of defective merchandise and incomplete shipments create a genuine factual dispute as to the amount owed under a sales contract?
State v. Aquiningoc

Aquiningoc was charged with second and fourth degree assault following strangulation and other physical acts of violence against estranged wife. On appeal, Aquiningoc argued his convictions constituted double jeopardy because the court’s instructions did not clearly inform the jury that the second and fourth degree assault charges needed to rest on “separate and distinct” acts.

1. Must a court’s instructions clearly inform the jury that a fourth degree assault charge must rest on a “separate and distinct” act from the act on which a second degree assault by strangulation is based to avoid double jeopardy?
State v. Arroyo-Miranda
Criminal – Sentencing

Arroyo-Miranda was sentenced to “416 months for assault counts I, II, III, and IV,” which, read literally, imposes 416 months for each count, a range which exceeds the statutory maximum.

1. Was the original sentencing court’s omission of individual sentences for the assault counts a clerical or judicial error?
State v. Brewczynski

Brewszynski was convicted of first degree murder with aggravating circumstances, first degree burglary, and theft of a firearm. The jury was instructed on uncharged alternatives for the crime of burglary. Defense counsel also declined to impeach the testimony of a witness with evidence of a prior conviction.

1. Did the trial court err in instructing the jury on uncharged alternative means of committing the crime of assault of a person?2. Does failing to impeach the testimony of a witness with evidence of a prior conviction constitute ineffective assistance of counsel?
State v. Walker

The Court of Appeals reversed Walker’s convictions of one count of first degree murder and two counts of first degree assault because of cumulative prejudice due to the prosecutor’s improper statements during closing argument. The Supreme Court granted review reversed for further consideration in light of State v. Emery. On remand, the Court of Appeals again reversed Walker’s convictions.

1. Whether a jury instruction could have cured prejudice resulting from the prosecutor’s improper statements during closing argument.
State v. Walker
Instruction/Error Preservation

The Court of Appeals reversed Walker’s convictions of one count of first degree murder and two counts of first degree assault because of cumulative prejudice due to the prosecutor’s improper statements during closing argument. The Supreme Court granted review reversed for further consideration in light of State v. Emery. On remand, the Court of Appeals again reversed Walker’s convictions.

1. Whether a jury instruction could have cured prejudice resulting from the prosecutor’s improper statements during closing argument.
Wolfe v. State, Dep’t of Transportation
Real Estate/Condemnation

In 1986, WSDOT built a bridge which caused continual erosion to an adjacent parcel of land. In 2004, the parcel was conveyed to Wolfe. Wolfe brought suit for inverse condemnation.

1. Whether the “subsequent purchaser rule” bars an inverse condemnation claim when the underlying action on which the claim is based has been continual from prior to the subsequent purchase to present.
State v. Sweat

Sweat had five prior convictions of domestic abuse. The prior convictions related to victims different from the victim in the current domestic abuse charge against Sweat.

1. Whether the aggravating factor in RCW §9.94A.535(3)(h)(i) applies only in situations of multiple incidents of abuse of the same victim or may it apply in multiple instances of abuse of multiple victims?
Johal v. City of Seattle
Real Estate

WSDOT promised the City of Seattle an easement allowing underground utilities on a parcel of land. The City of Seattle installed the utilities, but the easement was never executed. WSDOT sold the parcel to Johal, who sued City of Seattle for ejectment or damages.

1. Whether the City of Seattle’s actions sufficiently invoke the doctrine of part performance such that the statute of frauds was satisfied as to the easement?2. Whether the City of Seattle has a right to an easement created by the doctrine of part performance?
Dublin Down & Top Shelf v. Wash. State Liquor Control Bd.
42827-0-II; 42846-6-II
Administrative/Regulatory Enforcement

The Washington State Liquor Control Board cited Dublin Down and Top Shelf for serving alcohol to a minor after a minor investigative aide of the Board entered both premises and successfully ordered alcohol. Dublin Down and Top Shelf requested hearings challenging the violations.

1. Whether a compliance check using an investigative minor aide is lawful when no existing rule authorizing the use of minor investigative aides has been promulgated by the WSLCB?2. Whether a factual stipulation provides a sufficient foundation for conviction if evidence to the conviction has been suppressed?
State v. Hassan
Criminal – Search & Seizure

An observing officer radioed to two other officers the identity of Hassan, whom the observing officer had witnessed trafficking drugs. The other two officers arrested Hassan and subjected him to a search incident to arrest, which revealed cocaine on Hassan’s person.

1. Whether an arresting officer, other than the officer that observed the criminal activity, subject the arrested person to a search incident to arrest under RCW 10.31.100?
State v. Boysen
Criminal – Right of Confrontation

Boysen was convicted of drive-by shooting and second degree assault after the driver of the vehicle in which Boysen was riding agreed to testify against Boysen in exchange for a reduced charge and correspondingly shorter sentence. Although the Court of Appeals agreed that the trial court erred in not allowing Boysen to question this testifying witness about the amount of prison time he avoided through this plea bargain, the Court of Appeals ruled such error was harmless.

1. Whether Boysen’s right of confrontation was violated by a prohibition on specific reference to the testifying witness’s reduced sentence through plea bargain.2. Whether the prosecutor improperly vouched for the testifying witness by asking whether he had entered into an plea bargain requiring him to testify truthfully.
State v. Sanchez
Criminal – Due Process

Sanchez was convicted of two counts of aggravated first degree murder and other crimes in connection with a home invasion robbery. At the jury trial, which was held in a jailhouse courtroom, a victim positively identified Sanchez as the shooter even though she did not identify him previously while examining photo arrays presented by investigating police officers. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

1. Whether trial in a jailhouse courtroom was warranted in light of State v. Jaime.2. Whether the victim’s positive identification of Sanchez should have been excluded as the result of unnecessarily suggestive procedures employed by law enforcement officials.
State v. Jeffery
Criminal – Right to Remain Silent

Officers attempted to stop an ATV after it entered a main roadway. Although the driver eluded the officers and wore a helmet that obscured his face, an officer testified that he recognized the driver as Jeffery. Another officer testified that, when Jeffery was in jail, he had asked Jeffery if he wanted to talk about the incident and Jeffery initially responded that he did not want to talk, but then stated that someone else committed the crime. Jeffery was convicted for attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

1. Whether the investigating officer impermissibly commented on Jeffrey’s right to remain silent when the officer testified that he had asked the defendant if he wanted to talk and the defendant initially responded that he did not want to talk but then made statements inconsistent with his defense?
State v. Izhevskiy
Criminal – False Identity

An officer seized Rees’s vehicle after observing him lethargic and having slurred speech, and seeing a syringe cap and bloody napkin inside the vehicle. The execution of a search warrant for Rees’s vehicle resulted in the seizure of heroin and drug paraphernalia. The trial court rejected Rees’s motion to suppress the evidence seized from his vehicle, and Rees was convicted of unlawful possession of heroin.

1. Whether probable cause existed to effect a vehicle search pending issuance of a warrant.
State v. Eggum
Criminal – Sentencing

Eggum was serving a sentence when he was charged and convicted of several crimes based on letters he wrote while in prison. The State alleged and the jury found an aggravating factor with respect to each count.

1. Whether Eggum’s multiple letters constituted the “same criminal conduct” for the purposes of calculating his offender score.
State v. Manion
Criminal – DNA EvidenceManion received an order of disposition for unlawful possession of a firearm based, in part, DNA evidence.
1. Whether the admission of DNA evidence violated the Confrontation Clause, when the DNA analyst who originally examined the evidence was unavailable but a DNA expert who peer reviewed the evidence testified as to her independent opinion.
State v. Grabner
Criminal/Statutory Interpretation

Grabner was convicted of possession of stolen vehicle, and his license was revoked for one year pursuant to RCW 46.20.285, which requires the Department of Licensing to revoke the license of any driver convicted of a “felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used.”

1. Whether Grabner “used” a motor vehicle under RCW 46.20.285 in committing the crime of possession of stolen vehicle.