In Stratford v. Umpqua Bank, No. 100717-5 (Sept. 14, 2023) (slip op.), the Washington Supreme Court rejected the application of the “apex doctrine” in Washington. The apex doctrine has been adopted by some jurisdictions to shield high-level executives and officials from being deposed. See, e.g., Robinett v. Opus Bank, No. C12-1755MJP, 2013 WL 5850873, at *5 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 30, 2013) (citing Salter v. Upjohn Co., 593 F.2d 649, 651 (5th Cir. 1979)). In this case, Defendant Umpqua Bank argued that Washington should adopt a specific application of the apex doctrine, where a party seeking to depose a high-level officer must first show that: (1) the witness has unique, non-repetitive, firsthand knowledge of the facts at issue in the case, and (2) other less intrusive means of discovery, such as interrogatories and depositions of other employees, have been exhausted without success. Stratford, slip op. at 10. The Washington Supreme Court rejected both this specific application and the doctrine more generally. Continue Reading Washington Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects the Apex Doctrine
Jenna Poligo, a member of Stoel Rives’ Litigation group, represents clients in complex business and commercial disputes, including cases involving defective products, violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, federal and state antitrust statutes, and insurance coverage disputes. Jenna defends clients and their interests in individual lawsuits and class actions nationwide in state and federal courts. She advises clients through mediation, arbitration, trial, and appeals.
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