Leonard Feldman

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Leonard Feldman, a partner in the Litigation group, focuses his practice on appellate work and complex commercial litigation. His appellate practice encompasses all phases of civil and criminal appeals, including emergency motions, expedited appeals, case management, drafting and oral argument. His commercial litigation experience includes class actions, antitrust (litigation and counseling), intellectual property, construction law, securities litigation, environmental litigation and civil rights. Leonard is currently a District Coordinator for the Ninth Circuit Pro Bono Program and is the Pro Bono Coordinator for Division One of the Washington Court of Appeals. He is also a lecturer and teaches a course on appellate practice at the University of Washington School of Law.

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A Tough Day For Miranda Rights: Supreme Court Holds (1) That Miranda Does Not Apply To Interrogations Outside The United States By Foreign Authorities Regarding A Foreign Crime, And (2) That An Equivocal Invocation Of The Right To Remain Silent Is No Invocation At All

The Supreme Court unanimously held in State v. Trochez-Jimenez (No. 88557-0) that Miranda and its progeny do not apply when a suspect requests an attorney during an interrogation conducted outside the United States by foreign authorities regarding a foreign crime. Based on that holding, the Court rejected Trochez-Jiminez’s argument that statements he made during custodial … Continue Reading

Defendants Are Not Entitled To Credit For Time Served For Required Pretrial Constraints By Statute, Equal Protection Principles, Or Double Jeopardy Protection Even Though Differences In Wealth Arguably Lead To Two Sets Of Sentencing Ranges.

The Washington Supreme Court unanimously held in State v. Medina (No. 89147-8) that petitioner Mario Medina was not entitled to credit for time served for five years of required service in two King County Community Center for Alternative Programs (CCAP): one that required Medina to report in person to the Yesler Building daily as an … Continue Reading

The Sixth Amendment Guarantees Criminal Defendants A Right To Confront The Witnesses Against Them, But Not If The Defendant Intentionally Causes The Absence Of A Witness At Trial

A six-Justice majority of the Washington Supreme Court ruled in State v. Dobbs (No. 87472-7) that there was sufficient evidence that the defendant had forfeited his Sixth Amendment right to confront his accuser by causing her (through violence and threats) to protect herself by refusing to testify at trial. Three Justices dissented, largely because they … Continue Reading

Can a corporate healthcare provider’s defense counsel communicate ex parte with the corporate defendant’s employee if that employee was also the plaintiff’s treating physician? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

A five-Justice majority of the Washington Supreme Court ruled in Youngs v. PeaceHealth (No. 87811-1) that a corporate healthcare provider’s defense counsel may communicate ex parte with the plaintiff’s treating physician if – and only if – the communication is for the purpose of providing legal advice, the physician has direct knowledge of the events … Continue Reading

General Partnership Partners Are Not Third Parties For Insurance Coverage

International Marine Underwriters v. ABCD Marine, LLC The IMU opinion is an interesting example of legal gymnastics.  The lead opinion engages in “interpretation” followed by “construction” – distinguishing between the two – in order to give meaning to the operative insurance policy.  It then applies Washington partnership law to ascertain the relationship between a partner … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Redefines “Property of Another” for Purposes of Malicious Mischief Conviction

State of Washington v. Wooten [Wash. Sup. Ct. No. 87855-2] Commentary: David Wooten was convicted of first degree malicious mischief for damaging a home that he was purchasing pursuant to real estate contract. Wooten claimed on appeal that he did not damage “property of another,” an element of the offense, because he had exclusive possessory … Continue Reading

WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT IMPOSES THREE-YEAR SUSPENSION OF ATTORNEY WHO SUFFERED FROM MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE

In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against Joe Wickersham [Wash. Sup. Ct. No. 201,088-1] Among the Washington Supreme Court’s many responsibilities is review of disciplinary actions.  Here, the circumstances were especially difficult because the attorney misconduct was caused by mental illness rather than neglect or incompetence.  Nevertheless, given the seriousness of the misconduct, the six-justice majority imposed … Continue Reading

Summary of Cases Granted Review at Washington Supreme Court’s October Conference

At its October 1, 2013 conference, the Washington Supreme granted review to four cases. We provide a summary of the issues presented in each case below. State v. Owens Supreme Court No. 88905-8 Court of Appeals No. 67867–1–I PFR & Answer Issue: Whether the Court of Appeals properly reversed a conviction for First Degree Trafficking … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Holds Alford Plea Will Support a Death Penalty Verdict

In re Cross [Wash. Sup. Ct. No. 79761-7] The Washington Supreme Court unanimously held in this opinion that a capital sentence can be predicated on an Alford plea.  The court explained that the “advantage” of entering an Alford plea in a capital case is to preserve the ability to argue in the penalty phase that … Continue Reading

State v. Chen: The Ishikawa Factors Govern the Determination Whether Competency Evaluations Should Be Sealed

In State v. Chen, the Washington Supreme held that once a competency evaluation becomes a court record, it also becomes subject to the constitutional presumption of openness, which can be rebutted only when the trial court makes an individualized finding that the Ishikawa factors weigh in favor of sealing. The Court essentially balanced the public’s … Continue Reading

Wash. S. Ct. Defines Constitutional Limits of “Mixed-Motive” Traffic Stops

In State v. Arreola (pdf), the Washington Supreme Court confronted, once again, the tension between liberty and privacy interests and safety and security intersts.  There, it ruled that a police officer may conduct a traffic stop to investigate unlawful activity (driving under the influence) without any permissible basis for doing so as long as there is … Continue Reading

Wash. S. Ct.: To Deny a Claim for Failure to Submit to an Examination Under Oath, Insurers Must Show Prejudice

In Staples v. Allstate Insurance Co. (pdf), the Washington Supreme Court squarely held (disapproving prior precedent to the extent contrary) that an insurer does not have an unfettered right to request that a policyholder submit to an Examination Under Oath (“EUO”).  Instead, the EUO must be material to the insurer’s investigation or handling of a … Continue Reading

Wash. Supreme Court: Authentic Contracts Attached To Pleadings May Be Considered On A CR 12(b)(6) Motion

In P.E. Systems, LLC v. CI Corp. (pdf) the Washington Supreme Court clarified two important points about the Washington Civil Rules and the common law of contracts.  First, the Court squarely held that Washington trial courts may consider a contract attached to a pleading in deciding a motion to dismiss under CR 12(b)(6) without converting the motion … Continue Reading

Wash. Ct. of Appeals: Employee Wages Do Not Include Contractual Rights to Company Stock

In Arzola v. Name Intelligence, Inc. (pdf), the Washington Court of Appeals concluded that payments due to employees under a stock right cancellation agreement did not constitute “wages” as that term is used in Washington’s wage-withholding statute (RCW 49.52.070) because the payments were not for the employees’ services but rather for relinquishment of shares.  It so … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Reiterates Critical Importance of District Court’s Gatekeeping Function under Daubert

The Ninth Circuit recently reiterated the critical importance of a district court’s gatekeeper function with regard to the admissibility of expert testimony under Daubert.  In Barabin v. AstenJohnson (pdf), the court concluded that the district court abused its discretion in admitting expert testimony regarding causation (whether Barabin’s mesothelioma was caused by occupational exposure to asbestos) … Continue Reading

Washington Court Of Appeals Affirms Broad Right Of Recovery Under Industrial Insurance Act

In Department of Labor & Industries v. Shirley, the Washington Court of Appeals concluded that an industrial worker’s death was “proximately caused” by an industrial accident where, years after the original injury, the worker simultaneously ingested alcohol and several medications that had been prescribed to treat pain resulting from the accident.  Such activity, the court ruled, was neither reckless … Continue Reading

In re Bond Issuance of Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District, No. 86552-3, (Wash. Oct. 25, 2012)

The Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District (the “District”) is a municipal corporation formed by the city of Wenatchee and other cities and counties to finance, construct, and operate the Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center. In 2011, the District proposed to Wenatchee that the parties enter into a Contingent Loan Agreement (“CLA”) to … Continue Reading

Appellate Update: Excelsior Mortgage Equity Fund II, llc v. Schroeder [Wash. App. No. 30333-1-III]

Steven Schroeder formerly owned a 200-acre ranch in Stevens County. When he defaulted on the loan, Excelsior Mortgage filed an action to judicially foreclose its deed of trust and, eventually, negotiated to foreclose nonjudicially. The nonjudicial foreclosure process culminated in a trustee’s sale at which Excelsior purchased the property. Following the purchase, Schroeder did not … Continue Reading

Appellate Update: Annechino v. Worthy, et al. [Wash. No. 86220-6 (en banc)]

Michael and Theresa Annechino had a long-standing banking relationship with the Bank of Clark County. Before the events at issue, the Annechino had an approximately $1,150,000 balance at the Bank. Additionally, Mr. Annechino was an investor with the Bank. Shortly after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) increased its coverage for deposit accounts, the Annechinos’ … Continue Reading

Appellate Update: Ralph v. Dep’t of Natural Resources [Wash. App. Nos. 67515-0-I, 67704-7-I]

Pursuant to RCW 4.12.010(1), an action for injuries to real property “shall be commenced in the county in which the subject of the action or some part thereof, is situated.” William Ralph and William Forth instituted actions in King County Superior Court against the Department of Natural Resources and other defendants for injuries to real … Continue Reading

Appellate Update: Dex Media West, Inc. v. City of Seattle [9th Cir. No. 11-35399, 11-35787]

The City of Seattle, by ordinance adopted in 2010, requires publishers of yellow pages directories to obtain permits and pay a fee for each directory distributed in the city. It also maintains an opt-out registry through which residents can decline to receive directories. Distributors are required by the same ordinance to advertise the availability of … Continue Reading

Appellate Update: Department of Revenue v. Bi-Mor, Inc. [Wash. App. No.42050-3-II]

Bi-Mor operates various business entities that advertise their prices as including all applicable sales taxes and claims that it is absorbing the tax. For accounting purposes, Bi-Mor manually calculates the applicable sales tax based on the tender paid by the buyer and remits that amount to the Department of Revenue – commonly called “backing out” the … Continue Reading

Appellate Update: Raum v. City of Bellevue [Wash. App. No. 67213-4-I]

The City of Bellevue employed Raum as a firefighter for more than 19 years. Over the course of his career, Raum was evaluated several times for smoke inhalation at the scene of a fire. Sometime in 2008, Raum began experiencing chest pain. He experienced such pain three different times while at work. After the third … Continue Reading
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