Category: Washington Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court Sides With Okanogan PUD in a Dispute Over Trust Lands

In PUD No.1 of Okanogan County v. Peter Goldmak, Commissioner of Public Lands,  No. 88949-0, the Washington Supreme Court ended a protracted dispute about the PUD’s  authority to condemn an easement over the largest tract of publicly owned land in the Methow Valley for a high voltage transmission line   The land was granted to the … Continue Reading

A Multi Agency Drug Task Force Not Immune from the PRA

In Worthington v. WestNET, No. 90037-0, the Washington Supreme Court considered the applicability of the Public Records Act (PRA), chapter 42.56 RCW, to a multiagency drug task force formed by several Washington municipalities and the federal Naval Criminal Investigation Service.  Pursuant to Interlocal Cooperation Act (ICA), Chapter 39.34 RCW, the task force was not required … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Revives a Fair Campaign Suit Against BIAW

In Utter v. BIAW, No. 89462-1, the Washington Supreme Court  reinstated the lawsuit by two retired Justices against the Building Industry Association of Washington.  The lawsuit alleged that BIAW violated the Washington’s Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA), by failing to register as a political committee  during the 2007-2008 Gubernatorial campaign.  BIAW, a non-profit, formed the … Continue Reading

This Round’s On You: Washington Supreme Court Upholds Liquor License Fee Shortfall Scheme

Back in 2011 Washington voters approved I-1183 to allow the sale of spirits (hard alcohol or liquor) by certain private enterprises, ending the state monopoly over retail liquor sales.  The initiative created multiple classes of spirits distribution privileges.  Distributors operating under a “spirits distributor license” enjoy the broadest grant of authority to distribute spirits.  Other … Continue Reading

The Washington Supreme Court Reiterates that LUPA’s 21-Day Deadline is Absolute

In Durland v. San Juan County (No. 82293-8 & No. 89745-0) the Washington Supreme Court rejected a neighbor’s untimely Land Use Petition Act (LUPA) challenge of San Juan County’s permit to build an oversize garage.  The neighbor received no actual or constructive notice of the permit’s issuance and missed the LUPA challenge deadline.  The Washington … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Upholds the Validity of Second-Hand Service of Process

In Scanlan v. Townsend,  No. 89853-7, the Washington Supreme Court held that second-hand service of process  —  the process server delivered a copy of the summons and complaint to the home of  defendant’s father, who later handed the summons and complaint to the defendant within the statute of limitations — met the requirements of  personal … Continue Reading

Employee Bonus Invested in an LLC , Which Loaned Funds to the Employer, Is Not a “Rebate,” the Supreme Court Holds

In LaCoursiere v. Camwest Development, Inc., No. 88298-3, the  Washington Supreme Court  construed the  Washington wage rebate act,  chapter 49.52 RCW (“WRA”).  CamWest paid the plaintiff, a former manager, several bonuses during his employment.  Pursuant to his employment agreement, a portion of plaintiff’s bonus was directly invested in a related  LLC that was established to … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Makes Law in Attorney Malpractice Cases

In Schmidt v. Coogan, the Washington Supreme Court addressed two questions of first impression, whether collectability of the underlying judgment is an element of the plaintiff’s claim for legal malpractice and whether emotional distress (ED) damages are recoverable in a malpractice action.  The Court held that collectability is not an element of the plaintiff’s claim … Continue Reading

Mental Health Parity Act Mandates NDT Under Individual Plans

In O.S.T. v. Regence BlueShield, the Washington Supreme Court held that Regence’s exclusion of neurodevelopmental therapies (NDT) in individual policies violated the mental health parity act, RCW 48.44.341.  The Court rejected Regence’s reliance on an earlier statute,  RCW 48.44.450, which mandates NDT to children under seven in group plans only.  The named plaintiffs were autistic … Continue Reading

The Bracken Fix Upheld

In In re Estate of Hambleton,  No. 89419-1 (consolidated with In re Estate of MacBride No. 89500-7),  the Washington State Supreme Court upheld the “Bracken fix,” a retroactive amendment of the 2005 Estate and Transfer Tax Act, Chapter 83.100 RCW.   (Prior to 2005, Washington did not have an independent estate tax and instead participated in … Continue Reading

The Long Reach of Washington’s Long-Arm Statute

In Failla v. FixtureOne Corp.,  No. 89671-2, the  Washington Supreme Court adopted a broad interpretation of the Washington long-arm statute.  It concluded that the founder and CEO of a non-resident corporation, which had a single employee in Washington state, was subject to personal jurisdiction.   “We hold that employing a Washington resident to perform work in … Continue Reading

Investor in Mortgage-backed Securities Cannot Deduct Interest Earned

In Cashmere Valley Bank v. WA Dept. of Revenue, No. 8937-5, the Washington Supreme Court interpreted the state tax deduction statute, RCW 82.04.4292 (1980). The statute, prior to being amended in 2012, provided that banks and financial institutions could deduct from their income “amounts derived from interest received on investments or loans primarily secured by … Continue Reading

No Private Right of Action Under Deeds of Trusts Act

In Frias v.  Asset Foreclosure  Services, Inc., the Washington Supreme Court held that the state law does not recognize an independent cause of action for monetary damages based on alleged violations of the Deeds of Trust Act (DTA), Chapter 61.24 RCW, when no foreclosure sale has been completed.  However, under some circumstances DTA violations may … Continue Reading

TEDRA Statute of Limitations Does Not Run Against A Minor Without a Guardian Ad Litem

In Anderson v. Dussault, the Washington Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, which had affirmed dismissal of a 20-year old plaintiff’s breach of trust action against the trustee and her malpractice action against the attorney responsible for the trust accounting. A special needs trust had been set up for the plaintiff after she was … Continue Reading

Debt Buyers Who Solicit Claims are “Collection Agencies” Subject to WCAA

In Gray v. Suttell & Associates, the Washington Supreme Court answered the question certified by the District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, whether debt buyers who purchase defaulted consumer obligations can pursue, as plaintiffs, collections actions in Washington. If the debt buyer directly or indirectly solicits claims for collection, the debt buyer is … Continue Reading

The Rules of Professional Conduct: A Basis for Civil Action or Remedy?

The Rules of Professional Conduct: A Basis For Civil Action Or Remedy? The Washington Supreme Court’s recent decision in LK Operating, LLC v. The Collection Group, LLC calls into question the extent that a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct (“RPCs”) may be used as a basis for civil action. Ultimately, the Washington Supreme … Continue Reading

Lucky Defendant Gets a New Trial, Appellate Court Doesn’t Get to Rain on His Parade

In State v. Hawkins, the Supreme Court reinstated a trial court’s grant of a new trial for newly discovered evidence after the Court of Appeals overturned that decision.  The decision is highly fact specific, and fascinating for mystery buffs, but the take away is clear: just as defendants can’t lightly disturb trial court rulings against … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Confirms What We Already Knew: Speculation, Hearsay, and Inadmissible Evidence Will Not Preclude Entry of Summary Judgment

In SentinelC3, Inc. v. Hunt (No. 89317-9), the Washington Supreme Court unanimously held that a dissenting shareholder’s belief that the non-dissenting shareholders “concocted a plan” to force him out of the corporation and artificially diminish the value of his shares did not create a genuine issue of material fact precluding entry of summary judgment on … Continue Reading

Criminal Case Roundup: You Don’t Need Cash to Get Out on Bail and the Supreme Court Wants to Know Whether “Child Luring” is Criminal or Just Disgusting

In State v. Barton, the Washington Supreme Court examined the mandate found in Article I, section 20 of the Washington State Constitution that criminal defendants “shall be bailable by sufficient sureties.”  The Court interpreted the phrase to mean that a criminal defendant has the right to make bail by using a surety, i.e., a third … Continue Reading

University of Washington Properly Suspended Merit Pay Increases in Face of Budget Cuts

In Storti v. University of Washington, the Washington Supreme Court determined that the University’s faculty handbook had created a valid unilateral contract with its faculty that promised a 2% merit-based salary increase subject to “reevaulation” based on funding.  When University funding went south at the height of the recession in 2009-10, the University cancelled the … Continue Reading
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