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August Petitions for Review

Brooks v. BPM Senior Living Co. Court of Appeals Case No.:  69332-8-I Supreme Court Case No.:  90220-8 Issue(s): Whether an employer fulfills its duty to assist a disabled employee in seeking alternative employment in the company when the only ‘interaction’ with the employee is a single phrase in an e-mail stating the employer “would be … Continue Reading

Condo Shoppers – Beware of Lurking Liens

Article by Sook Kim, Summer Associate and law student at University of Washington School of Law [Learn more about Stoel Rives’ summer program here] In BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP v. Fulbright, the Washington Supreme Court held that a lien for future payments takes effect when the lien is recorded, regardless of whether the future … Continue Reading

New Rule for Small Claims: Voluntary Dismissal Does Not Make A Defendant The Prevailing Party

Defendants facing small claims suits will no longer be able to recover their attorney’s fees in cases involving voluntary dismissal by the plaintiff. In AllianceOne Receivables Management, Inc. v. Lewis, the Washington Supreme Court resolved a long-standing split between the Divisions of the Court of Appeals, holding that a defendant does not qualify as a … Continue Reading

Freedom is like a social security check: it can be taken away without full due process rights

In In re Detention of Morgan, a schizophrenic pedophile petitioned the Washington Supreme Court to reverse a civil commitment order.  The court declined to do so. To reach this unsurprising result, the Supreme Court had to determine that it was acceptable for the detained person to be found a sexually violent predator and deprived of liberty … Continue Reading

The Court Assumes that Husbands Know It’s Illegal to Hold their Wives Captive for 3 Days

In State v. Johnson, the Washington Supreme Court provided two rulings.  First, it unanimously held that a charging document does not need to provide legal definitions of all the concepts within it to provide constitutionally sufficient notice to the defendant. Second, it ruled 7-2 that a jury must only be given a general criminal law … Continue Reading

The Legislature May Keep Its Thesauruses: Each Synonym in a Criminal Statute Is Not a Separate Means of Committing a Crime

In State v. Owens, the Washington Supreme Court interpreted the statute establishing the crime of first degree trafficking in stolen property as establishing only two ways of committing the crime: stealing property for sale to others or trafficking stolen property.  In the case before the court, the jury verdict was deemed proper because there was … Continue Reading

One Less Forum to Shop: Washington Supreme Court Adopts Federal Rule Against ERISA Preemption

by Kiran Griffith In W.G. Clark Construction Company, the Supreme Court of Washington reversed a trial court’s ruling that ERISA preempted state laws designed to ensure that workers on public projects are paid. In doing so, the Court unanimously overturned the state’s precedent on the matter, to join what the Court found to be a … Continue Reading

You Are Your Luggage: Court Okays Warantless Searches of all Bags at Time of Arrest

In State v. MacDicken, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that police did not violate Abraham MacDicken’s federal or state constitutional rights by searching a laptop bag and rolling duffle bag without a warrant after he was arrested. The Court held that the bags were immediately associated with MacDicken at the time of his arrest and … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Holds That the WLAD Exemption for Non-Profit Religious Organizations is Unconstitutional as Applied to Certain Employees

[Note:  This post was drafted by Labor and Employment Associate Karin Jones] The Washington Supreme Court has significantly limited non-profit religious organizations’ immunity from employment discrimination claims brought under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”), RCW 49.60.  In Ockletree v. Franciscan Health System, the majority held that the exemption of non-profit religious organizations from the … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court: Recreational Use Immunity is in the Eye of the Landowner

In a 5-3 decision, the State Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals that genuine issues of material fact precluded summary judgment on the use of Washington’s recreational immunity statute (former RCW 4.24.210) in Camicia v. Howard S. Wright Constr. Co., No. 85583-8. Plaintiff Susan Camicia was bicycling along the Interstate-90 trail, crossing over a … Continue Reading

Wash. S. Ct.: Monday Is Not A Retroactive, “Watershed” Rule Of Criminal Procedure

Roughly three years ago, the Washington Supreme Court took a bold step toward eliminating appeals to racial bias in criminal trials.  In State v. Monday, the Court reversed a first-degree murder conviction supported by videotape evidence of the charged crime and an apparent confession by the defendant because the prosecutor tainted the proceeding by impermissibly … Continue Reading

Toll This: Wash. S. Ct. Holds Tolling Exemption In Med Mal Cases Unconstitutional

Schroeder v. Wieghall When Jaryd Schroeder was nine-years old, he sought treatment from Dr. Steven Weighall and Columbia Basin Imaging.  During this treatment, he received an MRI, which Weighall reviewed and concluded was normal.  Nearly eight years later, at the age of 17, Schroeder underwent another MRI.  This MRI revealed that Schroeder suffered from an … Continue Reading

Washington Court Starts to Count to Five, Stops at Four

In State v. Liu, a 5-4 majority on the Washington Suprme Court declared the the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not require that DNA tests or other hard to decipher scientific tests be presented in court by the technician who conducted the test.  These tests are not inculpatory because a … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court – December 10 Conference

The Washington Supreme Court granted review in the followoing four cases at its December 10 conference: State v. Russell, No. 89253-9 Issue: 1.  A nonconsensual, warrantless, protective frisk is permitted only when a frisking officer has an objectively reasonable belief, based on specific and articulable facts, that a suspect is armed and presently dangerous. Was … Continue Reading

Public Hospital Med Mal Plaintiffs from the Last Three Years Can Breathe Easy

Last week the Washington Supreme Court extended a life preserver to plaintiffs who brought med mal claims against public hospitals between July 1, 2010 and December 27, 2012 without giving the hospitals 90-days presuit notice. The Court withdrew its earlier opinions in McDevitt v. Harborview and clarified that its ruling upholding the presuit notice requirement … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Holds That Prosecutors May Seek The Death Penalty Without An Objectively Reasonable Basis For The Decision

In State v. Monfort, a six justice majority of the Washington Supreme Court emphasized that prosecutors need only make a “subjective determination” about whether a defendant should be executed before filing the notice required to seek the death penalty at trial.  The Supreme Court criticized a trial court for “going beyond the question of whether the … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Approves Community Mitigation Component of Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Washington Supreme Court approved of community mitigation projects funded by King County and located in Snohomish County to offset the impact of a wastewater plant that King County built in Snohomish County.  The Court largely approved all trial court rulings that the community mitigation expenses were part of the project cost and reversed the sole trial … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Recognizes Executive Privilege

Yesterday the Washington Supreme Court recognized that the governor enjoys a qualified executive communications privilege.  In Freedom Foundation v. Gregoire, the Court held that executive privilege is necessary to facilitate candid advice to the governor and is therefore inherent in the state constitutional principle of separation of powers.  Thus, the executive privilege functions as a … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court on Tax Refund Suits: You Can’t Exhaust the Already Exhausted

Yesterday the Washington Supreme Court recognized that taxpayers may immediately turn to courts for relief if a municipality ignores a request for a tax refund.  In CMS v. Lakewood, the Court held that the exhaustion of administrative remedies doctrine does not bar a suit for a tax refund if the taxing authority fails to respond … Continue Reading

Wash. S. Ct. Clarifies that Law Firm Paid By Title Insurer to Defend Insured Not Subject to Title Insurer’s Malpractice Claim

In Stewart Title Guaranty Co. v. Sterling Savings Bank, the State Supreme Court unanimously held that a law firm paid by a title insurer to represent its insured owed a duty of care only to the law firm’s client—the insured—such that the non-client title insurer could not maintain a malpractice action against the attorney.… Continue Reading