Representative Washington Appellate Decisions:
1. Represented a property owner’s association against a developer related to the installation of a defective water system. On appeal the appellate court held in favor of the client property owner’s association ruling that for purposes of RCWA 4.16.310 (Washington Law), requiring causes of action arising from construction work to accrue within later of six years after substantial completion of construction or six years after termination of services, substantial completion of construction occurs when entire improvement, not merely component part, may be used for its intended purposes. Settled favorably for the client after appeal decision in favor of client
Glacier Springs Property Owners Ass’n v. Glacier Springs Enterprises, Inc., 41 Wn.App. 829, 706 P.2d 652 (Div. 1, 1985)
2. Represented insurance company against the State of Idaho to recover $3,000,000.00 of damages caused to Whatcom County dairy farmers, by the negligence of state of Idaho veterinarians. Idaho had a $50,000 cap on damages for any negligence claim against the state of Idaho. Washington has no cap on damages against a governmental entity, therefore we sued Idaho in Washington. The Whatcom County Superior Court held that Washington courts did not have jurisdiction over Idaho. Division I of the Court of Appeals held for the insurance company client finding that Idaho’s certification of livestock for export to Washington State was purposeful act giving rise to insurer’s claim to recover payments necessitated by outbreak of brucellosis among cattle, permitted assumption of jurisdiction without offending traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice, and, therefore, subjected Idaho to personal jurisdiction under Washington’s long-arm statute.
Grange Ins. Ass’n v. State, 49 Wn.App. 551, 744 P.2d 366 (Div. 1, 1987)
Upon appeal to the Washington Supreme Court, the Washington Supreme Court held that there was no dispute that the client’s cause of action against Idaho arose from Idaho’s contacts with Whatcom County, Washington, but there was not sufficient purposeful minimum contacts with Washington and the insurance company should have sued Idaho in Idaho even though the limit of recovery in Idaho for the $3,000,000 loss was $50,000.
Grange Ins. Ass’n v. State, 110 Wn.2d 752, 757 P.2d 933 (1988)
3. Represented the developer of two, multi residential planned unit developments against American Savings and Loan Association, at that time the largest Savings and Loan Association in the United States, on a breach of two construction loan agreements. Received a jury verdict in favor of client for all profits lost by the Associations breach, plus an award of $250,000 of attorney fees. The lender appealed. The Court of Appeals found in favor of the borrower client. A lender who materially breaches a construction loan agreement causing the borrower/developer to lose profits on the multi residential development projects, is not entitled to a deficiency judgment after foreclosure and the developer is entitled to all profits lost and its attorney’s fees, which on appeal resulted in an award of more than $1,000,000.00 for the developer client.
Northwest Land & Inv., Inc. v. New West Federal Sav. and Loan Ass’n, 57 Wn.App. 32, 786 P.2d 324 (Div. 1, 1990)
4. Represented a residential planned unit developer against the United States of America after American Savings and Loan Association went bankrupt, went into receivership, and its assets were purchased by the United States of America in attempting to collect its seven figure judgment from the United States of America. The Court of Appeals decided in favor of developer client and against the United States, holding that a failed savings and loan association was not entitled to vacation of judgment, the United States was not a good faith purchaser for value, and therefore, the United States had to forfeit its $2,000,000 supersedeas bond to developer client.
Northwest Land and Inv., Inc. v. New West Federal Sav. and Loan Ass’n, 64 Wn.App. 938, 827 P.2d 334 (Div. 3, 1992)
5. Represented a female employee against her employer for sexual harassment and hostile work environment. After trial the jury awarded the client $278,000.00. The trial judge reduced the amount to $25,000.00. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the trial judge had abused his discretion in reducing the jury award and therefore the client was entitled to reinstatement of the $278,000.00 jury verdict and her attorney fees incurred at trial and on appeal.
Thompson v. Berta Enterprises, Inc., 72 Wn.App. 531, 864 P.2d 983 (Div. 1, 1994)
6. Represented a first grade student who was repeatedly raped by a fifth grade student during school supervised activities (recess). The trial court dismissed the complaint at summary judgment. On appeal, the Washington Court of Appeals reversed the trial court holding the minor student was entitled to a jury trial against the school district. The Appeals Court determined that whether an assault upon a student by another student during inadequate recess supervision was foreseeable, was for the jury to decide, not the judge, and returned the matter for trial.
J.N. v. Bellingham School Dist. No. 501, 74 Wn.App. 49, 871 P.2d 1106 (Div. 1, 1994)
7. Represented a mother of a minor child court ordered to counseling with a court supported counseling service. Counselor mishandled treatment and had an improper sexual relationship with his client (the mother). Defendant counseling service settled with the mother for $900,000.00. The issue was whether the defendant’s insurance company was required to pay the $900,000 settlement. The Washington Court of Appeals ruled contrary to the courts of Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California in holding the insurance company did not have to pay the judgment because mishandling “transference” was outside the scope of employment.
National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. Northwest Youth Services, 97 Wn.App. 226, 983 P.2d 1144, (Div. 1, 1999)
8. Represented a truck driver against the insurance company of a lumber company. The truck driver was knocked off a loading platform by a negligent fork lift operator, and broke his right shoulder. In the first trial, there was a jury defense verdict in favor of the fork lift operator. After the first trial, based upon successful post-trial motions, the Court of Appeals granted us a new trial finding that the trial court improperly instructed the jury. At the second trial, the jury awarded the injured truck driver $413,000.00.
King v. American Wood Treaters, Inc., 96 Wn.App. 1030 (Div. I, 1999)
9. Represented a woman whose husband did not disclose a substantial marital asset at the time of the divorce. At trial the court found that the undisclosed asset was a community asset and awarded the woman, ten years after her divorce, $950,000 and her attorney fees. The husband unsuccessfully appealed and the appeals court affirmed the trial courts award and awarded additional attorney fees.
Carroll v. Elzey, 146 Wn.App. 1040 (Div. 1, 2008)
10. Represented a woman who was severely injured by a BNSF freight train at a crossing where the published speed limit for the train at the crossing was 15 mph, the maximum safe speed for a train at the crossing based upon site lines was 12 mph; however, the federal speed limit was 45 mph. The train was going 35 mph. Washington Supreme Court held that the Federal Railroad Safety Act prohibited any cause of action against a railroad train for excessive speed, even where the train speed was more than twice as fast (35 mph) as the published safe speed limit (15 mph) for the train. Unfortunately, federal law controlled over state or local safety concerns.
Veit, ex rel. Nelson v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., 171 Wash.2d 88, 249 P.3d 607 (2011)
11. Represented a Hispanic, Jewish, Native American woman in her fifties in an employment discrimination matter. The woman was hired as the clinical director of a mental health agency. Shortly after beginning her employment in Washington, she discovered significant problems within the organization. The woman was eventually fired and sued the agency alleging among other things negligent misrepresentation and discrimination based on race, gender, and age. The trial court granted the agencies motion for summary judgment dismissing all claims. The appellant court found that her discrimination and misrepresentation claims were improperly dismissed and reversed and returned the case to the trial court. The matter was settled without trial.
Ramirez v. Whatcom Counseling and psychiatric Clinic, 151 Wn.App. 1007 (2009)
12. Represented a woman in a committed intimate relationship for almost 30 years. When her male partner died, the home, business, boat, cars and cash were in the man’s name. The adult child of the deceased man, argued that Washington law required the trial court to award all assets in the man’s name to his adult child. The Court of Appeals determined that the woman owned 50% of all the assets, and the Court, in equity, could award the Estate’s 50% to the woman if fairness required such an award. On remand, the house, the business, the cars, the cash, and one-half of the boat were awarded to our client, the surviving partner.
In re Estate of Langeland, 177 Wn.App. 315, 312 P.3d 657 (Div. 1, 2013)