Our firm has a long history of serving the needs of clients in Washington and Idaho. We provide a full range of legal services, including criminal defense, family law, and personal injury representation. We offer a free telephone consultation for criminal cases.
- PERSONAL INJURY: The Washington State Supreme Court, on January 28, 2016, held that a municipality’s duty to maintain its roadways in a reasonably safe condition for ordinary travel includes a duty to maintain roadside vegetation. In Wuthrich v. King County, a driver’s view of cross traffic was allegedly partially obstructed by overgrown blackberry bushes. The driver entered the intersection, and collided with a passing motorcyclist. The Court held, “[W]e reaffirm that a municipality has a duty to take reasonable steps to remove or correct for hazardous conditions that make a roadway unsafe for ordinary travel and now explicitly hold this includes hazardous conditions created by roadside vegetation.”
- LANDLORD-TENANT: On November 3, 2015, the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division III, ruled in favor of a tenant whose landlord did not return her security deposit within 14 days of the termination of her lease, as required under RCW 59.18.280. The case originated in Spokane County. The landlord had argued that “circumstances beyond the landlord’s control” prevented it from providing a full and complete statement of the basis for withholding a portion of the tenant’s deposit as required under the statute. Specifically, the landlord claimed that the cleaning company had not provided its final invoice until after the required 14-day period. The Court of Appeals disagreed, finding that the landlord had not acted diligently when it waited until 12 days after the tenant vacated to contact the cleaning company to clean the residence, and that the landlord had not requested that the cleaning company promptly provide a bill. The tenant was awarded her full security deposit, plus a penalty equal to the security deposit, plus attorney fees, costs and interest. The case is Goodeill v. Madison Real Estate.
- CRIMINAL: On August 20, 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court affirmed the conviction of Fred Russell, who in June 2001 was involved in a crash on the Moscow-Pullman highway which killed WSU students Stacy Morrow, Ryan Sorensen and Brandon Clements. Before the State Supreme Court, Russell had argued that his right to a public trial had been violated when the court held, in the jury room rather than in the courtroom, work sessions to consider juror requests for hardship. The Court rejected that argument and affirmed the conviction. The Court’s opinion can be found here.
- PUBLIC RECORDS: In April 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a decision in Predisik v. Spokane Sch. Dist. No. 81, concerning whether Washington’s Public Records Act allows disclosure of the names of employees who are subject to investigation, while not describing the allegations being investigated. The Court held that the names of employees facing investigation are subject to disclosure. This case has potentially significant consequences for state employees – including employees of Washington State University.