Washington Supreme Court Decisions 2019

Money Mailer, LLC v. Brewer (Majority)  
Date: September 19, 2019
Docket Number: 96304-5

Justia Opinion Summary: The federal district court for the Western District of Washington certified a question of state law to the Washington Supreme Court. Money Mailer, LLC and Wade Brewer entered into a franchisor/franchisee relationship. In...

Church of the Divine Earth v. City of Tacoma (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 19, 2019
Docket Number: 96613-3

Justia Opinion Summary: This case concerned whether the city of Tacoma (City) could be held liable for damages for imposing an unlawful condition on a building permit. The Church of the Divine submitted an application to the City to build a par...

Washington v. Boisselle (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 12, 2019
Docket Number: 95858-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Police were dispatched to petitioner Michael Boisselle's home after two anonymous 911 calls reported that a man named Mike shot and possibly killed someone at the residence. While responding to the calls, officers learne...

Washington v. A.M. (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: September 12, 2019
Docket Number: 96354-1

Justia Opinion Summary: A.M. (juvenile) appealed an unpublished Court of Appeals decision affirming her conviction for possession of a controlled substance. She argued: (1) it was manifest constitutional error for the trial court to admit a det...

In re Recall of Burnham (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 12, 2019
Docket Number: 96839-0

Justia Opinion Summary: A recall petition was filed against the Mayor and three Cathlamet council members; charges stemmed from Cathlamet’s purchase of a parcel of property at 20 Butler street. The petition alleged a violation of the Washington...

In re Recall of Ritter (Majority)  
Date: September 12, 2019
Docket Number: 97305-9

Justia Opinion Summary: Two Tonasket voters petitioned to recall City Council member Jill Ritter from office. The petition made six allegations relating to improper influence over a police investigation of a relative’s son, improperly reviewing...

In re Recall of Levine (Majority)  
Date: September 12, 2019
Docket Number: 97306-7

Justia Opinion Summary: Two Tonasket voters petitioned to recall City Council member Christia “Teagan” Levine from office. The petition alleged Levin committed five violations relating to certain city personnel actions, conspiracy to remove the...

Serv. Emps. Int'l Union Local 925 v. Univ. of Wash. (Majority)  
Date: September 5, 2019
Docket Number: 96262-6

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Freedom Foundation filed a public records request for documents relating to union organizing by several University of Washington (UW) faculty members. The UW asked one of the faculty to search his e-mail accou...

Sampson v. Knight Transp., Inc. (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 5, 2019
Docket Number: 96264-2

Justia Opinion Summary: The federal district court in Washington State certified a question of law to the Washington Supreme Court. Plaintiffs Valerie Sampson and David Raymond (collectively, Sampson) were Washington residents who worked as com...

Grp. Health Coop. v. Coon (Majority)  
Date: August 22, 2019
Docket Number: 96516-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Group Health Cooperative (GHO) provided health insurance benefits to Nathaniel (Joel) Coon, who suffered a serious fungal infection and amputation following knee surgery at the Everett Clinic (TEC). The Coon family later...

Washington v. Moretti (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: August 15, 2019
Docket Number: 95263-9

Justia Opinion Summary: Four defendants’ cases were consolidated for review by the Washington Supreme Court. In each case, the defendant had been labeled a “persistent offender” under RCW 9.94A.570 and was sentenced. Under the Washington Persis...

In re Appointment of Special Deputy Prosecuting Attorney (Majority)  
Date: August 8, 2019
Docket Number: 95945-5

Justia Opinion Summary: Franklin County Washington was an early adopter of an electronic filing system for superior court cases. The county clerk and the superior court judges largely cooperated with the transition to "Odyssey" and anticipated...

Washington v. McCarthy (Majority)  
Date: August 8, 2019
Docket Number: 96653-2

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2014, Matthew McCarthy approached a stranger's home under a mistaken belief that he would find his ex-wife inside. He forced his way in and pushed the occupant against the wall. He returned twice the next evening: the...

Washington v. Scanlan (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: August 1, 2019
Docket Number: 95971-4

Justia Opinion Summary: Widower, 82-year-old Leroy Bagnell met 57-year-old defendant Theresa Scanlan in a bar. At first she was introduced to Bagnell's adult children as a friend, later he began referring to her as his girlfriend. In 2014, poli...

Wash. State Hous. Fin. Comm'n v. Nat'l Homebuyers Fund, Inc. (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: July 25, 2019
Docket Number: 96063-1

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was whether the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (“Commission”) had standing to challenge the National Homebuyers Fund’s (“NHF”) authority to provide down payment assistance to Washington residents in...

Banowsky v. Backstrom (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: July 25, 2019
Docket Number: 96200-6

Justia Opinion Summary: Teresa Banowsky filed a claim for medical malpractice in Washington district court on the last day of the statute of limitations, seeking over $100,000. District courts could exercise jurisdiction over medical malpractic...

Karstetter v. King County Corr. Guild (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: July 18, 2019
Docket Number: 95531-0

Justia Opinion Summary: Jared Karstetter worked for labor organizations representing King County, Washington corrections officers for over 20 years. In 1987, Karstetter began working directly for the King County Corrections Officers Guild (Guil...

Washington v. Berhe (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: July 18, 2019
Docket Number: 95920-0

Justia Opinion Summary: A jury convicted petitioner Tomas Berhe of murder and assault. After the trial, juror 6 came forward, alleging that racial bias during jury deliberations influenced the verdict. The trial court denied Berhe's motion for...

Washington v. Taylor (Majority)  
Date: July 18, 2019
Docket Number: 96325-8

Justia Opinion Summary: Brendan Taylor was charged with felony violation of a no-contact order. Before trial, Taylor offered to stipulate to the fact that a domestic violence no-contact order was in place, and that he knew of the order. The tri...

Washington v. Frahm (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: July 11, 2019
Docket Number: 95947-1

Justia Opinion Summary: A drunk driver hit and disabled another vehicle, then fled. A Good Samaritan stopped to help the struck vehicle; while helping, the Good Samaritan was fatally injured when a second vehicle did not see the disabled vehicl...

Taylor v. Burlington N. R.R. Holdings, Inc. (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: July 11, 2019
Docket Number: 96335-5

Justia Opinion Summary: The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit certified a question of law to the Washington Supreme Court. The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) generally prohibits employers from discriminating aga...

Elster v. City Of Seattle (Majority)  
Date: July 11, 2019
Docket Number: 96660-5

Justia Opinion Summary: Seattle voters approved the "Democracy Voucher Program," intending to increase civic engagement. Recipients could give their vouchers to qualified municipal candidates, who could redeem those vouchers for campaign purpos...

Daniels v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (Majority)  
Date: July 3, 2019
Docket Number: 96185-9

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was whether a first-party insurer, after obtaining a partial recovery in a subrogation action, had to reimburse its fault-free insureds for the full amount of their deductibles before any portion of...

Washington v. Barbee (Majority)  
Date: July 3, 2019
Docket Number: 96490-4

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Shacon Barbee "was a pimp who made money from prostitutes working under his supervision." He was convicted of multiple crimes, including the sexual abuse of minors, leading organized crime, and theft. Barbee h...

Beltran-Serrano v. City of Tacoma (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: June 13, 2019
Docket Number: 95062-8

Justia Opinion Summary: Cesar Beltran-Serrano, mentally ill and homeless, was shot multiple times by a Tacoma, Washington Police Officer, Michel Volk. Beltran-Serrano survived the shooting, and through a guardian ad liter, filed suit for neglig...

Washington v. Arlene's Flowers, Inc. (Majority)  
Date: June 6, 2019
Docket Number: 91615-2

Justia Opinion Summary: The federal Supreme Court remanded a case involving Washington law to the Washington Supreme Court. The underlying matter involved Washington’s anti-discrimination law, RCW 49.60.215(1), banning discrimination in “public...

Washington v. T.J.S.-M. (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: May 30, 2019
Docket Number: 96434-3

Justia Opinion Summary: A juvenile challenged his suspended manifest injustice disposition. The Court of Appeals dismissed his claim on ripeness grounds; the juvenile disagreed his claim was not yet ripe. Furthermore, the juvenile argued the tr...

In re Guerra (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: May 23, 2019
Docket Number: 95347-3

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellants Levi Guerra, Esther John, and Peter Chiafalo appealed a superior court decision upholding the imposition of a $1,000 file for failing to cast their votes in the United States Electoral College in accordance wi...

Figueroa v. Mariscal (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: May 23, 2019
Docket Number: 95827-1

Justia Opinion Summary: On October 30, 2013, Consuelo Prieto Mariscal was driving her minivan in Pasco, Washington, with her daughter. There were vehicles, including an orange, pickup truck and a van, on the right side of the road. As Prieto pa...

Washington v. Romero-Ochoa (Majority)  
Date: May 16, 2019
Docket Number: 95905-6

Justia Opinion Summary: Leonel Romero-Ochoa was convicted by jury of burglary, unlawful imprisonment, assault, and multiple counts of rap all arising from an incident in which he broke into a woman's home, beat her, and raped her twice. At tria...

Washington v. Morgan (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: May 16, 2019
Docket Number: 96017-8

Justia Opinion Summary: David Morgan was convicted by jury of first degree assault, attempted murder and arson. A bloodstain pattern analysis performed on his clothing revealed he was in close proximity to the victim when she suffered her injur...

In re Pers. Restraint Petition of Meippen (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: May 9, 2019
Docket Number: 95394-5

Justia Opinion Summary: Time Rikat Meippen was a juvenile when he was convicted in adult court of first degree assault, first degree robbery, and second degree unlawful possession of a firearm. The trial court sentenced Meippen to the top of th...

Barr v. Snohomish County Sheriff (Majority)  
Date: May 9, 2019
Docket Number: 96072-1

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was whether the Snohomish County, Washington sheriff was required to issue a concealed pistol license (CPL) to an individual whose juvenile record included adjudications for class A felonies. The Wa...

Washington v. Brown (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: May 2, 2019
Docket Number: 95734-7

Justia Opinion Summary: Ronald Brown appealed an unpublished Court of Appeals decision affirming his exceptional sentence for two counts of first degree robbery and one count of first degree burglary. At his first sentencing hearing, the trial...

Riddle v. Elofson (Majority, Concurrence, Dissent and Concurrence/Dissent)  
Date: April 25, 2019
Docket Number: 95959-5

Justia Opinion Summary: The Yakima County clerk was ordered by a superior court judge to procure a supplemental bond to maintain her elected office. The court warned that failure to comply would result in the court declaring the office vacant....

Washington v. Burns (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: April 18, 2019
Docket Number: 95528-0

Justia Opinion Summary: Washington charged Michael Burns with second degree assault, domestic violence, and felony violation of a no-contact order, for strangling Christina Jackson while the no-contact order was in effect. The appeal presented...

City of Shoreline v. McLemore (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: April 18, 2019
Docket Number: 95707-0

Justia Opinion Summary: A bystander called 911 about a loud, late-night argument in a home. Police, concerned about domestic violence, went to investigate. Officers heard the argument and demanded entry. Petitioner Solomon McLemore and his girl...

Washington v. Catling (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: April 18, 2019
Docket Number: 95794-1

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2016, Washington charged Jason Catling with two counts of delivery of heroin. Pursuant to a plea deal, Catling pleaded guilty to one count in exchange for the State's agreement to dismiss the other, and to recommend a...

Washington v. McKee (Majority)  
Date: April 18, 2019
Docket Number: 96035-6

Justia Opinion Summary: Marc McKee was convicted by jury on four counts of possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The Court of Appeals reversed those convictions on the ground that the warrant police used was over...

Adamson v. Port of Bellingham (Majority)  
Date: April 11, 2019
Docket Number: 96187-5

Justia Opinion Summary: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals certified a question of Washington law to the Washington Supreme Court concerning premises liability. Shannon Adamson, an employee of the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS), fell appro...

Washington v. Gilbert (Majority)  
Date: April 4, 2019
Docket Number: 95814-9

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1992 when Jeremiah Gilbert was a juvenile, he was charged and convicted of aggravated murder, premeditated murder, and multiple other crimes. He was sentenced to life without parole for the aggravated murder along wit...

Randy Reynolds & Assocs. v. Harmon (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: March 28, 2019
Docket Number: 95575-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Kasey Harmon, a 53-year-old woman in failing health, was evicted from her home following a default judgment and writ of restitution. During the eviction, Harmon obtained an ex parte order staying enforcement o...

L.M. v. Hamilton (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: March 21, 2019
Docket Number: 95173-0

Justia Opinion Summary: L.M. suffered a severe injury during birth and subsequently sued Laura Hamilton, the midwife who delivered him, for negligence. Hamilton prevailed at trial. On appeal, L.M. argued the trial court erred by admitting evide...

Dep't of Soc. & Health Servs. v. Sims (Majority)  
Date: March 14, 2019
Docket Number: 95479-8

Justia Opinion Summary: This case centered on contempt sanctions imposed against the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) for failing to timely complete competency evaluations for criminal defendants. Specifically, the issue reduced...

Thurston County v. City of Olympia (Majority)  
Date: March 14, 2019
Docket Number: 95586-7

Justia Opinion Summary: In Washington State, cities, towns, and counties are empowered to enact criminal codes, employ law enforcement officers, and operate jails. Currently, cities, towns, and counties were "responsible for the prosecution, ad...

Fields v. Dep't of Early Learning (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: February 21, 2019
Docket Number: 95024-5

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1998, petitioner Christal Fields pled guilty to attempted second degree robbery for trying to snatch a woman's purse. As a result, Fields was permanently disqualified from working at any licensed childcare facility in...

Washington v. Merritt (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: February 21, 2019
Docket Number: 95115-2

Justia Opinion Summary: Diana Merritt was convicted of ten counts of mortgage fraud in 2015. The actual crimes were committed between 2008 and 2009, but law enforcement did not discover the extent of those crimes until 2014. Merritt argued the...

Washington v. Gehrke (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: February 14, 2019
Docket Number: 95635-9

Justia Opinion Summary: Michael Gehrke and Christopher Pineyro had a history of conflict; Pineyro died after being stabbed in a streetfight with Gehrke. When police arrived, Gehrke admitted to striking Pineyro, claiming self-defense. Gehrke was...

Washington v. Yancey (Majority)  
Date: February 14, 2019
Docket Number: 95992-7

Justia Opinion Summary: James Yancey, a military veteran with no prior criminal history, was caught selling drugs in a school zone. He pled guilty, but asked the trial court for a lenient sentence. The State objected for a drug offender sentenc...

Washington v. Mayfield (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: February 7, 2019
Docket Number: 95632-4

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2015, Derek Salte came home to find an unfamiliar truck parked in his driveway, with a man, Petitioner John Mayfield, asleep in the driver's seat. After being asked to leave, the truck would not move. Mayfield got out...

BNSF Ry. Co. v. Clark (Majority)  
Date: January 31, 2019
Docket Number: 95015-6

Justia Opinion Summary: Thomas Clark, M.D., the Pierce County, Washington medical examiner, attempted to subpoena a video held by BNSF Railway Company of a fatal train-pedestrian collision. The parties disputed whether Dr. Clark properly began...

Floeting v. Grp. Health Coop. (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: January 31, 2019
Docket Number: 95205-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Christopher Floeting alleged a Group Health Cooperative employee repeatedly sexually harassed him while he was seeking medical treatment. He sued Group Health for the unwelcome and offensive sexual conduct under the Wash...

Washington v. Evergreen Freedom Found. (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: January 10, 2019
Docket Number: 95281-7

Justia Opinion Summary: This case involved statutory interpretation concerning application of the reporting requirements contained in the Washington Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA), chapter 42.17A RCW. The specific issue presented was how th...

Washington v. Dreewes (Majority)  
Date: January 10, 2019
Docket Number: 95551-4

Justia Opinion Summary: Jennifer Dreewes was the victim of property theft when a laptop, an iPhone, checks, credit cards, and other items were stolen from her truck. She reported the theft to law enforcement. After one of her credit cards was u...

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