Washington Supreme Court Decisions 2021

In re Cross (Majority)
Date: December 23, 2021
Docket Number: 201,993-5
Glacier Nw., Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters Local Union No. 174 (Majority)  
Date: December 16, 2021
Docket Number: 99319-0

Justia Opinion Summary: Glacier Northwest Inc. claimed the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union No. 174 (Local 174) was liable for concrete product loss during a strike and for an alleged misrepresentation by a union…

Washington v. Moreno (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: November 24, 2021
Docket Number: 99147-2

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Francisco Moreno was convicted of first degree burglary, which was defined by statute and required the State to prove that an accused: (1) entered or remained unlawfully in a building; (2) with an intent to…

Washington v. Peterson (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: November 18, 2021
Docket Number: 98201-5

Justia Opinion Summary: Jerry Lynn Peterson pleaded guilty to the sale of heroin in violation of RCW 69.50.410 of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act (UCSA). She petitioned the Washington Supreme Court to hold that RCW 69.50.410, if not all…

Washington v. Anderson (Majority)  
Date: November 18, 2021
Docket Number: 98973-7

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Brian Anderson was convicted of four counts of delivery of a controlled substance, methamphetamine. The fourth amended information alleged that the first count was subject to RCW 69.50.435(1)(c)’s…

Dep't of Ecology v. Acquavella (Majority)  
Date: November 18, 2021
Docket Number: 99373-4

Justia Opinion Summary: There have been multiple cases that purported to (at least partially) adjudicate and reserve water rights of various parties throughout the Yakima River Drainage Basin (the Basin). The underlying litigation began in 1977…

Washington State Legislature v. Inslee (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: November 10, 2021
Docket Number: 98835-8

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, the issue presented for the Washington Supreme Court’s review centered on whether Governor Inslee exceeded his constitutional authority to veto whole bills, “entire section[s]” of bills, and “appropriation…

Washington v. Bowman (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: November 10, 2021
Docket Number: 99062-0

Justia Opinion Summary: As cell phones made text messaging a ubiquitous form of communication, the Washington Supreme Court recognized that text message conversations constituted “a private affair protected by the state constitution from…

Washington v. Molnar (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: October 28, 2021
Docket Number: 98864-1

Justia Opinion Summary: This case concerned Laszlo Molnar’s postjudgment motion for resentencing on one count of second degree rape based on the State’s alleged breach of the plea agreement. The sentencing court denied Molnar’s motion, and the…

Dep't of Labor & Indus. v. Tradesmen Int'l, LLC (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: October 28, 2021
Docket Number: 99031-0

Justia Opinion Summary: Tradesmen International and Laborworks Industrial Staffing Specialists were staffing agencies that placed temporary workers with host employers. Tradesmen staffed a worker at a Dochnahl Construction site. Laborworks…

Johnson v. Inslee (Majority)  
Date: October 22, 2021
Docket Number: 100,255-6

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioners Governor Jay Inslee, the State of Washington, the Washington Department of Corrections, and Cheryl Strange, secretary of the Department of Corrections, sought the Washington Supreme Court's accelerated direct…

Washington v. Weaver (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: October 14, 2021
Docket Number: 99041-7

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Sammy Weaver was charged with one count of residential burglary under RCW 9A.52.025. In the jury instructions, the parties agreed to include the lesser included offense of criminal trespass in the first…

In re Pers. Restraint of Williams (Majority)  
Date: October 7, 2021
Docket Number: 99344-1

Justia Opinion Summary: In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, petitioner Robert Williams filed a personal restraint petition (PRP) arguing that the conditions of his confinement constituted cruel punishment in violation of the state and…

Washington Bankers Ass'n v. Dep't of Revenue (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 98760-2

Justia Opinion Summary: This case involves the constitutionality of a business and occupation (B&O) tax. In 2019, the Washington state legislature imposed an additional 1.2 percent B&O tax on financial institutions with a consolidated net…

Spokane Airport Bd. v. Experimental Aircraft Ass'n, Chapter 79 (Majority)  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 99180-4

Justia Opinion Summary: The question this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court was whether a tenant in a fixed-term commercial lease could become a holdover tenant when the tenancy ends pursuant to an early termination provision. The…

Washington v. Haag (Majority, Concurrence and Concurrence/Dissent)  
Date: September 23, 2021
Docket Number: 97766-6

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1995, petitioner Timothy Haag was sentenced to mandatory life without parole for a crime he committed at the age of 17. In 2018, at a Miller-fix resentencing conducted pursuant to RCW 10.95.030, the resentencing court…

Seven Hills, LLC v. Chelan County (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 23, 2021
Docket Number: 98730-1

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2014, Seven Hills LLC began developing a cannabis production and processing business in Chelan County, Washington. After Seven Hills procured the relevant permits and began building on its property, Chelan County…

Washington v. Vazquez (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 9, 2021
Docket Number: 98928-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Jessica Vazquez was convicted of maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances, possessing methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sarah McFadden, Vazquez’s attorney, objected only once…

Lake Hills Invs., LLC v. Rushforth Constr. Co., Inc. (Majority)  
Date: September 2, 2021
Docket Number: 99119-7

Justia Opinion Summary: Lake Hills Investments LLC sued AP Rushforth (AP) for breach of contract, alleging, among other things, that the work AP conducted on the Lake Hills Village project was defective. AP counterclaimed that Lake Hills…

Alpert v. Nationstar Mortg., LLC (Majority)  
Date: September 2, 2021
Docket Number: 99377-7

Justia Opinion Summary: The U.S. Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit certified several questions of law to the Washington Supreme Court. When the homeowner failed to insure his property, the mortgage servicer purchased insurance to cover the…

In re Citizen Complaint by Stout v. Felix (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: August 26, 2021
Docket Number: 98613-4

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court’s review centered on whether a citizen’s affidavit was sufficient to initiate criminal proceedings under the citizen complaint rule, CrRLJ 2.1(c). Geene…

City of Seattle v. Long (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: August 12, 2021
Docket Number: 98824-2

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2016, Steven Long was living in his truck. Long, then a 56-year-old member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation, worked as a general tradesman and stored work tools as well as personal…

Turner v. Dep't of Soc. & Health Servs. (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: August 12, 2021
Docket Number: 99243-6

Justia Opinion Summary: Kent Turner suffered from multiple sclerosis (MS), which caused loss of his motor skills. When his wife, Kathy Turner, could not, due to her own health issues, provide necessary in-home assistance, Kent moved into a…

Wood v. Milionis Constr., Inc. (Majority)  
Date: August 5, 2021
Docket Number: 98791-2

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue central to this appeal centered on a “covenant judgment” arrangement: an insured defendant, facing suit by a plaintiff, settles claims without the insurer’s consent in exchange for a release from liability and…

Rinehold v. Renne (Majority)  
Date: July 29, 2021
Docket Number: 98694-1

Justia Opinion Summary: The Rinehold and Renne families disputed the location of the shared boundary line between their respective Mason County, Washington properties. They agreed the property was subdivided in the 1950s by surveyor W.O.…

Washington v. Enriquez-Martinez (Majority)  
Date: July 29, 2021
Docket Number: 99101-4

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Juan Enriquez-Martinez was in custody in Oregon, held on both Washington and Oregon pending charges. For his Washington conviction, he was denied credit for the time he spent in jail in Oregon on a variety of…

In re Welfare of K.D. (Majority)  
Date: July 22, 2021
Docket Number: 98965-6

Justia Opinion Summary: The Washington Supreme Court granted discretionary review in this case to address a concern about inconsistent practices among the three divisions of the Washington Court of Appeals in creating case titles in dependency…

Nyman v. Hanley (Majority)  
Date: July 22, 2021
Docket Number: 99249-5

Justia Opinion Summary: Antonia Nyman was renting a backyard cottage to Dan Hanley when the COVID-19 pandemic began. She sought to evict Hanley and gave him 60 days’ notice of her intention to move into the unit herself. Due to this…

Washington ex rel. Haskell v. Spokane County Dist. Court (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: July 15, 2021
Docket Number: 98719-0

Justia Opinion Summary: Reverend George Taylor was a long-time climate activist. Rev. Taylor has made many attempts to mitigate the risks of coal and oil trains passing through Spokane, Washington. After repeated efforts without effect, he…

Family of Butts v. Constantine (Majority)  
Date: July 15, 2021
Docket Number: 98985-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Damarius Butts, Isaiah Obet, Charleena Lyles, and seven other people were shot and killed by law enforcement officers in King County, Washington in 2017. In response to community demands for greater police…

Coogan v. Genuine Parts Co. (Majority)  
Date: July 8, 2021
Docket Number: 98296-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Doy Coogan died of peritoneal mesothelioma after years of asbestos exposure through his automotive repair work and excavation business. A jury unanimously found Genuine Parts Company (GPC) and National Automotive Parts…

Conway Constr. Co. v. City of Puyallup (Majority)  
Date: July 8, 2021
Docket Number: 98753-0

Justia Opinion Summary: The city of Puyallup (City) hired Conway Construction Company to build a road. The contract allowed the City to terminate the contract early either for its convenience or on Conway’s default, but a termination for…

Washington v. Denham (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: July 1, 2021
Docket Number: 98591-0

Justia Opinion Summary: A valuable diamond was stolen from a jewelry store. Within days, Respondent Lynell Denham sold that diamond. Police suspected Denham committed the burglary and got a warrant for his cell phone records. Cell site location…

In re Dependency of G.J.A. (Majority)  
Date: June 24, 2021
Docket Number: 98554-5

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was whether the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (Department) met its burden under the Washington State Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA) to provide active efforts to reunify C.A. with her…

Washington v. Johnson (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: June 10, 2021
Docket Number: 98493-0

Justia Opinion Summary: Christopher Johnson was convicted of child sex crimes. He challenged a condition of community custody as unconstitutionally overbroad and vague: this condition would require Johnson to access the Internet only through…

Washington v. Jenks (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: May 27, 2021
Docket Number: 98496-4

Justia Opinion Summary: Alan Jenks was sentenced to life without parole under the Persistent Offender Accountability Act (POAA), part of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1981 (SRA). One of his strikes was second degree robbery, which was removed…

Green v. Pierce County (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: May 27, 2021
Docket Number: 98768-8

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue before the Washington Supreme Court’s in this case was whether an individual’s YouTube channel qualified as “news media” for requests for certain records under the Washington Public Records Act (PRA). In 2014,…

Ladenburg v. Henke (Majority)  
Date: May 20, 2021
Docket Number: 98319-4

Justia Opinion Summary: This case concerned a conflict between Tacoma Municipal Court Judge David Ladenburg and the presiding judge of that court, Judge Drew Henke. Judge Ladenburg petitioned the Washington Supreme Court to issue a writ of…

Washington v. Slater (Majority)  
Date: May 20, 2021
Docket Number: 98795-5

Justia Opinion Summary: After attending multiple court hearings in his case for violating a domestic violence no contact order (DVNCO), Samuel Slater missed court the day his case was called for trial. The judge issued a warrant for his arrest,…

In re Termination of Parental Rights to M.A.S.C. (Majority)  
Date: May 20, 2021
Docket Number: 98905-2

Justia Opinion Summary: The parent in this case, J.C., contended that the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) did not tailor its offer of services to accommodate her intellectual disability prior to recommending termination of her…

Johnson v. Liquor & Cannabis Bd. (Majority)  
Date: May 13, 2021
Docket Number: 98726-2

Justia Opinion Summary: On a rainy day in 2011, Darcy Johnson, a business invitee at a Washington State Liquor Control Board liquor store, slipped and fell in the entryway to that store, just after entering. A jury returned a verdict for…

Washington v. Towessnute (Majority)  
Date: May 6, 2021
Docket Number: 13083-3

Justia Opinion Summary: On May 15, 1915, the State of Washington charged Alec Towessnute, a Yakama tribal member, with multiple fishing crimes. These criminal charges stemmed from the fact that he was fishing in the usual and accustomed waters…

Washington v. Knapp (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: May 6, 2021
Docket Number: 98067-5

Justia Opinion Summary: The facts in this case were disputed: petitioner Leland Knapp, IV had intercourse with B.S. on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7, 2016; Knapp was high on methamphetamine at the time; and Knapp and B.S. had been friends since…

Saralegui Blanco v. Gonzalez Sandoval (Majority)  
Date: April 29, 2021
Docket Number: 98221-0

Justia Opinion Summary: This case involved a premises liability claim brought by a visitor against landlords for an injury caused by the tenants’ dog. The question was whether the landlords, Ernesto and Teri Hernandez, owed a duty to …

In re Det. of McHatton (Majority)  
Date: April 29, 2021
Docket Number: 98904-4

Justia Opinion Summary: The Washington Supreme Court was asked to decide whether an order revoking a sexually violent predator’s (SVP) conditional release to a less restrictive alternative (LRA) placement pursuant to RCW 71.09.098 was one of…

Silver v. Rudeen Mgmt. Co., Inc. (Majority)  
Date: April 22, 2021
Docket Number: 98024-1

Justia Opinion Summary: A residential landlord withheld a tenant’s security deposit after the termination of the tenancy, demanding a large sum of money for alleged excessive wear and tear to the premises. Two years and two months later, the…

Washington v. D.L. (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: April 15, 2021
Docket Number: 96143-3

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2017, D.L., a 14-year-old boy, was charged with three counts of first degree rape and one count of attempted first degree rape of his 5-year-old half brother. At the time, D.L. had no prior criminal history. D.L.…

Washington v. M.S. (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: April 15, 2021
Docket Number: 96894-2

Justia Opinion Summary: In November 2017, M.S. was charged with third degree assault of a King County Metro bus driver. M.S. approached the driver’s side window of a King County bus while it was parked. When the bus driver leaned out the…

In re Dependency of E.M. (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: April 15, 2021
Docket Number: 98596-1

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2018, E.M. was a three-year-old boy who had lived with his grandmother since birth as a dependent child of the State. When his grandmother sought to return to work, E.M. suddenly found himself in a custodial…

In re Recall of Sawant (Majority)  
Date: April 1, 2021
Docket Number: 99089-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Kshama Sawant served on the Seattle City Council since 2013. Ernest Lou, among others, filed recall charges alleging that Councilmember Sawant delegated city employment decisions to a political organization outside city…

Washington v. Coryell (Majority)  
Date: March 25, 2021
Docket Number: 98256-2

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented centered on the test to be applied when determining whether to instruct the jury on a lesser included or lesser degree offense. Under Washington v. Workman, 584 P.2d 382 (1978), a defendant…

Hester v. Washington (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: March 25, 2021
Docket Number: 98495-6

Justia Opinion Summary: This case involved a challenge to former RCW 43.43.120(23)(a) (2001), which excluded certain overtime from the calculation of the monthly pension benefit granted under the Washington State Patrol Retirement System…

Washington v. Orn (Majority)  
Date: March 18, 2021
Docket Number: 98056-0

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, the issue presented for the Washington Supreme Court's review was whether the trial court violated petitioner Nicholas Conan Orn’s rights to confrontation and to present a complete defense when it barred…

Pimentel v. Judges of King Cty. Superior Court (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: March 18, 2021
Docket Number: 98154-0

Justia Opinion Summary: In King County, Washington, individuals subject to a warrantless arrest typically first appear before a district court judge to determine probable cause and set bail or release on personal recognizance (PR). The superior…

Fox v. City of Bellingham (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: March 18, 2021
Docket Number: 98514-6

Justia Opinion Summary: The US District Court for the Western District of Washington certified a question of law to the Washington Supreme Court. The federal court asked the Supreme Court who had standing to bring an action for tortious…

In re Pers. Restraint of Monschke (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: March 11, 2021
Docket Number: 96772-5

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioners Dwayne Bartholomew and Kurtis Monschke were each convicted of aggravated first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole - a mandatory, nondiscretionary sentence under…

Woods v. Seattle's Union Gospel Mission (Majority, Concurrence and Concurrence/Dissent)  
Date: March 4, 2021
Docket Number: 96132-8

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue in this case was whether the Washington legislature extended a privilege or immunity to religious and other nonprofit, secular employers and whether, in providing the privilege or immunity, the legislature…

Meyers v. Ferndale Sch. Dist. (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: March 4, 2021
Docket Number: 98280-5

Justia Opinion Summary: Gabriel Anderson, a student of the Ferndale School District (Ferndale), was killed by a vehicle while on an off campus walk with his physical education (PE) class. Anderson’s estate alleged negligence by Ferndale. The…

Washington v. Blake (Majority, Dissent and Concurrence/Dissent)  
Date: February 25, 2021
Docket Number: 96873-0

Justia Opinion Summary: Washington’s strict liability drug possession statute, RCW 69.50.4013, made possession of a controlled substance a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, plus a hefty fine; leads to deprivation of numerous…

Washington v. Waller (Majority)  
Date: February 25, 2021
Docket Number: 98326-7

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, the superior court did not clearly state that it was “arresting or vacating” Respondent Anthony Waller’s judgment, or even granting his motion, in its first order on his CrR 7.8 motion. Instead, it skipped…

Freedom Found. v. Teamsters Local 117 (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: February 18, 2021
Docket Number: 97109-9

Justia Opinion Summary: The Freedom Foundation was a nonprofit organization that describes itself as committed to “advanc[ing] individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government in the Evergreen State.” The Foundation…

Beauregard v. Wash. State Bar Ass'n (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: February 11, 2021
Docket Number: 97249-4

Justia Opinion Summary: The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Board of Governors (BOG) terminated the WSBA executive director during a closed executive session. WSBA member Lincoln Beauregard sued the WSBA, alleging that the vote to fire…

In re Pers. Restraint of Brooks (Majority)  
Date: February 11, 2021
Docket Number: 97689-9

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1978, 17-year-old Carl Brooks pleaded guilty to eight counts of first degree robbery, first degree rape, first degree kidnapping, first degree assault, second degree murder, and first degree burglary, all while armed…

In Re Recall of Snaza (Majority)  
Date: February 11, 2021
Docket Number: 98918-4

Justia Opinion Summary: This case involved a recall petition against Thurston County, Washington, Sheriff John Snaza. Petitioner Arthur West alleged Snaza committed a recallable offense because he stated in a press release that he would not…

Washington v. Numrich (Majority, Dissent and Concurrence/Dissent)  
Date: February 4, 2021
Docket Number: 96365-7

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was whether the general-specific rule applied to a second degree manslaughter charge stemming from a workplace death. The State initially charged Phillip Numrich under the Washington Industrial…

In re Pers. Restraint of Fowler (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: February 4, 2021
Docket Number: 97456-0

Justia Opinion Summary: Long before his judgment and sentence was final, Vincent Fowler hired and paid an attorney, John Crowley, to prepare and file his personal restraint petition (PRP). But after repeatedly and falsely assuring his client he…

Mancini v. City Of Tacoma (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: January 28, 2021
Docket Number: 97583-3

Justia Opinion Summary: Executing a search warrant, in 2011, eight Tacoma police officers broke open an apartment door with a battering ram. They expected for find Matthew Longstrom, a drug dealer. Instead, they awakened Petitioner Kathleen…

Leishman v. Ogden Murphy Wallace, PLLC (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: January 28, 2021
Docket Number: 97734-8

Justia Opinion Summary: Roger Leishman, an openly gay man, began employment with the Washington Attorney General’s office (AGO) as chief legal advisor to Western Washington University in 2015. Shortly after starting work, Leishman began…

In re Pers. Restraint of Garcia-Mendoza (Majority)  
Date: January 28, 2021
Docket Number: 98026-8

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2007, petitioner Alejandro Garcia Mendoza pled guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance. He moved to withdraw the plea on grounds his counsel did not advise him as required by Padilla v. Kentucky, 599…

Washington v. Pratt (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: January 28, 2021
Docket Number: 98066-7

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court’s review centered on the eligibility criteria of the special sex offender sentencing alternative (SSOSA), which required offenders to have an established…

Washington v. Burke (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: January 14, 2021
Docket Number: 96783-1

Justia Opinion Summary: A patient being treated for a sexual assault made statements to a sexual assault nurse examiner in the course of an exam with both medical and forensic purposes. The Washington Supreme Court held that under these…

In re Recall of Fortney (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: January 14, 2021
Docket Number: 98683-5

Justia Opinion Summary: On September 10, 2020, the Washington Supreme Court issued an order affirming the trial court in part and reversing in part a recall petition filed against Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney. Sheriff Fortney…

In re Recall of Hatcher (Majority)  
Date: January 14, 2021
Docket Number: 98968-1

Justia Opinion Summary: On November 6, 2020, the Washington Supreme Court entered a unanimous order affirming the superior court’s decision to allow the recall effort against Benton County Sheriff Gerald Hatcher to proceed. Sergeant Jason…

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