Washington Supreme Court Decisions 2023

Crossroads Mgmt., LLC v. Ridgway (Majority)  
Date: December 21, 2023
Docket Number: 101,329-9

Justia Opinion Summary: In Washington, a couple, the Lewises, moved into a rental property owned by another couple, the Ridgways. After the Lewises moved out, a dispute arose over the return of their security deposit. The Ridgways claimed the…

P.E.L. v. Premera Blue Cross (Majority)  
Date: December 21, 2023
Docket Number: 101,561-5

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, the plaintiffs, a minor and her parents, sued their health insurer, Premera Blue Cross, for denying coverage for the minor’s stay in a wilderness therapy program, claiming that the denial violates mental…

Nwauzor v. The GEO Grp., Inc. (Majority)  
Date: December 21, 2023
Docket Number: 101,786-3

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court of the State of Washington held that detained workers at a privately owned and operated immigration detention center are considered "employees" under Washington's Minimum Wage Act (MWA), and are thus…

State v. Heng (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: December 7, 2023
Docket Number: 101,159-8

Justia Opinion Summary: In the State of Washington, a man named Mitchell Heng was charged with murder, arson, and robbery. He was brought before a judge for a preliminary hearing without counsel, during which the judge set bail among other…

Eylander v. Prologis Targeted U.S. Logistics Fund (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: December 7, 2023
Docket Number: 101,176-8

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington was asked to determine whether a landowner could delegate its duty to protect invitees on its premises from known or obvious dangers to an independent…

State v. Charlton (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: December 7, 2023
Docket Number: 101,269-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Michael Shawn Charlton was arrested and charged with third-degree child rape, third-degree child molestation, and indecent liberties. He appeared in preliminary hearings without counsel, which he argued on appeal was a…

Bennett v. United States (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: December 7, 2023
Docket Number: 101,300-1

Justia Opinion Summary: In the case presented, plaintiff Bette Bennett alleged that she suffered a traumatic brain injury due to medical negligence by the defendant, the United States. However, the cause of her injury was not diagnosed until…

In re Pers. Restraint of Knight (Majority, Dissent and Concurrence/Dissent)  
Date: November 9, 2023
Docket Number: 101,068-1

Justia Opinion Summary: In a prior case before the Washington Supreme Court, the Court rejected Petitioner Amanda Knight’s claim her separate convictions for felony murder (based on first-degree robbery) and first degree robbery violated the…

DeSean v. Sanger (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: October 5, 2023
Docket Number: 101,330-2

Justia Opinion Summary: Carmella DeSean sought a Sexual Assault Protection Order Act (SAPOA) order against Isaiah Sanger after an evening of drinking ended in unwanted sex. At the evidentiary hearing, Sanger argued DeSean consented and had…

Gonzales v. Inslee (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 28, 2023
Docket Number: 100,992-5

Justia Opinion Summary: Acting under enhanced powers to act in an emergency under RCW 43.06.220 and related statutes, the Washington Governor Inslee imposed a moratorium on evicting people from their homes for failing to pay rent from March…

Washington v. Avington (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 28, 2023
Docket Number: 101,398-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Dominique Avington argued his own trial testimony was sufficient to require a lesser included offense instruction for the shooting death of Terrance King. Specifically, Avington testified that although he…

Washington v. Valdiglesias LaValle (Majority)  
Date: September 28, 2023
Docket Number: 101,442-2

Justia Opinion Summary: A jury convicted Respondent Vanessa Valdiglesias LaValle of two counts of criminal solicitation after she told her minor son, S.G., that he could be with her “forever” if he poisoned his father. The Court of Appeals…

Washington v. McWhorter (Majority)  
Date: September 28, 2023
Docket Number: 101,691-3

Justia Opinion Summary: Respondent John McWhorter pleaded guilty in adult court to crimes he committed when he was a juvenile. He later moved for resentencing to enable the trial court to consider the mitigating qualities of his youth. The…

Washington v. Reynolds (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 21, 2023
Docket Number: 100,873-2

Justia Opinion Summary: Michael Reynolds Jr. received a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole for a crime he committed at age 33. The events triggering that sentence, though, were his two “strikes” under…

Nelson v. P.S.C., Inc. (Majority)  
Date: September 21, 2023
Docket Number: 101,444-9

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs Matthew and Melanie Nelson (collectively Nelsons) married in 2020. The following year, defendant Puget Sound Collections Inc. (PSC), a debt collection agency, garnished Matthew’s wages in an attempt to satisfy…

Stratford v. Umpqua Bank (Majority)  
Date: September 14, 2023
Docket Number: 100,717-5

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was the “apex doctrine” which shielded certain high-ranking officials from deposition unless the proponent could first show that the witness had personal knowledge of the facts and that a less…

Snaza v. Washington (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 14, 2023
Docket Number: 101,375-2

Justia Opinion Summary: Following waves of protests across the country calling for racial justice and reform of police practices, the Washington Legislature enacted several statutes in 2021 establishing requirements for tactics and equipment…

Washington v. Westwood (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: September 7, 2023
Docket Number: 100,570-9

Justia Opinion Summary: Dahndre Westwood entered A.B.’s house around 4:30 a.m. A.B. saw Westwood standing in her hallway and holding a knife in his hand. Westwood told her to get undressed and threatened to kill her if she did not cooperate.…

Wahkiakum Sch. Dist. No. 200 v. Washington (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: September 7, 2023
Docket Number: 101,052-4

Justia Opinion Summary: In this action, the Wahkiakum School District (WSD) alleged the State of Washington “fail[ed] to amply fund the [WSD]’s needed facilities [and] infrastructure.” WSD argued that this failure violated the Washington…

Wolf v. Washington (Majority)  
Date: September 7, 2023
Docket Number: 101,477-5

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case is the triggering event for the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse actions. Timothy Jones’ estate (Estate) brought negligence and wrongful death claims against the State of Washington.…

Dalton M, LLC v. N. Cascade Tr. Servs., Inc. (Majority)  
Date: August 31, 2023
Docket Number: 101,149-1

Justia Opinion Summary: U.S. Bank National Association foreclosed on property owned by real estate company Dalton M, LLC. The bank did not have the right to do that: Dalton M actually owned the property outright, not subject to any lien. Dalton…

Wash. Fed'n of State Emps., Council 28, v. State (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: August 24, 2023
Docket Number: 101,093-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner the Freedom Foundation requested the identities and workplace contact information for Washington state public employees. To prevent disclosure of this information, affected employees sought declaratory and…

Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Olympic Game Farm, Inc. (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: August 17, 2023
Docket Number: 101,264-1

Justia Opinion Summary: The United States District Court certified a question of law to the Washington Supreme Court, asking whether a violation of Washington’s animal protection laws could establish a claim for a public nuisance, absent an…

In re Pers. Restraint of Ansell (Majority, Concurrence and Concurrence/Dissent)  
Date: August 10, 2023
Docket Number: 100,753-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Respondent Peter Ansell was serving an indeterminate life sentence in community custody. The Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board (ISRB) sought review of a Court of Appeals decision invalidating certain community…

Wright v. 3M Co. (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: August 3, 2023
Docket Number: 100,768-0

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff, an invitee, was allegedly injured by exposure to asbestos on the defendant landowner’s property. The landowner, petitioner ExxonMobil Oil Corporation (Mobil), requested a jury instruction to limit its…

Washington v. Rivers (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: August 3, 2023
Docket Number: 100,922-4

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Paul Rivers, a Black man, was convicted on two criminal charges in King County, Washington by a jury drawn from a panel that lacked any Black potential jurors. Rivers argued this venire, as well as certain…

Maslonka v. Pub. Util. Dist. No. 1 of Pend Oreille County (Majority)  
Date: August 3, 2023
Docket Number: 101,241-1

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1993, respondents Brock and Diane Maslonka purchased land bordering the Pend Oreille River. A dam had been constructed on the river in 1955. The previous owners informed the Maslonkas that the land occasionally…

In re Det. of A.C. (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: July 27, 2023
Docket Number: 100,668-3

Justia Opinion Summary: NG, CM, and AC were all involuntarily detained under the Washington involuntary treatment act (ITA). NG and CM were confined at Western State Hospital for more than a month after the court orders authorizing their…

In re Det. of D.H. (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: July 27, 2023
Docket Number: 100,716-7

Justia Opinion Summary: DH was taken into emergency custody on an involuntary 72-hour hold as authorized by former RCW 71.05.153(1) (2019). Instead of filing for a 14-day commitment court order, the State let the 72-hour hold expire and did not…

Merritt v. USAA Federal Savings Bank (Majority)  
Date: July 20, 2023
Docket Number: 100,728-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Gary and Jeanette Merritt own four residential properties in Marysville, Washington. Between 2005 and 2007, the Merritts opened five home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), executing five five promissory notes (notes or…

Copper Creek (Marysville) Homeowners Ass'n v. Kurtz (Majority)  
Date: July 20, 2023
Docket Number: 100,918-6

Justia Opinion Summary: The property at issue in this case was a residential home that was purchased in 2007 by Shawn and Stephanie Kurtz. The house was located in a subdivision, which required property owners to pay homeowners association…

Alaska Airlines v. Dep't of Labor & Indus. (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: June 29, 2023
Docket Number: 100,485-1

Justia Opinion Summary: Alaska Airlines’ (AA’s) Collective Bargaining Agreement with its flight attendants required those flight attendants to schedule vacation days in advance. The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) argued that RCW…

Portugal v. Franklin County (Majority)  
Date: June 15, 2023
Docket Number: 100,999-2

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, three Latino voters from Franklin County, Washington alleged that the county’s system for electing its board of commissioners violated the Washington voting rights act of 2018 (WVRA) by “dilut[ing] the…

In re Pers. Restraint of Sargent (Majority)  
Date: June 8, 2023
Docket Numbers: 100,552-1, 100718-3

Justia Opinion Summary: These cases concerned whether bail may be denied under article I, section 20 of the Washington Constitution for defendants charged with a class A felony. Patrick Sargent was denied bail and was in custody pretrial for…

Washington v. Teulilo (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: June 8, 2023
Docket Number: 101,385-0

Justia Opinion Summary: Interlocutory review was granted to challenge a trial court’s denial of a suppression motion of evidence observed during a warrantless entry into a dwelling. The trial court concluded that the entry was justified,…

New York Life Ins. Co. v. Mitchell (Majority)  
Date: May 11, 2023
Docket Number: 100,314-5

Justia Opinion Summary: The federal district court in Washington State certified a question of law to the Washington Supreme Court. Washington law required group life insurance policies to have an incontestability clause providing that “the…

In re Pers. Restraint of Rhone (Majority)  
Date: May 11, 2023
Docket Number: 101,204-7

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Theodore Rhone asked the Washington Supreme Court to adopt a bright line rule establishing a prima facie case of discrimination when the State peremptorily strikes the last member of a racially cognizable…

Kenmore MHP LLC v. City Of Kenmore (Majority)  
Date: May 4, 2023
Docket Number: 100,934-8

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court’s review centered on whether the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board’s (“Board”) decision to dismiss a timely petition for review was arbitrary and…

Washington v. Shoop (Majority)  
Date: May 4, 2023
Docket Number: 101,196-2

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Denver Lee Shoop kept a small herd of eight bison on his property. The State charged him with eight counts of animal cruelty in the first degree for his treatment of those eight bison. RCW 16.52.205(2) stated…

In re Recall of Bird, et al. (Majority)  
Date: April 27, 2023
Docket Number: 100,976-3

Justia Opinion Summary: In early 2022, while Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 related mask mandate remained binding throughout the state, three of five Richland School District board (RSDB) members voted to make face coverings optional…

Washington v. Hubbard (Majority)  
Date: April 27, 2023
Docket Number: 101,004-4

Justia Opinion Summary: A trial court granted Jeremy Dustin Hubbard’s motion to modify a court-imposed community custody condition approximately 15 years after sentencing based on a change in Hubbard’s factual circumstances. The Court of…

In re Dependency of A.M.F. (Majority)  
Date: March 30, 2023
Docket Number: 101,270-5

Justia Opinion Summary: A child was removed from his mother and placed with his grandparents out of concern that she could not care for him. Years later, the State sought to terminate that mother’s parental rights. On advice of counsel, she…

Quinn, et al. v. Washington (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: March 24, 2023
Docket Number: 100,769-8

Justia Opinion Summary: Two groups of plaintiffs, the Quinn and Clayton plaintiffs (Plaintiffs), brought suit to facially invalidate a capital gains tax enacted by the Washington legislature on three independent constitutional grounds. They…

Hanson v. Carmona (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: March 23, 2023
Docket Number: 99823-0

Justia Opinion Summary: This case arose from a car accident in which respondenr Miriam Gonzalez Carmona ran a red light and hit petitioner Kylie Hanson’s car. At the time, Carmona was driving home from an out of town work training, driving a…

In re Pers. Restraint of Richardson (Order)
Date: March 17, 2023
Docket Number: 101,043-5
Washington v. Meredith (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: March 16, 2023
Docket Number: 100,135-5

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2018, Petitioner Zachery Meredith boarded a “Swift Blue Line” bus in Snohomish County. Swift buses used a “barrier-free payment-system[ ].” Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Dalton and his partner were also on…

In re Pers. Restraint of Pitchlynn (Majority)  
Date: March 16, 2023
Docket Number: 100,154-1

Justia Opinion Summary: This case concerned an untimely personal restraint petition that petitioner Jonathan Pitchlynn alleged was exempt from the one-year time bar under RCW 10.73.100(5) because the judgment and sentence was imposed in excess…

In re Pers. Restraint of Carrasco (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: March 9, 2023
Docket Number: 100,073-1

Justia Opinion Summary: This case concerned the adequacy of the Washington early release statute, RCW 9.94A.730, as a remedy to petitioner Erik Carrasco’s alleged unconstitutional sentence for a crime he committed as a juvenile. Carrasco was…

In re Dependency of A.C. (Majority, Concurrence and Dissent)  
Date: March 9, 2023
Docket Number: 100,966-6

Justia Opinion Summary: CC (mother) and VC (father) were driving through eastern Washington when CC went into premature labor. CC gave birth to AC in a nearby hospital. AC’s umbilical cord tested positive for cannabis. Hospital staff noted that…

In re Pers. Restraint of Hinton (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: March 9, 2023
Docket Number: 98135-3

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner James Hinton was 17 when he was convicted of murder and attempted murder. He received a 37-year standard range adult sentence. In his personal restraint petition (PRP), Hinton argued he was less culpable than…

Washington v. TVI, Inc. (Majority)  
Date: February 23, 2023
Docket Number: 100,493-1

Justia Opinion Summary: The State of Washington brought multiple claims alleging that TVI Inc., doing business as Value Village, used deceptive advertising and marketing in violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act (CPA), ch. 19.86…

Lakeside Indus., Inc. v. Dep't of Revenue (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: February 23, 2023
Docket Number: 100,497-4

Justia Opinion Summary: The Washington Department of Revenue issued instructions to Lakeside Industries Inc. regarding the valuation of Lakeside’s self-manufactured asphalt products. This valuation determined the amount of use tax that Lakeside…

Washington v. J.W.M. (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: February 16, 2023
Docket Number: 100,894-5

Justia Opinion Summary: When J.W.M. was 17½ years old, he pointed what he thought was an unloaded gun at his friend W.B. and pulled the trigger. The gun was loaded, it discharged, W.B. died two days later. The State charged J.W.M. with first…

Dobson v. Archibald (Majority)  
Date: February 9, 2023
Docket Number: 100,862-7

Justia Opinion Summary: Homeowner Trefan Archibald hired an individual, Gina Dobson, to refinish his hardwood floors. Dobson worked as a longshoreman full-time but did some construction work on the side. Archibald selected her for the job based…

Wash. Food Indus. Ass'n v. City of Seattle (Majority, Concurrence, Dissent and Concurrence/Dissent)  
Date: February 9, 2023
Docket Number: 99771-3

Justia Opinion Summary: Six months after United States and global health authorities declared COVID-19 a public health emergency, the city of Seattle (City) passed an ordinance (Seattle Ordinance 126094) authorizing hazard pay for certain…

Washington v. Norman (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: February 2, 2023
Docket Number: 100,777-9

Justia Opinion Summary: "became overwhelmed" and punched himself in the face. After several jurors expressed concern, the trial court questioned juror 9 and two other jurors before dismissing juror 9 for cause. The reconstituted jury found…

In re Pers. Restraint of Lewis (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: February 2, 2023
Docket Number: 99939-2

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioners Robert Ayerst and Justin Lewis were represented at their criminal trials by Robert Van Idour. Though a licensed attorney in Idaho, Van Idour was never admitted to practice in Washington. Accordingly, Van…

In re Recall of Inslee (Majority)
Date: January 19, 2023
Docket Number: 101,117-2
In re Recall of Inslee (Majority)  
Date: January 19, 2023
Docket Number: 10111-7

Justia Opinion Summary: Brandon Ducharme appealed a trial court’s finding that the four charges in his recall petition against Washington Governor Jay Inslee were factually and legally insufficient. Ducharme's allegations against the governor…

Washington v. Bagby (Majority and Concurrence)  
Date: January 19, 2023
Docket Number: 99793-4

Justia Opinion Summary: Tyler Bagby was convicted of residential burglary, fourth degree assault, and harassment. At his trial, the prosecutor repeatedly asked witnesses to identify Bagby by his “nationality.” All the witnesses responded by…

Norg v. City of Seattle (Majority and Dissent)  
Date: January 12, 2023
Docket Number: 100,100-2

Justia Opinion Summary: Delaura Norg called 911 seeking emergency medical assistance for her husband, Fred. She gave the 911 dispatcher her correct address, which the dispatcher relayed to emergency responders from the Seattle Fire Department…

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