Pay Attention to Administrative Appeal Deadlines

When practicing administrative law you must pay close attention to deadlines.  Sometime the attorney is not at fault because they did not get the case until it is too late.  McLain v. Kent School District is a perfect example.  No. 68373-0-I (Dec. 16, 2013). A school district has the right to not renew the contract for a certified teacher if there is probable cause.  RCW 28A.405.210.  When a teacher receives a notice of nonrenewal, they  may file a notice of appeal.  If they file the ... [Continue Reading]

Division III Breaks the Tie – Attorney Fees for LUPA Actions

      Attorney Fees for LUPA Actions In Gresh v. Okanogan County, No. 31394-8-III, the appellant brought an untimely LUPA claim and the court dismissed the petition.  RCW 4.84.370(1) awards fees to the "prevailing" or "substantially prevailing" party in land use litigation.  Respondent sought attorney fees because the court dismissed the petition.  Division I and II disagreed on whether “prevail” means on the ... [Continue Reading]

ER 404(b) Does Not Violate Accused’s Constitutional Right to Present a Defense

State v. Donald, No. 68429-9-I (Dec. 9, 2013) Defendant Harold Donald was charged with first degree assault and attempted robbery.  Donald’s defense at trial was that the other defendant, Lorenzo Leon, committed the crime alone.  To support this defense, Donald sought to introduce evidence of Leon’s criminal and mental health history.  The court excluded Leon’s criminal history, but allowed a limited amount of his mental health history.  The trial court admitted evidence showing ... [Continue Reading]

Trial Court May Award Separate Property in Dissolution Even if Community Property Amply Provides

    In re Marriage of Larson v. Calhoun, No. 69833-8-1 (Nov. 25, 2013) Before Larson and Calhoun were married, Larson acquired an equity interest in Microsoft and held it principally as his separate property.  The marital community exercised some Microsoft stock options during the marriage, which Larson treated as a community asset. After a trial, the court awarded Calhoun community assets worth approximately $139 million and more than $40 million of Larson’s separate ... [Continue Reading]

State Does Not Get Attorneys’ Fees for PRP Challenging DOC’s Administrative Disciplinary Action

      When prisoner Derek Gronquist was sanctioned loss of early release credits for allegedly assaulting a correctional officer, he filed a personal restraint petition in the Washington Supreme Court to challenge it.  Personal Restraint of Gronquist, No. 87666-5 (Nov. 14, 2013).  The court’s commissioner dismissed the petition, but awarded the State attorneys’ fees of $200 under RCW 10.73.160(2).  The court found that a challenge to the department’s ... [Continue Reading]

90 Day Presuit Notice Requirements Do Not Violate Equal Protection

McDevitt v. Harborview Medical Center, No. 85367-3 (Nov. 14, 2013)   Glen McDevitt had a paragliding accident that required surgery at Harborview Medical Center, a King County public hospital.  He alleges he was taken off anticoagulant medication after surgery and sued for damages.  Harborview moved for summary judgment based on the undisputed fact that McDevitt failed to comply with the 90 day presuit notice requirement of former RCW 7.70.100(1) for all medical malpractice suits.  ... [Continue Reading]

The Battle of the Presumptions: No Majority Rule In WA On Conflicting Presumptions

The Court of Appeals recently declined to make a bright line rule about conflicting presumptions in Drown v. Boone, NO. 67255-0-1, (Ct. App. Oct. 28, 2013). Randall Langeland and Sharon Drown were in a committed intimate relationship from 1983 until 2009 when Langeland died.  His personal representative inventoried proceeds from a software company Langeland founded in 1994, a house that he purchased with Drown in 1999, and a 36-foot sailboat purchased in 1998 as Langeland’s ... [Continue Reading]

Be Aware of the Experience and Logic Test for WA’s Open Court Cases

State v. Halverson, No. 42761 -3 –II (Sept. 24, 2013). One way the court can avoid granting a new trial for an alleged open court/public trial violation is to hold the right has not yet attached.  The right to a public trial does not attach unless the defendant’s argument passes the experience and logic test by showing: “The place and process have historically been open to the press and general public” and “Public access plays a significant positive role in the functioning of ... [Continue Reading]

Can a Death Sentence be Predicated on an Alford Plea in Washington?

  The Washington Supreme Court answered a resounding Yes.  In re Cross, No. 79761-7, (Sept. 26, 2013).  It is true that at common law, felony convictions (for which the penalty was usually death) could not be predicated on a no contest plea.  Commonwealth v. Shrope, 264 Pa. 246, 250, 107 A. 729 (1919).  The rule was necessary because a no contest plea could be entered without any factual support or any independent evidence that supported a finding of guilt.  A defendant could be ... [Continue Reading]