HeadsUp For Washington State - Oct. 29, 2013, Opinions


Tuesday, October 29, 2013 

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Division Two of the Court of Appeals filed 3 new published opinions and Division Three filed no new opinions on Tuesday, October 29, 2013: 

1. Johnston-Forbes v. Matsunaga

No. 43078-9

(October 29, 2013)

2013 Wash. App. LEXIS 2569 

Areas: COURTS

             PERSONAL INJURY AND INSURANCE LAW

Brief: The trial court did not commit reversible error in denying the driver's motion in limine to exclude a defense expert's testimony about the forces involved in the accident because the expert did not offer any opinion about whether the forces in the accident were or were not sufficient to cause injury, nothing in Wash. R. Evid. 702 required the expert to be licensed in engineering to give testimony, and the testimony was helpful and not unfairly prejudicial when the jury could have reasonably concluded that the driver’s pain and injury related back to other previous accidents. 

2. State v. Higgs

No. 43097-5

(October 29, 2013)

2013 Wash. App. LEXIS 2566 

Areas: CRIMINAL LAW             

Brief: Defense counsel was not ineffective because (1) the search warrant's portions supported by probable cause can be severed from the overbroad portions and therefore the trial court likely would have denied a motion to suppress the drug evidence seized under the valid portion of the warrant, and (2) the defendant cannot show that the admission of the evidence seized under the invalid portion of the warrant prejudiced him. Further, the evidence of methamphetamine residue found in the defendant's residence was sufficient to support his unlawful possession of methamphetamine conviction because the unlawful possession statute does not require a minimum quantity of a controlled substance to support a conviction. 

3. Gronquist v. Dep’t of Corr.

No. 42774-5

(October 29, 2013)

2013 Wash. App. LEXIS 2573 

Areas: CRIMINAL LAW

            GOVERNMENT RELATIONS AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW 

Brief: RCW 42.56.565(1) bars an award of Public Records Act (PRA) penalties to the plaintiff because (1) he was serving a criminal sentence in a correctional facility when he made his PRA request to Department of Corrections (DOC); (2) the superior court found no bad faith in DOC's inadvertent omission of one page from the documents it produced in response to his PRA request; and (3) no final judgment had yet been entered in his PRA action at the time the legislature enacted the bad faith prohibition in 2011. Further, the prison surveillance video recordings that the plaintiff requested were exempt from disclosure under RCW 42.56.240(1). 

 

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