HeadsUp for Washington State: Court Opinions From Thursday, July 10, 2014

HeadsUp for Washington State: Court Opinions From Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014 

To view the full text of these opinions, please visit: http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/index.cfm?fa=opinions.recent or Lexis subscribers may use the links below to access the cases on either lexis.com or Lexis Advance.

The Supreme Court of Washington filed 3 new opinions and Division Three of the Court of Appeals filed no new published opinion on Thursday, July 10, 2014:

Supreme Court:

1. In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against Hall
No. 201,255-8
(July 10, 2014)
2014 Wash. LEXIS 488 (lexis.com)

2014 Wash. LEXIS 488 (Lexis Advance)

Areas: COURTS

Brief: This disciplinary action concerned a lawyer’s creation and management of an elderly woman's estate. The hearing officer concluded that the lawyer violated RPC 1.4(b) (communication), RPC 1.7(a)(2) (concurrent conflict of interest), RPC 1.8(a) (improper business transaction with a client), RPC 1.5 (unreasonable fees), RPC 8.4( c) (dishonest conduct), RPC 1.15A(f) (return of client property), RPC 1.16( d) (termination of representation), and RPC 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). The Supreme Court held that the hearing officer's conclusions of law were supported by the unchallenged findings of fact and accepted the Disciplinary Board’s unanimous recommendation and suspended the lawyer from the practice of law for two years.

2. In re Estate of Toland 
No. 88045-0
(July 10, 2014)
2014 Wash. LEXIS 490 (lexis.com)

2014 Wash. LEXIS 490 (Lexis Advance)

Areas: DOMESTIC RELATIONS AND FAMILY LAW

Brief: A decedent’s estate asked the Supreme Court to reverse a decision of the Court of Appeals upholding a summary judgment that denied registration of a Japanese divorce decree awarding the decedent a monetary award against her former husband. The primary question was whether the trial court abused its discretion by denying recognition of the divorce decree under comity principles because the former husband was not given notice of a Japanese guardianship proceeding involving the couple's daughter. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, holding that the 2008 guardianship had no effect on the former husband’s legal obligations under the 2006 divorce decree. The divorce decree was valid, and whether it should be recognized as a matter of comity did not depend on whether the former husband had notice of the guardianship proceeding. The trial court abused its discretion, thus the case was remanded for registration of the divorce decree.

3. State v. Russell 
No. 89253-9 
(July 10, 2014)
2014 Wash. LEXIS 489 (lexis.com)

2014 Wash. LEXIS 489 (Lexis Advance)

Areas: CRIMINAL LAW

Brief: In certain situations, a police officer may briefly frisk a person to search for weapons that might pose a risk to officer and bystander safety. When justified, these protective frisks do not violate the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable invasions of individual privacy. In this case, the Supreme Court was asked to further define the permissible scope of these protective frisks. An officer stopped the defendant for violating several minor traffic laws. The officer recognized the defendant from a previous encounter where the defendant had told officers he was not armed, when in fact he had a small gun in his pocket. Fearing for his safety, the officer frisked the defendant for weapons and felt a small box in the defendant’s pants pocket. The officer removed the box, opened it, and found a syringe filled with methamphetamine. The Supreme Court held that the initial protective frisk was justified to protect officer safety, but that the warrantless search of the container was not because it exceeded the permissible scope of a protective frisk.

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