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Litigation

HeadsUp for Washington State: Court Opinions From Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

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The Supreme Court of Washington filed 2 new opinions and Division Three of the Court of Appeals filed 2 new published opinions on Thursday, April 30, 2015:

Supreme Court:

1. Maziar v. Department of Corrections
No. 90377-8      
(April 30, 2015)
2015 Wash. LEXIS 492 (lexis.com)

2015 Wash. LEXIS 492 (Lexis Advance)

Areas: COURTS; GOVERNMENT RELATIONS AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; PERSONAL INJURY AND INSURANCE LAW

Brief: The State had the right to a jury trial in the tort action brought against it because several statutory provisions demonstrate that the legislature meant to treat the State as if it were a private party with regard to matters of civil procedure and to confer on any party (including the State) the right to have a jury determine most matters of fact.

2. State v. Wheeler
No. 90367-1      
(April 30, 2015)
2015 Wash. LEXIS 491 (lexis.com)

2015 Wash. LEXIS 491 (Lexis Advance)

Areas: COURTS; CRIMINAL LAW

Brief: The Court of Appeals did not have the discretion under RAP 2.5(c)(1) to consider the defendant's challenge to the validity of his guilty plea in proceedings on review of the trial court's technical correction of his judgment and sentence because the trial court, on remand, did not exercise any independent judgment or review or rule again on THE defendant's case. Nor did the trial court have the discretion to entertain the defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea under RAP 12.2 because the motion was subject to a statutory time bar and the trial court's power to entertain postjudgment motions extended only to motions that did not challenge issues already decided by an appellate court. The defendant could not avoid the time bar on the basis of newly discovered evidence because he did not demonstrate reasonable diligence in seeking relief.

Court of Appeals:

1. State v. A.A.
No. 31587-8       
(April 30, 2015)
2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 961 (lexis.com)

2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 961 (Lexis Advance)

Areas: CRIMINAL LAW

Brief: Warrantless searches of constitutionally protected areas are presumptively unreasonable absent proof by the State that one of the well-established exceptions apply. In this case, a police officer detained a runaway juvenile under the Family Reconciliation Act, chapter 13.32A RCW, and then conducted a pat-down search before placing him in his patrol car. The officer did not feel anything resembling a weapon, but searched inside the juvenile's pants pockets and found methamphetamine and marijuana. On appeal, the juvenile argued that the trial court erred in denying his CrR 3.6 suppression motion because the State failed to establish that the search fell under any exception to the warrant requirement. Agreeing with the juvenile, the Court of Appeals reversed.

2. Department of Natural Resources v. Public Utility District No. 1. of Klickitat County
No. 31853-2      
(April 30, 2015)
2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 965 (lexis.com)

2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 965 (Lexis Advance)

Areas: GOVERNMENT RELATIONS AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; PERSONAL INJURY AND INSURANCE LAW; PROPERTY AND LAND USE LAW

Brief: The Department of Natural Resources has statutory authority to pursue a fire suppression cost recovery claim against the public utility district under RCW 76.04.495 because the public utility district is a “person” and a “corporation” within the meaning of the fire cost recovery statute. 

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