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HeadsUp for Washington State: Court Opinions From Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

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The Supreme Court of Washington filed 2 new opinions and Division Three of the Court of Appeals did not file any new published opinions on Thursday, January 28, 2016:

Supreme Court:

1. In re Estate of Barnes
No. 91488-5             
(January 28, 2016)
2016 Wash. LEXIS 119 (

2016 Wash. LEXIS 119 (Lexis Advance)


Brief: This case involved a will contest and whether the will proponents presented sufficient evidence to rebut a presumption of undue influence. The trial court invalidated the will at issue, finding that it was the product of undue influence. The trial court's factual findings were not challenged on appeal, but the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial, holding that the trial court failed to make findings of direct evidence to support its conclusion of undue influence, relying solely on the presumption of undue influence to invalidate the will. The proper inquiry here is whether the trial court's unchallenged findings of fact supported its conclusions of law. The Court of Appeals erred by reweighing evidence that sufficiently supported the trial court's conclusions. Thus, the decision of the Court of Appeals was reversed and the trial court's judgment invalidating the will as a product of undue influence was reinstated.

2. Wuthrich v. King County
No. 91555-5            
(January 28, 2016)
2016 Wash. LEXIS 118 (

2016 Wash. LEXIS 118 (Lexis Advance)


Brief: A municipality's duty to maintain its roadways in a reasonably safe condition for ordinary travel is not confined to the asphalt. If a wall of roadside vegetation makes the roadway unsafe by blocking a driver's view of oncoming traffic at an intersection, the municipality has a duty to take reasonable steps to address it. In this case, there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether this duty was breached and whether any breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries. 

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