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HeadsUp for Washington State: Court Opinions From Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

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The Supreme Court of Washington filed 1 new opinion and Division Three of the Court of Appeals filed 2 new published opinions on Thursday, October 1, 2015:

Supreme Court:

Citizens Alliance for Property Rights Legal Fund v. San Juan County
No. 90500-2             
(October 1, 2015)
2015 Wash. LEXIS 1146 (

2015 Wash. LEXIS 1146 (Lexis Advance)


Brief: The meetings of the informal group of county officials and employees to discuss the updating of the county’s critical area ordinances were not subject to the Open Public Meetings Act of 1971 (OPMA), chapter 42.30 RCW, because (1) none of the team meetings constituted “meetings” of the county council under the OPMA, (2) the team itself was not a “committee” of the council, and (3) the team never acted on behalf of the council.

Court of Appeals:

1. State v. Hodgins
No. 31780-3               
(October 1, 2015)
2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 2339 (

2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 2339 (Lexis Advance)


Brief: The defendant's offender score should have been calculated under RCW 9.94A.525(21) to include a point for any prior repetitive domestic violence offenses because his present convictions both fell within the definition of “domestic violence” under RCW 10.99.020.

2. Cook v. Tarbert Logging, Inc.
No. 32000-6              
(October 1, 2015)
2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 2340 (

2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 2340 (Lexis Advance)


Brief: In an action for personal injury arising from a motor vehicle accident, the trial court erred by concluding that Washington has recognized a general duty to preserve evidence; it has not. For that reason, and because only intentional spoliation logically supports an adverse inference, the trial court erred when it ruled in limine that it would admit evidence and allow defense argument in support of such an inference. The trial court also abused its discretion by ruling in limine that the defense could present evidence to support argument of what was tantamount to a missing witness inference from the plaintiffs' failure to call their expert witness on speed to testify at trial. 

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