HeadsUp For Washington State - Oct. 28, 2013, Opinions

HeadsUp For Washington State - Oct. 28, 2013, Opinions

Monday, October 28, 2013 
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Division One of the Court of Appeals filed 5 new published opinions and announced the amending of 1 opinion on Monday, October 28, 2013: 

1. In re Estate of Langeland / Drown v. Boone

No. 67255-0

(October 28, 2013)

2013 Wash. App. LEXIS 2558 

Areas: DOMESTIC RELATIONS AND FAMILY LAW

Brief: This case involves competing claims to the estate of a decedent asserted by his daughter and the woman with whom he lived from 1991 until his death in 2009. The Court of Appeals affirms the trial court's decisions about the laws for intestate succession and the trial court's rejection of the daughter’s challenge to the decedent's designation of the woman as the beneficiary of his Fidelity IRA. The court also holds that the presumption that property acquired during a committed intimate relationship is jointly owned should prevail over a presumption of correctness for an estate inventory. Therefore, the court reverses the trial court's division of probate assets and remands to the trial court for further proceedings. 

2. Grove v. Peacehealth St. Joseph Hosp.

No. 69556-8

(October 28, 2013)

2013 Wash. App. LEXIS 2559 

Areas: PERSONAL INJURY AND INSURANCE LAW 

Brief: In the state of Washington, medical malpractice is a statutory cause of action, which requires that the plaintiff prove the standard of care to be exercised by a health care provider within the profession or class to which he or she belongs. This is no less the case when a hospital opts to provide medical care to its patients by using a "team approach." In this case, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant hospital, alleging medical malpractice for failure to timely diagnose compartment syndrome in his left leg and sought damages against the hospital under a theory of vicarious liability for negligence committed by its medical team or, alternatively, by the leader of the team. The jury found in the plaintiff's favor and awarded him $583,000 in damages. The trial court overturned the verdict on a motion for judgment as a matter of law, finding that no legal basis existed for holding the hospital vicariously liable, given that the plaintiff had not proved that any specific employee had acted negligently. The Court of Appeals affirms because the plaintiff failed to prove the applicable standard of care as required by statute. 

3. State v. Green

No. 68444-2

(October 28, 2013)

2013 Wash. App. LEXIS 2556 

Areas: CRIMINAL LAW

Brief: The defendant hit a pedestrian while driving his car and was arrested for suspected driving under the influence. After his arrest, police conducted a warrantless search of his car and found a number of receipts that were later determined to be evidence of purchases using stolen credit card numbers. Under State v. Snapp, 174 Wn.2d 177 (2012), the receipts were not admissible in his trial for identify theft and theft as the product of a vehicle search incident to arrest. The issue on appeal is whether the receipts were nonetheless admissible either (1) as the product of a lawful inventory search or (2) under the independent source doctrine. The Court of Appeals holds that the scope of the inventory search did not extend to the police officer's seizure of the receipts. The court also holds that the receipts were not admissible under the independent source doctrine because they were seized during the initial warrantless search and were not found through an independent source. 

4. Pugh v. Evergreen Hosp. Med. Ctr.

No. 68550-3

(October 28, 2013)

2013 Wash. App. LEXIS 2557 

Areas: COURTS

            EMPLOYMENT LAW

Brief: Court approval is not required of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by a union in its associational capacity when it is brought by the union itself and not as a class naming certain members as representative parties. 

5. Pugh v. Evergreen Hosp. Med. Ctr.

No. 68651-8

(October 28, 2013)

2013 Wash. App. LEXIS 2555 

Areas: COURTS

            EMPLOYMENT LAW

Brief: A union has standing to sue in its associational capacity for injunctive relief and back pay for missed rest breaks incurred by its members when damages can be established without requiring the participation of the individual union members. Thus, the trial court erred by invalidating a settlement agreement between the union and the employer based on the union's lack of standing. 

6. State v. Calvin

No. 67627-0

(filed May 28, 2013; amended October 22, 2013)

2013 Wash. App. LEXIS 2526 

Areas: CRIMINAL LAW

Brief: Considering the defendant’s high school education; his technical training; his past employment as a carpenter, including a brief time in the union; and the fact that the defendant retained counsel at trial, rather than obtaining appointed counsel, the defendant has the ability or likely future ability to pay the legal financial obligations imposed on him. 

 

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