HeadsUp for Washington State: Court Opinions From Tuesday, April 8, 2014

HeadsUp for Washington State: Court Opinions From Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 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.

Divisions Two and Three of the Court of Appeals each filed 1 new published opinion on Tuesday, April 8, 2014:

1. State v. Dunn
No. 43855-1
(April 8, 2014)
2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 786 (lexis.com)

2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 786 (Lexis Advance)

Areas: CRIMINAL LAW

Brief: The defendant argued that the trial court violated his public trial right because the trial court conducted the peremptory challenges portion of jury selection at the clerk’s station. In State v. Love, 176 Wn. App. 911 (2013), Division Three addressed whether challenges during voir dire implicate the public trial right. There, the court held that neither prong of the experience and logic test suggested that the exercise of cause or peremptory challenges must take place in public. The public trial right does not attach to the exercise of challenges during jury selection. Division Two agreed with Division Three that experience and logic do not suggest that exercising peremptory challenges at the clerk’s station implicates the public trial right. Accordingly, the trial court did not violate the defendant’s public trial right.

2. Gorden v. Lloyd Ward & Associates PC
No. 31399-9 
(April 8, 2014)
2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 791 (lexis.com)

2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 791 (Lexis Advance)

Areas: BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL LAW; COURTS

Brief: Plaintiffs were debtors who, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated Washington residents, sued defendant Texas debt adjusting service providers for violating the Debt Adjusting Act, chapter 18.28 RCW, and the Consumer Protection Act, chapter 19.86 RCW. The defendants appealed the trial court's denial of their requests for arbitration and dismissal. The defendants contended that the trial court erred by deciding the contract was unconscionable and did not reserve all arbitration questions to the arbitrator. The defendants additionally contended that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over the Texas residents and that the action was, by later settlement, moot. Disagreeing, the Court of Appeals affirmed. The defendants purposely advertised on the Internet to Washington residents, made service promises to Washington residents, entered into contracts with Washington residents, and received payments from Washington residents. The plaintiffs’ suit related to those activities. Having Washington as the forum state does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice, considering the type of the complaint, the convenience of the parties, and the equities involved. The plaintiffs met their burden to show that Washington had personal jurisdiction over the defendants to avoid dismissal.

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