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HeadsUp for Washington State: Court Opinions From Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

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Division One of the Court of Appeals filed 4 new published opinions on Tuesday, February 17, 2015:

1. Kim v. Lakeside Adult Family Home
No. 70892-9   
(February 17, 2015)
2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 312 (

2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 312 (Lexis Advance)


Brief: The Washington vulnerable adult protection act, ch. 74.34 RCW, requires mandated reporters to notify the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) where there is “reasonable cause to believe” that abuse has occurred. RCW 74.34.035. The act also requires a report to law enforcement when one has “reason to suspect” that a physical assault has taken place. RCW 74.34.035. Here, the defendant, a nurse, informed DSHS about a report that she had received regarding potential abuse at the adult family home. There was no duty to call law enforcement about someone else's patient when the information came from a person with whom the defendant was familiar and whose reliability was questionable. Nor did the plaintiff establish that a second nurse had a duty to call authorities when she observed the patient back in bed, with her eyes open, and able to move her legs, after a fall on the floor the day before. Because the plaintiff failed to establish any duty, a necessary element of a negligence action, summary judgment dismissal was appropriate.

2. Romney v. Franciscan Med. Grp.
No. 71625-5   
(February 17, 2015)
2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 322 (

2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 322 (Lexis Advance)


Brief: The arbitration agreement in the employment contract was enforceable because the agreement was not procedurally or substantively unconscionable; the agreement did not remove the employees' ability to recover special damages on their wage claims as provided by RCW 49.52.050(2), .070; and the employees would be entitled to attorney fees under RCW 49.52.070.

3. State v. P.E.T.
No. 68068-4   
(February 17, 2015)
2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 319 (

2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 319 (Lexis Advance)


Brief: The trial court properly placed the burden of proving incompetence on defendant, the party challenging competency.

4. State v. Larson
No. 71238-1   
(February 17, 2015)
2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 313 (

2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 313 (Lexis Advance)


Brief: Defendant attempted to steal a pair of shoes from a retail store. The shoes were equipped with a security device that was attached to the shoes by wire. Defendant, using wire cutters that he had brought into the store, severed the wire and removed the security device. When defendant tried to leave the store, he was stopped by security employees and, subsequently, was charged with one count of retail theft with extenuating circumstances, which criminalizes the commission of retail theft while in possession of a “device designed to overcome security systems.” former RCW 9A.56.360(1)(b) (2013). After a bench trial resulted in his conviction, he appealed, arguing that because wire cutters do not constitute a device designed to overcome security systems, the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. The Court of Appeals affirms the  conviction because wire cutters do, in fact, constitute a device designed to overcome security systems.

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