News & Analysis as of

WA Supreme Court

Ruling Elevates Conflicts Considerations in Insurance/Tripartite Relationship Cases - After Washington Supreme Court Decision,...

by Holland & Knight LLP on

• Relationships between insurer, insured and insurer-appointed defense counsel – also known as the "tripartite relationship" – have long been recognized as a potential source of conflicts of interest. By a 5-4 majority in...more

Sharply-Divided Washington Supreme Court Holds That Sureties, Like Insurers, Must Pay Attorney Fees to Prevailing Parties When...

by Pepper Hamilton LLP on

King Cnty. v. Vinci Constr. Grands Projets/Parsons RCI/ Frontier-Kemper, JV, No. 92744-8, 2017 Wash. LEXIS 743 (July 6, 2017) - King County contracted with three construction firms (collectively, “VPFK”) to construct a...more

Washington Supreme Court Affirms Brightwater Decision Regarding Application of Olympic Steamship to Sureties

by Stoel Rives LLP on

On July 6, 2017, the Washington Supreme Court confirmed that the equitable rule announced in Olympic Steamship—providing for attorney fees where the insurer compels the insured to take legal action—applies to performance bond...more

The Washington Supreme Court Addresses Meal Break Claims

by Stoel Rives LLP on

The Washington Supreme Court case Brady v. Autozone recently addressed the standards that apply when a non-exempt employee alleges that an employer did not provide meal breaks. In short: it is now clear that if a lawsuit is...more

Poisoning the Well: Washington Supreme Court Applies Efficient Proximate Cause to Eviscerate Pollution Exclusion in Liability...

by Carlton Fields on

Professionals and practitioners in first party property insurance are likely familiar with the efficient proximate cause rule, which requires an insurance policy to provide coverage where “a covered peril sets in motion a...more

WA Supreme Court Narrows Executive Session Real Estate Deliberations

by Perkins Coie on

The Washington Supreme Court significantly narrowed the ability of public agencies to discuss real estate deliberations in executive session. In a ruling on June 8, 2017, the court held that the Open Public Meetings Act...more

Absolute Pollution Exclusion—Not So Absolute

by Perkins Coie on

Slapping insurers with breach of contract and bad faith, Washington state’s highest court recently found that a general liability policy’s so-called “absolute” pollution exclusion may not be so absolute. In Xia et al. v....more

Wealth Management Update - May 2017

by Proskauer Rose LLP on

May Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The May § 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs, QPRTs and GRATs...more

Three Western Courts Hold Carbon Monoxide Is a Pollutant, But Washington Makes New Anti-Insurer Rules

by Cozen O'Connor on

Washington - On April 27, 2017, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that carbon monoxide discharged from a hot water heater was a pollutant “acting as a pollutant” and within the absolute pollution exclusion of the home...more

Washington Supreme Court Applies Efficient Proximate Cause Test to Pollution Exclusion

In its recent decision in Xia v. ProBuilders Specialty Ins. Co. RRG, 2017 Wash. LEXIS 443 (Wash. Apr. 27, 2017), the Supreme Court of Washington had occasion to address the concept of efficient proximate cause as it relates...more

Position Accepted By Trial Court, And By Court Of Appeals, Was Insurance Company Bad Faith: Washington Supreme Court

by Butler Snow LLP on

The Washington Supreme Court just handed a defeat to Washington State liability insurers, holding that ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Company had a duty to defend a carbon monoxide poisoning case, notwithstanding a broad...more

Medical Device Manufacturers’ Duty to Warn Expands

by Knobbe Martens on

The Washington State Supreme Court recently released its decision in Taylor v. Intuitive Surgical, Inc. where it held that Washington law requires medical device manufacturers to warn hospitals that purchase their products of...more

Washington Supreme Court Holds That Punitive Damages May Be Awarded to a Seaman Under a General Maritime Law Unseaworthiness Claim

by Lane Powell PC on

On March 9, the Washington State Supreme Court issued an opinion confirming the types of damages available to a plaintiff under a general maritime unseaworthiness claim, specifically determining that punitive damages are...more

Washington Supreme Court Restricts Claims Under the Insurance Fair Conduct Act

In a significant victory for insurers, the Washington Supreme Court interpreted the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA), RCW 48.30.015, for the first time and held that IFCA does not authorize an independent cause of action for...more

Washington Supreme Court Rejects Implied Federal Field Preemption of Aviation Product Liability Claim

by Lane Powell PC on

In a unanimous decision, the Washington Supreme Court held that implied field preemption under federal law does not bar state-law product liability claims. The decision in Estate of Becker v. Avco Corporation (Jan. 26, 2017),...more

Attorney-Client Privilege in Washington State No Longer Applies When Employment Ends

by Bracewell LLP on

In order to preserve the attorney-client privilege, counsel who conduct internal investigations begin employee interviews with an “Upjohn Warning”—a disclosure indicating that counsel represents the employer, not the...more

Washington Supreme Court Creates Bright-Line Rule - Postemployment Communications Between Former Employees and Corporate Counsel...

by Holland & Knight LLP on

The Washington Supreme Court held in a 5-4 vote that attorney-client privilege does not apply to communications between corporate counsel and former corporate employees, even if the communications concern what the employees...more

Washington Supreme Court Announces New Rule on Attorney-Client Privilege: Post-Employment Communications Between Corporate Counsel...

by Lane Powell PC on

In a 5-4 decision, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the attorney-client privilege does not shield post-employment communications between corporate counsel and the corporation’s former employees. In Newman v....more

Washington Answers the Question of Whether Title Companies Owe a Duty of Care to Third Parties…

by Snell & Wilmer on

Last year, the Ninth Circuit certified to the Washington Supreme Court the question of whether title companies owe a duty of care to third parties when they record legal instruments. ...more

Washington Supreme Court Closes the Door on Changing the Locks

In Jordan v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, the Washington Supreme Court issued a stern warning to lenders seeking to change the locks on foreclosure properties. Given the significant potential liability exposure created by the...more

Orrick's Financial Industry Week in Review

EBA Final Draft RTS on Assessment Methodology for Internal Ratings-Based Approach - The EBA has published final draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) on the specification of the assessment methodology for competent...more

Is Anyone Home? Washington Supreme Court Interprets Two-Step Vacancy Endorsement

Disputes involving “vacancy” exclusions typically involve the appropriate definition of that word. The recently-decided case of Lui v. Essex Ins. Co., 2016 Wash. LEXIS 692 (Wash. June 9, 2016) presents a somewhat different...more

Pre-1969 Fill of Shoreline Area Not a Violation of the Public Trust Doctrine

by Perkins Coie on

The Washington State Court of Appeals, Division III, ruled on June 14, 2016 that the Three Fingers Fill on Lake Chelan, placed in shoreline areas prior to December 4, 1969, was authorized by a “savings clause” contained in...more

Unanimous Washington Supreme Court: No Coverage for Water Damage to Vacant Building

by Cozen O'Connor on

The Washington Supreme Court, often described as pro-policyholder, issued a unanimous decision in favor of an insurance company on June 9, 2016: Lui v. Essex Insurance Company, No. 91777-9 (Wash., Jun. 9, 2016). Addressing a...more

New Developments in Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

by PretiFlaherty on

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, twenty-three states now have medical marijuana laws on the books. The conventional wisdom is that these laws bring with them greater protections for employees who...more

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