Daily Decisions: How to Value a Totaled Car

In keeping with my earlier postLloyd vs. Allstate Insurance Company (Division 1, February 21, 2012) (published April 23, 2012), is a previously unpublished decision that was published on the insurance company’s motion. There really is no new or interesting law here — the plaintiff really seems to have offered no evidence whatsoever — but I suspect that Allstate liked some of the language in the Court’s opinion, and thought it might be useful in future more contentious cases. So they moved to publish the opinion.

Plaintiff Jerry Lloyd totaled his car in 2008; it was a 2005 Chevy Malibu with about 114K miles on it. At the time, Lloyd had a car insurance policy with Deerbrook Insurance Company, for which his claim was handled by Allstate Insurance Company (together, “Allstate”). Continue reading

Unpublished Decisions: Putting a Finger on the Scales of Justice

Perhaps this has already been covered elsewhere, but it just hit me and it seems a little concerning, so I’m writing about it. I think it’s quite likely that by moving to publish previously unpublished opinions, institutional repeat litigators — like insurance companies — are disproportionately shaping the law of Washington in their favor. And that doesn’t seem like a good thing. Continue reading

Daily Decisions: When You Buy a Swamp, You’re Entitled to a Swamp

For some reason, this week included a rash of previously unpublished opinions getting published by the Courts of Appeals. What does that mean? It means more posts for you to read (and for me to write). So here goes.

Crystal Lotus Enterprises Ltd. v. City of Shoreline (Division 1, February 21, 2012) (published April 23, 2012), involves Crystal’s claims against the City for (1) trespass and (2) an unlawful taking. The trial court dismissed Crystal’s claims on summary judgment. Crystal appealed. Continue reading

Monday Morning Mash-up: April 23, 2012

I think I may have to just change the name of this feature to Monday Afternoon Mash-up. Or I need to stop staying up so late on Sunday nights. But what am I supposed to do when TNT is showing the Dark Knight and Watchmen back-to-back? What am I supposed to do!?!?

Anyway… it’s a good Monday for music because Fiona Apple has released the first song off her forthcoming album The Idler Wheel. It’s been seven years since her last album and goodness, that’s a long time. Thanks to Pitchfork for the link:

Every Single Night

If, for some reason, that doesn’t work, then just click here for the new song. And while you’re clicking things, how about going over to Facebook and hitting “Like” on the Ziff Blog Facebook page. All the cool kids are doing it! (All eleven of them, that is.)

I know, I know, you’re wondering when I’m going to get to the Court of Appeals cases from last week. Well, here you go:

Angelo Property Co. v. Maged Hafiz (Division 2, April 17, 2012) — on the limited jurisdiction of superior courts in unlawful detainer actions.

Birnbaum v. Pierce County (Division 1, April 16, 2012) — on the proper timing and procedure for filing claims against state agencies seeking damages based on delays in issuing permits. (Wow, that may be the least interesting summary ever.)

Washington State Department of Transportation v. Marine Employees Commission (Division 2, April 18, 2012) — on the authority of an arbitrator to award attorneys’ fees in a labor dispute where the parties collective bargaining agreement specifically states each party should pay its own fees.

It was a light week at the Court of Appeals on the civil side of the docket. But there were interesting happenings in the superior court and the Supreme Court. So if you missed it, you should check out my write-up of KOMO News’s public records litigation against the Seattle Police Department regarding dash-cam videos and the Supreme Court’s view that plaintiffs should be able to sit on their hands for five years without fearing a dismissal for failure to prosecute.

Daily Decisions: If the CBA States that the Arbitrator Can’t Award Attorneys’ Fees, then the Arbitrator Can’t Award Attorneys’ Fees (with One Exception!)

Washington State Department of Transportation v. Marine Employees Commission (Division 2, April 18, 2012), addresses an arbitrator’s power to award attorneys’ fees despite clear language in the parties’ collective bargaining agreement that each side should pay its own fees and costs. While the Court of Appeals held that fees could be awarded under such a CBA in the case of an unfair labor practice, that circumstance did not apply here. Accordingly, the Court vacated the arbitrator’s fee award. Continue reading

Daily Decisions: Court of Appeals Dismisses Complaint for Doing Exactly What Previous Opinion Instructed

Wendy Birnbaum can’t seem to catch a break. Way back in 2005 she applied to Pierce County for a permit to build an RV park and campground. She waited until August 2006 for a hearing on the application. A month later, the hearing examiner issued its decision: Birnbaum needed to submit more information for review. So she submitted a revised plan in December 2006. A second hearing was scheduled for May 2007, but it was pushed off until June 2007 and then — for apparently unknown reasons — delayed until December 2009. That’s more than two years later! During that time, Birnbaum submitted numerous updates and additional information to the County.

Birnbaum’s permit was finally approved in March 2010 — five years after she applied. She promptly sued the County alleging (a) that the County’s delays failed to comply with relevant time limits and (b) that the County’s requests for additional information were arbitrary and capricious. The trial court dismissed Birnbaum’s claims under CR 12(b)(6). Birnbaum appealed. Continue reading

Daily Decisions: Unlawful Detainer Jurisdiction For Dummies

In Angelo Property Co. v. Maged Hafiz (Division 2, April 17, 2012), the Court of Appeals goes into a lot of detail (and that’s saying something, coming from me) explaining the limits of the trial courts’ unlawful detainer jurisdiction. I’ll do my best to sum up the Court’s 37 pages in, well, something less than that. Continue reading