Defense Successes!
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
by: WDTL

Section: Spring 2018

Matt Wojcik and Holly Brauchli of Bullivant Houser Bailey PC obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case.  The jury found their client did not breach the standard of care.
Lori K. O’Tool and Amber Hazelquist of Preg O’Donnell & Gillett, PLLC recently obtained summary judgment dismissal of a slip and fall case on behalf of their restaurant client.  Plaintiff alleged the restaurant was liable for injuries arising from her slip and fall because the floor was mysteriously “slippery” and the “slippery” nature of the floor was an unreasonably dangerous condition.  Plaintiff presented late filed declarations of friends and relatives regarding having previously slipped on the restaurant’s floor to support her assertions the floor was unreasonably dangerous and the restaurant knew or should have known.  These declarations did not explain when the alleged slips occurred or that the declarants ever put the restaurant on notice.  Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Appel agreed with the defense that Plaintiff was unable to meet her burden of proving the existence of an unreasonably dangerous condition of which the restaurant knew or should have known.  Judge Appel found the lack of any evidence the restaurant was aware of a slippery floor and lack of evidence of prior trip and fall injuries important in granting Defendant’s motion.  Plaintiff’s attorney, who had taken no depositions and served no written discovery until a week after the filing of Defendant’s motion, sought a continuance pursuant to CR 56(f) to conduct additional discovery.  Judge Appel denied the motion to continue in light of the lack of reasonable excuse for the delay in completing discovery and lack of evidence additional discovery might reveal some prior knowledge by the restaurant of the alleged unreasonably dangerous condition. 
Rachel Tallon Reynolds of Bullivant Houser Bailey PC received summary judgment in a wrongful death product liability action involving an allegedly defectively designed automobile.
WDTL members Brad Smith and Kent Doll recently obtained a defense verdict in a trip and fall case in Spokane County Superior Court.  The Plaintiff tripped over a wheel stop/curb on Spokane Teachers Credit Union (STCU) property, fracturing his knee.  He subsequently alleged to have developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), magnifying his symptoms and resulting in alleged permanent disability.  Plaintiff fell when crossing onto STCU property from an adjacent parking lot for a coffee shop he was visiting, parking in the STCU lot due to the other lot being full.  Plaintiff claimed to be an invitee even though he was not an STCU customer, nor was he there for any business purpose related to STCU.  Defense claimed he was a licensee as his presence in the STCU lot after banking hours was tolerated by STCU. 
Plaintiff’s counsel prior to trial demanded policy limits ($6 Million) and ultimately asked the jury to render a verdict of approximately $17 Million.  A settlement offer of $600,000 was rejected.  Jury found no liability, not reaching the question of existence/causation of CRPS.  Defense liability expert was Jeff Harris of Jensen Hughes, and medical experts Dennis Chong and Dan Seltzer. 
Rachel Tallon Reynolds and Holly Brauchli of Bullivant Houser Bailey PC secured a dismissal for their client, a multinational oil company, in a premises liability action.
Jerry Aiken and Peter Ritchie recently obtained a defense verdict in an emotionally charged wrongful death case in Benton County Superior Court. A mental health client brutally murdered his grandmother. The children of the decedent brought a wrongful death action against the mental health providers, claiming they were grossly negligent in their care and treatment of the patient. At trial Plaintiff requested that the jury award several million dollars in damages.  The jury returned a defense verdict after deliberating less than 3 hours.