Few attorneys can engage an audience of 12 with the energy and compassion of Paul Stritmatter. He enjoys presenting to juries and winning justice for his plaintiff clients against major auto makers, state and local governments, product manufacturers, contractors and parties in auto collisions. Most recently, Washington Super Lawyers and Willamette Lawyer each ran cover articles that detail Paul’s career.
With his love of teaching and sharing with other attorneys, Paul has come out with publications that include, Cross Examination and Subrogation. The latter has a companion website/blog, FightSubro.com.
One of Paul’s trademarks is how deeply he develops a personal interest in each client’s situation. He builds a relationship of trust and understanding, supporting clients through the entire litigation process. Fervently working on behalf of his clients, Paul has successfully achieved dozens of verdicts and settlements of more than several million dollars each.
Paul has been a leader in the legal community for decades. He is a founding member and was 2003 president of the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. He also was president of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association and the Washington State Bar Association. The American Bar Association awarded Paul its Pursuit of Justice Award in 2003 for his lifelong devotion to the profession and for significant contributions to the pursuit of justice.
While his cases and legal association duties take him across the country, Paul is happy to work from the firm’s office in Hoquiam, WA, where he was born and raised.
- Willamette University College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1969
- University of Washington, B.A., Economics, 1966
Outside the Office
As much as Paul and his wife Mary Elizabeth enjoy traveling to points around the world, they reserve plenty of “home” time with their two granddaughters.
Awards & Achievements
- “Champion of Justice” Award from the Public Justice Foundation, July 2010
- Lifetime Achievement Award from Washington State Association for Justice, December 4, 2009
- Trial Lawyer of the Year award from the American Board of Trial Advocates, Washington Chapter, 2005
- Pursuit of Justice Award, American Bar Association, 2003
- Listed as one of the 60 Grays Harbor County persons over time who have been recognized nationally in various endeavors. The Harbor – A Culture of Success, January 2002.
- Award of Merit, Washington State Bar Association, 1995
- Distinguished Alumni Award in Law, Willamette University, 1994
- Poulsbo Bar Association “Small Town Lawyer Made Good” Award, 1990
- Trial Lawyer of the Year, Washington State Association for Justice (formerly Washington State Trial Lawyers Association)*, 1987
- Listed as one of the 500 Leading Litigants in America by LAWDRAGON, 2006-2009
- Listed in ” The Best Lawyers in America” since 1989
- Top 10 Super Lawyer, Washington Law & Politics Magazine since 1989
- Top 100 Super Lawyer, Washington Law & Politics
- Super Lawyer, Washington Law & Politics
- Rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell since 1975
- Washington State Bar Association (president, 1993-94)
- Washington State Head Injury Foundation (1990-93)
- Washington State Association for Justice* (WSAJ) (president, 1984-85)
- WSAJ*, Foundation Board of Directors (2000 – present)
- American Bar Association
- American Judicature Society Association of Trial Lawyers of America (Board of Governors, 1990-93)
- LAW Fund Board of Directors 1990-
- Public Justice (formerly Trial Lawyers for Public Justice) founding member (1982); president (2002-03)
- One of the 500 Leading Litigants in America by LAWDRAGON (2006, 2007)
- American Association for Justice (AAJ) (formerly American Trial Lawyers Association), Board of Governors (1990-1993), State Delegate (1986-90), Public Affairs Committee (1985-87), State Development Fund Board (1985-86), Advisory Task Force to States (1985-86), Circuit Key Men Committee (1985-86), Committee on Ethics (1987-93)
- Chairman, Access to Justice Board, appointed by WA State Supreme Court (1994-98)
* formerly WA State Trial Lawyers Association
- Picking Fights with Big Shots, Washington Super Lawyers, 2013 cover article, pp. 17-19.
- Stritmatter honored by his peers, The Daily World, 2009
- “ERISA Subrogation and Reimbursement Update,” AAJ, July 2013 and WSAJ 2013 Annual Meeting and Convention.
- “Sex, Lies & Subrogation,” WSAJ 2011 Annual Meeting and Convention, Whistler, B.C.
- “Medicare/ERISA,” WSAJ 2011 Annual Meeting and Convention, Whistler, B.C.
- “Ethel Adams v. Farmers Insurance Exchange,” WA State Bar Association – High Profile Cases: Experience the Cases with the Lawyers Who Tried Them, Oct. 2008
- “How the Case of Ethel Adams Changed the Law,” AAJ, Litigation at Sunrise, July 2007
- “How to Try Damages Without Medical Testimony,” WSTLA*, Hot Topics Seminar, Oct. 2006
- “Effective Use of Demonstrative Evidence to Win Sanction Motions for Discovery Violations,” WSTLA*, Hot Topics Seminar, Oct. 2006
- “Cross Examination,” ATLA [now American Association for Justice (AAJ)], Annual Convention, July 2006
- “Confidentiality in Tort Settlements,” Listen to podcast, produced at ATLA Convention with radio host Tony Robinson, 2006.
- “Arguing Damages,” WSTLA* Trial Stars, December 2003
- “Closing Argument”, WSTLA* Damages seminar, March 2002
- “The Ultimate Sanction/A Case Study”, WSTLA* Paris Seminar, Continuing Legal Education, Sept. 2000
- “Why I’m a Trial Lawyer”, ATLA [Now AAJ] Annual Convention, July 2000
- “Damages in Mediation and Negotiations”, WSTLA* Trial Masters Seminar, Dec. 1999
- “Representing Plaintiffs”, University of Washington, Dean’s Roundtable Luncheon, Nov. 1998
- “Practicing Law with Civility”, WSBA – Winning Strategy for the Successful Private Practice, Sept. 1998
- “The Fine Art of Opening Statements”, ACTL, Trial Lawyers’ Greatest Hits ’97, Dec. 1997
- “Keeping the Faith: Restoring Trust in the Legal Profession”, WA Attorney General’s Conference, Sept. 1997
- “Presentation and Demonstration of Damages and Closing Statements”, WSTLA*, Best of WSTLA Series: Openings, Closings and Presenting Damages, Sept. 1996
- “How to Improve Your Initial Client Interviews & Intake Procedures”, University of Washington, 2nd Annual Northwest Trial Mastery Demonstration Program , Deciding Whether to Take the Case, June 1997
- “Representing Plaintiffs”, KCBA and Washington Journal
- “Bridging the Gap” program, Dec. 1995
- WSTLA* Convention, July 1987 – “Subrogation – The Primary Intent of the Law”
- WSTLA – Insurance Law Potpourri, December 1977 – “Subrogation.”
* WSTLA is now WSAJ (WA Assoc. for Justice)
Some of Paul's Cases
- Detwiler v. Gall, Landau & Young Construction Co.
(1986) The defendant in a negligence action served interrogatories on the plaintiff requesting identifying information about consulting experts. Plaintiff objected to providing information about nonwitness consulting experts, and the defendants successfully sought an order from the trial court compelling answers to the interrogatories. Plaintiff was granted expedited discretionary review before the Court of Appeals, which held that: (1) identities of nonwitness experts are not discoverable absent a showing of exceptional circumstances, and (2) parties have a duty to seasonably supplement responses to interrogatories requesting information about expert witnesses, and exclusion of expert’s testimony is an appropriate sanction for failure to supply supplementary responses.
- Connor v. Universal Utilities
(1986) Established that due process does not require notice of a hearing to determine the amount of a default judgment in a personal injury case.
- Norris v. State
(1987) A motorcyclist, whose motorcycle had struck the end of an unmarked curb immediately adjacent to a freeway on-ramp, brought a lawsuit against the State claiming negligent design and maintenance of the on-ramp. A jury found in favor of the plaintiff. The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s refusal to award him prejudgment interest on portions of the jury’s award that he contended were liquidated amounts. The State cross-appealed. The Court of Appeals held that: (1) motorcyclist was not entitled to liquidated damages; (2) motorcyclist’s testimony in deposition that he regularly visited and imbibed at certain taverns on Saturday nights was not admissible as evidence of habit; and (3) human factors specialist’s testimony as to freeway on-ramp design with reference to human perceptions and reaction times was admissible.
- Viking Ins. Co. of Wisconsin v. Hill
(1990) An automobile insurance company sought a declaratory judgment as to its duty to defend. The trial court granted summary judgment against the insurer. The Court of Appeals held that the insurance company’s duty to defend was terminated upon its tender of policy limits and release from duty to defend signed by the insured, pursuant to a policy provision.
- Stephens v. City of Seattle
(1991) A motorcyclist who struck a negligently designed curb sued the City of Seattle for injuries sustained. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the city, finding no proximate cause as a matter of law based upon the facts that the motorcyclist had been drinking and speeding on his motorcycle before he struck the curb. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that a difference of only five miles per hour between the lower estimate by an eyewitness that the motorcyclist was traveling 50 miles per hour, and a human factors traffic expert’s assumption of 45 miles per hour as the basis for his opinion that a hazardous roadway caused the accident, was not so significant a difference as to justify holding as matter of law that the sole proximate cause of the accident was the motorcyclist’s own negligence.