real justice for real people®


SKW's lawyers have handled dozens of appeals over the past 40 years. Our appellate work has advanced and clarified the law in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, consumer class actions, insurance, and civil procedure. While most of the firm’s appellate work has been in the Washington Court of Appeals and the Washington Supreme Court, the firm has also handled several appeals in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The following are examples of some of the appellate cases in which the firm has been involved.

Otani, ex rel., Shigaki v. Broudy

(2004) In a wrongful death case arising out of medical malpractice, the trial judge found the surgeon negligent and awarded damages including $450,000 for the decedent’s loss of enjoyment of life. The defendant surgeon appealed. The Supreme Court held that damages were not available for the decedent’s loss of enjoyment of life under Washington’s survival statutes.

American Continental Insurance

(2004) Established that an insured and insurer could not cancel an insurance policy after the occurrence of the tortious act, even if it was a claims made policy.

Jaramillo v. Ford Motor Co.

(2004) The surviving husband and children of a mother and daughter who died when the Ford Explorer the mother was driving rolled when she swerved to avoid a deer sued the vehicle manufacturer for design defects. A jury found in favor of the defendant. The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded for a new trial because… Read More

Insurance Company v. Doe

(2004) Our firm pursued an appeal involving the cancellation of insurance policies by a hospital and its insurer after our client had passed away from medical negligence after surgery. The hospital went bankrupt and we challenged the right of the hospital and insurers to cancel its policies under a state law that prohibits a retroactive… Read More

Cornhusker Casualty Insurance Company v. Kachman

(2008) This case established that an insurance company’s use of certified mail to send a notice of cancellation of an insurance policy does not comply with the mailing requirement of RCW 48.18.290, but instead is a form of personal delivery and therefore actual delivery must be proved to comply with the statute.

McCallum v. Allstate Property and Cas. Ins. Co.

(2009)  The plaintiff filed a bad faith action against her insurer, Allstate, alleging violations of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) based on Allstate’s handling of her uninsured motorist claim.  During the course of the lawsuit, the plaintiff filed a motion to compel production of certain documents from Allstate. Allstate filed a motion for a protective order… Read More

Chen v. City of Seattle, 153 Wn. App. 890

(2009) A widow of a pedestrian who was killed at a busy crosswalk in Seattle sued the City for failure to maintain the crosswalk in a reasonable safe condition. After the lower court ruled in favor for the City, Ms. Chen appealed. Division 1 found in her favor, holding that the City had a duty… Read More

Lee v. Willis Enterprises

On March 6, 2014, a Grays Harbor County Superior Court jury awarded Verl Lee and his wife, Marsha Lee, $3.8 million for painful and disabling injuries sustained in an electrical explosion at an Oakville chip mill. Verl Lee, SKW’s client, was an electronics technician with Advanced Electrical Technologies of Longview. He was contracted to work… Read More

Holden v. Farmers Insurance Company of Washington

(January 2012) A consumer class action settled on behalf of over 7,000 insureds who were improperly denied applicable Washington State sales tax on personal property losses.  The case settled following the Washington State Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision upholding the trial court’s ruling in favor of the plaintiff/insured.  The settlement called for Farmers to pay sales… Read More

Gendler v. State of Washington

(August 2010) $8,000,000 settlement for a defective bridge where a gap in the bridge deck was too wide, allowing a bicycle tire to wedge in the gap, throwing the rider to the ground and paralyzing him. You may have heard an interview on NPR, read a blog post, or read a story in The Seattle… Read More

Smith, et al. v. Behr Process Corporation

(2002) A class action verdict for the benefit of thousands of Western Washington consumers in Grays Harbor County Superior Court in 2000.  Breach of warranty and Consumer Protection Act violation case for defects in clear coatings for exterior wood surfaces.  The products promoted rather than prevented growth of mildew.  The nine class representatives received verdicts… Read More

Magana v. Hyundai Motor America

October 15, 1997, Jesse Magana was a front seat passenger in a 1996 Hyundai Accent, a two-door hatch back. At the crest of a hill, the driver saw a truck which appeared to be in his lane of travel. The driver swerved to avoid the truck causing the car to veer off the road and… Read More

Sofie v. Fibreboard

Sofie v. Fibreboard, even after 25 years remains one of the most important cases for personal injury and wrongful death plaintiffs. Cited by courts throughout the country, the decision has since abolished the “cap” on damages contained in RCW 4.56.250. Paul Stritmatter, Bill Rutzick, and some of the finest plaintiff’s attorneys argued before the Washington… Read More

Hesse, et al. v. Sprint PCS

In the summer of 2014, Stritmatter Kessler Whelan secured a $20 million class action settlement on behalf of hundreds of thousands of mobile phone service customers of Sprint PCS. In 2006, Sprint customers Christopher Hesse and Nathaniel Olsen alleged in a consumer class action lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court and later removed to… Read More

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