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Experienced Appellate Lawyers in Seattle

An appeal is not a redo of a trial. It is the chance for a party to argue there was some legal error or problem with the decision of a trial judge or the result of a jury trial. The appellate process is different than the trial process. The rules are different. The procedure is different. The appellate courts look at cases differently than the trial courts look at them. This is why it’s important to have an experienced appellate lawyer on your side.

Since 1945, our attorneys have been among the best plaintiff appellate lawyers in the state. We represent our own clients. We partner with other law firms to represent their clients. We partner with different legal organizations to submit amicus curiae briefs as a “friend of the court” in cases involving issues that impact our clients.  At the request of King 5 News, we recently submitted an amicus curiae brief in its successful court battle against Seattle Children’s Hospital for the release of public records concerning Aspergillus contamination at the hospital.

United States Courthouse sign in Seattle Washington

Our in-house appellate team helps protect the high jury verdicts we obtain for our clients when the defense files an appeal. They also appeal on behalf of our clients when the trial judge makes an incorrect legal decision. And our appellate team partners with other plaintiffs’ lawyers from around the state on behalf of their client’s cases that are appealed. We want to ensure the law is fair for all injured people, and appellate decisions have the potential to impact everyone in the state, not just the particular parties in that case. Its important appeals are handled correctly.

Through our extensive appellate practice, the Stritmatter Firm has made a difference in how the law protects the public. Our appellate lawyers have appeared in some of the most important Supreme Court cases in Washington state history, that involve plaintiffs’ rights to access the courts and jury system.

Washington State Capitol Olympia Seattle Washington

Which Types of Appeals Do Stritmatter’s Lawyers Accept?

Stritmatter handles only civil appeals for the injured or wronged party in cases involving the negligence or wrongdoing of others. We do not handle appeals of criminal law or family law cases.

Civil Appeals

The Stritmatter Firm’s Notable Appellate Cases

Below is a summary of some of the important cases in Washington where Stritmatter represented the plaintiff.

Sofie v. Fibreboard Corp., 112 Wn.2d 636, 771 P.2d 711 (1998).

Many lawyers agree that Sofie is the most significant personal injury case ever decided by our state Supreme Court.  At issue in Sofie was whether or not a statute that limited the amount of noneconomic damages that an injured plaintiff could recover violated the state constitutional right to trial by jury.  The Supreme Court ruled that this statute was unconstitutional and that the amount of damages to be awarded to a personal injury plaintiff rests with the jury, not the State Legislature. This decision preserved the right of every person to be fully heard in their own unique circumstance, and not broadly and arbitrarily diminished.

Soproni v. Polygon Apartment Partners, 137 Wn.2d 319, 971 P.2d 500 (1999).

In Soproni, a 20-month old toddler fell out of a second-floor bedroom window, which was designed to easily open.  The window manufacturer claimed that it did not need to consider child safety when designing products and instead only had to comply with minimum building and fire codes.  The Supreme Court decided that a product manufacturer’s responsibility to design safe products requires it to carefully consider the product’s purpose and users.  The manufacturer cannot excuse its failure to design safe products by saying that it meets minimum codes.

Magaña v. Hyundai Motor Am., 167 Wn.2d 570, 220 P.3d 191 (2009).

The Magaña case set new standards for a defendant’s duty to cooperate with court investigations and reinforced the consequences for not doing so.  Jesse Magaña became a paraplegic due to a defectively designed Hyundai seat.  Hyundai then attempted to deceive his lawyers at the Stritmatter Firm during their investigation, but the firm discovered the deception and brought it to the judge.  The judge determined that Hyundai gave false answers to discovery questions and destroyed evidence.  Hyundai’s conduct was so bad and so harmful to Magaña, as a sanction the judge granted a default judgment to prevent Hyundai from defending the case.  Hyundai appealed and the Supreme Court examined the entire case and affirmed the default judgment as a sanction. The Magaña decision is now universally cited as the standard for a party’s conduct and duties in the discovery phase of lawsuits.

The Charleena Lyles case: Watness v. City of Seattle, 16 Wn. App. 2d 297, 481 P.3d 570 (2021).

On June 18, 2017, two Seattle Police Department officers shot and killed Charleena Lyles in her home in front of her children. Charleena Lyles suffered from mental health issues known to the police department and were obvious when the officers encountered her. The Estate of Charleena Lyles sued the City of Seattle for negligence because the use of lethal force was unnecessary, and the officers never tried nonlethal force in violation of standard police practices and City of Seattle policies. The plaintiff’s case was dismissed on summary judgment, but the Court of Appeals reversed that decision and reinstated the case. This decision affirms that police officers owe a legal duty to use reasonable care when affirmatively engaging with the public. The case ultimately settled for $3.5 million with the money going to Lyles’ children to ensure they are taken care of.

For further information, a full list of the Stritmatter Firm’s appellate work is available.

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