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Issaquah Law Group: Experienced Counsel; Client Focus

PHILOSOPHY: Formed in 2014, Issaquah Law Group is a law firm with one focus: providing businesses and insurers with high quality legal representation with the responsiveness of a smaller firm. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built upon clear and consistent communication. 

LITIGATION: We work closely with our clients to fully and accurately understand their goals, work collaboratively to formulate specific legal strategies, and execute the agreed plan of action utilizing methods most likely to result in the efficient and effective resolution of the matter. ILG attorneys have a broad base of litigation experience to draw on in all Federal and State courts from on-the-ground investigations to Supreme Court appeals in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, product liability, commercial general liability, labor & employment, construction litigation, and catastrophic losses due to fire and explosion.

BUSINESS LAW: Rarely is the path from point A to point B a straight line, so our role in a business law practice is to find alternatives, devise workable strategies, and keep your business ideas, goals and objectives moving toward realization. ILG’s business attorneys help clients achieve their goals with respect to business formation, intellectual property, labor and employment, CAN-SPAM, copyright and trademark

COMMUNITY: In addition, the Lawyers at Issaquah Law Group remain active in the legal and civic community. A core commitment of our Issaquah Attorneys is community service. Our attorneys' civic involvement includes the King County Civil Rights Commission; the City of Issaquah Planning Policy Commission; the Northwest Screenwriters Guild, service as a pro tem judge. We live and work in the Pacific Northwest, and we aim to make it a better place.

In addition, through The Amateur Law Professor Blog and LinkedIn postings, we share pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Courts of Appeal so that our clients can be as update to date on cutting legal issues as we are.

WA Legal Roundup: Division II

Phelps v. Southwest WA Med Ctr et al.

Phelps slipped in the parking lot where she worked.  She did not remember the cause of her fall and there were no witnesses.  Other witnesses stated that the parking lot was icy that morning and another coworker almost fell.  Phelps’ husband returned to the scene later in the afternoon and found a puddle of water (14 inches) near the rear of her vehicle. She sued the clinic owner, employer, and property manager for her injuries.  They hired an accident reconstructionist to opine that the cause of the fall was ice.  The Trial Court excluded Phelps’ expert’s opinions and  granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants for failure of plaintiff to show causation.  Phelps appealed. 

The Appeals Court found sufficient evidence to take the question of breach of duty to a jury wherein they noted that in the deposition of the executive director of the clinic he admitted to contacting the maintenance to assure that de-icing was being done due to the freezing weather conditions.  The court stated that this was constructive notice to surpass a summary judgment motion.

Next, the court looked at the issue of causation.  After it noted causation can only be determined as a matter of law if the appeals court found that reasonable minds would only reach one conclusion, the court held that, here, Phelps presented sufficient evidence would allow a reasonable inference to be drawn that she fell on ice.  The court noted in particular that Phelps did not just rely on her testimony, which includes substantial memory loss, but also of medical evidence consistent with a fall, evidence that temperatures would have created ice, and other witness testimony that the parking lot was slick.  Based on the above arguments the court found that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants. 

The appeals court reviewed the trial court’s decision to exclude the accident reconstructionist because his opinion was speculation where no evidence supported it.  The court again disagreed with the trial court holding that the expert’s opinions draw reasonable inferences supported by the evidence in the record.  Moreover, the court stated that while there is room to challenge the expert’s opinions that is better done in cross examination. 

Reversed and remanded.

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