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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.

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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 Court of Appeals at Div. II: NIED Claim Survives Ecclesiastical Abstention

Erdman v. Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church

Under the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine, you usually let church employment matters be handled by the church. Anything less usually gets you into first amendment no-no zones. Same with this, a church employee who continually questioned her church's guided religious tours as not being in comport with the church's status as a non-profit.

Needless to say, her employment went south. Most of her claims fell under the abstention, with only her negligent supervision and retention claims surviving:

Analyzing this case under Bollard, we first note that the church has not offered a religious justification for Toone's alleged tortious acts. Instead, it has denied that any misconduct occurred and argues that both the ministerial exception and ecclesiastical abstention bar consideration of Erdman's claims. Second, in its employee handbook, the Church specifically recognizes its prohibition against sexual harassment. Third, the Church's Book of Order states that the Session possesses responsibility "to provide for the administration of the program of the church, including. . . fair employment practices." CP at 831. Thus, the Church's employment policies and church doctrine prohibit sexual harassment. Fourth, Erdman's negligent supervision and retention claims and the Church's potential defenses involve a limited, secular inquiry similar to the plaintiff's claims and potential defenses under Bollard.

The First Amendment does not bar Erdman's negligent supervision and retention claims against the Church. Thus, we remand for further proceedings.


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