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ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP

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 Supreme Court: No 90 Day Notice for Medical Malpractice Cases

Waples v. Yi

The 90 day notice of intent to sue has been found to be unconstitutional by the Washington Supreme Court. Those who've been following the court as of late probably saw this coming, but the court having just recently struck down the requirement that medical malpractice lawsuit be filed alongside a certificate of merit. The crux of striking down the certificate of merit requirement was that it violated the separation of powers between the legislature and the courts.

In doing with requirement, the court  applied the same argument:

Respondents attempt to distinguish Putman, contending that the certificate of merit requirement changes the procedures for filing pleadings in a lawsuit, while the notice requirement does not impose any pleading requirements. But the analysis of Putman is not so limited. There, we held that the addition of legislative requirements to the court rules for filing suit was unconstitutional. We based our conclusion on the fact that the statutory certificate of merit requirement involved procedures and not substantive rights "because it addresses how to file a claim to enforce a right provided by law . . . . The statute does not address the primary rights of either party; it deals only with the procedures to effectuate those rights. Therefore, it is a procedural law and will not prevail over the conflicting court rules." Putman, 166 Wn.2d at 984-85 (citation omitted).

We make the same holding here. The conflict between RCW 7.70.100(1) and CR 3(a) cannot be harmonized and both cannot be given effect. If a statute and a court rule cannot be harmonized, the court rule will generally prevail in procedural matters and the statute in substantive matters. "Substantive law `creates, defines, and regulates primary rights,' while procedures involve the `operations of the courts by which substantive law, rights, and remedies are effectuated.'" Putman, 166 Wn.2d at 984 (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Jensen, 158 Wn.2d at 394). Like RCW 7.70.150, RCW 7.70.100(1) does not address the primary rights of either party and deals only with the procedures to effectuate those rights. Therefore, RCW 7.70.100(1) involves procedural law and will not prevail over CR 3(a).

Congratulations to Jerry Pearson and the WSAJ Amicus Committee for their win.

Those paying attention have to wonder if the court will tackle the 60 day notice requirement for suits against governmental entities in the next go-round as well. The logic seems to dictate that any pre-filing procedural requirement is a violation of the separation of powers.

Also an open question at this point is whether notice against governmental entities is still in play in medical practices. The statutes for the 90 day notice and the 60 day notice were recently harmonized to make only the medical malpractice 90 day notice of intent to sue in play in situations where you have a medical malpractice suit against governmental entity. Now that the 90 day notice is kaput, it's an open question as to whether the 60 day notice is now in play again.

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