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ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP   PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION LAWYERS

Issaquah Law Group - Injury Litigation Attorneys

TRUST: Personal injuries are personal. Which is why the attorneys at ILG treat every client and every case differently. Because they are different, and extremely personal. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built on trust. Trust that you will be heard. Trust that you will be protected. Trust that every effort will be made to see justice done in your case. The singular goal of every ILG attorney is to earn and preserve that trust.

EXPERIENCE: 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 and we bring this experience to bear on behalf of our clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of motor vehicle accidents, bus versus pedestrian accidents, defective and dangerous products, medical malpractice, slip/trip and fall accidents, and catastrophic losses due to fire.

LOCATION: We are located on the Eastside in Issaquah, convenient to Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Renton, Sammamish and North Bend. However, we provide legal services in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County and throughout the entire state of Washington.

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: Whether Loss of Parental Consortium Joinder was Feasible is a Question of Fact Given Parental Declaration

Kelley v. Centennial Contractors Enters., Inc.

In a 4-3-1-1 of concurrences (lead + 3 concurring; concurrence +2 concurring; concurrence; concurrence), the court again dealt with the issue of claims of loss of parental consortium.

In this case, a parent plaintiff brought suit in 2004 for pretty severe injuries sustained during a forklift accident. 6 months after that suit ended, the three minor children brought suit for consortium.

The standard, laid out in Ueland v. Pengo Hydra-Pull Corp. requires that children bringing separate parental consortium claims have to show that joinder was not feasible. The plaintiff testified via declaration that he only realized that he would no longer be able to interact with his children as he had after he underwent accident related lumbar surgery. That surgery only happened four days before trial.

The court first addressed the minor children's argument that the court's earlier decision saying that a minor child's consortium claim is governed by statute. I will go on records as saying that, while finality is of course an issue in minor consortium claims, the court shouldn't be going contrary to clear statutory authority tolling minor childrens' claims until the age of majority. Of course, you won't hear about judicial activism on this one, as it actually helps corporations. Given my ire, you can guess where the court went with the argument.

The court then addressed that the burden is on the family or friends of the children to appoint a guardian ad litem. This makes sense of course. A not to all counsel: If you have a potential claim for children, you should be getting a G.A.L. involved earlier rather than later. The small amount of cost is nothing compared to the extra level of protection for the children.

The court, looking to the declaration submitted, found that it created a question of fact on whether joinder was feasible, given the father's late realization and the family's dire financial circumstances.

Justice Madsen's concurrence with the result would tread feasibility as a matter of law. Given the facts of this case, I don't see how that is workable. Seems to me, you have to look at the circumstances and credibility of the declarations to determine if it was actually feasible under the plain definition. Justice Madsen's decision seems to give sway to a form of judicial estoppel. Alas, it was only one person's opinion and holds no sway over the law of the case.

Justice Fairhurst wrote to express concern that loss of parental consortium should be treated like any other consortium claim, and not just limited to permanent disability or death.

Justice Stephens, with two others on her side, would have adopted the Court of Appeals in full, setting a low hurdle under Ueland.

The law of the day actually goes, for the most part, to the lead opinion. A majority going with the lead opinion, save for Fairhurst's addendum.

 

 

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