Division III: Idaho Trooper Doing Things in Washington Subject to Washington Suit
Sometimes you just have to state the obvious.
Cop starts his work in Idaho, it carries into Washington where he effectuates the arrest. The question is whether the Idaho Trooper is subject to jurisdiction of Washington Courts. Washington’s long arm statute says that if you commit a tortious act in Washington, you’re the proper subject of our long arm statute.
Essentially, if the cause of action arises from a wrong done in this state, you’re set.
Now, aside from the act and the harm, you also have to look at whether notions of fair play and substantial justice require a different outcome. This involves what activities happened in Washington, the convenience of the parties, comparing the benefits and protection of the various possible forums, and the basic equities of the situation. The Trooper tried to argue he didn’t purposefully stop her in Washington, and since everyone is a resident of Idaho, the case should be in Idaho. The problem with that argument is that if he hadn’t followed her into Washington, none of this would have happened. Cause a tort on Washington soil, its pretty clear. That, and Idaho isn’t exactly far from Washington.
The Trooper’s other argument was that under Idaho law, Idaho courts have exclusive jurisdiction over actions against Idaho State employees. The problem is, the statute just doesn’t say that. It says it has jurisdiction. It doesn’t say that its the only one that has jurisdiction.
The court punted on the issue of Comity (whether the Court should decline jurisdiction so our government can play nice with Idaho’s government) due to the lack of a clear record on the issue. The trial court’s dismissal is overturned.
The Personal Injury Attorneys at Issaquah Legal Services are familiar the multitude of issues that can arise with personal and subject matter jurisdiction. Please contact us and let us help shepherd you through the process.