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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.

Court of Appeals: Div I – Landowner Not Responsible Tree that Crushes Person

December 12, 2004: Timothy Ruiz is driving along State Route 410.  He drives through forestland.  Earlier on the same day, the Washington State Patrol closes the road because of dangerous trees tend to topple over.  Wind speeds reach 75 miles per hour on that day and trees had previously toppled over under such circumstances.  As Ruiz passes through, a tree falls and crushes his vehicle.  He is injured.  He sues the landowner and the state.

The trial court dismisses his lawsuit against the landowner and the state under the Forest Practices Act of 1974 (FPA).  The FPA purports to give immunity to all landowners and the state for unharvested timber on land used to grow, harvest or process timber. 

Mr. Ruiz argues that the state and the landowner should not be immune because they have allowed a dangerous condition to occur by leaving exposed trees at the edge of a riparian zone.  The Court of Appeals states that “[w]hile this argument has some attraction, particularly on the facts her that underscore a collision between the important policy of public safety and that of environmental protection,” public safety loses (at least insofar as the court doesn’t want to stick its neck out too far).  This choice is left to the legislature.  Poor Mr. Ruiz.

Does this mean that under no circumstances can a landowner be held responsible for dangerous trees that hover over places where people pass?  What if they’ve cut it half way down and know that it will inevitably fall and kill someone?  Is that what the legislature meant when it enacted the FPA?

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