News & Press

Washington Supreme Court Victory – Seattle, WA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Graham Lundberg & Peschel Announces Washington Supreme Court Victory
One of Western Washington’s Largest Personal Injury Law Firms Promotes Advances Civil Justice for Workers Injured and Killed by Negligence of Others

SEATTLE, WA – January 18, 2007

Graham Lundberg & Peschel, through one its founders and senior partners, Scott F. Lundberg, has represented the estate of a worker, Alan Davis, through his personal representative, Tami Davis. Alan Davis was tragically killed in a industrial accident on December 19, 2000. After six years of diligent work and advocacy by Mr. Lundberg, and the skill of appellate attorney Phil Talmadge, the case has led to an important change in Washington’s common law that will benefit Washington’s workers and their families for the 21st century.

The Facts of the Case:

On October 12, 1992, Baugh Industrial Contractors (Baugh) entered into a contract to build a network of subterranean pipes for a sand and gravel processing facility belonging to Glacier Northwest. In turn, Baugh hired E.J. Rody & Sons, Inc. (Rody) to install the on site utilities and underground piping for the facility. In the course of its work, Rody assembled and installed high-density polyethylene pipes and buried the piping underground. Rody had exclusive control over the installation. The project was substantially completed in April 1997 and Glacier accepted the work. Shortly thereafter, Glacier began operating the facility.

In December 2000, after observing that a pond had formed, Glacier suspected a leak in one of the underground pipes. Alan Davis was the foreman of the crew assigned by Glacier to excavate the area and find the leak. While the pipeline was still covered with several feet of dirt, Mr. Davis entered the excavated hole to try to pinpoint the leak. Tragically, several cement blocks, weighing between 1,500 and 1,800 pounds each, fell into the hole when a nearby wall collapsed. One of the blocks crushed Mr. Davis’s chest and pinned him to the ground. Mr. Davis later died of his injuries.

Evidence suggested that one of the high-density polyethylene pipes, which had a useful life of up to 100 years, had failed. This might have been because of a gouge or dent in the pipe.

Tami Davis, Mr. Davis’s daughter retained Graham Lundberg & Peschel, was appointed personal representative of her father’s estate, and filed this negligence suit against Baugh among others.

The trial court granted summary judgment for Baugh on the ground that the completion and acceptance doctrine relieved Baugh of liability for negligence after the work was completed and accepted by the property owner. On direct appeal to the Washington Supreme Court from the Superior Court, Graham Lundberg & Peschel argued that the trial court erred. The Washington Supreme Court agreed and reversed the trial court’s decision.

New Law in Washington:

In a 6-3 opinion written by Justice Chambers and published by the Court on January 18, 2007, the Washington Supreme Court did away with the “completion and acceptance” doctrine that shielded contractors from liability for negligent work. The Court stated that “&this doctrine is outmoded, incorrect, and harmful, we now join the 37 states that have abandoned it.”

The Court’s entire opinion can be viewed through the following link:

http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/?fa=opinions.disp&filename=766967MAJ

About Graham Lundberg & Peschel:

Graham Lundberg & Peschel, founded in 1979 focuses its practice exclusively on personal injury and wrongful death matters. The firm’s mission is to achieve civil justice for injured people and the families of those who have been injured or died as a result of the negligence of others. Graham Lundberg & Peschel is based in Western Washington with 16 locations across the Puget Sound Region including offices in Seattle, Tacoma, and Port Orchard. The firm has over 28 years of experience solely devoted to handling plaintiff’s personal injury and tort matters, including automobile accidents, product liability claims, premise liability actions, construction accidents, maritime injury, and wrongful death claims. For more information please visitwww.glpattorneys.com.

Graham Lundberg & Peschel
Contact: Melissa Collins
Phone: 206-448-1992

Contact Your Local Office

Keep Sharing Simple...
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page