News & Updates

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Case Law Update – Washington

Several of our recent updates have involved the Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling in Zhaoyun Xia v. ProBuilders Specialty Ins. Co. RRG, 188 Wn.2d 171, 393 P.3d 748 (2017). In Xia, the Supreme Court held that a pollution exclusion did not bar coverage for...

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Resources, Updates & Articles

Memorial Day

To those in uniform serving and to those who have served in the past, we honor you today and every day. Lether & Associates would like to wish everyone a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend. As a reminder, the 75th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion is June...

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Spring and Geese

Spring has arrived here at Lether and Associates. Lately we have seen the signs of the new season. The sun is starting to show. The cherry blossoms are in bloom and Seattle is emerging from another winter. For our firm, however, there is no better sign of Spring than...

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As most of you know, during the last two weeks in Seattle we all experienced an interesting and unusual winter storm. Despite the snowy and icy conditions, Lether & Associates made it through and remained open for business providing our clients with uninterrupted...

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Recipes For Success

Food binds people together. Food comforts and nourishes us. Food creates memories for a lifetime. We hope that our successful family recipes help create loving and lasting memories for you and your loved ones, just like they do for us. Happy Holidays From LETHER...

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Tom Lether on Mediation

Tom Lether was recently interviewed and featured in the True Neutral Newsletter in regard to his perspective on mediation. Tom was specifically asked about what makes for a successful mediation and how he sees the role of mediation in the current litigation climate. A...

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Washington Caselaw Update

On Thursday, April 27, 2017, the Washington Supreme Court issued a new decision that may have a significant impact on the business of insurance in the State of Washington.  The new decision, Xia v. Probuilders Specialty Ins. Co., is the first Washington appellate...

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Washington Court’s Most Recent Analysis on “Arising Out Of” Language in the Context of UIM Claims

The case specifically involved questions of whether there was underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage for an injury to an insured pedestrian resulting from the intentional firing of a gun from an uninsured pickup truck. In the decision, the Supreme Court addressed two certified questions from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. These specific questions involve whether the subject injury arose out of the use of the motor vehicle and whether the shooter’s intent was material.

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Excess and Reinsurance Issues

Excess and Reinsurance Issues are increasingly important topics that are prevalent in insurance litigation across the country. We have knowledge and experience dealing with these complex matters. If you have any question or concerns please feel free the contact Lether & Associates.

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NFL & Brain Injury Claims

Recently, a slew of national attention has been directed at brain injuries.  From former NFL players and professional boxers suffering from the effects of chronic brain damage, to the dangers of concussions suffered during youth athletics, concern is growing over the...

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The Future of Blind Arbitration in Washington – February 2013

As most of us know, a number of insurance policies contain arbitration provisions. These provisions are most commonly found in auto policies and are particularly prevalent in UIM and PIP coverages. Although there are a number of trial court decisions regarding how these provisions work, published case law involving the application of these provisions in insurance claims is limited. On January 17, 2013, the Washington Supreme Court issued its opinion in Washington State Department of Transportation v. James River Ins. Co., 2013 Wash. LEXIS 66. In this opinion, the Court addressed whether a binding arbitration provision was void as being against public policy under RCW 48.18.200. Specifically, RCW 48.18.200(1)(b) states that an insurance policy cannot be written to divest the Courts of the State of Washington of jurisdiction over an action against the insurer. The issue in the WSDOT case was whether James River’s binding arbitration provision violated that statute. The controlling factual issue was that the binding arbitration provision in question was one-sided. In other words, the provision did not require mutual assent or agreement before arbitration became mandatory under the policy. The Washington Supreme Court found that such a provision is unenforceable.

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Robert E. Nesbitt v. Progressive Northwester Insurance Company

Background – Plaintiff “concede[d], for the purpose of this summary judgment motion only, most of the factual allegations set forth in Progressive’s motion,” except for “any allegation or assertion that states or implies, that in paying the $10,000 in PIP coverage and $25,000 in UIM coverage under Mercedes-Benzs policy, [Progressive] discharged Progressive’s contractual obligations under the policy it issued on the Mitsubishi Montero.”

Plaintiff is a Washington resident. He owns two vehicles, a 1987 Mercedes-Benz and a 1995 Mitsubishi–both of which are insured by Defendant under a common policy. The policy contains a PIP coverage limit of $10,000 and a UIM coverage limit of “$25,000 each person/$50,000 each accident.”

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