Bryan D. Scholnick - Senior Counsel

Bryan D. Scholnick is Senior Counsel in Tyson & Mendes’ Seattle office. Mr. Scholnick’s legal career focuses on defending general liability cases with a focus on professional liability and automotive claims. He is an experienced litigator in a variety of cases involving automotive and trucking personal injury claims, automotive rental liability issues, engineering error and omissions claims, medical malpractice, products liability, workplace injuries, wrongful death, construction defect, and breach of contract. Mr. Scholnick has defended and represented architects, engineers, and physicians and hospitals in suits alleging professional negligence.

Mr. Scholnick has successfully resolved a variety of cases involving personal injury, alleged engineering design failures, complex construction defect claims, and product liability.  He has successfully obtained multiple dismissal of a rental company following motions practice. Mr. Scholnick’s Masters in Mechanical Engineering and science background provides him with helpful knowledge in some of the more complex malpractice, professional liability, product design, and construction claims.

Mr. Scholnick studied law at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and earned his J.D. in 2002.  He then worked for seven years handling general liability and workplace injury claims in Chicago, Illinois, before moving to Seattle in 2009. While practicing law in Chicago, he obtained his Master in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 2008.  Mr. Scholnick is licensed to practice law in Washington, Oregon, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Mr. Scholnick, his wife, and their daughter spend their weekends enjoying time together watching movies, restoring their property, and playing with their dogs.

Recent Posts

Let Talk About Elevators – That‘s Right, Elevators

A few years ago, National Public Radio discussed the similarities between elevators and autonomous vehicles.  (Remembering When Driverless Elevators Drew Skepticism, Morning Edition, NPR, July 31, 2015.) This discussion centered on how the automatic passenger elevator took over 50 years to become what it is today – not even a second thought about getting in and going.  Originally, elevators required operators to guide the cars to the correct floor then manually open and close the doors.  Mishaps happened and lawsuit arose.  As time went on, automatic elevators with safety features became the norm.  Yet, even after introduction of the automatic elevator, it took over 50 years for riders to get used to not having an operator in the car.  There are many stories of operators remaining in the elevator simply to push the button to calm nerves and usher in a new era.

The Construction Defect Is Not Always the Contractor’s Fault, Right? Why Not Look at the Building Products Too?

How often during construction defect litigation does it appear the contractor is certain they did the work in a workmanlike manner?  How often do we hear from the contractor or subcontractor there is no way they caused the defect to arise?  Recently, a building envelope professional was adamant his envelope design was so redundant, there is no way the envelope would allow water to intrude into the building.  After multiple openings were made, it became clear that the self-adhered flashing and sealant used in the system were incompatible.  This issue had never arisen in the past.  From all indication, it appeared either the self-adhered flashing or the sealant may have been defective when manufactured.  This construction defect case now becomes a product defect matter as well.  But, is it too late to bring a cause of action against the products’ manufacturers?

Tyson & Mendes Outmaneuvers Plaintiff Who Attempted to Extend the Statute of Limitations by Re-filing Suit Against a Foreign National in Federal Court

Tyson & Mendes’ Seattle office obtained a dismissal with prejudice of an insured from the Federal Court by following a legal strategy set in motion when a lawsuit was first filed in state court.  Plaintiff was injured while riding a bus when a car turned left in front of the bus causing the vehicles to collide.  Plaintiff incurred substantial medical treatment following the accident.  He filed suit in Washington State Court against the car’s driver, who was a foreign national.  Plaintiff sought service of the foreign national via Washington’s statute allowing for service of a non-state-resident via the Secretary of State.  However, unbeknownst to the plaintiff’s attorney, service via the Secretary of State was not effective as the Washington Appellate Court, in Larson v. Yoon, found that service of a foreign national had to be effected via the Hague Service Convention procedure.  351 P.3d 167, 172 (Wash. Div. 1, 2015).  Given this ruling, and that the suit was filed a year before the statute of limitation expired, an Answer was timely filed asserting the affirmative defenses of lack of service and statute of limitations.

Fully Vette Your Public Adjuster Before Letting Them Work Your Property Claims

When considering hiring a public, or independent, adjuster for work in Washington, the claims person must begin the process of vetting possible candidates and documenting their reason behind their choice.  Based on two recent Washington court rulings, one state court case and one federal district court case, the actions of the public adjuster may be imputed to the claims person under certain circumstances. The number of proponents of bad faith claims is growing and their ability to sue additional parties is reaching farther.

Will Statistical Analysis Be Necessary to Assert the Sudden Emergency Doctrine in Cars Equipped with Autonomous Vehicles?

In Washington, and in many other states, defendants in a car accident can assert that they were “suddenly confronted by an emergency through no negligence of his or her own and who is compelled to decide instantly how to avoid injury and who makes such a choice as a reasonably careful person placed in such a position might make, is not negligent even though it is not the wisest choice.”  WPI 12.02.  The sudden emergency doctrine applies when a person has been placed in a position of peril and must make an instinctive choice between courses of action after the peril has arisen. See Brown v. Spokane County Fire Prot. Dist. No. 1, 100 Wn.2d 188, 197, 668 P.2d 571 (1983) (citing Sandberg v. Spoelstra, 46 Wn.2d 776, 285 P.2d 564 (1955)). The sudden emergency doctrine is not available to one whose negligent conduct creates a hazard. Pidduck v. Henson, 2 Wn. App. 204, 206, 467 P.2d 322 (1970) (citing Tackett v. Milburn, 36 Wn.2d 349, 218 P.2d 298 (1950) and Miller v. Cody, 41 Wn.2d 775, 252 P.2d 303 (1953)); Tuttle v. Allstate Ins. Co., 134 Wn. App. 120, 131, 138 P.3d 1107 (2006); 16 Wash. Prac., Tort Law And Practice § 2:33 (4th ed.). Under such circumstances, negligence is a question of fact for the jury to decide.  Rhaodes v. DeRosier, 14 Wash.App. 946, 546 P.2d 930 (Div. 1 1976).

Future Apartment-to-Condominium Conversion May Not Be a Way to Escape From Construction Defect Suits in Washington

If you have traveled to Seattle in the last few years, you may have noticed the number of cranes.  Other than the large number of buildings under construction for Amazon and other technology companies, many of the buildings seen under construction are multi-unit, high-rise apartments.  A decade or more ago, one would have expected many of these to be condominium buildings.  However, between then and now, Washington went through a period of heavy construction litigation involving many condominium projects.  The Washington Condominium Act, which was meant to ensure quality buildings, caused an increase in construction defect litigation and, correspondingly, the cost to build condominiums.  So, today, developers avoid condominiums and instead build apartments, which are not subject to the Act.  Developers may see this as a way to wait out condominium defect litigation and then convert the apartments to condominiums down the road.  However, the waiting game may not foreclose condominium defect litigation.

Washington State May Be Creating a New Type of Insurance Product; The Hybrid Auto-Manufacturing Liability Policy

Generally, when we hear about autonomous vehicles, we hear about the innovations and strides being made by companies like Uber, Apple, Microsoft, and Google.  Other than Tesla, it is rare we hear news about the traditional automakers performing vehicle testing: the Big Three of their respective regions.  There is no doubt these companies will quickly start marketing and selling their branded autonomous vehicle.  If they plan to start doing so in the State of Washington, they will likely need to add motor vehicle liability insurance to their coverage portfolio.

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