David Reeve is Senior Counsel in Tyson & Mendes’ Seattle office. His practice focuses on defending individuals and businesses in first- and third-party lawsuits involving auto and trucking liability, wrongful death, timber trespass, construction accident/defect, medical malpractice, premises liability, product liability, and insurance coverage matters.
Mr. Reeve began his career in New York City defending property owners and developers, construction contractors, and telecom companies in state and federal court against first- and third-party claims for personal injury and breach of contract. He has successfully resolved numerous cases through dispositive motions, saving his clients from the significant time and expense of trial. He has also successfully briefed and argued matters before the New York Appellate Division and Washington Court of Appeals. Upon relocating to Seattle, Washington in 2015, his practice evolved to include medical malpractice claims in the context of hospital/physician negligence, product liability, and pharmaceutical drugs, in addition to timber trespass matters.
Mr. Reeve received his undergraduate degree in Economics with a Philosophy minor from the University of Washington. In 2009, he received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School with an emphasis on litigation and appellate advocacy. While in law school, Mr. Reeve completed a judicial internship with Justice John M. Leventhal of the New York Appellate Division, Second Department. He is admitted to practice law in Washington and New York.
In his free time, Mr. Reeve is an avid photographer, climber, and guitarist. He also enjoys hiking and backpacking throughout the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Recent PostsAmbiguous UIM Policy Provisions May Have Unintended Consequences in Washington
Kalles v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. (Div. II, 2019) involved an action for, among other things, UIM property damage benefits for loss of use, i.e., rental car costs, while the insured’s vehicle was being repaired. Although the insured’s UIM policy language did not expressly state that loss of use damages would be covered, the Court of Appeals held that (1) because an average person could have interpreted the policy language to include those benefits, the language was, at best, ambiguous; and (2) because ambiguous policy language must be construed in favor of an insured, the insured was ultimately entitled to said benefits.Caution: Passive Obedience of a Court Order May Result in Contempt
In Everett Hangar, LLC v. Kilo 6 Owners Assoc., et al, Division 1 of the Court of Appeals reaffirmed a party subject to a court order must demonstrate more than mere passive obedience with the order to avoid a finding contempt.Calculation of an Attorney-Fee Award in a Bad-Faith Claim
In Baker v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, et al., plaintiffs filed suit against their insurance companies, defendant Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company and American Insurance Company (collectively, “Fireman’s Fund”), for breaching their duty to defend in a litigation related to plaintiffs’ landfill, which became contaminated. After over a decade of litigation, plaintiffs obtained a successful result and were awarded seven-figure attorney fees. Though the fee award was disputed by both plaintiffs and defendants, it was nevertheless upheld by the Court of Appeals as the award was within the trial court’s discretion and was properly supported by its findings. The summary of the Court of Appeal’s opinion below outlines the nuanced process by which courts determine an attorney fee award to the prevailing party in a bad-faith claim.Absent a Finding of Third-Party Liability, Thiringer’s “Made Whole” Rule Bars an Insurer’s Subrogation Rights.
In Group Health Cooperative v. Nathaniel Coon and Lori Coon, (Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1; August 13, 2018) 2018 WL 3830032, plaintiff Nathaniel Coon (hereinafter, “plaintiff”) had knee surgery and subsequently developed an aggressive leg infection resulting in an above-the-knee amputation. Plaintiff’s insurer, Group Health, paid $372,000 in medical expenses for plaintiff’s related treatment.Medical Marijuana Retailers Unsuccessfully Challenge New Cap on Retail Marijuana Licenses
The Cannabis Patient Protection Act (“CPPA”) mandated Washington’s “gray-market” medical marijuana retailers to close by July 2016 and served to consolidate regulation of both retail and medical marijuana markets under the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (“LCB”). To fill the supply gap left by the closure of all medical marijuana retailers, the CPPA directed the LCB “to increase the maximum number of retail marijuana outlets the LCB had previously established, to open a new license period, and to issue permits for a greater number of retail outlets.” In addition, the LCB was directed “to develop a competitive, merit-based application process for retail marijuana licenses that included consideration of applicants’ experiences and qualifications in the marijuana industry.”To Avoid a Finding of Bad Faith, an Insurer in Washington State Should Consider the Opinions of its Insured’s Experts Before Denying UIM Benefits
In Leahy v. State Farm, No. 76272-9-I (Div. 1, 2018), Division One of the Washington State Court of Appeals held that, in determining whether to award uninsured/underinsured motorist (“UIM”) benefits in a first-party claim for personal injuries, a UIM carrier should consider the opinions of its insured’s treating physician.Washington Supreme Court Adopts Bright-Line Rule Regarding Waiver of Work Product Immunity
In Kittitas v. County v. Allphin et al., (No. 93562-9, May 17, 2018), the Washington Supreme Court was tasked with determining (1) whether emails exchanged between two government agencies, Kittitas County (“County”) and the Washington State Department of Ecology (“Ecology”), regarding their joint investigation of Chem-Safe Environmental’s handling of hazardous waste, were protected work product prepared in anticipation of litigation; and (2) whether work product protection was waived when the emails were shared between the two agencies. In holding the emails were protected work product and that there was no waiver, the Supreme Court adopted a bright-line rule establishing “that a party waives its work product protection when it discloses work product documents to a third party in a manner creating a significant likelihood that an adversary will obtain the information.” This is the first ruling by the Washington Supreme Court addressing waiver of work product immunity.Fees and Costs are Recoverable in Washington if a Party Challenging an Arbitration Award Does Not Improve Their Position in the Award
Bearden v. McGill, No. 94320-6 (April 12, 2018)
Washington’s Supreme Court ruled statutory fees and costs should be included in Mandatory Arbitration Rules (“MAR”), rule 7.3’s comparison of a trial judgment and arbitration award for the purpose of determining whether the party requesting a trial de novo after mandatory arbitration has improved their position following trial. If the requesting party does not improve their position, the prevailing party will typically move for an award of attorney fees and costs.Washington Court of Appeal Upholds Local Ban on the Sale of Recreational Marijuana and Proponents of Legal Marijuana Should Be Pleased
In Emerald Enterprises, LLC, and John Larson v. Clark County (March 13, 2018), Division II of the Court of Appeals ruled that Washington’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act (USCA)—which provides for the limited production, processing, and sale of recreational marijuana to Washington residents over the age of 21—does not preempt local jurisdictions’ authority to restrict and, as was the case here, outright ban marijuana sales so long as the federal government continues to list marijuana as a controlled substance. This decision is the first on the issue by an appellate court in Washington. It follows the 2014 opinion of Washington’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, that local governments should retain the authority to enact local bans on marijuana sales.Washington Insurer’s Defending Under a Reservation of Rights Should Only Pay Defense Costs After a Determination of “Reasonableness.”
In National Surety Corporation v. Immunex Corporation (Jan. 29, 2018), Division 1 of the Court of Appeals held that an insurer defending under a reservation of rights need not tender payment to its insured until the reasonableness of defense costs are resolved by a jury and reduced to judgment. The controlling coverage law behind the National Surety decision is set forth below, followed by a discussion of its procedural history and holding.