Michael Kutzner - Associate

Michael Kutzner is an Associate in Tyson & Mendes’ Seattle office. His practice includes general liability and personal injury litigation.

Mr. Kutzner represents individuals and businesses in a wide variety of civil litigation matters.  He conducts keen case analysis with forethought to future possibilities. Prior to joining Tyson & Mendes, Mr. Kutzner worked as a criminal defense attorney, representing  individuals at all levels of the criminal judicial process, including arraignment, pretrial, motion, trial, and review hearings. He has been successful in case dismissals through pretrial motions, including charges carrying mandatory minimums of 180 days of incarceration. He successfully recognized and preserved a significant Constitutional issue during trial that is currently being decided by the Washington Supreme Court.

Mr. Kutzner obtained his J.D. from Seattle University School of Law and his MBA from Seattle University School of Business in 2015. During law school, Mr. Kutzner welcomed the unique opportunity to advocate on behalf of indigent elders and presented Bill 1839 to both the Washington House and Senate. He obtained his B.S. from Walla Walla University in 2012, where he graduated with honors. Mr. Kutzner was admitted to the Washington State Bar in 2016.

In his free time, Mr. Kutzner enjoys fitness, the outdoors, and building old vehicles. He also enjoys visiting tropical beaches with palm trees to offset the years of Canadian winters.

Recent Posts

Wrongful Denial of PIP Coverage Invites CPA Claims

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) prohibits unfair and deceptive trade practices. Persons “injured in their business or property” may sue for injunctive relief, damages, attorney’s costs and fees, and treble damages. Krista Peoples and Joel Stedman sued their insurance carriers under the CPA for violating Washington claims-handling regulations and wrongfully denying them personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. The Washington…

Lowering Standards for Overcoming Summary Judgment – Expert Speculation Will Suffice

Every once in a while a party will try to introduce “expert testimony” to prevent summary judgment based upon conjecture and/or speculation. Courts typically, and correctly, preclude this evidence and grant summary judgment. However, in Strauss v. Premera Blue Cross, 449 P.3d 640 (2019), the Washington Supreme Court ruled expert testimony based on inconclusive evidence (speculation) was sufficient to overcome summary judgment.

You Can Sue the Insurer, but Not the Employee Adjuster

In April 2007, Moun Keodalah and an uninsured motorcyclist collided in an intersection in Washington. After Keodalah stopped at a stop sign and entered the intersection, the motorcyclist collided with Keodalah’s truck. Keodalah was injured and the motorcyclist perished. Keodalah carried underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage…

In Washington, Made Whole Still Means “Made Whole,” and Enforcing a Breach of Contract Requires the Aggrieved Prove Prejudice

Nathaniel Coon felt a “pop” in his knee while playing on ice. Coon received surgery to repair the knee at The Everett Clinic (TEC). Subsequent to the surgery, Coon suffered a serious fungal infection and leg amputation. Group Health Cooperative (GHC) provided health insurance benefits to Coon. Coon filed suit against TEC for potential negligence claims. Coon settled with TEC without involving GHC. GHC initiated a lawsuit, seeking…

Expanding Jurisdiction for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction

Defense attorneys love the words “case dismissed.” Filing a case right before the statute of limitations runs, in a court lacking jurisdiction, often yielded this satisfying result. Until now. Banowski v. Guy Backstrom, DC, — P.3d —-, 2019 WL 3333172 (2019), dissects the controversial issue and concludes courts of limited jurisdiction now have the capability of transferring a case to a court with proper jurisdiction instead of ordering dismissal for lack of…

Clarification on Interpreting Wholeness of an Insured

The Washington Supreme Court granted review of Daniels v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 96185-9 (2019). In this case, the court discusses whether first party insurer State Farm is required to reimburse its fault-free insureds for the full amount of deductibles, prior to any allocation of subrogation proceeds to the insurer.

Grounding an Intentional Tort in Negligence

The words “negligent” and “intentional” are contradictory. To maintain an action in negligence, the plaintiff must establish four essential elements: duty, breach, proximate cause, and harm. To maintain an intentional tort action, the plaintiff must establish the tort was intentional, i.e., volitional. One action is typically distinct from the other, and a claim will usually sound in one or the other. However, in Beltran-Serrano v. City…

Extending Work Product Protection – By Statute

Work product protections often involve a narrow scope in the underlying policies of CR 26(b)(4) (allowing broad discovery while maintaining certain restraints on bad faith, irrelevant, and privileged inquiries).  Statements made by an insured to an insurer following an accident, in light of parties and expectations of the parties, fall under work product protection. In Barriga Figueroa v. Prieto Mariscal, — P.3d —-, 2019 WL 2220288 (2019), the Supreme Court of Washington held work product protections apply where the insured has gained the status of insured by statute, rather than by contract.

The Pressures of Childbirth; Explained by a Biomechanical Engineer Under Oath

An expert witness may be pivotal in determining a win or a loss at trial. Sometimes, one great expert witness may be better than many good expert witnesses. Wisely securing a great expert witness who possesses the proper expertise(s) to propound your arguments will likely ensure safe passage on the journey through trial. And appeal. And review.

Washington’s Contractual Mandatory Arbitration: Occasionally, the Trail of the Case Leads to Trial

Is Mandatory Arbitration favorable or unfavorable for defense attorneys? Harmful or helpful? Dreaded or demanded? It depends. Contractual constraints, or lack thereof, and missed or overlooked opportunity may dictate and preclude choice. The Washington Court of Appeals analyzes these parameters in Lee v. Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, 434 P.3d 1071 (2019).

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