Washington Case Law Update: Wrongful Death Claim Invalid After Survivorship Claim Against Same Defendants

Attorney Profile Case Update Template -2016 Kyle

Washington Case Law Update: Wrongful Death Claim Invalid After Survivorship Claim Against Same Defendants

From the desk of Kyle D. Riley: Washington’s wrongful death statute creates a cause of action for the beneficiaries of the deceased.  Where the deceased initially brought a personal injury claim against the defendant, will the deceased’s beneficiaries and estate be barred from bringing a subsequent wrongful death claim against the defendant?  Read on to find out.

Claims Pointer: Prior to her death, the decedent brought claims against the defendant for personal injuries related to asbestos exposure.  The decedent died during trial and the case was amended to be a survivorship action.  After her death, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate brought a wrongful death suit, naming the defendant who was named in the previous lawsuit and additional defendants who were not named in the initial lawsuit.  The Washington Court of Appeals held that the wrongful death claims were barred against the defendant named in the decedent’s previous suit, but that the wrongful death claims were not barred against the other defendants.

Brandes v. Brand Insulations, Inc., et. al., No. 74554-9-I, Washington Court of Appeals Div. I (May 29, 2018) (unpublished).

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma, Barbara Brandes (“Barbara”) brought suit for personal injuries against Brand Insulations Inc. (“Brand”) and other defendants.  In her complaint, Barbara alleged that Brand was negligent in selling and installing asbestos productions at a refinery where her husband had worked, resulting in her exposure to “take home” asbestos fibers.  On the second day of trial, Barbara settled with all defendants except for Brand.  Thirteen days into trial, Barbara died.  The court allowed Barbara’s daughter, Ramona Brandes (“Ramona”) to be appointed as personal representative of Barbara’s estate and the trial continued as a survivorship action. ...

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