wscd Fritts
The key to successful litigation is understanding your opponents' strengths and weaknesses—then working twice as hard as they do.

Fritts, John G.

John Fritts has represented a variety of clients from individual defendants to Fortune 500 companies. John’s practice includes the defense of product liability and complex tort liability claims. It also includes the defense of trucking companies and their drivers. John has litigated to verdict more than forty-five civil jury trials, hundreds of arbitrations, and hundreds of criminal jury trials. First designated as a Washington “Super Lawyer” in 2005, John has been recognized as one of Seattle’s “Top Lawyers” in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine and is a selected member of the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance.

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Education

  • Seattle University School of Law – J.D., 1981
  • Boston University and Bucknell University – B.A. in Political Science and English, 1977

Bar Admissions

  • Superior Court of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Washington
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Notable Results

Defended a landlord accused of failing to meet City of Seattle fire code regulations, including virtually every requirement for the installation and maintenance of operating smoke detectors, following a multi-tenant rooming house fire that killed one and injured several. The three-floor structure had only one smoke detector that was inoperative. The case was tried to a jury. Defense verdict. "John Doe" v. Li and Lei. King County Superior Court.

Obtained a defense verdict for a pharmaceutical company that sold a time-release oral medication for asthmatics in a failure-to-warn product liability case. The plaintiff, a child, suffered a permanent, disabling, brain injury. E. Rosa Young, et al. v. Key Pharmaceuticals, Inc. King County Superior Court.

Obtained a very favorable settlement for a Seattle-based manufacturer of large propeller blades in a product defect case regarding a variable thrust propulsion system on a large fishing trawler that resulted in the vessel missing a substantial portion of the Alaska fishing season. Highland Light, Inc. v. Sound Propeller Services, Inc. King County Superior Court.

Defended the manufacturer of an aluminum articulating ladder and the home improvement center that sold the ladder against claims by plaintiff asserting permanent injuries when the ladder collapsed. The model of the articulating ladder had been subject to a safety recall. After several pre-trial motions for sanctions against the defense for failing to make a good faith settlement offer at mediation were denied, the case went to trial and the jury awarded was less than what was offered at mediation. Hudson v. The Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., Krause, Inc. King County Superior Court.

Obtained dismissal of all claims against owners of a video store in which a hot water tank manufactured in the early 1900’s exploded, injuring patrons and demolishing adjacent businesses including the strip mall where the businesses were located. The damage was so extensive that first responders assumed there had been a terrorist attack. Claims against our clients were dismissed in United States District Court. The dismissal was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals while contemporaneously re-filed in state superior court. Ultimately, all claims against our clients were summarily dismissed. Lepe v. O’Neill Plumbing/Merryman v. Mora, Inc. King County Superior Court. Cornhusker Casualty Co. v. O’Neill Plumbing Co., et al. United States District Court, Western District of Washington. Carnicera Zacatecas, Inc. et al. v. O’Neill Plumbing Co., et al. King County Superior Court. 

Obtained a defense verdict for a hospital in a personal injury case brought by a woman who suffered serious burns when an anesthesiologist used heated IV saline bags to regulate the woman's temperature during back surgery. Doe v. St. Joseph Hospital, et al. Pierce County Superior Court.

Obtained summary judgment dismissals for two insurance companies in a multiparty, multimillion dollar claim arising from the processing of aluminum at numerous sites throughout the United States. The case was litigated for close to a decade and became one of the largest toxic tort declaratory judgment action cases in the United States. Achieved complete dismissal of all claims against our clients via multiple summary judgment motions. Aluminum Company of America, et al. v. Accident Casualty and Insurance Company, et al. King County Superior Court.

Defended a truck manufacturer in a multiparty product liability action involving the design of, and visibility from, a Class III truck cab. The plaintiffs included two children and their mother whose injuries resulted in quadriplegia. This was a joint and several liability case. The matter was tried to completion, but settled favorably three days after trial but immediately before the jury returned with a verdict. Chenier v. PACCAR Inc. et al. Pierce County Superior Court.

Professional and Civic Involvement

  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • First designated as a Washington “Super Lawyer” in 2005.

Personal Interests and Activities

Hiking, biking, and travel.