Is Remote Voir Dire the Way of the Future?

June 30th, 2021

Along with my law partner Jeff Sbaih, we successfully completed the defense of two civil jury trials for large commercial transportation carriers in King County in the last half year - both of which had jury selection through Zoom. With King County still doing the same—even though Governor Inslee largely softened the indoor mask mandate on June 29, 2021, for most public places—the question remains whether remote voir dire will be the way of the future.


Our Commitment to Racial Justice

June 1st, 2021

One year ago today, the world saw Minneapolis police officers kill George Floyd in broad daylight. That day shocked the world and forced everyone to reckon with the current status of race in our society. Lots of good has been done through regulation and legislation since the Civil Rights era of the late 1960s and early 1970s; however, the impact of historical racism still lives with us today in different ways.


The Virtual Trial Lawyer

May 13th, 2021

Last month, we – Dylan Jackson and Jeff Sbaih – defended a three-week personal injury case over Zoom. The judge, the jurors, the lawyers, and the witnesses all appeared by Zoom. To the technology novice, the thought of a virtual trial is likely terrifying. To trial lawyers who relish the experience of an in-person trial, a virtual trial is nothing but a deflating experience. However, over the course of our three-week virtual trial, we learned many helpful things and took away some very important feedback from the jurors.


Wilson Smith Cochran Dickerson is Pleased to Announce that Attorney Chris Furman has Joined Our Firm

March 23rd, 2021

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Wilson Smith Cochran Dickerson is very pleased to announce we have added Associate, Chris Furman to our practicing team.  Chris graduated from the University of Washington School of Law, and received his undergraduate degree from Western Washington University.

Chris gained valuable legal experience as a clerk for the Honorable Cindy A. Larsen of the Snohomish County Superior Court and also served as an extern to Judge Jill Johanson at Division Two of Washington’s Court of Appeals.

Chris’s initial focus will be in our Casualty Defense and Trucking Liability Areas.

Sudden Medical Emergency Defense

November 20th, 2020

The Washington State Court of Appeals (Division 2) recently issued an opinion that favored the defendant driver, who caused an accident after he had a sudden loss of consciousness due to a heart attack while driving a bus. The sudden medical emergency defense is alive and well in Washington.


WSCD Working Remotely During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 10th, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Inslee’s  Stay-at-Home order, our physical offices are closed at this time but our attorneys and staff are working just as diligently remotely to ensure seamless representation for our clients. If you need to reach any of our attorneys, there may  be a delay in response if you leave a  message at an office-based number. However, our attorneys are regularly checking their voicemails and emails and will promptly respond to your inquiries and messages.  We hope you are all safe and healthy, and while we look forward to a return to normalcy, we are here for you at all times.

Washington Supreme Court Addresses Joint and Several Liability for Vicariously Liable Defendants

September 1st, 2018

Under Washington law, when a plaintiff sues multiple defendants in tort, the fault of each defendant is determined and each defendant is normally liable only for its proportionate share of the plaintiff’s damages. RCW 4.22.070(1). Several liability is thus the default, with joint and several liability being the exception. Recently, in Afoa v. Port of Seattle, No. 94525-0 (July 19, 2018), the Washington Supreme Court narrowly held (in a 5-4 decision) that the exception to several liability found in RCW 4.22.070(1)(a) applies so that a defendant vicariously liable for another defendant’s fault can be found jointly and severally liable. But because the jury in Afoa had not entered a specific factual finding of vicarious liability, the Court refused to apply the exception to the rule.


Washington Law Permits Extra-Contractual Suits Against Individual Insurance Adjusters

April 3rd, 2018

Last week, in Keodalah v. Allstate Insurance Company, No. 75731 8-I, 2018 WL 1465526 (Wash. Ct. App. Mar. 26, 2018), Division One of the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington held a policyholder can bring a “bad faith” lawsuit against an individual adjuster employed by an insurance company even though the adjuster’s actions were all undertaken in the course and scope of her employment.


Federal Court Holds UIM Insured Injured in Chain Reaction Accident Entitled to Only One Per-Accident Limit

June 24th, 2016

In a recent decision in IDS Property Casualty Insurance Co. v. Pickens, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142638 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 20, 2015), the United States District Court for the Federal District of Washington held a UIM insured was not entitled to two per-accident UIM limits when he was struck by a vehicle that had previously collided with another vehicle. The court held that, even though the accident in which the insured was injured may have had more than one proximate cause, it was still only one accident for purposes of determining how many per-accident limits applied.


Washington Supreme Court Declines to Provide a Clear Answer Regarding UIM Coverage for Injuries Caused by Shots Fired From a Vehicle

January 15th, 2016

In a decision issued on January 14, 2016, the Washington Supreme Court confirmed that, in most situations, whether UIM coverage applies to injuries caused by a gun fired from an uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle is a question to be decided by a jury.


In Memoriam: Bob Dickerson Died Without Regrets

June 2nd, 2015

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It is with great sorrow that we acknowledge the recent passing of one of our founding members, Bob Dickerson. Bob fought cancer for fifteen years and finally lost that battle. But he didn’t die with regrets. And that is because he lived his values, contributing to others and to the planet in every way.


WSCD Managing Partner, Whitney Smith, to Speak at Upcoming CLM Annual Conference

March 12th, 2015

We are pleased to announce that our new Managing Partner, Whitney Smith, will be presenting at the upcoming Annual Conference of The Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM). Whitney’s presentation is entitled: “PRODUCT LIABILITY - The Future is Now: 3D Printing.” The conference takes place in Palm Desert, California, March 25-27, 2015.


A Lawyer and a Gentleman

November 17th, 2014

We at Wilson Smith Cochran Dickerson are pleased to share that one of our founding members, Bob Dickerson, was recently honored in an official report from the U.S. Congressional Record, where Congressman Adam Smith took the floor to honor Bob for his 25 years of leadership of an organization called RESULTS, which has the humble aim of ending world poverty.


Amicus Advocacy

October 6th, 2014

Wilson Smith Cochran Dickerson is pleased to have helped amplify the voices of missing and exploited children in the Washington courts. Alongside the national law firm of Kaye Scholer, our partner, Kathy Cochran, had the honor of assisting in the filing of an amicus brief on behalf of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in a case pending before the Supreme Court of Washington. An amicus brief—or “friend of the court” brief—provides an opportunity for a person or organization that is not a party to a case to show it has a sufficient interest in the case to be allowed to file a brief in support of a party’s position.


Johnson v. Safeco—Fraud Voids an Insured’s Extra-Contractual, CPA, and IFCA Claims Even If the Insurer Committed its Alleged Wrongs Before the Insured’s Wrongful Conduct

June 14th, 2014

In Johnson v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, 176 Wn. App. 1022 (2013), the Washington Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s Summary Judgment dismissal of the insured homeowner’s claim for property coverage, bad faith, and alleged violations of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) because the insured fraudulently misrepresented facts during the claim process and untruthfully inflated the value of his claim. Although decided in December 2013, the Appellate Court recently granted a Motion to Publish the holding.


Washington Supreme Court holds liability insurers defending under a “reservation of rights” cannot unilaterally condition the defense on recouping their defense costs in the event a court ultimately finds no coverage.

March 7th, 2013

In National Surety Corp. v. Immunex Corp., the Washington Supreme Court held, in a 5-4 majority opinion, that a liability insurer cannot unilaterally condition the defense it affords its insured under a “reservation of rights” on the insurer’s recoupment of defense costs in the event there is a finding of no coverage. Absent policy provisions to the contrary, the insurer can only avoid or limit its exposure to defense costs in situations involving late tender by the insured that result in “actual and substantial prejudice” to the insurer. As such, once a liability insurer accepts its insured’s tender of defense under a reservation of rights, the insurer’s duty to fund the defense continues until a court says there is no coverage and the insurer may not seek reimbursement of defense costs incurred prior to the court’s coverage ruling.


Washington Supreme Court creates presumed waiver of the insurer’s attorney-client and work product privileges.

February 21st, 2013

In Cedell v. Farmers Insurance Company, decided on February 21, 2013, the Washington Supreme Court has held: “In first party insurance claims by insureds claiming bad faith, other than UIM claims, there is a presumption of no attorney client privilege” to protect attorney communications and work product in the insurer’s claim file. The insurer may overcome the presumption only upon a showing that the attorney was providing strictly legal counsel to the insurer, and not assisting the insurer in performing its quasi-fiduciary functions in the investigation and adjustment of the claim.


Kathy A. Cochran, founding member of the firm, was recently honored as Alumna of the Month by the University of Washington School of Law.

February 4th, 2013

In the article accompanying this honor, UW Law Professor, William S. Bailey retired from Fury Bailey, PS cited Cochran’s work in his publication, “Show the Story: The Power of Visual Advocacy”.

“She is one of the most creative lawyers in practice today, a talented visual artist who draws upon these skills in putting together her cases. There is nobody around who is more versatile in presenting information than Kathy,” he said.

You can learn more about this award, and read an interview with Kathy at

Washington Product Liability Act: Washington Supreme Court permits recovery for emotional distress in the absence of physical harm caused by purchaser's use of the product

February 7th, 2013

On January 31, 2013, the Supreme Court decided Bylsma v. Burger King Corp., --- P.3d ---, 2013 WL 3635919 (Wash.). Deputy Sheriff Ed Bylsma ordered lunch at a Burger King drive-in window. He “had an uneasy feeling” as he pulled away, so he carefully inspected his order and found that he had been “served a burger with phlegm inside the bun.” Bylsma’s lips never touched the offending Whopper, but he was not amused – and not about to go gently into that cold, dark night.


New Washington Supreme Court Decision Opens A Troublesome Door

November 12th, 2012

Bird v. Best Plumbing is the latest opinion from our State Supreme Court on consent judgments. The Court has clearly pronounced that an insurer is not entitled to a jury trial on the amount of damages and that the consent amount, once found reasonable by a court, is the amount of damages: