Facts: Petitioner Nancy Waples filed a medical malpractice action against her dentist, Peter Yi, in the Superior Court for Pierce County. The trial court subsequently granted Yi’s motion to dismiss the case pursuant to Washington Revised Code §7.70.100(1), which requires that plaintiffs give healthcare providers 90 days notice of their intention to file a medical malpractice action. Waples appealed the trial court’s ruling, asserting that §7.70.100(1) is unconstitutional insofar as it conflicts with Washington Court Rules §8 and §11 and thereby violates the separation of powers by infringing upon the power of the judiciary to set court rules. The Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, holding that the notice requirement of §7.70.100(1) was controlling. Waples appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Does §7.70.100(1) violate the separation of powers stipulated by the Washington State Constitution?
Conclusion: Justice Charles W. Johnson’s opinion for the Court ruled that §7.70.100(1) is unconstitutional as it conflicts with the requirements for commencing a civil action established by Washington Court Rules §8 and §11 and as these rules are rules relating to procedural rather than substantive rights, this conflict infringes upon the judiciary’s exclusive right to set court procedures. Thus, the Court reversed the Washington Court of Appeals and remanded the case for trial.
Petitioner: Nancy Waples
(Counsel: Jerald D. Pearson and Edward C. Harper)
Respondent: Peter Yi
(Counsel: John Cornelius Versnel III, Vanessa Vanderbrug, Elizabeth Ann Leedom, Jennifer Lynn Moore, Michael F. Madden, Amy Magnano, John A. Rosendahl, Timothy Lee Ashcraft, Mary H. Spillane, and Daniel W. Ferm)
- Amicus Wsajf Supplemental Brief
- Answer to Statement of Grounds for Direct Review in 82973-0
- Answer to WDTL Amicus
- Appellant Brief
- Appellant Brief in 82973-0
- Joinder of Respondents Yi in Answer to Supplemental Brief of Wsajf Amicus
- Joint Answer of Respondents to Wsajf Amicus
- Motion for Disc Review
- Respondent Brief
- Respondent Multicare Brief in 82973-0
- Respondent Nicol and Valley Radiologists Brief in 82973-0
- Respondent Yi Answer to Wsajf Amicus
- Statement of Grounds for Direct Review in 82973-0
- WDTL Amicus
- Wsajf Amicus
- Wsma Et Al Amicus
Argument: Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, July 1st, 2010
Prevailing Party: Nancy Waples (Petitioner)
Court: Madsen1 Court (2010-)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form. Each opinion should appear next to the Justice who authored it.