Judge Downing to Hear Motions at Law School

On Friday, February 10, Judge William Downing of the King County Superior Court will bring his motion calendar to the law school courtroom. There will be two summary judgment hearings, one at 9:45 a.m. and one at 10:45 a.m. Please read the memorandum regarding courtroom protocol and etiquette prior to attending the hearings.

Motion Calendar

King County Superior Court
Judge William Downing
Seattle University School of Law, Fred H. Dore Courtroom
Friday, February 10, 2006

Please make sure that you read the memo regarding courtroom etiquette and protocol prior to attending this hearing.

9:45 a.m.: Angell v. Assoc. Counsel for the Accused, Cause No. 04-2-07058-9 SEA
Motion for Summary Judgment

Facts: The plaintiff alleges a cause of action against the defendants for criminal legal malpractice, claiming that his lawyer failed to object when a judge sentenced him to a term of imprisonment that was allegedly beyond the amount allowed by statute.

Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment: Defendant requests that summary judgment be granted on grounds that the plaintiff pleaded guilty to the crimes that underlay his case. Consequently, his guilty plea precludes him from proving that he was actually innocent, a material element of his claim. The plaintiff counters that the Washington Supreme Court has imposed the actual innocence requirement only in criminal malpractice cases involving the guilt or innocence phase of representation. Here, the malpractice allegedly occurred at later proceedings revoking a suspended sentence.

10:45 a.m.: Ashley v. City of Seattle, Cause No. 05-2-04447-1 SEA
Motion for Summary Judgment

Facts: On June 11, 2003, Defendant Ronisha Kelley struck the plaintiffs with the car she was driving while fleeing from two Seattle police officers. The car belonged to Defendants Yaws, who had hired Ms. Kelley as a nanny and housesitter while they vacationed on the east coast. The plaintiffs, who suffered various injuries as a result of the accident, filed an action against the City of Seattle, Ms. Kelley, and the Yaws. The plaintiffs claim that the Yaws either provided defendant Kelley with constructive permission to use their vehicle by leaving their car keys in their normal location or negligently left their keys in a position readily accessible to defendant Kelley, despite knowing that she did not have a valid driver’s license. (In regards to the City of Seattle, the plaintiffs claim, in part, that the City negligently trained its police officers in proper pursuit and arrest policies and protocols).

Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment: Defendants Yaws seek an order of summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s claims of negligence. The Yaws argue that the elements of duty and proximate cause are not satisfied, in part, because they did not give defendant Kelley permission to take their car, nor did they have any relationship with the plaintiffs. Moreover, the bizarre criminal activity of defendant Kelley precludes any finding of proximate cause.

Judge William Downing Biography

William L. Downing has been ad Judge of the King County Superior Court since July 1, 1989. His previous work experience includes serving as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in King County and as a deckhand on Puget Sound fishing vessels and Mississippi River tugs. He serves on the Board of YMCA Youth & Government and is Program Chair of the YMCA High School Mock Trial Competition. He is the Co-Chair of the Washington Bench-Bar-Press Liaison Committee. Over the years he has lectured (most often on evidence and other trial issues) before many gatherings of students, lawyers, and judges.