Appellate Cases Published and Non-Published

Appeals: Experience Matters

Appeal timelines are time sensitive and require detailed review, research, and writing. If you are seeking an appellate attorney, without a doubt, experience matters. Dennis “D.C” Cronin has represented many clients through the appellate process and his commitment to justice has resulted in published and non-published cases in the Eastern District and Ninth Circuit since 1986.


Federal District and Ninth Circuit

Civil and Voting Rights

Farrakhan v. Locke, 987 F. Supp. 1304 (E.D. Wa. 1997), aff’d in part, reversed in part, and remanded, 338 F. 3d 1009 (9th Cir. 2003) and rehearing denied and en banc denied by 359 F. 3d 1116 (9th Cir. 2004), cert. denied and motion granted, 543 U.S. 984, 125 S. Ct. 477, 160 L. Ed. 2d (2004), summary judgment granted, Farrakhan v. Gregoire, LEXIS 45987 (E.D. 2006), rev’d, 590 F. 3d 989 (2010) and vacated, review and rehearing en banc granted by 603 F. 3d 1072 (2010) and aff’d by 623 F. 3d 990 (2010).

Plaintiffs challenged the validity of felon disenfranchisement law alleging minorities were disproportionately prosecuted and sentenced resulting in disproportionate representation. Plaintiffs alleged felon disenfranchisement caused vote denial and/or vote dilution on the basis of race, in violation of the Voting Rights Act. This case received national attention and was cited in other circuit opinions, articles, and local and national news media (print and audio). See 338 F.3d 1009 (2003)


Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Alexiou v. United States (In re Subpoena to Testify Before the Grand Jury), 39 F.3d 973 (9th Cir. Wn. 1994), cert. denied, 115 S. Ct. 1825 (1993)

Attorney allegedly deposited a counterfeit $100.00 bill received from a client to his law firm bank account. Upon demand to reveal the client’s identity, the attorney resisted on ethical grounds. The U.S. Attorney issued a grand jury subpoena and the attorney asked the court to quash the subpoena.

Held an appeal may be taken from a motion to quash under the circumstances presented, but client identity is not protected.


Labor Unions and Duty of Fair Representation

Montano v. Communication Workers of America, Dist. 9, 902 F.2d 40 (9th Cir. 1990), affirmed in part, remanded in part. (Unpublished) (published in trade volume)

A significant national case involving the Communication Workers of America addressing an alleged violation of the duty of fair representation. I briefed and argued the case in the Ninth Circuit, opposed certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Ralph Nader’s organization assisted on the briefing opposing certiorari. The case ultimately settled, making the pending petition seeking certiorari filed by my Washington D.C. opponent moot.

Affirmed in part. Remanded in part.


Criminal

United States v. Fifer, 27 Fed. Appx. 892, 2001 U.S. App. LEXIS 27099 (9th Cir. Mont. 2001)      

Defendant appealed indictment, sentencing and failure to provide special verdict form.

Affirmed.


Washington State Supreme Court

Election Campaigns and Political Law

Becker v. County of Pierce, 126 Wn. 2d 11, 890 P. 2d 1055 (1995)

A candidate defeated in a primary election for state auditor sought a declaratory judgment invalidating the primary and general elections.  Less than three weeks after oral argument in this case, committee hearings were conducted in both houses of the Washington State Legislature to amend RCW 29.62.030. The legislature changed the law while the case was pending, rendering the case moot.


Washington State Court of Appeals

Criminal

State v. Rehn, 117 Wn. App. 142, 69 P.3d 379 (Div. III 2003)

Passenger made allegedly incriminating responses to questions asked without Miranda warnings. 

Trial court denied motion to suppress.

Affirmed.

State v. Ford, 2000 Wn. App. LEXIS 2066 (Wn. Ct. App. Oct. 24, 2000)

Appeal from criminal conviction for second degree murder.

Affirmed.

State v. Johnson, 96 Wn. App. 813, 981 P.2d 25 (Div. III 1999)

Trial court entered an order setting restitution more than 180 days after sentencing.

Reversed.

State v. Lloyd, 1998 Wn. App. LEXIS 289 (Wn. Ct. App. Feb. 26, 1998)

Defendants convicted of first degree kidnapping. One defendant convicted of second degree robbery.

Affirmed.

State v. Jones, 82 Wn. App. 871, 920 P.2d 225 (Div. III 1996)                                  

Then a case of first impression in Division III involving the defense of multiple personalities (dissociative disorder). The Honorable Evan Sperline acquitted Ms. Jones after a bench trial, but convicted Ms. Jones’ alternate personality “CAT”, thus requiring Ms. Jones’ incarceration.

Affirmed.


Domestic Relations

In re: Parentage of Ruff, 168 Wn. App. 109, 275 P.3d 1175 (Div. III 2012)

The first published case in Washington to explain Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) emergency jurisdiction and the process to transfer jurisdiction from one court to the other, and the consequences of a failure to properly do so. This case was also the first Washington case to address UCCJEA attorney fees in a jurisdictional dispute. 

Reversed and remanded for lack of authority under the UCCJEA to assume jurisdiction from Montana courts due to failure to follow the mandatory requirements of the UCCJEA.

In re: Marriage of Vigil, 162 Wn. App. 242, 255 P.3d 850 (Div. III 2011), reconsideration denied by In re Marriage of Vigil, 2011 Wn. App. LEXIS 1842 (Wn. Ct. App., July 26, 2011), review denied by In re Marriage of Vigil, 173 Wn. 2d 1005, 268 P.3d 943, 2011 Wn. LEXIS 928 (Wn., Nov. 21, 2011)

Condoned bifurcation of dissolution proceedings in extraordinary circumstances after bankruptcy was filed on the eve of trial acknowledging the trial court did not have jurisdiction to dispose of the parties’ property at the time set for trial.

Affirmed.

In re: Marriage of Kranches, 2011 Wn. App. LEXIS 1926 (Wn. Ct. App. Aug. 11, 2011)

(Div. III Unpublished)

Successful argument on an issue involving first case clearly articulating and defining the standard for a determination of “unsound mind” in a CR 60(b) proceeding.

Affirmed, though the Court of Appeals agreed with one argument.

In re: Custody of A.C., 165 Wn.2d 568, 200 P.3d 689 (2009) (Assisting counsel on briefing, research, and preparation for argument).

Finding the trial court erred in exercising jurisdiction and violated the goals and provisions of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, reversing the trial court and Court of Appeals custody decision.

Reversed trial court and Court of Appeals and remanded for dismissal.

In re: Marriage of Dodd, 120 Wn. App. 638, 86 P.3d 801 (2004)

Whether the trial court on revision properly imputed median wage income to father in a child support modification action.

Affirmed the trial court, after the trial court revised the ruling of the court commissioner in favor of father.

In re: Marriage of Wilson, 2000 Wn. App. LEXIS 2157 (Wn. Ct. App. Nov. 7, 2000) (Div. III Unpublished)

Trial court valued wife’s retirement based on a statement balance one month before separation and the home value based on appraisal. The court also considered husband’s ability to make repairs in reaching its valuation and distribution.

Affirmed.

In re: Marriage of Barlow, 1997 Wn. App. LEXIS 306 (Wn. Ct. App. Mar. 6, 1997) (Div. III Unpublished)

Father’s child support obligation was temporarily reduced based on a finding of substantial change of circumstances after father’s income decreased following injuries incurred in an auto accident where father was allegedly intoxicated.

Affirmed. 

In re: Geestman, 1997 Wn. App. LEXIS 1194 (Wn. Ct. App. July 31, 1997)

Issue as to the parties’ date of separation (defunct marriage) and validity of a community property agreement.

Affirmed.

In re: Marriage of Luckey, 73 Wn. App. 201, 868 P.2d 189 (Div. III 1994)

Holding that the trial court had not abused its discretion in valuing professional goodwill and in fixing visitation rights and spousal maintenance and that the appealing spouse was not entitled to attorney fees for her appeal and clarifying profile evidence is not admissible in a dissolution action and re-enunciating the often heard phrase “the purpose of spousal maintenance is to support a spouse, usually the wife, until she is able to earn her own living or otherwise become self-supporting.”

Affirmed.


Employment and Labor

Spokane v. AFSCE, 76 Wn. App. 765, 888 P.2d 735 (Div. III 1995)

A case before the Honorable Richard Miller involving the “right to strike” and issuance of a writ of prohibition preventing Spokane County employees from commencing a work stoppage in a wage dispute. County employers applied for writ of prohibition to prevent employees from participating in a threatened work stoppage.  The trial court denied the writ. Division III held employees were not acting in excess of jurisdiction by threatening to strike, thus there was no entitlement to writ of prohibition. 

Affirmed. 


Juvenile/Parental Rights

In re: Custody of CWS, 157 Wn. 2d 126 (2005), reversing, 120 Wn. App. 108 (Div. III, 2004), which upheld the trial court (as Guardian ad Litem).

A reaffirmation of the standard for non-parental custody in Washington, previously enunciated in Division III, holding a non-parent can establish standing against a parent with physical custody of the child without demonstrating that the parent is unfit if “there has been a showing of actual detriment to [the child].” The opinion came after the Court’s previous surprising enunciation of the new common law de facto parent concept. Although the Guardian ad Litem’s role was fully ratified by the Honorable Richard Miller and the Court of Appeals. Among other difficulties with the analysis, the majority decided sua sponte the Guardian ad Litem went out of the scope, as the Guardian ad Litem had the temerity to voice the idea, ratified by Justice Bridge’s concurrence, children may have constitutional rights to be weighed in the balance of any decision about their future.

Remanded in part.

Yuille v. State, 111 Wn. App. 527, 45 P.3d 1107 (Div. III 2002)

Parents sought summary judgment for conduct allegedly resulting in the false accusation of factitious disorder (Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy) and removal of children. 

Affirmed with dissenting opinion for reversal.

In re: Welfare of Kevin L., 45 Wn. App. 489, 726 P.2d 479 (Div. III 1986)

Reversing the termination of parental rights and establishing anyone can file a dependency, the importance of the social file, and the provision of services. This case also delineated the parens patriae powers of the State. 

Reversed trial court’s termination.


Litigation

Spratt v. Crusader Ins. Co., 109 Wn. App. 944, 37 P.3d 1269 (Div. III 2002), review denied by 147 Wn. 2d 1003, 53 P.3d 1007, 2002 Wn. LEXIS 580

Plaintiff and pub owner each sought a declaration the maximum liability coverage under a liquor liability policy was a total of $2 million.  The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment.

Reversed.

Estate of Lee v. City of Spokane, 101 Wn. App. 158, 2 P.3d 979 (Div. III 2000), review denied by 142 Wn.2d 1014, 16 P.3d 1263, 2000 Wn. LEXIS 842.

A wrongful death and excessive use of force action brought by decedent’s relatives arising from a fatal shooting by police officers and competing motions for summary judgment.

Affirmed in part. Reversed in part.

Anderson v. Taylor, 1999 Wn. App. LEXIS 2189 (Wn. Ct. App. Dec. 28, 1999)

Anti-harassment petition brought by town council member against town marshal. Trial court found petitioner did not carry her burden of proof on some events and others were privileged.

Affirmed.

Long v. Harrold, 76 Wn. App. 317, 884 P.2d 934 (Div. III 1994)

A case before the Honorable Larry Kristiansen in Stevens County explaining the difference between voidable judgments and void judgments involving a motion to vacate arising from Pend Oreille County.

Reversed. 

Ratings and Reviews