< Areas of Practice

Litigation

Pacifica attorneys litigate throughout the Northwest in the region’s appellate and trial courts on behalf of public entities, private companies, non-profit organizations, and individuals.

We have litigated a wide range of issues including many high-profile and precedent-setting cases. With broad experience, substantive knowledge and procedural savvy, Pacifica attorneys work strategically with their clients to achieve agreed upon goals.

We are experienced handling both large and small cases as well as arbitrations, mediations, and administrative hearings. Litigation success starts with working with our clients to assess cases, develop budgets and determine appropriate litigation strategy. Our team approach assures effective and cost-efficient representation.

Appeals

Pacifica is one of the premier civil appellate practices in the Northwest. Its attorneys regularly appear in the Washington and Montana appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Pacifica attorneys have also appeared in the United States Supreme Court, the Third, Eleventh, D.C. and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the California, Oregon, and New York appellate courts. Pacifica attorneys understand the substantive, procedural and stylistic elements of success on appeal.

Pacifica can provide a broad range of appellate services including handling an entire appeal, acting as appellate co-counsel, drafting amicus briefs, evaluating the merits of a potential appeal, assisting in drafting or reviewing a brief, conducting with or helping to prepare counsel for oral argument, and working with trial counsel properly to preserve issues for appeal.

Constitutional

Pacifica attorneys regularly handle complex constitutional disputes on behalf of public and private clients. Pacifica attorneys have litigated complex constitutional matters in the United States Supreme Court, numerous federal circuit courts including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Washington Supreme Court, all three divisions of the Washington Court of Appeals, and other state and federal courts from the Montana Supreme Court to the District of D.C. Pacifica can provide a range of assistance from consulting to litigation at the trial and appellate levels. We understand both the procedural and substantive issues inherent in successfully resolving constitutional matters.

Examples of our experience include challenges to legislation based in provisions of the United States Constitution including the Commerce Clause, Supremacy Clause and Contract Clause; individual rights such as equality, marriage, and privacy; freedom of expression, religion, speech and association under the First Amendment, including defense of libel, defamation and invasion of privacy claims; and constitutional land use issues (such as eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and substantive due process).

Pacifica also focuses substantially on issues under the Washington State Constitution, including such provisions as the Privileges and Immunities Clause, religious free exercise under Article I, Section 11, privacy rights under Article I, section 7, taxation and “home rule” rights under Articles 7 and 11, legislative power under Article II; and amendments pertaining to initiative, referenda and recall.

Commercial

Pacifica provides businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to local Northwest enterprises, top-tier representation in state and federal trial and appellate courts. Pacifica attorneys have successfully litigated a full range of commercial disputes, including jury and bench trials. Pacifica attorneys’ experience with complex litigation results in a goal-focused and cost-effective approach to every step of litigation: from discovery to dispositive motions to trial. Further, Pacifica fully explores alternative dispute resolution options with its clients, including arbitration and mediation, which may result in a positive outcome for the client at a lower cost.

Construction Litigation & Dispute Resolution

The construction industry uses various innovative processes for dispute resolution short of formal litigation. Pacifica’s construction lawyers have been lead counsel in hundreds of such innovative proceedings, including non-binding mini trials, Dispute Resolution Board (DRB) proceedings, multi-party mediations, and arbitrations. We also believe that old fashioned direct negotiations with the adverse party can be highly successful, and encourage clients to use this direct approach due to its intrinsic benefits. When formal litigation is necessary (or required by the applicable contract), we zealously fight for our clients and do so with transparency and accountability in our legal fee budgets.

Pacifica’s litigation and ADR practice covers a wide variety of disputes and claims. Our recent cases involves the successful resolution of critical path schedule disputes at a federal Veteran Administration facility, cumulative impact claims on a large regional transit facility, trial (including full judgment) on project payment claims on a Corps of Engineers HUBZone project, insurance coverage disputes, defense (based on federal preemption grounds) of ERISA trust fund bond liens, explosion and related peril property damage claims, waiver of subrogation disputes, underground high ampacity electrical cable failures, coating failure claims on a stadium project, and numerous claims arising out of subcontractor default and termination.

Public Entities

Public clients turn to Pacifica attorneys for their significant litigation. Pacifica attorneys have represented public entities at all levels from assignment as special attorney general for the State of Washington to special prosecuting attorneys for counties to acting as attorneys for cities, port districts and other special purpose districts. For example, Pacifica attorneys have represented Sound Transit since its inception litigating cases that range from attacks on the constitutionality of the agency and its taxing measures to litigating inverse condemnation claims to litigating environmental disputes under SEPA and NEPA to advising on insurance issues.

Other clients have included the State of Washington, King County, the City of Seattle, the City of Bellevue, the City of Everett, the City of Federal Way, the City of Kent, the Port of Seattle, the Port of Olympia, the Port of Pasco, the Pike Place Market, and the Washington Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District. Pacifica has been retained to litigate a wide-range of issues, including cases involving the Washington Public Records Act, the Washington Open Public Meetings Act, municipal authority, NEPA, SEPA, the GMA, and LUPA. Pacifica attorneys also have substantial experience litigating tax and fee issues.

Initiative, Referenda, and Election Law

Pacifica attorneys have been on the cusp of initiative and referenda practice in Washington for more than a decade. Pacifica attorneys also regularly advise and consult upon, and appear in court or administrative proceedings arising from, election law issues including challenges to ballot titles and summaries, voter’s pamphlet challenges, campaign finance requirements, sufficiency of initiative or referendum signatures and qualification procedures, and constitutional voting rights.

Cases in which Pacifica lawyers have been involved as lead or amicus counsel include Initiatives 1053 and 601 (regarding imposition of a 2/3 vote requirement for the passage of taxing measures), 594 (criminal background checks for gun sales), 1240 (charter schools), 695 (an initiative combining $30 car tabs and a public vote requirement for all new taxes), 722 (the so-called “son” of 695), 776 (another successor to Initiative 695), 297 (an initiative attempting to limit federal authority over the Hanford nuclear facility); 342 (attempting to forcibly recall local government bonds), Referenda 60 (relating to an attempt to refer legislation that contained a valid emergency clause); 71 (regarding rights of domestic partners); Seattle Proposition 1B (universal preschool plan), Initiative 83 (the “Monorail Recall” initiative), and Seattle Referendum 1 (regarding the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Program tunnel).

Real Property

Pacifica attorneys have significant breadth and depth of experience in eminent domain, environmental, land use, and other real property litigation matters.

Pacifica attorneys assist public entities and private clients successfully to negotiate, mediate, settle, and litigate, when necessary, property acquisitions related to numerous public and private projects, ranging from natural gas pipelines to transit facilities to museums. Pacifica attorneys also advise clients on eminent domain-related issues, such as valuation and relocation, and are experienced in working effectively and efficiently with client teams that may also include appraisers, agents, and environmental consultants. Pacifica attorneys also are skilled in prosecuting and defending claims related to public and private projects, including inverse condemnation, takings, trespass, timber trespass, and complex constitutional claims.

Pacifica represents both public and private clients in a wide range of real estate litigation matters, from boundary disputes to adverse possession to breach of contract claims. Pacifica attorneys also regularly advise and represent clients in land use disputes, including permitting disputes with local, state and federal agencies. Pacifica attorneys have negotiated and litigated a variety of environmental claims, from environmental tort claims to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) appeals.

Insurance Coverage

Pacifica represents policy holders in all aspects of insurance coverage. This ranges from advice and consulting on insurance procurement and claims, to complex coverage disputes in Washington, locally and internationally. Pacifica attorneys are familiar with and regularly analyze a complete spectrum of coverages, including general liability, product liability, directors and officers liability, errors and omissions, employment practices, property, crime, cyber coverage, professional liability, and public entity liability. Pacifica attorneys also focus on other important legal issues that arise in coverage disputes such as relationships with excess carriers, multi-carrier claims, claims handling regulations, and bad faith.

Pacifica attorneys’ coverage experience includes representing Microsoft in a multi-million dollar general liability claim; litigating from trial to the Washington Supreme Court the leading Washington case establishing that general liability insurance policies provide coverage for costs to clean up environmental damages; representing Amazon.com in a multi-million dollar advertising injury claim; and representing Plum Creek Timber Company in a multi-million dollar D & O coverage claim. Pacifica attorney also regularly counsel public entities on insurance matters. Over $100 million dollars has been recovered on behalf of policy-holders.