Amicus briefs filed by our attorneys sway judicial decision making. In a recent Washington Supreme Court case, NWCLC was cited for providing information relied upon by the court.

Thompson vs Mason County Sheriff Department

Thompson vs Mason County Sheriff Department Unemployed and living in his vehicle, faced distress when his car was towed by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office after running out of gas. Despite efforts to resolve the issue, Mr. Thompson's vehicle was towed, leaving him homeless for a month and incurring $1765.00 in fees. Both district and superior courts upheld the towing and fines without considering his financial circumstances or Eighth Amendment violations. Represented by the Northwest Justice Project, Mr. Thompson argues his constitutional right to protection from excessive fines was violated, with the towing unjustified and fines punitive. The Northwest Consumer Law Center (NWCLC) joined an amicus brief to oppose the tow's unlawfulness and the fines' punitive nature, underscoring the need for legal scrutiny and protection from undue financial burdens.

Schiff v. Liberty Mutual Insurance

In Schiff v. Liberty Mutual Insurance  We support justice for low- and moderate-income individuals, advocating for consumer rights through legal aid and educational programs. Our involvement in this amicus brief concerns an insurer's practice under the Washington Consumer Protection Act (CPA), challenged for unfairly capping payments to medical providers. We oppose the notion that businesses can evade CPA liability through good faith reliance on existing law, arguing that such a defense lacks statutory basis and undermines consumer protection, and urge the Court to reconsider the application of the good faith defense, emphasizing the importance of accountability for unfair business practices under the CPA.

Masingale v. Munding

in Masingale v. Munding NWCLC advocates for the protection of debtors claiming a homestead exemption in bankruptcy cases. In this case, the debtor claimed the federal homestead exemption for 100% of fair market value of her home. The Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel reversed the bankruptcy court to hold that it was an allowed exemption, even though the exemption took the entire asset out of the bankruptcy estate, as the exemption, as listed, put the trustee and creditors on notice to object and no timely objection was received. This case is currently pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. For the lower court’s decision, see Masingale v. Munding (In re Masingale), No. 22-1016 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. Nov. 2, 2022).

Young v. Toyota Motor Sales

In Young v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., 196 Wash.2d 310 (2020), our colleagues at Terrell Marshall Law Group volunteered to write an amicus brief on behalf of NWCLC advocating for fair development of Washington's Consumer Protection Act. The Washington Supreme Court reversed a court of appeals decision finding that false statements by a car dealership were not material to the consumer, declaring "Buyer beware is not the law in the State of Washington."

City of Seattle v. Long

In City of Seattle v. Long, NWCLC teamed up with Northwest Justice Project to urge the Washington Supreme Court to find that the homestead exemption automatically applies to personal property used as a residence. Mr. Long lived in his vehicle until the City of Seattle towed it away and violated his homestead rights. The Court heard oral argument in this case on March 17, 2021.

Ten Bridges v. Guandai

Ten Bridges v. Guandai addressed post-foreclosure equity skimming scams targeting people of color. The Court of Appeals cited our amicus brief in its decision upholding homeowners' rights after foreclosure. NWCLC is grateful for their colleagues at Northwest Justice Project and Jensen Morse Baker PLLC for drafting this important brief.

Copper Creek v. Kurtz

In Copper Creek v. Kurtz, we argue for the Washington Supreme Court to grant review of an important issue affecting Washington consumers: how the bankruptcy discharge effects the statute of limitations of a mortgage. We advocate for the enforcement of statute of limitations when a borrower made their last payment on their mortgage prior to the bankruptcy discharge, over six years ago. This matter is currently pending before the Washington Supreme Court.