Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Drug Forfeiture; Church Liability for Abuse

This morning's Seattle Times reports two Court of Appeals cases that address, in different ways, the web of responsibility for others' actions.

On page A1, the story is about parents whose cars were seized under the drug forfeiture law (RCW 69.50.505) because their son was using them to deal drugs. They said they didn't know, but Division I upheld the seizure because they should have investigated, given the circumstances. Son is busted for drugs, but it's mom and dad who lose the cars, Seattle Times, Sept. 19, 2007.

The case is In Re The Forfeiture Of One: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle (wln Cv02849), No. 58943-1-I, Wash. Courts website (Wash. App. Div. I Sept. 17, 2007).

On page B1, the story is about the Mormon church being held liable for a man's sexual abuse of his step-daughters. After years of abuse, the older girl talked to the family's bishop, who persuaded her not to report the abuse and instead to pray for her family. The court upheld an award against the church based on the bishop's role, but not the portion of the award attributable to the man.

The case is Doe v. Corporation of President of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, No. 57416-7-I,--- P.3d ----, 2007 WL 2696764 (Wash.App. Div. 1, Sept. 17, 2007). (It wasn't on the Washington Courts website when I checked.) The case attracted amicus participation from the Washington State Trial Lawyers Foundation and the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers.

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