As a founding member of the firm Mark was responsible for the firm’s litigation matters. Since the firm’s inception in 1971, Mark has represented a broad spectrum of clients including lawyers, law firms, corporations, and individuals both as plaintiffs and defendants. Mark, as the lead trial attorney, has tried over 70 cases to verdict or judgment in state and federal courts including condemnations (direct and inverse), real property claims, employment discrimination cases, securities claims, tort claims, product liability claims and contract claims. Mark also acts as a mediator and arbitrator for complex commercial and tort matters.
Trials of Significance
Lead trial counsel for defendant in a four month jury trial brought by 250 residents alleging personal injuries including cancer, by reason of exposure to emissions from wastewater treatment ponds. Cutshaw v. Weyerhaeuser was a toxic tort action brought by 250 residents of a small town in southwest Washington alleging various personal injuries, including cancer and the fear of cancer, by reason of exposure to emissions from the wastewater treatment ponds of a pulp mill. In the summer of 1991 the ponds experienced an upset which led to unusual and particularly obnoxious odors being emitted that summer and fall. Public hearings were held by legislative bodies as a result of the odors. Residents experienced various symptoms as a result of exposure to hydrogen sulfide. Plaintiffs contended they had a fear of cancer by reason of exposure to dioxins and three of the 22 trial plaintiffs contended they had contracted cancer by reason of their exposure to the emissions from the ponds. The court ordered the parties to trial with 22 representative plaintiffs. Trial lasted for 3 months in Grays Harbor County. In closing plaintiffs sought damages of $8,000,000 for the 22 representative plaintiffs. The jury returned a verdict amount of $681,000. The jury rejected the cancer and fear of cancer claims but did award nuisance damages. The case was settled after the jury verdict.
Lead trial counsel for plaintiff alleging an inverse condemnation claim. The jury awarded plaintiff what was believed to be the first seven-figure damage award in Washington for a regulatory taking. Orion v. State of Washington was an action brought to recover monetary damages for the alleged regulatory taking of second class tidelands commonly known as Padilla Bay. State and Federal regulations severely limited the use of the tidelands. Complicating the litigation was the fact that the landowner had not applied for permits under the Shoreline Management Act. The Skagit County Superior Court determined that it would have been futile for the owner to have exhausted administrative remedies and allowed the action to proceed. The lower court’s determination was affirmed by the Washington Supreme Court in Orion v. State of Washington, 103 Wn.2d 441, 693 P.2d 1369 (1985). The Superior court subsequently granted summary judgment to the landowner which was reversed by the Washington Supreme Court and remanded for trial. Orion v. State of Washington, 109 Wn.2d 621, 747 P.2d 1062 (1987). A jury determined that a regulatory taking had occurred and returned a verdict of $1 Million dollars. The case was settled after the jury verdict.
Lead trial counsel for defendant in a four-month federal jury trial claiming breach of contract, fraud, and misrepresentation causing the destruction of plaintiff’s business in Alaska. Chilkoot v. Weyerhaeuser was a federal court action filed in Alaska and tried to a jury in Juneau, Alaska. Plaintiff, based on allegations of fraud, misrepresentation, and breach of contract asserted damages for the alleged destruction of its business. Plaintiff asserted that it was entitled to recover punitive damages by reason of the alleged fraud. After three months of trial the court allowed plaintiff to argue damages in the amount of $50,000,000 million dollars to the jury for destruction of the business and breach of contract but disallowed punitive damages. The jury returned a verdict for plaintiff in the amount of $1,000,000 million dollars. The case was settled after the jury verdict.
Lead trial counsel for defendant in a two-month jury trial consolidating 19 wrongful death claims arising out of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Karr v. State of Washington was an action brought in King County, Washington Superior Court seeking damages for personal injuries and the wrongful deaths of 19 persons injured or killed in the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Plaintiffs alleged that Weyerhaeuser, as the owner of the lands where plaintiffs injured or killed when the mountain erupted, knew or should have known of the hazards associated with the “bulging” of the north side of the mountain. The north side of the mountain subsequently failed and a lateral eruption killed 59 people. After the claims of 10 plaintiffs were dismissed on summary judgment motions the case was tried to a jury for 8 weeks. The jury returned defense verdicts against 6 of the plaintiffs and was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining three plaintiffs. The claims of all plaintiffs were settled after the jury verdict.
Lead trial counsel for defendant in product liability claims asserting damages from exposure to toxic products tried in state and federal courts. Bartley v. Celotex was one of a number of product liability cases tried asserting personal injuries and wrongful death by reason of exposure to asbestos containing products. Various injuries are allegedly caused by exposure to asbestos containing products including several types of cancer the most aggressive of which is mesotheleoma. In Bartley, a mesotheleoma case, a King County jury, after 8 weeks of trial, returned a defense verdict in favor of Celotex. In Syverson v. Celotex, a mesotheleoma case, a federal court jury returned a verdict for $112,000 in favor of plaintiff. In Crittenshaw v. Celotex, an asbestosis claim, a King County jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Celotex.
Settlements of Significance
One hundred million dollar CERCLA claim for cleanup costs. Settled prior to trial. (Boeing v. Western Processing)
Eighty million dollar claim for breach of contract brought by the State of Washington against timber companies. Settled prior to trial. (State v. Weyerhaeuser)
Forty million dollar claim for the acquisition of property under the threat of condemnation. Settled prior to trial. (Pierce County v. Lone Star Northwest)
Thirty million dollar claim alleging misrepresentation in connection with a foreign patent. Settled prior to trial. (Infinitree v. Weyerhaeuser)
Fifteen million dollar RICO claim in Alaska. Settled prior to trial. (North Slope Borough v. Culpepper)
Ten million dollar claim for fraud and misrepresentation in the purchase of a business. Settled prior to trial. (Zenith v. Purolator)
Six million dollar claim for the breach of an exclusive distributorship agreement for Turkey. Claim rejected in ICC arbitration. (U.S. Trade Inc. v. Weyerhaeuser)
Professional and Civic Involvement
American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
King County Bar Association
Washington State Bar Association, Litigation Section
American Bar Association, Litigation Section
Continuing Legal Education
Mark has been a lecturer for many legal education programs including the ethics of litigation, condemnation, complex commercial litigation, legal malpractice and regulatory takings.
Repeatedly recognized as a "Super Lawyer" by Washington Law & Politics and Thomson Reuters' Washington Super Lawyers, most recently in 2011.
LL.B., University of Virginia School of Law, 1968
B.B.A., George Washington University, 1965
Washington State Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Ninth Circuits
U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska
U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
U.S. District Court for the Western and Eastern Districts of Washington
Growing up in the Midwest I believed the secret to success was hard work and preparation. Great concepts except they don’t work in the game of golf. I should adopt Mark Twain’s comment “A good walk spoiled” and move on to other endeavors.
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