Municipal Liability

Forsberg & Umlauf attorneys provide a vigorous, cost-conscious defense for municipalities in a broad range of cases including general liability, civil rights violations, law enforcement wrongful arrest/excessive force, narcotics task force liability, public works, recreational activities, and public officials errors and omissions liability throughout the State of Washington.

We understand the unique issues facing municipalities and public officials, from budgetary concerns to the need to respond to the public for their actions and decisions.  Our attorneys have handled cases for the State, cities and counties ranging from nominal damages to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.  We team up with municipalities on a broad range of unique issues, including:

  • Law enforcement – wrongful arrest, use of force, vehicle pursuit, harassment, probable, civil rights violations.
  • Jail/Corrections – physical abuse, inmate neglect, wrongful incarceration, civil rights violations during incarceration, medical standard of care, contractual arrangements for medical care/inmate services.
  • Narcotics Task Force – confidential informants, probable cause, excessive force, inter-local agreements.
  • Public works – claims arising out of construction projects, landscape/premises maintenance & improvement, snow/ice removal, roadway/walkway/parking area maintenance, signage, service contracts.
  • Recreational use – claims arising out of the use of parks, water parks, playground equipment, trails, pathways, exercise equipment, and other recreational areas available to the public.
  • Employment – workplace harassment, discrimination, whistle blower issues, wage & hour.
  • Errors & Omissions – breach of fiduciary duties, preferential treatment, consumer protection act, failure to fulfill obligations of office, fraud, abuse of power.
  • Construction projects, road or highway design.

Representative Matters

Our attorneys secured summary judgment dismissal of county and sheriff’s department in federal court action where the plaintiffs claimed county officials and sheriff’s deputies prevented them from accessing their property during a large wildfire, resulting in destruction of property and personal belongings. County officials and sheriff’s department had begun evacuation procedures after it was determined property owners were in imminent danger from wildfire but plaintiffs insisted they had constitutional right to property access.

Obtained settlements on behalf of State in roadway construction/design claims under insurance issued by contractor.

We obtained a unanimous defense verdict after a trial in which the plaintiffs claimed county employees pushed snow against their apple packing shed while snowplowing the adjacent county road, causing the packing shed to move off structural supports and collapse.

We prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in federal court, dismissing all claims against county and county prosecutor. Plaintiff alleged violation of civil rights after she was arrested and incarcerated for attempted murder of her 6 year old daughter.

We were successful in obtaining dismissal of all claims against a corrections officer who was sued for wrongful death of inmate, where inmate had a psychotic break and assaulted officer.