Laura E. Kruse
Laura practices civil litigation defense, with an emphasis on defending trucking companies, commercial carriers, and common carriers against allegations of negligence and catastrophic losses. Laura also defends employers against allegations of discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and wage and hour violations. She is a member of the firm’s 24- hour response team, and will provide an immediate response in case of an accident or emergency.
Laura’s practice also includes advising corporate clients on the application of Washington State specific employment laws and on handing complex employee issues to avoid liability exposure, including responding on scene to manage a potential crisis event. She has experience in handling product liability claims filed against leading medical, pharmaceutical and chemical companies. As part of her transportation practice, she is also experienced in drafting transportation agreements and in advising transportation and logistics companies through a DOT audit.
Practice Emphasis & Experience
- Recognized as a “Top 50 Women Lawyers,” Washington in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018 by Super Lawyers magazine
- Recognized as a “Super Lawyer” in 2013 – 2019 by Super Lawyers magazine
- Recognized as a “Rising Star” in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012 by Super Lawyers magazine
- Successfully defended a trucking company at trial in an admitted liability case by limiting the verdict to less than 6% of the overall damages claimed.
- Successfully defended a major retailer at trial against allegations of failure to accommodate and employment discrimination by obtaining a verdict for less than one-half of the plaintiff’s last settlement demand; the jury also rejected plaintiff’s demand for punitive damages.
- Successfully obtained a full dismissal on behalf of a prominent logistics broker against allegations that plaintiff was wrongfully terminated in violation of an OSHA whistle-blower statute.
- Successfully obtained summary judgment dismissal of allegations of employment discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract, and wrongful termination against a major retailer.
- Successfully obtained summary judgment dismissal of allegations of employment discrimination, violations of the FMLA and Washington’s Family Leave Act, retaliation, and wrongful termination against an insurance broker.
- Successfully dismissed on summary judgment a significant portion of the plaintiff’s overtime wage claim, which resulted in limiting the plaintiff’s claim for overtime wages to only two years.
- Successfully defended a trucking company in a wrongful death action by obtaining a settlement for less than 1/3 of our client’s insurance policy limit.
- Successfully defended a large trucking company in an admitted liability case by obtaining a settlement for less than 5% of the amount demanded.
- Successfully defended a commercial passenger carrier, where liability would have been admitted, by settling the matter for less than one-half of the policy limit demand.
- Successfully obtained summary judgment dismissal of allegations of alleged benzene exposure against a prominent product manufacturer.
- Successfully defended a product manufacturer against allegations of a product defect, which resulted in a full dismissal of the over $1 million dollar damage claim and a settlement agreement whereby plaintiff had to pay our client for the amount due and owing.
- Successfully obtained a full dismissal of all claims against a bus company for property and emotional distress damages after investigation revealed that plaintiff had lied about how the damages were incurred.
- Successfully defended a manufacturer of logging equipment against allegations of product liability, which resulted in settlement for less than 5% of plaintiff’s settlement demand.
- Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of a bus company after plaintiff continually failed to comply with the civil rules.
- Successfully defended a bus company in a wrongful death matter by obtaining a settlement whereby the decedent’s spouse was limited to less than 7% of the overall settlement demand through the application of the defunct marriage doctrine.
- Successfully obtained summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff’s allegations that our client violated the Real Estate Brokerage Relationship Act, RCW 18.86, and the Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86.
Professional & Civic Involvement
- Vice-Chair of the ABA TIPS Commercial Transportation Litigation Committee
- Washington State Bar Association
- King County Bar Association
- Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- Washington Defense Trial Lawyers (WDTL)
- American Trucking Association (ATA)
- Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA)
- Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle
- Claims & Litigation Management Alliance
Articles & Presentations
- Presenter, Winning Litigation Strategies for Litigation and Trial, ABA Transportation Megaconference XIV, Trucking and Motor Carrier Litigation, March, 2019.
- Author/Presenter, How to Avoid Being the Big Fish in Upstream Liability Cases, Arkansas Trucking Seminar, September, 2018.
- Author, Preservation of Evidence and State Survey of Spoliation Laws, Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, May, 2018.
- Author/Presenter, Regulatory Updates in Trucking, Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, May, August and November, 2018.
- Author, Work Product Privilege Regarding Early Investigation Materials, Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, May, August and November, 2018.
- Presenter, PTSD – A Bridge Too Far, Arkansas Trucking Seminar, September, 2017.
- Author, Impact of Generational Differences on Jury Dynamics – Understanding How to Communicate to Jurors’ Generational Differences, The Harmonie Conference, January, 2016.
- Author/Presenter, Advanced Employment Law, Compliance with The Fair Labor Standards Act – Latest Developments, National Business Institute, December, 2015.
- Author/Presenter, Family Medical Leave Act – Overview, Pitfalls and Reducing Risk/Abuse, Client Presentation, July, 2015.
- Author, The EEOC’s Recent Treatment of Religious Accommodation Claims in the Workplace and the Impact of Those Claims on the Transportation Industry, Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, May, August and November, 2015.
- Author, Owner-Operator Status Under Attack - What Factors Trigger Employee Status, Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, May, August and November, 2015.
- Author/Presenter, EEOC’s Attack on the Trucking Industry, The Pregnancy Discrimination Act – New EEOC Guidance Post Young v. UPS, Arkansas Trucking Seminar, September 2015.
- Moderator, “Show Me the Money:” Credit and Collection Issues and Strategies in the Transportation Arena, Transportation Lawyers Association, Annual Conference & CTLA Midyear Meeting, May, 2015.
- Author/Presenter, Employment Law Update, Client Specific Presentation, September 2014.
- Author, The Discoverability and Admissibility of Surveillance Evidence, Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, May, August and November, 2014.
- Author, Summary of the New Hours of Service Regulations, Client Presentation, August 2013.
- Author/Presenter, The Duty to Issue and Follow Litigation Holds and the Impact of Failing to Preserve Potentially Relevant Evidence, Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, May and June 2013.
- Presenter, Subrogation: Medicare, ERISA, Auto and Workers’ Compensation Challenges, Medicare Issues in Personal Injury Litigation, National Business Institute, June, 2013
- Author, Peculiar Susceptibilities of Plaintiff – the “Egg-Shell” Plaintiff Rule, Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, November, 2012.
- Author, Defending Against Efforts to Expand the Scope of the Act: Mosquera-Lacy and its Aftermath, A Trial Lawyer's Guide to the Washington Consumer Protection Act: The Act from Every Angle, Washington State Bar Seminar, August, 2010.