Washburn v. City of Federal Way

This court case is completed

Update October 17, 2013:  The Washington Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the City had a duty to protect the woman who had sought the protection order. 

Baerbel Roznowski was murdered by her partner Paul Kim mere hours after a City of Federal Way police officer served Kim with a temporary anti-harassment protection order.  The police knew Kim was present at Roznowski’s home when the order requiring no contact was served, but left the home without attempting any steps to separate the two.  After her death, Rosnowski’s daughters filed an action for negligence against the City, asserting the officer and the City breached their duty to protect Rosnowski.  A jury ultimately awarded damages to the daughters and the City appealed.  The Court of Appeals held that the City had waived its public duty doctrine arguments by failing to adequately object to the jury instructions, and upheld the verdict without reaching the merits of the duty issue.  The Supreme Court has granted unrestricted review of that decision.  Consistent with its commitment to advocacy for women’s rights, the ACLU filed an amicus brief explaining that an international human rights analysis and Washington’s strong policies on protecting victims of domestic violence are consistent with the City having a duty to protect in this case.

Explore More: