Legal Services for Businesses » Litigation

Legal disputes don't come neatly packaged. Fortunately, many can be settled before a lawsuit or other formal proceeding begins; others however, may require a trial for resolution.

When a client comes to us with a dispute, we listen carefully to all the details. We then evaluate our client's position and make recommendations for a resolution consistent with the goals. We take a practical, common sense approach to such matters, and explore all avenues possible to assist and better protect our clients.

Experience Counts

Our Litigation attorneys form one of the firm's largest and oldest practice groups. We are skilled in all areas of dispute resolution, including jury and non-jury trials in state and federal courts, regulatory proceedings, arbitration, mediation and appeals. Although much of our litigation work is in Washington State, we also represent clients in courts and before administrative agencies outside of Washington.

Over the years, our group has worked on disputes in a wide range of legal and business contexts, including:

Specific Experience:

Ryan Swanson’s asbestos litigation attorneys are frequently engaged as counsel in Seattle and throughout the Northwest for asbestos or other toxic exposure or products liability defense. Our team’s 20-plus years of asbestos litigation experience encompass a variety of products and industries, from automotive friction products to electrical products and equipment. We represent a variety of clients, including manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, premises owners and employers of all sizes.

Click here for more information on our Asbetos Litigation practice.

We focus on finding dispute-resolution options that protect rather than interfere with the business activities of our clients. We have represented clients across the full range of business/commercial disputes, including everything from contract and lease disputes to lawsuits involving product liability, anti-trust, non-compete arrangements, unfair business practices and intellectual property.

Click here for more information on our Business Practice.

Ryan Swanson’s experience handling construction defect claims on behalf of community associations, property owners, declarants and contractors is substantial. The depth of our experience and success spans many forms of associations, project types, forms of defects, and the building systems and products involved. In addition, we are generally successful in negotiating a resolution to our cases without the need for full and formal litigation. However, we also have considerable success in all forums including arbitration, motion practice, trial, and taking matter through appeal, where necessary.

Click here for more information on our Construction Defect Litigation experience.

Most construction projects involve a complex web of rights and responsibilities among owners, architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and sureties. We represent these clients in residential and commercial projects at every phase of the construction process, including design and construction documents, bid protests, change orders, claim reviews, liens and bond claims. We also help clients with legal problems under federal and state environmental laws, including state and federal contribution lawsuits against responsible parties and disputes about insurance coverage.

Real estate transactions, particularly large, complex ones, often breed disputes. We help developers, owners, landlords, lenders, buyers, sellers and condominium homeowners resolve disputes. We also represent clients in permitting and other land use disputes.

Click here for more information on our Real Estate Practice.

Our lawyers have served as lead and local counsel on many significant and complex disputes involving federal and state securities laws and other statutes. These disputes include state and federal securities civil lawsuits and FINRA mediations and arbitrations.

Click here for more information on our Securities Litigation experience.

We have significant product liability experience and success working on a variety of cases involving contract, tort and statutorily-based claims. We routinely represent clients in both defense and prosecution of claims across dozens of industries and product lines. Our extensive product liability experience has included individual and class action product liability lawsuits.

Recognizing that the healthcare industry faces unique legal requirements and challenges, the Healthcare Group at Ryan Swanson offers concentrated proficiency in this area, staying up-to-date on all the industry regulations.

Our services include representing facilities in the following areas:

  • Appeals of Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement
  • Facility and professional staff licensure actions
  • Medicare/Medicaid certification, including representing facilities in de-certification actions and other types of sanctions such as civil fines
  • Certificate of Need applications and related issues
  • Drafting and negotiating contracts with managed care organizations
  • Reimbursement
  • Business formations
  • Transfers
  • Financing and refinancing, including HUD and convention loans
  • Healthcare facility-specific employment
  • Union-related issues

Click here for more information on our Healthcare Practice.

We represent title companies, insurance companies, self-insured employers and policyholders in everything from coverage disputes to regulatory proceedings before the Washington State Insurance Commissioner. For self-insured clients, we defend personal injury, property and employment-related claims. We also represent these clients in workers' compensation matters before the Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.

We represent clients in proceedings, both in court and administratively such as before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, to protect, defend and enforce their rights in intellectual property such as trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. We have litigated significant cases in state courts and in Federal Courts including ones in Utah, Washington, and Alaska.

Since the late 1960s, our Employment Rights and Labor Team has actively provided counseling and litigation services covering all aspects of the employer-employee relationship. Areas of focus include:

  • Discrimination
  • Wrongful Discharge/Public Policy
  • ADA/Disability Accommodation
  • Harassment
  • Non-Competition/Trade Secrets
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Safety and Health
  • WISHA/OSHA Violation Challenges
  • Wage and Hour
  • Retaliation
  • National Labor Relations Matters

Our Team has represented clients in a countless number of lawsuits over employment issues. We are skillful, creative and efficient in our work, and always keep our eye on the ultimate goal to minimize exposure at the lowest cost.

We also draft policies, procedures and handbooks, provide ongoing advice as particular employment situations arise and assist our clients in creating win-win situations with their employees. In addition, we conduct an annual employment law update seminar for clients, furnish them with bulletins and update them as employment laws change.

We also counsel our clients in labor disputes (such as organizing campaigns and picketing) and represent them in labor arbitrations and matters before the National Labor Relations Board.

Because we work as a team, we are able to provide quick responses to questions or concerns, even if the primary contact lawyer is not available. Additionally, we pride ourselves on responding to phone calls and emails promptly, often within the same day. Also, should a particular question require extensive legal research, we have the ability and technology necessary to research the statutes and laws of all states, which can be especially helpful for clients with multi-state facilities.

Overall, our goal is to provide prompt, cost-efficient service, and focus not only on what the law requires, but on identifying and implementing the most practical and realistic solutions to problems at hand.

Ryan Swanson lawyers provide counsel to community associations in many areas, emphasizing complex litigation (including construction defect and covenant governed disputes) and general association representation. Our lawyers provide problem-solving, planning, litigation and dispute resolution advice to community associations on a variety of areas, including:

  • Construction defects
  • Contractor and developer disputes
  • Insurance issues
  • CC&R and Rule enforcement issues
  • Governance issues
  • General counsel
  • Mediation and arbitration

Click here for more information on our Community Associations Group.

Fiduciaries owe the highest standard of duty to the beneficiaries of an estate or trust. Consistent with this high duty, the role of a fiduciary is fraught with potential liability. We have years of experience counseling fiduciaries regarding their various duties, including the proper investment and management of assets under Washington's Prudent Investor Act and the interpretation of trust instruments. If a question of trust interpretation arises that cannot be resolved by reference to the trust instrument or established fiduciary law, we represent our clients before the court to receive court approval or instruction as may be necessary to protect the fiduciary from liability.

Registered Investment Advisors ("RIAs") are often presented with many challenges when dealing with complex legal, regulatory and compliance issues. Ryan Swanson’s services for RIAs are focused on guiding you through these obstacles to solve problems that can impede your ability to service your clients effectively. The following list is a sampling of the dispute related services Ryan Swanson’s attorneys regularly provide for a wide variety of RIAs and their clients throughout the Pacific Northwest.

    Securities Enforcement Defense
  • Defend RIAs in securities enforcement investigations and actions brought by the SEC and State of Washington DFI Securities Division
  • Counsel clients on regulatory/reporting issues
  • Work with compliance consultants on legal aspects of compliance issues
  • Defend RIAs in customer claims asserted privately or brought in court or arbitration
  • Negotiate/mediate resolutions of customer claims
  • Investigate and prosecute claims by RIAs against investment sponsors
  • Click here for more information on our Registered Investment Advisor practice.


    Related Practice Areas:


    our Team
    John A. Bender, Member
    John A. Bender
    For more than 20 years, John has focused his practice on resolving challenging securities, franchise, banking and other complex civil cases on behalf of businesses and individuals.
    Robert J. Curran
    Bob's litigation practice focuses on commercial disputes that involve business torts, real estate, construction and personal injury. He's tried numerous cases in state and federal court and has successfully handled appeals before state appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Recently, in a series of fraud and securities cases, he obtained several multi-million dollar judgments and settlements for clients.
    Jo M. Flannery, Of Counsel
    Jo M. Flannery
    Of Counsel
    Jo Flannery is a member of the Litigation and Real Estate departments at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC. Raised by a real estate agent, and a former Realtor herself, Jo has a particular interest in real property law. With over a decade of broad litigation experience behind her, Jo's practice has focused, over the last seven years, primarily on representing condominium and homeowner associations in the pursuit and resolution of construction defect claims, risk management, and covenant governed disputes.
    Mick Fleming, Member
    Mick Fleming Mick Fleming
    Mick focuses his practice on complex dispute resolution and also handles a number of business mergers and acquisitions and securities matters. Mick has also worked on a number of complex real estate finance transactions.
    Susan Rae Fox
    Susan has a busy and varied litigation practice. About half of her practice involves employment law. This work includes reviewing employment policies and manuals, as well as defending employers against charges of discrimination, wrongful termination, failure to pay for overtime and other employment-related wrongdoing.
    Bryan C. Graff
    Bryan is a litigator with strong advocacy, analytical and legal writing skills. His ability to analyze and apply applicable law to the facts of any case derives from his attention to detail and ability to understand client needs. Bryan consistently offers informed, practical advice to his clients and acts as the advocate that they deserve. Bryan has diverse litigation experience, which has included insurance coverage and regulatory matters, class action and intellectual property cases, as well as construction defect, landlord/tenant, and various other business disputes.
    Thomas H. Grimm, Of Counsel
    Thomas H. Grimm
    Of Counsel
    Tom specializes in commercial and complex business transactions and litigation, with an emphasis in the health care and software industries. He also assists with formation of business entities and assists them with business joint ventures, acquisitions and sales, and licensing agreements.
    Hana A. Kern, Of Counsel
    Hana A. Kern
    Of Counsel
    Hana is a member of the firm's litigation group, with experience in contract and construction law, complex litigation and employment disputes. She is fluent in Czech.
    Jerry Kindinger
    Jerry is a member of Ryan Swanson's Litigation and Insurance practice groups. He represents local, national and international clients in litigation, dispute resolution and regulatory matters.
    Robert R. King
    Robert is a member of Ryan Swanson’s Litigation Group. His practice focuses on the areas of healthcare, real estate, construction, trademarks and general commercial matters. He has tried jury and non-jury trials in state and federal courts in Washington.
    Roger J. Kindley, Chair and Member
    Roger J. Kindley
    Roger serves as Chair of the Litigation Group. He is a trial lawyer whose experience covers a broad range of matters involving intellectual property, contract claims, real estate disputes, product liability issues, employment cases and others. He has won both jury and non-jury cases and favorably used mediations to save clients money and achieve settlement. He has handled international law arbitrations and arbitrations throughout the United States.
    Shannon J. Lawless
    Shannon recently joined the firm as an associate in the litigation practice group. She worked at Ryan Swanson as a summer associate in 2009, and returned to the firm following a clerkship with Justice Mary Fairhurst of the Washington State Supreme Court.
    David J. Lenci
    Senior Counsel
    David Lenci is an experienced trial attorney and dispute counselor. He has represented clients from both the public sector and the private sector in complex civil litigation for over 30 years.
    Richard P. Lentini
    Rick chairs Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland's Employment Rights, Benefits and Labor practice group. Rick is a trial lawyer and approximately 70 percent of his litigation practice is employment-law related, often centered on discrimination or harassment. The remainder is commercial litigation, both trial and appellate.
    Kristin Nealey Meier
    Kristin is a member of the firm's Litigation, Employment and Healthcare groups and has provided consultation and litigation services for her healthcare and employment clients. Kristin's practice also includes commercial disputes, securities litigation and trust and estate litigation.
    Roger D. Mellem
    Mr. Mellem successfully prosecutes, defends and resolves tough securities, real estate and other commercial cases on behalf of businesses and individuals, and serves as an arbitrator and mediator as well.
    Roger A. Myklebust
    Although Roger does commercial litigation, much of his practice focuses on construction law. He represents property owners, contractors, architects, engineers, municipalities and others in the construction industry. Among other things, Roger prepares owner-architect and owner-contractor agreements and bid documents for clients. He also helps clients anticipate and avoid problems during the construction process and resolve disputes. When it becomes necessary to use a dispute-resolution device, Roger prefers mediation and neutral evaluation, although he has the experience to arbitrate a dispute or take it to court.
    Teruyuki S. Olsen
    Teru is an Associate at Ryan Swanson, where he drafts pleadings for federal and superior court, researches and prepares memorandums on commercial litigation and business issues, and writes opinion letters to clients regarding litigation matters. Prior to joining Ryan Swanson, Teru was a Research Assistant at the Seattle University School of Law and a Civil Litigation Extern at the King County Prosecutor's Office.
    John T. Petrie
    John joined Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland in 1993 after 20 years of practice with his own firm in Seattle. He represents developers, contractors, title insurance companies and lenders in a broad range of real estate matters, as well as representing policyholders in insurance coverage litigation. His experience includes land use, sales, purchases and financing of real estate, as well as civil litigation and insurance coverage work. Recently John's practice has emphasized insurance coverage for policyholders with landslide, hazardous waste and construction issues.
    Britenae Pierce, Member
    Britenae Pierce
    Britenae is a full-time litigator in the firm's Litigation, Employment, and Banking groups. She handles a wide range of general litigation matters from inception through arbitration, trial, and any state or federal appeal process.
    James M. Shaker
    Jim counsels employers (regionally and internationally) and individuals on a wide variety of employment-related issues, including employment agreements and severance packages.
    Gulliver A. Swenson
    Gulliver focuses the majority of his practice in litigation. The remainder of Gulliver's work involves providing advice as general counsel for mid-sized businesses. His experience includes advising clients in sports and entertainment, insurance, healthcare, real estate and employment matters.
    Thao Tiedt, Special Counsel
    Thao Tiedt
    Special Counsel
    Thao has 28 years of experience defending employers in legal actions and advising them on issues including sexual harassment, discrimination, accommodation of those with disabilities, wage-and-hour issues, drug testing and employee handbooks.
    David L. Tift
    Dave's practice involves both commercial and healthcare litigation. He has defended numerous long-term care facilities involved in lawsuits claiming professional negligence. His practice also involves commercial litigation, including anti-trust, non-competition and unfair competition disputes in state and federal courts. Dave also has a growing aviation practice. His aviation work has included serving as local counsel for several national and international airlines, prosecuting and defending crash litigation and representing individuals and companies in disputes with the FAA, DOT and NTSB.
    Faith Garrick, Paralegal
    Faith Garrick
    After working for a few years as a crime analyst, Faith obtained a Litigation certificate in the 1980's from one of the first paralegal programs approved by the American Bar Association. Faith has an extensive work history in all areas of litigation, including employment, securities broker regulation, environmental, construction and land use. Faith has considerable arbitration, FINRA, mediation and trial experience. Faith's forte is locating witnesses, assets and performing on-line research.
    Anne M. Kundert, Paralegal
    Anne M. Kundert
    Since joining Ryan, Swanson and Cleveland in 1990 as a litigation paralegal, Anne has continued to use her extensive trial experience in helping to efficiently retrieve and organize case documents, coordinate the design of document databases, perform medical and technical research, review and analyze medical records, identify expert witnesses and attend trial. She is proficient in researching multiple public document databases for asset searches, corporate and business information, and locator services.
    Alaina Davio, Paralegal
    Brenton Twitchell
    A native of Washington, Brenton grew up camping and backpacking in the mountains. Brenton enjoys playing and watching soccer, following college football, snowboarding, and kayaking.
    Kathy Hicks, Litigation Support Assistant