Taylor|Anderson attorneys Ravpreet K. Bhangoo and Zachary D. Rutman obtained judgment on the pleadings in a case headed to trial in Washington. The Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ negligence claim against their client, an executive director of a boys’ home, weeks before trial was set to start.

Plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that their client was negligent and grossly negligent working as an executive director. Taylor|Anderson used these allegations to argue that Plaintiffs’ negligence claim should be dismissed because Washington provides that directors and officers of nonprofit corporations cannot be liable for any discretionary decision or failure to make a discretionary decision unless it constitutes gross negligence. See RCW 4.24.264. Plaintiffs opposed the motion arguing that the executive director position was not technically an officer under the corporations code, and that there were hypothetical facts that could be alleged that showed that their client acted outside of his official capacities as executive director.

Relying on RCW 4.24.264 and Plaintiffs’ allegations, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ negligence cause of action. With the Court’s ruling, the jury will only be instructed on gross negligence. This is a significant victory, weeks before trial, for the defense, because gross negligence is much more difficult to prove than simple negligence.