Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wilcox v. Bastiste

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

January 18, 2018

JADE WILCOX, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN BATISTE and JOHN DOES 1-300, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO CERTIFY TWO QUESTIONS OF STATE LAW TO THE WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT

          ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         BEFORE THE COURT is Defendant's Motion to Certify Two Questions of State Law to the Washington Supreme Court, ECF No. 22. After reviewing the pleadings and the record, the Court concludes that certification is not appropriate.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Jade Wilcox brought this putative class action lawsuit against John Batiste, Chief of the Washington State Patrol and his agents (“WSP”), alleging that the WSP violated the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), 18 U.S.C. §§ 2721-2725, by disclosing personal information in vehicle collision reports to third parties who used the information in the reports to solicit legal business. ECF No. 1 at 1-2.

         Defendant has moved the Court to certify two questions to the Washington State Supreme Court:

(1) Whether the Washington State Patrol's duty under RCW 46.52.060 includes disclosure of police traffic collision reports to the public; and
(2) If so, whether the disclosure of a police traffic collision report under RCW 46.52.060 is related to the operation of a motor vehicle or public safety.

         DISCUSSION

         Legal Standard for Certification of Questions

         Washington law provides that

“[w]hen in the opinion of any federal court before whom a proceeding is pending, it is necessary to ascertain the local law of this state in order to dispose of such proceeding and the local law has not been clearly determined, such federal court may certify to the supreme court for answer the question of local law involved . . . .”

RCW 2.60.020. “Certification provides a means to obtain authoritative answers to unclear questions of state law.” Toner for Toner v. Lederle Labs., Div. of Am. Cyanamid Co., 779 F.2d 1429, 1432 (9th Cir. 1986). The Court has discretion to decide whether to certify questions to a state supreme court. Centurion Prop. III, LLC v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., 793 F.3d 1087, 1089 (9th Cir. 2015). The Court first considers whether it is necessary to ascertain Washington State law in order to dispose of the proceeding, and second whether the applicable Washington State law has been clearly determined. See RCW 2.60.020.

         A “certifying court should also consider the possible delays involved and whether the legal issue can be framed to produce a helpful response by the state.” Complaint of McLinn, 744 F.2d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 1984). In doing so, the court should be mindful that “[c]ertification of open questions of state law to the state supreme court can in the long run save time, energy, and resources and help[] build a cooperative judicial federalism.” Thompson v. Paul, 547 F.3d 1055, 1065 (9th Cir. 2008). However, certification is unnecessary where Washington law “provide[s] sufficient guidance” for the Court to make a determination. Todd v. United States, 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 30899, at *5-6 (9th Cir. Nov. 18, 1993).

         DPPA ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.