Hale v. Wellpinit School District No. 49, Supreme Court No.?80771-0 (view WELA’s brief)

This case?was the final chapter in the saga of McClarty v. Totem Electric, 157 Wn.2d 214, 137 P.3d 844 (2006).?In that case, although no party?had suggested it, the Washington State Supreme Court chose to?import into Washington law the definition of?”disability” used under the Americans with Disability Act, rejecting prior case law.

In the next legislative session, the Washington State Legislature passed remedial legislation.?The new legislation restored the broad definition of “disability” that had previously applied under the Washington Law Against Discrimination.??The new legislation provides that it?would apply to all causes of action?that arose?before the Supreme Court’s McClarty?decision, July 6, 2006, and to all causes of action occurring on or after the effective date?of the act, July 22, 2007.

In Hale v. Wellpinit, the Court accepted review to determine whether the retroactive provision of the remedial statute violates the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers.?WELA argued that a clear expression of legislative intent that a statute applies retroactively is constitutional so long as it does not operate to set a side a final judicial judgment.?Therefore, the retroactive provision of the remedial legislation does not violate separation of powers.??On January 15, 2009, the Court agreed and upheld the retroactivity provision in the statute.? Accordingly, the Court’s decision in McClarty applies only to cases that arose between July 6, 2006, and July 21, 2007.

View Court’s Opinion: Hale v. Wellpinit School District