Timothy G. Leyh

Timothy G. Leyh

Partner

Phone: (206) 623-1700
Fax: (206) 623-8717
Email: timl@harriganleyh.com
Assistant: Lynn Van Eyck

Tim Leyh is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 30 years’ experience representing individuals, businesses, and state and local governments in complex and high stakes matters. His clients and colleagues know him not only as a litigator and trial lawyer, but also as a superb problem solver.


Tim has successfully represented King County, Snohomish County, the Port of Seattle, the State of Washington, various cities, businesses and individuals in mass tort claims; class actions; claims involving the funding and operation of public utilities; claims involving the authority of public agencies; inverse condemnation and public nuisance claims; trademark and copyright matters; business torts; breach of contract; environmental claims and white collar defense. He has recovered more than $200 million in defense and indemnity payments from corporations and insurance companies on behalf of corporate officers and directors and policy holders. He has handled cases involving construction litigation, engineer and architect malpractice, securities fraud claims (civil and criminal), breach of duty by corporate officers, alleged misuse of public funds (civil and criminal), antitrust claims (civil and criminal), accountant and lawyer malpractice, and insurance coverage disputes. In addition to his trial work, Tim has argued numerous times before the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as state and federal appellate courts throughout the U.S.

Tim is consistently recognized as both a ‘Super Lawyer’ and a ‘Top 100’ lawyer by Washington Law and Politics magazine. He has been described by Chambers and Partners as "excellent," and a "very highly thought of trial lawyer." Benchmark Litigation calls Tim a “Local Litigation Star” and a “very classy litigator.” Tim is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and in the Litigation Counsel of America.

 

Tim joined the firm from Perkins Coie in 1987. Tim has been the Managing Partner of the firm and its predecessor since 1996. He took a sabbatical year to sail with his family to the Society Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii and home. Tim is an avid skier, cyclist and horseman. He lives on Bainbridge Island.


The following is a small but representative list of Tim's significant engagements. He would be happy to provide a complete list of major cases.
 

Tim led a team of the firm’s lawyers representing the City of Mercer Island in its widely publicized fight to mitigate the impacts of the closure of the center express lanes of I-90, as part of Sound Transit and the State of Washington’s expansion of light rail to Seattle’s east side. The case involved intense litigation in multiple forums, including the state trial court, the Growth Management Hearings Board, the Shorelines Hearings Board and the State Supreme Court. After hearings on a diverse range of issues, the matter was resolved by a favorable settlement.

Tim currently is leading a team of the firm’s lawyers defending Snohomish County from wrongful death, personal injury and property damage claims arising from the March 2014 Oso Landslide in which 43 people were killed. In the trial court, all claims by all plaintiffs against the County were dismissed. Plaintiffs have appealed the dismissals and the case currently is pending in the Washington Supreme Court.

 

Tim represented the State of Washington defending claims by a class of approximately 100,000 part-time and seasonal employees for wrongful denial of health insurance benefits. Plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $500 million. The case was settled in mediation following a series of favorable trial court rulings for a fraction of the amount claimed.

 

Tim successfully represented the State of Washington defending claims by a class of current and former state employees who challenged legislative changes to retirement benefits. The amount at issue exceeded $7 billion. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiff class and held the legislation was unconstitutional. The Washington Court reversed and ruled in favor of the State in a unanimous opinion that the legislation was valid.
 

Tim was lead trial counsel defending Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson, of "Whale Wars" fame, in a contempt proceeding before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Commissioner concerning Mr. Watson's activities opposing Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. After an eight-day trial, the Commissioner issued detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law exonerating Mr. Watson from any contempt charges. The matter was later settled following an appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

Tim was lead trial counsel successfully defending King County against $250 million in claims by regional water and sewer districts relating to the operation and funding of the County's Wastewater Treatment Division. After a six-week trial in Pierce County Superior Court, the Court ruled in favor of King County. On appeal, the State Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the trial court's rulings in favor of King County.

Tim was lead counsel representing the Port of Seattle opposing the enforcement of the City of SeaTac's $15 minimum wage ordinance at Sea-Tac Airport, where the Port has exclusive jurisdiction under State law. The trial court ruled in favor of the Port. The Washington Supreme Court reversed.

Tim was lead counsel defending the Port of Seattle against claims by taxpayers seeking to invalidate the Port's $81 million purchase of the Eastside Rail Corridor in 2009. Plaintiffs alleged the purchase was outside the Port's authority and a misuse of public funds. After extensive discovery, the trial court denied class certification. The trial court then dismissed all of the plaintiffs' substantive claims on summary judgment. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The State Supreme Court denied further review.

Together with Art Harrigan, Tim represented the Port of Seattle in connection with a highly publicized federal criminal investigation of the Port's contracting practices in the construction of the Sea-Tac Airport Third Runway. Tim later represented the Port in subsequent criminal investigations relating to the severance benefits awarded by the Port to its former Executive Director, and to operations of the Port's Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant. No charges were brought against the Port or any current or former Port employee as a result of any of these investigations.

Tim was lead counsel representing a telecom company prosecuting claims against former officers and directors for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Following a two-week arbitration hearing, the arbitrator found in favor of the Company and awarded joint and several damages against the former officers and directors.

Tim represented a developer of multi-family apartment buildings in a claim against the Boeing Company for environmental clean-up costs. Following extensive discovery and motions practice, the case was favorably settled at a mediation for a multi-million dollar amount.

Tim represented a manufacturer of aircraft parts in a breach of contract claim against the Boeing Company. After informal discovery and meetings between the parties, the case was favorably settled in a mediation for a multi-million dollar amount.

Together with Art Harrigan, Tim represented the Port of Seattle in airport noise litigation. A class of residents around Sea-Tac Airport sued the Port in federal court alleging that their neighborhoods were blighted by noise and pollution from airport operations. After the court denied class action status, the case was refiled in behalf of 144 individuals. After a two-week trial of a "test" case involving the claims of twelve plaintiffs, the jury rendered a defense verdict in favor of the Port on all claims. The claims of the remaining individuals were settled for nominal amounts.

Tim represented King County in connection with substantial losses during the financial crises to its Investment Pool, which holds funds for various local governments and agencies. Tim advised the County's Investment Advisory Board and the County Council on a series of code and policy changes to respond to the crisis. Only one lawsuit ultimately was brought against the County by a Pool member, which claim was successfully resolved for a nominal amount.

Tim represented Green River Community College in a class-action case alleging fraud and misrepresentation. After Tim succeeded in reducing the class members to fewer than 25, the case settled before trial.

Tim was retained by the Tacoma City Council for advice on legal issues arising from the Chief of Police's murder of his wife.

Tim defended an internet entrepreneur against a $460 million business fraud claim. The case was resolved by a nominal settlement during trial, following successful evidentiary challenges and other rulings that virtually eliminated the plaintiff's claims.

Tim has developed a particular reputation for his creativity in crafting litigation and settlement strategies. For example, he represented the founder of InfoSpace in a complex group of securities cases involving claims of insider trading and violations of Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Tim was able to craft a settlement of all the cases for a small fraction of the damages claimed, with a multi- million dollar contribution from insurers, all of whom had steadfastly denied that there was coverage for the claims.

Education

University of Michigan
J.D. cum laude 1984
Also taught legal writing and oral advocacy

University of Michigan
B.A. (honors) Business 1980



Experience

Perkins Coie
1984 - 1987

Harrigan Leyh Farmer & Thomsen LLP
1987 - Present

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Harrigan Leyh Farmer & Thomsen LLP

Since 1986 our firm has provided trusted counsel to a wide range of businesses, public entities, and individuals.