G. Val Tollefson

Of Counsel

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Now of counsel to the firm, Val was one of Seattle’s top trial lawyers, and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. For over 30 years, Val has represented aviation and marine interests in casualty and commercial litigation, and in regulatory and business matters, during which time he has developed a reputation for time and again finding the innovative route to success. In the late 1970s, he pioneered the use of mock juries in complex litigation. His creative use of demonstrative evidence has resulted in favorable verdicts in case after case.

He continues to consult, and to accept selected matters in the areas of complex commercial litigation, aviation, product liability, employment, maritime, and insurance litigation. He continues to serve as a mediator and arbitrator.

During his active career, Val regularly made time for a variety of pro bono matters, including service on the federal Civil Rights Pro Bono Panel. He continues to be active in civic life on Bainbridge Island where he has chaired the Bainbridge Foundation, the Harbor Commission, and Bainbridge Public Library, and served one term on the city council and as mayor. He was co-chair of the private fundraising effort that was instrumental in the creation of Joel Pritchard Park on 50 acres of prime waterfront property. He is the immediate past president of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, and is active on the board of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.

 

Representative Cases

Retained to represent the manufacturer of a product which was implicated in a fire that destroyed a Red Lion hotel. After protracted litigation involving multiple defendants and dozens of experts, he was able to resolve the case against his client on favorable terms. He was then promptly retained by one of the remaining defendants to substitute for its counsel, and shortly resolved those claims as well.

Represented Fluke Corporation, when its liability insurer declined coverage in a California malicious prosecution case. An adverse ruling on summary judgment by the trial court was reversed by the Washington Supreme Court in Fluke v. Hartford, 145 Wn.2d 137, 34 P.3d 809 (2001), which affirmed the insurability of punitive damages in Washington.

Represented Olympic Pipeline Company in a suit arising from an attempt by the City of Seattle to force shut down of a spur line running through the City. He obtained a Preliminary Injunction against the City, and then summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the trial court rulings on the basis of federal preemption of pipeline safety regulation.

Education
  • University of Washington
    • J.D., member, board of editors, Washington Law Review
  • University of Washington
    • B.A.
Experience
  • Co-founded Harrigan Leyh Farmer Thomsen LLP
    • 1986 – Present
  • Lane Powell
    • 1973 – 1985
  • USN Reserve
    • 1969 – 1974
  • US Navy pilot
    • 1964 – 1969
Admitted to Practice
  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Western District of Washington
    • Eastern District of Washington
    • District of Alaska
    • Western District of Wisconsin

Now of counsel to the firm, Val was one of Seattle’s top trial lawyers, and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. For over 30 years, Val has represented aviation and marine interests in casualty and commercial litigation, and in regulatory and business matters, during which time he has developed a reputation for time and again finding the innovative route to success. In the late 1970s, he pioneered the use of mock juries in complex litigation. His creative use of demonstrative evidence has resulted in favorable verdicts in case after case.

He continues to consult, and to accept selected matters in the areas of complex commercial litigation, aviation, product liability, employment, maritime, and insurance litigation. He continues to serve as a mediator and arbitrator.

During his active career, Val regularly made time for a variety of pro bono matters, including service on the federal Civil Rights Pro Bono Panel. He continues to be active in civic life on Bainbridge Island where he has chaired the Bainbridge Foundation, the Harbor Commission, and Bainbridge Public Library, and served one term on the city council and as mayor. He was co-chair of the private fundraising effort that was instrumental in the creation of Joel Pritchard Park on 50 acres of prime waterfront property. He is the immediate past president of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, and is active on the board of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.

 

Representative Cases

Retained to represent the manufacturer of a product which was implicated in a fire that destroyed a Red Lion hotel. After protracted litigation involving multiple defendants and dozens of experts, he was able to resolve the case against his client on favorable terms. He was then promptly retained by one of the remaining defendants to substitute for its counsel, and shortly resolved those claims as well.

Represented Fluke Corporation, when its liability insurer declined coverage in a California malicious prosecution case. An adverse ruling on summary judgment by the trial court was reversed by the Washington Supreme Court in Fluke v. Hartford, 145 Wn.2d 137, 34 P.3d 809 (2001), which affirmed the insurability of punitive damages in Washington.

Represented Olympic Pipeline Company in a suit arising from an attempt by the City of Seattle to force shut down of a spur line running through the City. He obtained a Preliminary Injunction against the City, and then summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the trial court rulings on the basis of federal preemption of pipeline safety regulation.

Harrigan Leyh Farmer & Thomsen LLP

999 Third Avenue, Suite 4400 | Seattle, Washington 98104

Tel: (206) 623-1700 | Fax: (206) 623-8717

info@hlftlaw.com

999 Third Avenue, Suite 4400
Seattle, Washington 98104

Tel: (206) 623-1700
Fax: (206) 623-8717

info@hlftlaw.com

Copyright © 2018
Harrigan Leyh Farmer & Thomsen LLP