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Keene v. Edie
Supreme Court of Washington
935 P.2d 588 (Wash. 1997)
Sharon Keene (plaintiff) sued Ronald Edie and his wife Judith Evans (defendants), alleging that Edie had sexually molested her as a child. Before trial, Keene obtained a writ of attachment against a piece of real estate that Edie and Evans owned as community property. Keene prevailed on her claim against Edie, but not against Evans. Edie did not have individual assets sufficient to satisfy the judgment against him. The trial court allowed Keene to execute her judgment against Edie’s interest in the community property, and she obtained an undivided one-half interest in it. Evans appealed, and the appellate court reversed, holding that Keene could not execute her judgment against community real property. The appellate court acknowledged that this rule effectively immunized married tortfeasors who had only community real property in assets. In a separate case, Angela Scappini sued Joseph and Margaret Warren for sexual molestation. Like Keene, she prevailed in court against the husband only and attempted to execute her judgment against a parcel of community real property. The trial court ruled she could execute her judgment, and the Warrens appealed. The two cases were consolidated for review before the state supreme court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Alexander, J.)
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