Practice Areas

The patners at S & K have each have almost 30 years of experience in land use, property rights, real estate development, environmental law, appellate advocacy and civil litigation. S & K's attorneys are also experienced in representing clients who have been subjected to a variety of property and real estate issues.
Real Estate

 

We represent property owners, developers and builders.  Their projects vary from multi-lot subdivisions to commercial structures to single family homes.  Our assistance includes guidance, and any necessary advocacy, through the regulatory mazes of development regulations, zoning, development agreements, latecomer agreements for utilities and all phases of development.

 

We assist clients in deciding whether to development property.  Our clients rely on us to assist in conducting due diligence prior to purchase of property or in deciding whether to develop. That often requires careful consideration of land use regulations, consultant studies, title research, and many other factors.  We advise clients about the land development process and the issues that must be addressed to achieve a successful project.  We also represent property owners seeking to sell their property to a developer which requires a clear understanding of the development process in order to protect the seller.   

Environmental

 

Wetlands:

We represent clients who are faced with federal, state and local wetlands regulations, as well as water quality certification, involving the Washington Department of Ecology and the Pollution Control Hearings Board.  Our help includes federal permitting and enforcement actions by the Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act.  These are difficult issues which require experienced, professional representation. 

 

Forest Practices:

We advocate for our clients in disputes under the Forest Practices Act, including disputes with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  Representation includes appeals to administrative boards, such as the former Forest Practices Appeals Board and the Pollution Control Hearings Board.  This includes responding to Notices of Violation and issues pertaining to the Western Washington Family Forest Fish Passage Program.

Mining

 

We defend mineral rights under the General Mining Law in validity examinations and in contest proceedings initiated by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Mining projects have relied on us in the development of plans of operation for approval by the BLM and for the United States Forest Service. We have particular experience regarding the establishment and proof of valid existing rights in areas of federal land withdrawn from mineral entry. We successfully pursued the first appeal of a decision of the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) in the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in regard to the prudent man standard for establishing valid mining claims under federal law.

Business Law

 

We have experience in setting up LLC's, Corporations, and Nonprofits.  We draft contracts, purchase and sale agreements, and other general contracts.  In addition to transactional work, we also are experienced litigators in enforcing and defending contracts in superior court or in arbitration.

Land Use

 

For decades, we have been a leading voice in protecting clients’ property rights from excessive government regulation, as protected by the just compensation requirements of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and similar provisions of state constitutions, such as Article I, Section 16 of the Washington Constitution. Of similar significance is the protection provided for Procedural Due Process, Substantive Due Process and Equal Protection of the Law in regard to the use of property and business enterprises owned by individuals and businesses.

 

Other land use practice areas:

  • Permitting

  • Administrative Appeals

  • Growth Management Act (GMA)

  • Land Use Petition Act (LUPA)

  • SEPA/NEPA

SK is also experienced in providing legal representation on a full spectrum of issues which come up under Washington's Shoreline Management Act.

 

Civil Litgation and Appeals

 

Although the firm’s practice is primarily in Washington,

S & K's attorneys are licensed to practice in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California and Washington D.C and in a variety of federal courts around the country, including the United States Supreme Court and United States Court of Federal Claims.  We are expereinced litigators in land use, real estate, mining, and business law. 

 

We have argued well over 50 appeals, and filed amicus curiae briefs in even more cases on behalf of associations and entities interested in the precedent-setting nature of particular appeals. Our experience extends to the Supreme Courts of Washington, Montana, Oregon and California, the Ninth, Seventh and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. We are one of only a handful of law firms that have convinced the Washington Supreme Court to reconsider, rehear and reverse its decision in an appeal we handled.

Agriculture

 

We assist commercial agricultural operations in a wide variety of legal challenges, including wetlands regulations, water quality regulations, water rights, right to farm challenges, and Growth Management Act and Shoreline Management Act issues. We also represent state and local farm bureaus with issues with government regulation of their industry. For example, we assisted in drafting and defending the Snohomish County Farm Bureau’s Right to Plow Initiative. 

Public Records Act and FOIA

 

We represent clients seeking information from governmental agencies through the Washington Public Records Act, RCW 42.56 and the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552. In addition to developing appropriate requests to various government entities, we have filed for court orders to force unresponsive agencies to comply with the law that records be open to the public. In other cases, we have filed suit to prohibit disclosure when government documents contain confidential information of a person or business, such as trade secrets.