Karen Willie | Member
- 206.816.6603 (Main)
USDC for the West. Dist. of WA
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Karen Willie is a member of Terrell Marshall Daudt & Willie PLLC (“TMDW”), a Seattle law firm. After managing her own law firm for fourteen years, she merged with TMDW in 2011. Ms. Willie concentrates her practice in water law, including landslides, floods, dams, drainage problems, riparian rights, sewage back-ups, wetlands, developments and storm water. Ms. Willie has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, including private owners, neighborhood groups, homeowners’ associations, municipalities, private and public corporations, and developers. She has successfully tried cases and obtained favorable and precedential appellate decisions, including two seminal water law opinions from the Washington State Supreme Court.
Before starting her own firm she was a partner for six years at Smith, Smart, Tabler, Hancock and Schwensen which was a small real estate and banking firm in Seattle. Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Willie was a deputy prosecuting attorney for King County. While at King County, she was a criminal prosecutor and trial attorney in the Special Assault Unit. She moved to the Civil Division and advised the Surface Water Management Division and defended its cases. She was instrumental in the development of a Surface Water Design Manual that was adopted by the state and eventually adopted by most of the counties and cities in Washington.
Also a trained Mediator, Ms. Willie understands the technical side of disputes and conflicts. Prior to entering law school, Ms. Willie obtained a degree from Antioch University with a specialty in clinical psychology. She was a therapist for ten years and was Chief of Staff at a non-profit, residential treatment center in New York City for heroin addicts. Ms. Willie brings the skills from her prior career to her general law practice and mediation practice. She has completed a forty-hour certification course, the Alhadeff basic and advanced mediator course in Seattle and the Advanced Attorney Mediator training in Dallas, Texas.
Ms. Willie is a frequent speaker at CLEs on water law topics, including surface water, riparian rights, landslides, wetlands, rockeries and lateral support. She has been repeatedly recognized by Washington Law & Politics magazine as a “Super Lawyer.” Ms. Willie has been fondly known as the “Water Witch” since her time at King County.
Professional Organizations and Activities
- American Bar Association
- Washington State Bar Association
- Dispute Resolution Section
- Environmental Law and Real Estate Section
- Commercial Real Estate Women
- Staff-Parrish Relations Committee, Trinity Methodist Church
- Washington Super Lawyers 2003-2006
- Antioch University - B.A.
Fordham University School of Law - J.D.
- Moot Court Board and Jessup International Law Competition Finalist
- City of Fircrest v. City of Tacoma - Successfully represented the City of Tacoma in a lawsuit brought against it by the City of Fircrest concerning Tacoma’s Superfund site and possible contamination of one of Fircrest’s municipal water wells. No monies were paid, but relocation of the well, which was offered prior to the lawsuit being filed, was implemented. A celebration of the new well’s water production occurred with both city’s mayors, council members and key employees in attendance.
- City of Tacoma - Represented the City of Tacoma in several cases concerning its Superfund site by developers and owners who claimed the site had caused millions of dollars in damages to their adjoining properties. Obtained summary judgment dismissals.
- City of Tacoma - Aided the City of Tacoma in its sale of all the apartments surrounding its Superfund site to a California consortium of investors. It was the largest real estate sale in Pierce County at the time.
- DiBlasi v. Seattle - A seminal Supreme Court case, DiBlasi established that if a city street acts to concentrate and channel surface water flows to the damage of adjoining property. DiBlasi was the first water law case accepted by the Supreme Court for analysis in over two decades.
- Landslide Remediations - Brokered landslide remediations at countless properties over the years including sites on Mercer Island, Whidbey Island, Vashon Island, Bainbridge Island, Perkins Lane, West Seattle, Golden Gardens, Burien and Magnolia. Oftentimes, municipalities and insurance companies were involved which made negotiations more difficult and complex.
Articles & Publications
- (Karen Willie and Michael Daudt, King County Bar Bulletin, Mar. 2013 - Originally published in the March 2013 issue of the King County Bar Association Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association)Landslide and Surface Water Madness and Mayhem, View Article.
- Coping with neighbor's intruding trees
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Aug. 13, 2007)
- Drawbacks, good points to being over 55
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Feb. 24, 2007)
- After the flood: what to do when the water recedes
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Nov. 18, 2006)
- Web site provides contractor details you need
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Jan. 7, 2006)
- Crumbling wall puts relations on the rock
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, June 11, 2005)
- Unmarried partners as co-owners of a home
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Sept. 26, 2004)
- Does condo buyer or seller get refund on roof repair?
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Jun. 6, 2004)
- Is electrician on the hook for repairs to ceiling?
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Oct. 19, 2003)
- What's it take to get out of homeowner's association?
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, May 18, 2003)
- Sharp increase in building fees has condo owner pondering recall
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Jan. 19, 2003)
- Water worries: Rain equals landslides, questions and confusion
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Dec. 2, 2001)
- Neighbor's Runoff Spills Next Door
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Nov. 28, 1999)
- Wetlands Dispute All Bogged Down -- Lynnwood, Owners Stuck In Morass
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Nov. 17, 1999)
- Water Witch Wallows in Deep End -- Be It Mudslides Or Sinkholes, Lawyer's On The Case
(Magdalena Kulig and Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, June 16, 1999)
- Water, Water - What To Do? -- The Rains Are Here; Experts Urge Action To Prevent Mudslides
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Oct. 5, 1997)
- Local Attorney Offers Advice
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Oct. 5, 1997)
- Whoever Pays The Interest Gets The Interest Deduction
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Mar. 2, 1997)
- Will Property Values Slide? -- Homeowners Are Concerned About Future Marketablity, Prices
(Elizabeth Rhodes, The Seattle Times, Jan. 12, 1997)