John Cadagan litigates in state and federal courts across Washington. He has tried civil jury and bench trials to verdict in courthouses on both sides of the Cascades. At the appellate level, he has appeared in all divisions of Washington’s Court of Appeals, the Washington Supreme Court, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
His practice is focused on representing policyholders in first- and third-party coverage disputes with insurers, and litigating on behalf of companies, public utilities, and individuals in civil disputes. In his insurance practice, John has been counsel in some of the Northwest’s largest property insurance claims, and he routinely assists clients with various liability coverages when the insurer has denied or threatened to deny coverage. In his general litigation practice, he has defended companies against multi-million dollar claims, and obtained verdicts and settlements for plaintiffs damaged by others. John’s clients range from individuals and small businesses to public utilities and multinational joint ventures.
John maintains an active appellate practice, regularly briefing for and appearing in state and federal appeals courts. His appellate practice also includes advising clients and other attorneys about the appellate process and opining on the potential success of various arguments.
John has been listed in Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” in both insurance coverage and appellate litigation. Before joining GTTC, John clerked for the Honorable Linda C.J. Lee at the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II. His years at the court provided unique insight into the appellate court system and shaped his approach to litigating in both trial and appellate courts.
- Published Decisions
- Berman v. Tierra Real Estate Grp., LLC, — Wn. App.2d — , 515 P.3d 1004 (2022)
- Hill & Stout, PLLC v. Mut. of Enumclaw Ins. Co., 200 Wn.2d 208, 515 P.3d 525 (2022)
- Seattle Tunnel Partners v. Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC, — Wn.2d –, 516 P.3d 796 (2022)
- Rinehold v. Renne, 198 Wn.2d 81, 492 P.3d 154 (2021)
- Seattle Tunnel Partners v. Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK), 18 Wn. App.2d 600, 492 P.3d 843 (2021)
- Walker v. Orkin, LLC, 10 Wn. App.2d 565, 448 P.3d 815 (2019)
- Markoff v. Puget Sound Energy, Inc., 9 Wn. App.2d 833, 447 P.3d 577 (2019)
- Unanimous Washington Supreme Court Victory in Property Boundary Dispute – Mark Wilner and John Cadagan obtained a unanimous victory before the Washington Supreme Court in 2021 in a property boundary dispute. The case came down to the proper interpretation of a deed and the type and amount of evidence needed to overcome a professional retracement survey. The Washington Supreme Court sided with GTTC’s clients in a first-impression decision that quickly led to a favorable settlement after remand.
- Tunnel boring machine breaks down, insurers refusing to pay – The $3.1 billion tunnel in Seattle was designed to replace the downtown Alaskan Way Viaduct after it was damaged in a 2001 earthquake. The “Bertha” tunnel-boring machine sustained physical damage far beneath the surface, and a recovery shaft was drilled so that it could be repaired. A consortium of insurance companies denied coverage to Seattle Tunnel Partners’ (STP) claims under a Builder’s Risk Policy. GTTC represents STP, the contractor for the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project in Seattle, is seeking coverage from its property insurers for damage to the project and the tunnel-boring machine.
- Defense Jury Verdict in $80M Recreational Use Claim Against Grant PUD – GTTC partners Mark Wilner and Jeff Thomas, and associate John Cadagan, obtained a defense verdict in a month-long Zoom jury trial in October 2021. The plaintiff dove off a boat at the Quilomene Dune & Bay (the “Sandbar”) on the Columbia River in Kittitas County and struck his head on the river bottom, rendering him a quadriplegic. He then sued GTTC client Grant County Public Utility District. He alleged the Central Washington utility’s Wanapum Dam operations and its control over the mid-Columbia River waterway required Grant PUD to post a conspicuous sign warning of fluctuating water levels at the Sandbar pursuant to Washington’s Recreational Use Statute. The plaintiff asked the jury to award $79,193,239 after a three-and-a-half week trial. Approximately three hours later, the jury returned a defense verdict. The case was filed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The jury trial was held via Zoom – from jury selection through verdict – with opening statements, witness testimony, and closing arguments broadcasted on a live YouTube feed.
- Property insurer pays condominium owners association for the full loss plus attorneys’ fees after condominium owners are forced to file suit – John Cadagan and Frank Cordell represented a small condominium owners association against a multi-national property insurer. The insurer initially denied the claim citing faulty workmanship, and then refused to respond to letters from counsel pointing out the failures in the claims handler’s analysis. After the owners association was forced to file suit, the property insurer agreed to pay the entire claim plus all of the attorneys’ fees incurred.
- Professional liability insurer pays full limits after wrongful denial – The Washington Health Care Authority instituted several proceedings against a local doctor. When the doctor tendered the claims to his professional liability carrier, the carrier denied coverage. Through several letters and discussions with the carrier, John Cadagan and Matt Pierce were able to secure full limits for the doctor’s defense.
- Summary Judgment Win Secures Confidential Settlement – Brendan Winslow-Nason, Mark Wilner, and John Cadagan represented a global real estate investor in a dispute involving the construction of a 450 unit, four-tower apartment complex. Messrs. Winslow-Nason, Wilner, and Cadagan won partial summary judgment over several defendants who involved in the design and construction of the complex, which led to a favorable settlement for GTTC’s client.
- Long-tail coverage counsel to various companies involved in environmental contamination litigation – Counsel to various companies to secure coverage for environmental property damage and asbestos liabilities resulting from business operations occurring decades ago.
PROFESSIONAL & CIVIC INVOLVEMENT
- UW School of Law Falknor Appellate Advocacy Competition, Judge
- Gonzaga University School of Law ProFound Oral Advocacy Competition, Judge
- Washington DECA, State Competition Judge
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- Speaker, The Seminar Group, “The ‘People’s Republic of Washington’?: What makes Washington Pro-Insured and Insurers Can Do About It.” October 2022
- Speaker, GTTC Insurance Recovery Webinar, COVID Claims: Obtaining Insurance Coverage Under Various Lines of Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Losses, December 2021
- Speaker, Continuing Legal Education seminar, Appellate Practice in Washington State Courts, November 2020
- Speaker, GTTC Insurance Recovery Webinar, Lightning Round–Developments to Watch in Washington and Beyond, November 2020
- Speaker, GTTC Insurance Recovery Seminar, Insuring Against Cybercrime in the Modern Era, June 2019, Seattle, WA
After clerking in Tacoma and practicing in Seattle for several years, my wife and I returned to our hometown of Spokane. I enjoy being outdoors and try to take every opportunity to be outside fishing, horseback riding, snow skiing, or spending time at the lake with my family. My family and I also enjoy regularly attending Husky football games and Gonzaga basketball games whenever we have the chance.