On July 31, 2020 a Pierce County, Washington superior court jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs in the matter of Cox v. State of Washington in a net amount to the plaintiffs of $98,509,000.  It was one of the largest personal injury verdicts in Washington State history and the largest personal injury verdict ever against the State of Washington.

The case was based upon the wrongful deaths of Charlie and Braden Powell, aged 7 and 5. Charlie and Braden were murdered by their father, Josh Powell, during a supervised visitation while the boys were in the State protective custody. Josh Powell was the only suspect in the disappearance and presumed murder of the boys’ mother, Susan Cox Powell in Utah in 2009.  Powell was the subject of an active criminal investigation at the time he murdered the boys.

The plaintiffs alleged and the jury found that the State violated its duty to protect the children from foreseeable harm.  Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that the State failed to follow its own policies and guidelines for supervised visitation, the most restrictive type of visitation between a child in State custody and the child’s parent. The plaintiffs argued that the State failed to assure visitation was overseen by a qualified, trained and capable supervisor and that it allowed visitation to occur at a location where it could not ensure the boys’ safety, contrary to its own guidelines.  The plaintiffs also argued that the State should have recognized the boys’ father presented a particular risk of harm because he had been ordered to undergo invasive testing and a polygraph that might have further implicated him in the presumed murder of the boys’ mother.  As a result of the State’s failures the boys’ father was able to abduct them, secure them in a rented house and brutally torture and murder them.

In total the jurors found the boys’ damages were $115 million but found that a portion of that was caused solely by their father.

The trial team of Ted Buck, Anne Bremner and Evan Bariault of the law firm Frey Buck, P.S. managed the case for the plaintiffs.



Ted Buck works for the Salvation Army

Ted Buck gives the “ask” at the Salvation Army Red Kettle Luncheon fundraiser. Ted serves on the advisory board and executive counsel for the Army.

SuperLawyers, Rising Stars announced.

Ted Buck and Anne Bremner were once again named “SuperLawyers,” a distinction reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state. It was their 17th year in a row on the list. Ted was also again named to the Top-100 Attorneys in Washington list for 2018. Evan Bariault was also honored again this year as a Rising Star, his fifth year in a row.

Karen Cobb provides for REST

Karen Cobb, a board member for the non-profit Real Escape from the Sex Trade (REST) attends a fundraiser for the organization. REST is one of many charities where Frey Buck attorneys and contributions support the greater good in our community.

Best Law Firms in Washington announced.

Frey Buck was again named to the U.S. News and World Reports Best Law Firms in Washington list for 2018.

Frey Buck in the news.

See Ted Buck’s “Special to the Times” Seattle Times piece “Compassion in the line of duty: the Seattle Police Department’s everyday heroes” regarding the Seattle Police Foundation’s Awards Ceremony celebrating exceptional work by members of the Seattle Police Department. Ted serves on the board for the foundation and on its executive committee.

See Ted Buck’s “Special to the Times piece” Initiative 940