Ken Masters

Top rated appellate attorney in Bainbridge Island, Washington

Masters Law Group, PLLC
Ken Masters
Masters Law Group, PLLC

Practice Areas: Appellate

Licensed in Washington since: 1992

Education: Seattle University School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2001 - 2023 Selected to Rising Stars: 2000 - 2001
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Masters Law Group, PLLC

241 Madison Avenue North
321 High School Rd NE, D-3 #362
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 Phone: 206-780-5033 Email: Ken Masters Visit website


Ken Masters has been specializing in civil appeals for over 30 years. He limits his practice to all of Washington’s appellate courts, including all three Divisions of the Washington State Court of Appeals (Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane); the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco); and the Washington (Olympia) and United States (Washington, D.C.) Supreme Courts.

Mr. Masters' hundreds of civil appeals have concerned virtually every significant legal subject matter, ranging from adverse possession to zoning, and to ZZ Top (copyright infringement). Specific appeals have included contracts and other business disputes, including partnerships, corporations, and corporate disregard; real property disputes of all sorts (including land use, mortgages, real estate transactions, and landlord/tenant disputes); torts (including complex personal injury); trusts and estates (including wills); professional malpractice (legal and medical); family law; employment law; insurance coverage; products liability; constitutional questions (e.g., First Amendment and civil rights issues); debtor and creditor; secured transactions; securities;  and workers compensation. Procedurally speaking, he has handled many complex trial and appellate jurisdictional and procedural issues, including spoliation, discovery sanctions, summary judgments, and new trial motions.

Mr. Masters is honored to have been repeatedly listed as a "Top 10" (2017-2023; "ranked#1" in 2019) and “Top 100” Washington attorney and Super Lawyer® (since 2008); to also have been listed in Best Lawyers in America® for appeals, including 2022 Seattle "Lawyer of the Year"; and hence to have received a "Lifetime Achievement Award" from America's Top 100 Attorneys®. He is also very proud to have appeared on the Washington State Supreme Court's Honor Roll for pro bono service (at least 50 hours a year) since 2004. He is also a past President of the Washington Appellate Lawyers Association, a Sustaining Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (since 2010).

In addition to serving his clients faithfully, Mr. Masters has long served his profession and the public. He has chaired and/or presented at dozens of CLEs on appellate practice and other substantive legal areas, including ethics. He served on the WSBA Board of Governors (including as Treasurer); chaired numerous state and local bar committees and a task force; and served as Trustee and as President of the Washington State Bar Foundation. He has long served as Contributing Editor for the WASHINGTON APPELLATE PRACTICE DESKBOOK, most recently rewriting the brief writing chapter for the latest (4th) edition. And he is a past President (and current Emeritus Board member) of Earshot Jazz, which presents many northwest concerts, including the Seattle Jazz Festival.


First Admitted: 1992, Washington

Professional Webpage:

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Author, Cover Story: The Death of Capital Punishment in Washington, NORTHWEST LAWYER (WSBA May 2019); Co-Author, Evidence Rule 413: Unpacking Washington’s New Procedural Protections for Immigrants, NORTHWESET LAWYER (WSBA July 2018); Contributing Editor, Briefs on the Merits, Acceptance of Review & Authority on Review, Washington Appellate Practice Deskbook, (4th Ed., WSBA 2016); Contributing Editor, WSBA Washington Appellate Practice Deskbook, 4th Ed. (2016), 3rd Ed. (2005, Supp. 2009-2010).  Chair and/or Presenter, dozens of appellate practice and legal writing seminars (1998-present). 
  • Past success is no guarantee of future outcomes. Mill Creek Const., Inc. v. Weldon, Wash. Ct. App. No. 55658-8 (Nov. 15, 2022) (successfully defended judgment in favor of client, while reversing an offsetting judgment to the defendant, with at award of attorney fees on appeal and at trial pending outcome on remand); O’Dea v. City of Tacoma19 Wn. App. 2d 67, 493 P.3d 1245 (2021), rev. denied (April 5, 2022) (successfully reversed largest PRA penalty award in Washington State history ($2.6 million) and resisted Supreme Court review); Marriage of Williams, Wash. Ct. App. No. 55708-8-II (March 22, 2022) (successfully defended agreed orders splitting miliary retirement benefits and obtained award of attorney fees and costs on appeal); Shoker v. McCann, Wash. Ct. App. No. 80478-2-I (June 4, 2021) (successfully obtained reversal of summary judgment and remand for trial, where client was severely injured by an airport van that drove up onto the sidewalk and struck him); Fortman v. Proliance Surgeons, Inc., Wash. Ct. App. No. 79864-2-I (Feb. 16, 2021) (successfully defended $1.5 million judgment in medical malpractice action); Martinez-Cuevas v. DeRuyter Bros. Dairy, 196 Wn.2d 506, 475 P.3d 164 (2021) (filed amicus brief in support of dairy workers, who successfully obtained a ground-breaking wage-and-hour decision that exempting them from overtime pay is unconstitutional under the Washington State Constitution); Andren v. Dake, 14 Wn. App. 2d 296, 472 P.3d 1013 (2020) (successfully defended New Trial Order based on misconduct of counsel); Bowman v. City of Tacoma, Wash. Ct. of App. No. 54930-1-II (Oct. 23, 2020) (successfully enforced settlement and obtained dismissal of appeal); Cunningham v. Karwoski, Wash. Ct. App. No. 79753-1-I (June 15, 2020) (successfully defended summary judgment of liability, and trial and appellate fee awards, regarding boundary dispute), rev. denied, 196 Wn.2d 1040 (2021) (fees awarded); Shafer v. City of Seattle, Wash. Ct. App. No. 78015-8-I (March 30, 2020) (successfully obtained reversal of summary judgment and remand for trial on injuries resulting from the City’s alleged negligence in maintaining its primary proprietary baseball field); Coates v. City of Tacoma, 11 Wn. App. 2d 688, 457 P.3d 1160 (2019) (successfully obtained reversal of summary judgment and dismissal of action against city regarding propriety of telecommunications system), rev. denied 195 Wn.2d 1025 (2020); Darland v. Snoqualmie Pass Util. Dist., Wash. Ct. App. No. 36002-4-III (July 16, 2019) (successfully obtained dismissal on some issues, with remand for trial of others); McNabb v. Metro. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., Wash. Ct. App. No. 77832-3-I (May 28, 2019) (successfully defended ~ $875,000 remittitur); Kelso v. Olympia Sch. Dist., Washington State Court of Appeals No. 48942-2-II (May 21, 2019) (successfully defended defense verdict); Karl v. City of Bremerton, Washington State Court of Appeals No. 50228-3-II (Feb. 20, 2019) (successfully defended rulings dismissing class action against the City); Hood v. City of Langley, Washington State Court of Appeals No. 77433-6-I (Jan. 28, 2019) (successfully obtained reversal of summary judgement in a PRA case); Iverson v. Prestige Care, Inc., Washington State Court of Appeals No. 50336-1-II (Jan. 3, 2019) (successfully obtained reversal of a summary judgement and remand for trial); Marriage of McRae, Washingon State Court of Appeals No. 50178-3 (July 10, 2018) (successfully reversed imputation of income and child  support award); Esate of Rathbone, 190 Wn.2d 332 (2018) (successfully reversed use of TEDRA to contradict PRs' decision in nonintervention probate); Wright v. Lyft, 189 Wn.2d 718 (2017) (successfully obtained opinion that all five elements of CPA are met when one receives a commercial electronic text in violation of CEMA); Estate of Kangas, Washington State Court of Appeals No. 49867-7-II (Nov. 14, 2017) (successfully defended estate distribution); K.H. V. Olympia Schl. Dist, Washington State Court of Appeals No. 48583-4-II (Aug. 22, 2017) (successfully defended defense verdict); Taylor v. Intuitive Surgical, Inc.187 Wn.2d 743 (2017) (successfully reversed jury verdict due to incorrect instruction regarding the duty to warn under the Wash. Prod. Liab. Act); Mr. 99 & Assoc., Inc. v. 8011, LLC, Washington State Court of Appeals No. 73737-6-I (December 27, 2016) (successfully obtained reversal of summary judgment, and grant of summary judgment on appeal, denying commission to commercial real estate broker); In re Marriage of Cheng, Washington State Court of Appeals No. 47937-1-II (November 22, 2016) (successfully defended multimillion-dollar property distribution and maintenance award to wife); Shoval v. Valet Parking Systems, Inc., Washington State Court of Appeals No. 73757-1-I (November 21, 2016) (successfully obtained reversal of jury verdict and remand for new trial due to trial court's failure to honor affidavit of prejudice); In re Custody of S.F.-T.C., Washington State Court of Appeals No. 32367-6-III (Feb. 9, 2016) (successfully reveresed order granting third-party custody, vindicating a mother’s constitutional right to custody and care of her child), rev. denied (June 28, 2016); Jaimes v. NDTS Const., Inc., Washington State Court of Appeals No. 73148-3-I (June 6, 2016) (successfully obtained reversal of summary judgment dismissing injured worker’s suit against third party); Dept. of Lab. & Indus. v. Rowley, Washington State Supreme Court No. 91357-9 (March 17, 2016) (successfully defended a worker’s compensation award); Gould v. North Kitsap Bus. Park, LLC, Washington State Court of Appeals No. 46358-0-II (Jan. 19, 2016) (successfully defended judgment for trip-and-fall injuries); Arp v. Riley, Washington State Court of Appeals No. 72613-7-I (Dec. 28, 2015) (successfully reversed summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's personal injury claim based on judicial estoppel); In re Adoption of H.L.S., Washington State Court of Appeals No. 46807-7-II (Dec. 15, 2015) (successfully defended termination of parental rights); Lightner v. Shoemaker, Washington State Court of Appeals No. 70746-9-I (Dec. 2014), rev. denied, 183 Wn.2d 1008 (July 8, 2015) (successfully reversed judgment and obtained new trial regarding interpretation of restrictive covenants protecting views); ADA Motors, Inc. v. Butler,, Washington State Court of Appeals 70047-2-I (July 22, 2014), rev. denied, 182 Wn.2d 1012 (March 4, 2015) (successfully obtained reversal of jury verdict and remand for new trial due to a jury instruction error on behalf of the plaintiff in a Uniform Trade Secrets Act case); Crews v. AVCO Corp., Washington State Court of Appeals No. 70756-6-I (January 12, 2015) (successfully defended default judgment (due to discovery violations) and roughly $10 million in compensatory damages and $6 million in punitive damages verdicts in favor of the family of deceased pilot and her daughter, and against manufacturer of an allegedly defective aircraft engine)., 2015
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • President, Washington State Bar Foundation (2018-March 2019), Trustee (2016-2019); Chair, WSBA Escalating Costs of Civil Litigation Rules Drafting Task Force (2016-2018); Treasurer, WSBA Board of Governors (2014-2015); 1st Dist Governor, WSBA Board of Governors (Sept. 2012 - 2015); WSBA Rules & Procedures Committee, Chair (2009-2012); member (2004-2012).  KCBA Judicial Screening Committee, Chair (2005-2006); member (2002-2009, 2011 - 2019).  KCBA Appellate Law Section, President (2008-09); member (2005-present).  WSBA Amicus Committee, Chair (2001-2003); member (2000-2003).  Washington Appellate Lawyers Association, Co-president (2007-2013), member (2003-present).  ABA (2001-present); member, Council of Appellate Lawyers.  Washington State Association for Justice, member (1998-present), Eagle (1999-present)., 2016
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • WSBA Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation (for more than 50 hours a year in pro bono service (2004-present), 2022
  • Appellate Law in Seattle, WA, Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America, 2022
  • Awarded for volunteer support for equal justice, Champion of Justice, Equal Justice Coalition, 2022
  • Peer review, Appellate Law, Best Lawyers in Amerca, 2022
  • Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, 2010
  • Peer review (1998 - 2015), AV, Martindale-Hubble
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 2014
  • Peer election, Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • Peer review (2010-present), AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubble

Office location for Ken Masters

241 Madison Avenue North
321 High School Rd NE, D-3 #362
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

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