Hyde v. Bruell (The "Autopsy Photos" Case) 2001 WL 719333 (Div. I, Wash.App., June 25, 2001)

An autopsy assistant for the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office was accused of taking autopsy photos of well-known public figures, maintaining them in a collection, and exhibiting them at parties and such. The Washington Supreme Court had earlier ruled that if such facts could be established, they would support a claim against the assistant for violation of the surviving family's right to privacy. At that point, Rick Lowell of Magnuson Lowell stepped in on behalf of the autopsy assistant. The widow of the former Mayor of Tacoma had sued the assistant. The decedent had passed away just after having been elected mayor. After a full year of legal discovery and investigation, Rick believed that the allegations against the client were so flimsy, dismissal would be appropriate. The King County Superior Court agreed, dismissing the action against the client. On appeal, efforts by the mayor's widow to resurrect the case against the assistant failed completely. Rick Lowell represented the assistant on that successful appeal defense as well.