Breean’s practice focuses on representing individuals in courtroom disputes. For more than twenty years he has effectively presented cases to juries, appellate judges, arbitrators and mediators.
His main areas of practice are wrongful death, serious personal injury, employment discrimination and violations of civil rights by government. He is known both for his tenacious advocacy in court and his ability to calmly resolve volatile disputes without a trial. Breean successfully represented the family of Otto Zehm and obtained the largest settlement ever for a wrongful death caused by the Spokane Police Department of over $1.6 million.
Breean graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 1991 and was honored as Order of the Coif (top 10% of his class).
He graduated from Whitworth College in 1985 with a degree in International Studies and was honored as Summa Cum Laude.
Breean has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Washington Law and Politics, Greater Spokane’s “Top Civil Rights Lawyer” by Spokane Coeur d’Alene Magazine, an “Uncommon Contributor to the Community” by the Spokesman Review, and a “Local Hero” and the 2015 Norm Maleng Leadership Award by the Washington State Bar Association.
Breean has regularly practiced in the appellate courts on issues of important public policy. He has participated in the following published appellate cases either as lead or associate counsel:
Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals
Brannon v. Household Intern. Inc., 236 Fed. Appx. 285 (C.A. 9th 2007) (Consumer protection in subprime lending)
LaVine v. Blaine School District, 257 F.3d 981 (C.A. 9th 2001) (Right to free speech in educational setting)
Washington State Supreme Court
Neighborhood Alliance of Spokane County v. Spokane County, 172 Wash.2d 701 (2011) (Right to Disclosure of Public Records)
Nason v. State of Washington, 168 Wash.2d 936 (2010) (Right to constitutional due process in sentencing [Amicus])
City of Spokane v. Rothwell, 166 Wash.2d 872 (2009) (Voter rights and criminal prosecution)
McNabb v. Department of Corrections, 163 Wash.2d 393 (2008) (Right to bodily integrity in prison)
Wright v. Colville Tribal Enterprises Corp., 159 Wash.2d 108 (2006) (Racial harassment in employment and tribal sovereignty)
Andersen v. King County, 158 Wash.2d 1 (2006) (Right to marry [Amicus])
Recall of Jim West, 155 Wash.2d 659 (2005) (Voter rights and public official misconduct [Amicus])
Washington State Court of Appeals
Neighborhood Alliance of Spokane County v. Spokane County, Court; 153 Wash. App. 241 (2009) (Right to Disclosure of Public Records)
In re Marriage of Hughes, 128 Wash. App. 650 (2005) (Gender discrimination)
Bennerstrom v. Dept. of Labor and Industries, 120 Wash. App. 853 (2004) (workplace injury)
Dosanjh v. Bhatti, 85 Wash.App.769 (1997) (International choice of law in tort)
State of Washington v. J.D., 86 Wash. App. 501 (1997) (Rights to free speech and association on public streets)
Yonker v. Dept. of Social and Health Services, 85 Wash. App. 71 (1997) (Duty of state to protect children)
Cook v. Evanson, 83 Wash.App.149 (1996) (Toxic tort)
Tabak v. State of Washington, 73 Wash. App. 691 (1994) (Duty of state to provide safe recreational access)
Breean has contributed to the practice of law and greater community in the following volunteer roles:
Washington State Supreme Court Access to Justice Board – Member and Chair of Leadership Development Committee
Washington Association of Justice – Past Member of Board of Governors and Chair of Civil Rights Section
Smart Justice Spokane – Co-Founder and current Co-Chair
Spokane County Citizen’s Emergency communications Systems and Facilities Advisory Committee – Past Vice-Chair and Member
Spokane Legal Aid Regional Planning – Past Chair and Lead Author of 2008 Action Plan
Whatcom County Chapter American Civil Liberties Union – Past President, Member of state and national affiliates.
Washington State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division – Past Member of Board of Governors and Chair of Practice Conditions Committee
Whatcom Civil Rights Project – Founder and Past Attorney Coordinator of grass roots civil rights advocacy clinic
Whatcom County Volunteer Lawyer Program – Past Volunteer and Founder of Street Law
Pipeline Safety Trust – Co-Founder, Past President, Member of Board of Directors
Spokane Youth Sports Association – Past Soccer Coach
Pacific Northwest Conference of United Church of Christ – Past Member Personnel Committee
Westminster United Church of Christ – Past Chair of Personnel Committee, Board Chair Second Century Fund and Sunday School Teacher
Whatcom Literacy Council – Past Vice-President and Board Member