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Vanderwood Appointed to Superior Court

Clark County Courthouse
VANCOUVER – Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s office announced Friday the appointment of civil lawyer Derek Vanderwood, a long-time Camas resident, to be Clark County’s newest Superior Court judge.
Vanderwood, a partner at the firm English, Lane, Marshall & Vanderwood, succeeds Judge John Nichols, who retired this month after serving 18 years on the bench.
“Derek has a long-standing reputation in Clark County for being a smart and committed lawyer,” Inslee said in a prepared statement. “I know he’s ready to take on this role and serve the people in a new capacity.”
Derek Vanderwood, of Camas.
Friday’s announcement was the culmination of a months-long process, which began last summer when Judge Nichols announced his retirement. At that time, Gov. Inslee posted a notification for application with a mid-September deadline.
Vanderwood was one of three applicants, which included Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Fairgrieve and criminal defense attorney Christopher Ramsay. Each applicant had the opportunity to present their case to the Clark County Bar Association, as well as conduct interviews with Gov. Inslee and the General Counsel.
“I look forward to this wonderful opportunity to serve,” said Vanderwood. “I’ll be wrapping up matters at my practice, which will take some time. I’ll likely start serving in this new position in late February.”
Vanderwood has been practicing law in Washington state since 1994, and has lived in Clark County since 1996. At his Vancouver firm, he focuses on injury claims, civil litigation, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and consumer safety cases.
One of his highest profile cases involved a suit against Hyundai for defective seats in which the jury awarded the plaintiff, Jesse Magna, $8 million. Vanderwood and firm partner, Dennis Lane, represented Magna, who was ejected from the vehicle during a late 90s automobile accident. The award was appealed to the state’s highest court, and was ultimately upheld.
Vanderwood, who is originally from Grand Junction, Colo., is married to Allison Teuscher Vanderwood, who grew up in Clark County. They have five children – four sons and one daughter – who have all attended Camas public schools.
Service to community is part of Vanderwood’s life, as he has been serving as a Bishop (an ecclesiastical leader) for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Camas since 2012. The voluntary, non-paid position requires many hours each week dedicated to serving church members and local residents. He also volunteers his time serving the community at large in other capacities, such as being a parent volunteer at Camas Little League, among other organizations.
Vanderwood’s supporters say, “He follows the letter of the law, and is very much into respecting individual privacy rights.”
“In the Washington judicial system there are two trial courts: District and Superior,” said Vanderwood. “Superior is the higher court and the distinction is in size and ramification. The Superior Court works with more serious criminal cases, as well as large financial claims. Over time I will be working on a mix of family, criminal, civil, and juvenile cases, and that can change with rotations.”
While Vanderwood has primarily focused on his law practice, he said he’s been drawn to serving on the bench in recent years, and looks forward to the opportunity.
He will need to run for election in November 2015. Each Superior Court judicial term is four years.

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