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Another Tyson & Mendes Victory: Washington Jury Verdicts $7,850 in Admitted Liability Case

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Seattle Partner Levi Bendele and Associate Colin Hutchinson-Flaming defeated a pair of Super Lawyer plaintiff attorneys in King County Superior Court in a six-day, admitted liability, rear-end accident jury trial. The defense trial team employed the Tyson & Mendes defense methods to obtain a verdict of $7,850 when plaintiff’s attorneys asked the jury for $275,000. Months before trial, plaintiff walked out of mediation after reducing her final demand to defendant’s policy limits of $100,000.


The Confident Woman: Living a Better Balanced and Healthier Life

On March 2, 2017, the Tyson & Mendes’ Women’s Initiative held an engaging and thought-provoking event entitled, “The Confident Woman: Living a Better Balanced and Healthier Life.” At this event, co-sponsored with the Lawyer’s Club of San Diego and San Diego Association of Corporate Counsel, Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz discussed ideas from her book The Confident Woman and the impact of societal pressures on women’s confidence and health. Ms. Hansen Shaevitz provided valuable insight, helpful advice, and useful suggestions for dealing with these pressures in our everyday lives as legal and insurance professionals.


“Discovery Rule” Extends Washington’s Statute Of Limitations

Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals just published an opinion holding the “discovery rule” extends the three-year statute of limitations for civil wrongful death actions.


Division I Again Addresses Attorney Fees Awards Under MAR 7.3 and RCW 7.06.060(1)

Division I of the Washington State Court of Appeals again addressed the mandatory attorney fees provisions found in the Revised Code of Washington and the Rules of Mandatory Arbitration, having previously considered the same matter in 2016. Bearden v. McGill, 193 Wn. App. 235, 372 P.3d 138 (2016). That iteration of the case went to the Supreme Court, which remanded with an order to reconsider in light of Nelson v. Erickson, 186 Wn.2d 385, 377 P.3d 196 (2016). Now again in February 2017, the Division I Court of Appeals ruled attorney fees are not awardable under the facts below.


Washington’s Collateral Source Rule: Billed v. Paid

Washington State recognizes the collateral source rule in personal injury claims. Under the rule, plaintiffs are allowed to recover damages from a tortfeasor notwithstanding any compensation received for the same injury from an independent source. Payments plaintiff receives due to injuries, which are not from the tortfeasor, are collateral source and will not reduce the damages otherwise recoverable. Hayes v. Wieber Enterprises, Inc., 105 Wn. App. 611, 616, 20 P.3d 496, 498 (2001) (citing Cox v. Spangler, 141 Wn.2d 431, 439, 5P.3d 1265(2000)).


Another Nevada Federal District Court Decision Confirms HOAs are Necessary Parties to Quiet Title Claims

While Nevada waits for the United States Supreme Court to decide if it will hear the conflict of law issue between its state courts and the Ninth Circuit regarding Nevada’s previous version of its HOA lien statute (NRS 116.3116), the Nevada Federal District Court recently issued another decision limiting the application of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holding in Bourne Valley, finding the statute unconstitutional. In Deutsche Bank National Trust Company v. Talaser and Vicanto Homeowners Assocation, 2017 WL 736879, the Nevada Federal District Court considered the parties motions for summary judgment and motion to dismiss.


Nevada District Court Confirms Insurance Company’s Attorney May Be Deposed And The Attorney-Client Privilege Implicitly Waived

Atain Specialty Insurance Co. v. Reno Cab Co, et. al, No. 3:15-cv-00406-MMD-VPC (Dist. NV Feb. 15, 2017).

Background:

On December 23, 2011, a driver for Reno Cab had an argument with a passenger over the cab fare. The argument led to an altercation in which the passenger was killed. The passenger’s family then sued Reno Cab and the driver for wrongful death, battery, and negligent training and supervision. Reno Cab submitted the lawsuit to its insurance provider, Atain Specialty Insurance Company (“Atain”), asking Atain to provide a defense.


Nevada Supreme Court Upholds The State’s Minimum Wage Amendment

Former employees of Petitioner Western Cab Company (“Western Cab”) filed a lawsuit against Western Cab, alleging that the company violated the Minimum Wage Amendment (WMA) of the Nevada Constitution (Article 15, Section 16). The MWA establishes a minimum wage for Nevada employees. However, the MWA also provides an employer may pay its employees an even lower minimum wage if the employer also provides health benefits to those employees. The MWA also has an exception to these two minimum wage options, in which an employer may pay its employees even less than if the wage is the product of a collective bargaining agreement.


CCP Section 998 Offer Strategy: When To Offer

Code of Civil Procedure section 998 states “any party may serve an offer in writing upon any other party to the action to allow judgment to be taken or an award to be entered in accordance with the terms and conditions stated at that time.” Such 998 Offers to Compromise serve as an effective settlement procedure as they potentially impose monetary penalties in the form of litigation costs on the offeree who allows the offer to lapse and fails to obtain a more favorable judgment or award at trial or arbitration. Notably, the offeror may recover its expert witness fees from the offeree who fails to obtain a more favorable judgement or award.


California Case Law Update

ANTI SLAPP

Argentieri v. Zuckerberg Court of Appeal, 8 Cal.App.5th 768, 214 Cal.Rptr.3d 35817

Facts:

Plaintiff was an attorney for a client who sued Facebook, and its founder Mark Zuckerberg, in New York after purchasing an interest in Facebook. That lawsuit was dismissed. Facebook and Zuckerberg then sued Plaintiff and others for malicious prosecution etc. Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch sent an email to the press stating Plaintiff, among others, knew the first lawsuit was based on forged documents. The United States District Court found the Facebook lawsuit did not state a claim against some of the defendants for malicious prosecution. Plaintiff then sued Facebook, and Zuckerberg again in California alleging that he was defamed by the statement he knew his client’s lawsuit was based on forged documents.
The Defendants filed a special motion to strike aka “Anti Slapp,” under Code Civ. Proc., § 425.16, contending the claim was barred by the litigation privilege, Civil Code §47(b), and the statement constituted an opinion, rather than an actionable statement of fact, and was in any event true. Plaintiff contended the litigation privilege did not apply and could be proven untrue. The motion was granted, striking the complaint.


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