Mobile Homeowners – Special Protection?

Author: Michael Kutzner

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

April 29, 2022 9:00am

Surety companies in Washington are generally not liable in tort to a third party. However, a specific exception was created for the setting up and siting of mobile homes. Poor or lacking performance with regards to these aspects…

Contractual Analysis for The Hazed and The Hazer

Author: Michael Kutzner

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

March 2, 2022 4:10pm

Arbitration can significantly impact the outcome of a case.  Arbitration agreements must be worded precisely so as not to create procedural unconscionability, and arbitration agreements within adhesion contracts must be carefully scrutinized because they create complex legal issues.

Clients Must Always Be Prioritized

Author: Michael Kutzner

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

February 7, 2022 11:45am

Attorneys may not disclose information relating to the representation of a client – discussions with a client are privileged.  In the case discussed below, a court found a lawyer need not even know his/her intentional acts violated the Rules of Professional Conduct to be held accountable. 

Liability Waivers: A Cautionary Tale of the Inconspicuous Waiver

Author: Michael Kutzner

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

January 13, 2022 8:39am

Liability waivers are an important part of many contracts as they shift liability from the business to the individual should some action be taken by the contract signer.  The liability waiver is an opportunity for a business to inform the signer of the risk associated with the related activity and to reduce the business’ liability should an accident occur.  Quite often though, liability waivers are passed over or skimmed at best.

Whose Employee Are They Anyway?

Author: Michael Kutzner

Guest Editor: Kiran Gupta

December 3, 2021 9:00am

Typically, businesses directly hire employees to fill various roles within their organization.  In these situations, the employer is likely responsible for the acts of the employee if the employee is acting within the course and scope of their employment (i.e., “on the job”).  Businesses will also utilize staffing agencies at times to hire temporary workers.  In these situations, who is the employer of these temporary workers – the staffing agency or the host employer?  A recent Washington case, Department of Labor and Industries v. Tradesmen International, LLC, clarified.

Washington Supreme Court Affirms $9.2M Judgment

Author: Shivani Bommakanty, Bryan D. Scholnick

November 18, 2021 10:42am

The Washington Supreme Court considered the issue of whether a jury instruction given in an underlying lawsuit was prejudicial and not harmless to plaintiff.  The Court found plaintiff was not prejudiced by the jury instruction even though the instruction was potentially misleading.  The Appellate decision had found the jury instruction had been prejudicial to plaintiff.  This affirmed a verdict of $9.2 million against Lake Hills Investments, Inc.

One For the Landlords in Washington

Author: Michael Kutzner

Guest Editor: Grace Shuman

October 29, 2021 9:00am

Landlord and tenant law in Washington usually favors the tenant.  However, a tenant can be the disfavored party when a clearly written, easily interpreted contract is involved.  In Spokane Airport Board v. Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 79, the Washington Supreme Court adhered to the contract in question, siding with the landlord.

Confirm This is Included in Your Preexisting Condition Argument Plan

Author: Nathan Furman

Guest Editor: Kiran Gupta

October 4, 2021 3:40pm

Preexisting conditions are a frequent topic in personal injury litigation. A preexisting condition can significantly impact the amount of recovery a plaintiff may receive – and determine whether a plaintiff receives anything at all. Attorneys should confirm their preexisting condition arguments are as airtight as possible, so they are not excluded. The case of Harris v. Drake is instructive on the admissibility of evidence relating to such preexisting conditions.

Covenant Judgments Can Be the Foundation of Bad Faith Claims

Author: Michael Kutzner

Guest Editor: Kiran Gupta

September 7, 2021 9:00am

Bad faith claims have become an all too familiar threat when plaintiff’s counsel engages in settlement negotiations. Once a policy limit demand is made and rejected, one of two things will likely happen: either plaintiff’s counsel will approach the insured and ask the insured to agree to a covenant judgment, or the insurer will provide the insured with a “blue sky” letter, which promises the insurer will pay any award in excess of policy limits (thus fully protecting the insured against any contribution).

Trespass to Real Property – A Washington Primer

Author: Nathan Furman

July 30, 2021 9:00am

A trespass to real property may occur when a person enters or remains on the land of another without permission or invitation whether expressed or implied. A person may be liable for trespass even if he causes no damage if he intentionally (1) enters the land of another or causes a thing or third-party to do so, (2) remains on the land, or (3) fails to remove from the land a thing that he has a duty to remove.

Falling for Liquor: Washington Court Reaffirms Premises Liability Law

Author: Michael Kutzner

July 2, 2021 9:00am

Premises liability claims can be a slippery subject, particularly when the claim takes place in an unusual setting or deals with an unusual set of facts. Washington liquor stores have long faced regulations and laws far more stringent than those applied to other types of businesses and have faced special scrutiny in nearly all aspects of business operation.

New Pathways to Recover for Intentional Inference with a Corpse in Washington

Author: Michael Kutzner

Guest Editor: Kiran Gupta

April 30, 2021 9:00am

Death is difficult. It can cause a host of emotions, most of which are typically unpleasant. In most situations, the deceased are handled respectfully and tended to prior to a funeral service, celebration of life, or other farewells. Sadly, on some occasions the deceased are not respected, and living persons “related to” or “close to” the deceased may be entitled to recover damages for emotional distress when tortious interference with a corpse occurs.

What You Need to Know About Loss of Consortium in Washington

Author: Nathan Furman

Guest Editor: Kiran Gupta

April 2, 2021 9:00am

Loss of consortium is a term used to refer to the deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship due to injuries caused by a tortfeasor. Proving loss of consortium can be very difficult because it is not easy to put a value on pain and suffering and the requirements vary by state. The discussion below focuses on the current law in Washington in this area with respect to different types of plaintiffs.

To Zoom or Not to Zoom…That is the Question.

Author: Brianna Andrade

March 1, 2021 12:48pm

March 2021 marks the year anniversary that jury trials seemingly ceased to exist as we once knew them – that is, before COVID-19 abruptly shifted the courtroom.  In the past year, jury trials have been ridden with unpredictability.  One can rarely read a legal document these days without at least some mention of COVID-19 and its impact on the overall timeline of a matter.  Are jury trials really a distant memory while still navigating midst of the COVID-19 era, or will innovation and the embrace of a new normal propel us forward?

Opening the Wrong Doors

Author: Michael Kutzner

March 1, 2021 12:45pm

Everyone makes mistakes; such is life.  No one is perfect.  Learn the lesson and do not let it happen again.  One such mistake occurred recently in Mancini v. City of Tacoma, 2021 WL 279715 (2021).

Washington Employer’s Vicarious Liability for Employee’s Torts and the “Borrowed Servant” Defense

Author: Nathan Furman

February 1, 2021 8:40pm

Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer is subject to vicarious liability to third parties for torts committed by the servant (read: “employee”) within the scope of employment. To establish respondeat superior, plaintiff must establish the relationship of employer-employee and that the tort was committed within the scope of employment.

When is a Washington Cyclist Considered a Pedestrian?

Author: Michael Kutzner

February 1, 2021 8:35pm

Insurance policies are often rather complete and precise in what exactly they will cover.  When a policy fails to include a definition to a potentially vague term, Washington courts will look to the intent of the laws guiding a definition, while also seeking to incorporate the definition most favorable to plaintiff.

Under Washington State Law, Which Relationship is More Important: Physician-Patient or Corporate Attorney-Client?

Author: Michael Kutzner

January 11, 2021 9:00am

Patients have a high expectation their communication, diagnoses, and treatment will remain confidential when speaking with their medical providers. This includes treating physicians, nurses, and social workers. Washington law enforces this privileged bond. How far does this privilege extend? What other privileges may defeat the physician-patient privilege, if any?

Washington Supreme Court Finds Dairy Work Dangerous

Author: Michael Kutzner

Guest Editor: Jeremy Freedman

November 30, 2020 4:11pm

The law is ever-evolving. Thought paradigms shift with an increased understanding of human dynamics and the introduction of new ideas. Washington law typically follows a more liberal-sided evolution of the law, often causing defense attorneys some degree of frustration. Washington law regulates minimum wage but also provides exemptions from the minimum wage requirement for some positions in various industries. The Minimum Wage Act of Washington was based on the Fair Labor Standards of 1938, which plaintiffs in Martinez-Cuevas v. DeRuyter Brothers Dairy, Inc., WL 6495500 (2020) claimed incorporated racist motivations underlying the federal statute.

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