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The Pivotal Law Blog

Tracking Proposed Real Estate Development in Seattle

Posted Friday, July 24, 2015 by Christopher L. Thayer

border left Have questions about a proposed development in your neighborhood? New townhomes or condos going in? Wondering what is happening with that vacant lot down the street? These questions and more can now be answered via a new website which allows…

$15/hour Minimum Wage - Washington State Attorney General Issues Guideline for Surcharges

Posted Friday, July 10, 2015 by Christopher L. Thayer

Seattle and SeaTac have recently decided to increase their hourly minimum wage to $15.00/hour. As local businesses react to this change, some have considered adding a line item charge for their service to cover this increased labor cost. In particular…

Case Law Update: Father Trying to do the Right Thing, Ends up Serving Daughter with Lawsuit

Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2015 by Christopher L. Thayer

Contrary to popular belief, lawsuits in Washington do not necessarily have to be served in person. Washington law allows for substitute service, where a party can obtain service of process of the lawsuit by serving a “person of suitable age and…

Case Law Update: Property Owners Liability for Criminal Acts of a Third Party

Posted Monday, March 16, 2015 by Christopher L. Thayer

In McKown v. Simon Property, the Washington Supreme Court was asked to review the scope of a landowner’s responsibility for harm when strangers commit criminal acts against “business invitees” on business premises. On November 20, 2005, Dominick S…

Social Media Updates Off Duty Can Cost You Your Job

Posted Wednesday, February 18, 2015 by Pivotal Law Group

In a recent Washington State Court of Appeals, Division I case, the court in Kirby et al v. Dept. of Employment Security (No. 70738-8-I) analyzed whether an employee who is discharged for alleged misconduct based on her social media post disqualifies her…

Case Law Update: CPAs Can Owe Duty of Care to Non-clients

Posted Thursday, February 12, 2015 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Dewar v. Smith, No. 69701-3-1 (January 26, 2015), the Washington Court of Appeals recently addressed the question of whether a CPA could be liable to a third party (non-client) for alleged negligence or misrepresentation. This question is usually…

Case Law Update: Homestead Exemption Cannot Be Use to Facilitate Unjust Enrichment

Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2014 by Christopher L. Thayer

In a recent decision by Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals, Gass v. Abdel-Wahed, the Court addressed the “abuse” of the homestead exemption in the context of a divorce proceeding. The court specifically held that, where a party has wrongfully…

Seattle’s New Minimum Wage Ordinance

Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by Michael J. Warren

On June 2, 2014, the Seattle City Council adopted a minimum wage ordinance that applies to all employees within the City of Seattle. In short, beginning April 1, 2015, the Ordinance requires all Seattle employers to raise the minimum they pay to their…


Posted Wednesday, November 5, 2014 by Christopher L. Thayer

Millions of vehicles in the United States sold by a wide-range of automobile manufacturers are being recalled as a result of potentially defective and dangerous airbags manufactured by Japanese supplier, Takata. The National Highway Traffic Safety…

Liability for Dog Bites under Washington Law

Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2014 by Christopher L. Thayer

Dog bite injuries are unfortunately a fairly common occurrence. These injuries can be quite severe, gruesome, and are frequently complicated by infection. We often get questions about what your options may be if you have been bitten by a dog; or, as a…

Case law update: can a child sue his or her parents for negligence? Yes, in certain circumstances.

Posted Thursday, September 18, 2014 by Christopher L. Thayer

In a recent decision from Division II of the Washington Court of Appeals, Woods v. H.O. Sports, et al, the court addressed the issue of whether a child can bring a tort claim for personal injuries against a parent. In Woods, the father Michael Woods was…

Why All Employers Should Have an Employee Handbook

Posted Wednesday, September 10, 2014 by Pivotal Law Group

In Washington, there is no law requiring employers to have an employee handbook, but for obvious reasons, it’s a good idea to have one—even a short one. A handbook allows employers to inform its employees about the rules enforced at the workplace in an…

How to Collect on a Judgment in Washington: Garnishments and Supplemental Proceedings

Posted Wednesday, September 3, 2014 by Pivotal Law Group

You were awarded a nice judgment by the court, great! Now what? A money judgment does not necessarily mean you will be able to collect on it yourself. Maybe the debtor is actively trying to avoid payment. This is where we come in. There are several…

Should You Incorporate Your Business?

Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2014 by Pivotal Law Group

More and more businesses are incorporating in Washington state today. If you are a sole proprietor or in a general partnership, you may be putting your own finances at risk, including your family’s if you do not incorporate your business. If you are…

Guardianship 101: How Can I Get a Guardian Appointed?

Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by Pivotal Law Group

A guardian is a person appointed by the court to manage an incapacitated person’s affairs. Guardians are usually appointed by superior court judges or court commissioners. A family member can request to be appointed as a guardian or ask the court to…

Loan Modification – Is It For You?

Posted Wednesday, August 13, 2014 by Pivotal Law Group

Unfortunately, the number of foreclosures in the state of Washington is still prominent. Millions of homeowners are bearing the effects of the foreclosure crisis. In 2013, almost 1.4 million homes across the United States were in some stage of…

Can a row of trees planted on your property be considered a “spite fence”?

Posted Thursday, August 7, 2014 by Christopher L. Thayer

Under Washington law a party may not construct a fence or other “structure” on their land when it is “maliciously” erected with the intention to “spite, injure or annoy an adjoining [landowner].” RCW 7.40.030. Often referred to as the “spite fence”…

Understanding “Wrongful” Death Claims in Washington

Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Pivotal Law Group

The untimely loss of a loved one is always difficult for surviving family members to cope with. In Washington, we have wrongful death claims. Although no amount of money can bring them back, the party responsible for the death should be held accountable…

Covenants Not to Compete--Sign with Extreme Caution

Posted Thursday, July 10, 2014 by Michael A. Larson

IIn Washington state, employment covenants not to compete are generally enforceable. It is not unusual to be handed a covenant not to compete on the first day of a job or during employment with a short deadline to sign and return the document. More often…

Case Law Update: Who has the right to control disposition of a deceased person’s remains?

Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 by Christopher L. Thayer

A recent Court of Appeals (Division III) case, Whitney v. Cervantes, addressed a dispute over who had the right to control disposition of a deceased relative’s remains. Lawrence Wilhalm died in 2011. He was not married and had no children. His only…

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