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The Pivotal Law Blog

A Property Lawyer’s Story

Posted Thursday, March 29, 2018 by Kim Sandher

From GPSOLO, Vol. 35, No. 2, March/April 2018

Washington and Seattle Legislative Roundup – Police, Discrimination, Litigation and Housing

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

Washington’s 2018 legislative session recently closed. The legislative session resulted in a number of important changes to Washington law. The Washington legislature enacted significant police reforms. Initiative 940 requires law enforcement officers…

Can Towns Ban Retail Marijuana Sales? Court of Appeals Says Yes

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

With states increasingly legalizing recreational marijuana retail sales, one question is whether specific towns that prefer not to have marijuana sold at retail can prohibit marijuana stores from opening within their borders. The Court of Appeals’ March…

Does My Insurer Need to Tell Me When They Change My Policy?

Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

Court of Appeals decision emphasizes minimal notice requirement for renewal insurance policy changes. A common pitfall for insurance policyholders lies in the insurer’s renewal notice. Policyholders often set their policy premiums to pay and set the…

Washington Court of Appeals Rules on Insurance Coverage and Arson Case

Posted Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

The Washington Court of Appeals, in an unpublished decision in Schmidt v. American Commerce Insurance Company, recently decided claims against an insurance company where the jury concluded the insured burned his own house down. Schmidt rebuilt his home…

Washington Supreme Court Clarifies Court of Appeals Decisions of One Division Do Not Bind Other Court of Appeals Divisions

Posted Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

On February 15, 2018, the Washington Supreme Court issued an important decision clarifying the authority of Washington’s Court of Appeals in the case In re Personal Restraint of Arnold, Case No. 94544-6. Washington’s Court of Appeals is divided into…

Insurance Regulators Investigating Aetna for Training Employees to Deny Coverage Without Reviewing Patient's Medical Records

Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

Aetna, the country’s third largest health insurer, is under investigation by state insurance regulators following Aetna’s admission that it routinely denies medical treatment coverage without reviewing the insured’s medical records. Aetna’s admission…

When Can Employers Rely On Employees’ Criminal Background Checks In Making Employment Decisions?

Posted Wednesday, February 7, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

Many employers routinely run background checks, including for criminal history, as part of screening prospective employees. Washington and federal law require employers follow specific procedures when performing background checks, and give employees…

CASE LAW UPDATE: City liability for sewer back up

Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2018 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Acosta v. Mabton, the Court of Appeals (Division III)(No. 35159-9, 2018), recently addressed whether a property owner had a claim against the city (Mabton, WA) when sewage backed up and flooded their residence. In Acosta, on the morning of January 12…

Federal Judge Rejects Requests to Throw Out Verdict Against Lakewood Police Officers Over Jurors’ Alleged Ulterior Motives

Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

U.S. Federal District Judge Barbara Rothstein recently upheld a $15.1 million jury verdict against the city of Lakewood and three Lakewood police officers over the 2013 killing of an unarmed man. In her 69-page order, Judge Rothstein repeatedly…

Case Law Update – Court Rules School Buses are Not “Automobiles” Under State Farm Insurance Policy Fine Print

Posted Thursday, January 18, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

On January 9, 2018, Washington’s Court of Appeals issued a ruling that significantly limits policyholders’ coverage under many automobile insurance policies. In Koren v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, Case No. 34723-1-III, the court interpreted…

Can a Marijuana Business Get Bankruptcy Relief?

Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by Kim Sandher

Marijuana is regulated as a dangerous drug by Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that the federal prohibition takes precedence over any state law that says otherwise. The United States Trustee Program (USTP) has to respect this. Thus, the answer…

What is ERISA and How Does It Affect Your Rights?

Posted Monday, January 8, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

If you have health plan or similar insurance through your employer, you may encounter the term “ERISA” in the context of your benefits. The upshot is ERISA is a federal law that regulates most employer-provided benefit plans, like health insurance…

Marijuana Retail License Rules Clarified, Confirms LLC’s Owner’s Spouse’s Homicide Conviction Precludes Marijuana License

Posted Wednesday, December 27, 2017 by Pivotal Law Group

The Washington Supreme Court recently clarified the rules governing who may obtain a marijuana retail license. In Libby Haines-Marchel, et al. v. Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board, the Supreme Court ruled that the Washington State Liquor and…

Macy’s department store may not avoid liability for injuries caused by faulty escalator

Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Knutson v. Macy’s West Stores, Inc., et al, (75565-0-1)(December 11, 2017), the Court of Appeals Division I overturned a trial court ruling relating to a patron injured while riding on an escalator at the Bellevue Square Mall. Natasha Knutson and her…

Washington Law Imposes Important Rules for Powers of Attorney

Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2017 by Pivotal Law Group

What is a power of attorney? For many folks, a power of attorney, i.e., a legal document designating another person to act on your behalf as your “agent,” is a critical part of an estate plan or other legal arrangement. While it might seem…

Seattle Legislation Update – City Council To Vote On New Short-Term Rental Rules

Posted Wednesday, December 6, 2017 by Pivotal Law Group

Owners and renters of properties used as short-term rentals (e.g., Airbnb) should be mindful of the Seattle city council’s imminent action on proposed new short-term rental rules. On Monday, December 11, 2017, the Seattle city council is expected to vote…

What Is A Speculative Builder And How Can Speculative Builders Pay Lower Real Estate Development Taxes?

Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2017 by Pivotal Law Group

Seattle is in a construction boom and many firms are engaged in large scale real estate construction projects. That often entails tax liability under Washington and Seattle sales tax and business and occupation (“B&O”) tax. But certain real estate…

Happy Thanksgiving from Pivotal Law Group!

Posted Wednesday, November 22, 2017 by Christopher L. Thayer

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting To Make An Insurance Claim – A Cheat Sheet

Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2017 by Pivotal Law Group

So you’ve had a loss – perhaps a tree fell on your house, your car was wrecked or you became injured or disabled – and it’s time to dust off that insurance policy to see if you’re covered. Maybe you already made a claim but your insurer denied it for…

DISCLAIMER: This blog is not legal advice. This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice under any circumstances, nor should it be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship. The information on this blog is a general statement of the law and may not be up to date, accurate or applicable to your specific circumstances. Prior success in litigation is not an indication of future results; each case is unique and past results cannot predict future outcomes.

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