14
Oct

In this day and age, news travels fast, and news of crises travels even faster.  Take, as an example, the forcible removal of Dr. David Dao from a United Airlines flight by officers last year.  The action, in which Dr. Dao was violently dragged off a plane after being seated in order to make room for a United employee, was videoed on a passenger’s cell phone and widely distributed—resulting in a public-relations mess for United. Managing publicity around a crisis requires ...

01
Aug

Washington’s Public Records Act (“PRA”) mandates the broad disclosure of public records in furtherance of the public policy of government transparency.[1]  Under the PRA, the media and ordinary citizens can request and obtain government records to stay informed about how their government is serving the public’s interest.  Government agencies must respond to these requests by conducting reasonable searches for responsive records, communicating with requestors, and providing the records for inspection and copying unless they are exempt from disclosure ...

08
Sep

A previous post in this blog discussed the impact that arbitration rules can have on how an eventual dispute is resolved. In arbitration, the parties can chose—or even make—the rules that will apply. Often they will chose, without considering, AAA rules. A recent decision by the Washington Court of Appeals, Raven Offshore Yacht Shipping, LLP v. F.T. Holdings, LLC,[1] illustrates how adopting what would appear to be a “standard” set of institutional arbitration rules ...

02
Mar

Duncan Manville, David Bruce, and Brandi Balanda presented at the Landslides in Washington CLE Conference on March 2nd and 3rd, 2017 in Seattle, WA. David Bruce discussed "After the Slide - Post-Disaster Government Communications and Actions". You may download his presentation materials by clicking here. Brandi Balanda presented "Beyond Oso: Understanding, Avoiding, and Mitigating Spoliatation Issues". You may download her presentation materials by clicking here. Mr. Manville, who was a program chair, spoke on the topic ...

16
Sep

Arbitration’s near-ubiquitous use in commercial contracts makes it appear to be a handy one-size-fits-all alternative to courtroom litigation for business disputes. Unfortunately, as with most things in the world of dispute resolution, looks can be deceiving. Here are several questions to ask when weighing whether arbitration will fit your particular business needs. How important is the case? As a general rule, the more important the case is to your business operations, the less likely you are to be content with ...

01
Sep

For Washington farmers, the distinction between managing a farm and managing a labor force just got fuzzier. While machines have greatly reduced the need for human labor, some farmers still need lots of workers to provide hands-on labor. On many farms, the need for help (as dictated by the crops themselves) is irregular, varying not only seasonally but even week to week and day to day. For generations, farmers have relied on farm labor contractors (FLCs) ...

09
May

In the wake of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion[1], mandatory arbitration agreements have become increasingly common in consumer and employment contracts. The rise of arbitration agreements even caught the eye of the New York Times, which ran a three-part series about the “soaring number of consumer and employment contracts” containing arbitration clauses.[i] As discussed in earlier blog posts, when combined with a class-action waiver, arbitration agreements can effectively preclude class action ...

23
Nov

There are many reasons an employer may want to require arbitration of disputes with its employees. Arbitration can be (but is not always) less expensive than court litigation; arbitrations are not public and are often confidential; and an arbitration agreement can, when combined with a class-action waiver, effectively preclude employee class actions where the claims are not small. Earlier this month, the Washington Court of Appeals confirmed an employer’s right to require its employees to sign an arbitration ...

01
Apr

Before 2003, Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provided that “[a] class action shall not be dismissed or compromised without the approval of the court, and notice of the proposed dismissal or compromise shall be given to all members of the class in such manner as the court directs.”  This ambiguous language created  a circuit split regarding whether court approval was required for settlement and dismissal of a putative class action prior to class certification. In 2003, the ...

04
Nov

Last September, the Washington Court of Appeals held that the “economic reality” test is the proper method to determine whether an entity is a joint employer for purposes of imposing liability under Washington’s Minimum Wage Act (“MWA”).[1]   The Washington Supreme Court has now affirmed.  An earlier blog post about the Court of Appeals decision, Becerra v. Expert Janitorial, is available here.  Becerra involved allegations by a group of janitors that they were underpaid in violation of the ...