20
May

When a company hires senior employees, it may invest a great deal of time and money training them.  Employees also may receive access to confidential client lists, relationships with customers and vendors, or proprietary business information.  So what happens when employees move on, taking that training and knowledge with them?  Ex-employees sometimes are uniquely positioned to open up a competing business; as a practical matter, a company is often training its future competition.  The potential damage could be even greater ...

09
May

Will banning certain non-compete agreements protect employees and foster competition?  Washington state legislators and Governor Inslee think so. Non-compete agreements raise policy issues regarding the balancing of legitimate business interests with a worker’s right to freely seek employment—a right that some argue is increasingly important in the growing gig economy.  Like many states, Washington courts have stricken that balance by enforcing non-compete agreements that are “reasonable.”[1] Courts determine whether an agreement is “reasonable” by considering: (1) whether the restraint is ...

09
Apr

On February 20, 2019 we posted about whether the Bezos’ divorce would impact SEC disclosure requirements for public companies.  In this regard, Amazon’s recent filing may offer additional support to those who wish to argue that personal matters impacting management, or a shareholder who owns a controlling stake in the company, should be disclosed. On April 4, 2019, Amazon announced via a Form 8-K filing that MacKenzie Bezos will receive as part of ...

25
Apr

Jim Savitt testified as an expert witness in the case of the United States v. Troy X. Kelley, Washington’s State Auditor who was accused of theft and money laundering. Mr. Savitt’s testimony, on behalf of the defense, addressed the interpretation and ambiguity of the contracts central to the prosecution’s case. On April 26, 2016 the jury returned an acquittal on one count and hung on the remainder. The jury foreman noted his view that “The ...

28
Mar

To what extent does the attorney-client privilege[1] exempt from disclosure under Washington’s Public Records Act[2] billing statements submitted to government agencies by outside litigation counsel? The privilege protects “communications incident to the giving and receiving of legal advice, and incident to the representation of the client’s legal interests.”[3] This includes attorney-client communications about relevant facts. As the Washington Supreme Court has noted, “‘[a] fact is one thing and a communication concerning that fact ...

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 ...

09
Oct

A waiver of the right to bring a class action is enforceable as part of an arbitration agreement, and a state law rule to the contrary is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §1, et seq.[1] The FAA does not, however, preclude a rule barring contractual waiver of a representative action that does not use a class procedure, according to a recent decision by the Ninth Circuit, Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc.[2] In ...

02
Oct

Earlier this summer, our blog discussed a recent Ninth Circuit decision in which the court appeared to take a more liberal approach to removal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). Recently, the Ninth Circuit focused on the purpose of CAFA’s local-controversy exception to reinforce a key yet narrow limit on federal jurisdiction under CAFA.[1] Congress enacted CAFA in 2005 to curb perceived abuses of the class-action device by vesting federal courts with ...

01
Sep

The nature and scope of consumer protection statutes vary by state. Depending upon the circumstances of a given case, a plaintiff may find one state’s statute to be preferable to that of another and may therefore seek to file suit in a state other than the one in which he or she resides. In Washington, however, the ability of out-of-state plaintiffs to file claims under Washington’s Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”) may soon be limited. In Thornell ...

17
Jul

Typically, a defendant facing a lawsuit in state court must decide quickly whether to remove the action to federal court. Although there are various grounds to support removal, federal law requires the party seeking removal to do so within 30 days of receiving the initial pleading or “an amended pleading, motion, order, or other paper” from which it may first be ascertained that the case is removable.[1] Most often, this means that the defendant must ...