26
May

Court systems across the country are on indefinite hold.  The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has continued all in-person civil and criminal proceedings scheduled to occur before August 3, 2020 pending further order of the Court.[1]  In Washington state courts, all civil and criminal jury trials are suspended until at least July 6, 2020.[2]  The King County Superior Court plans – tentatively – to resume jury trials in sometime in July. Although much ...

23
Apr

Earlier this week, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation (akin to an executive order) that imposed a temporary moratorium on garnishments of wages and other income to collect judgments for consumer debt throughout Washington.  The proclamation temporarily prohibits garnishments of wages and other income to collect judgments for consumer debt until 11:50 PM on May 14, 2020.  Violation of the proclamation may result in criminal penalties. Here’s a link to the proclamation: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-49%20-%20COVID-19%20Garnishment.pdf Relatedly, the King County Clerk’s Office has ...

05
Feb

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has revised its Local Civil Rules effective January 1, 2020.  The changes to the rules themselves are modest; perhaps more important to the Western District bar are the changes to the District’s Model Agreement Regarding Discovery of Electronically Stored Information and Proposed Order (the “Model Order”).  In many federal cases involving discovery of electronically stored information (“ESI”), the Model Order is the starting point for the parties’ negotiation of the ...

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 ...