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 ...

22
Apr

“Now this is not the end.  It is not even the beginning of the end.  But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” —Winston Churchill, 1942 The inherited wisdom about wage-and-hour class actions is that they settle after certification.  The assumption is that certification in wage-and-hour class actions is the decisive battle in the war; if lost, the only question is how big the price tag is going to be—the sooner it settles the less it costs.  Certification is ...

20
Mar

The Rights of Minority Shareholders in Washington Minority shareholders—those who don’t own a controlling interest in a corporation—frequently do not have a say in corporate financial or management decisions.  And in closely held corporations, such shareholders also may not be able to easily sell their stock.  But the law provides certain protections.  Among other things, Washington law gives minority shareholders the right to inspect certain corporate records.  Minority shareholders also have the right to bring a suit on behalf of the ...

27
Feb

When used effectively, Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure gives defendants a powerful and often underestimated tool.  Rule 68 allows “a party defending against a claim” to serve an offer of judgment with “the costs then accrued.”[1]  The offeree then has 14 days to accept the offer, or the offer is considered withdrawn.  If the offer of judgment is not accepted and the judgment that the claimant eventually obtains “is not more favorable than the ...

13
Sep

Disputes often arise in the middle of a deposition—such as how to allocate the time available for deposing a third-party witness, the scope of a 30(b)(6) deposition, or simply the permissibility of a line of questioning or an objection.  Although these are opportune times to call the judge for an immediate and timely ruling, parties often are reluctant to do this. Courts would obviously prefer that parties resolve discovery disputes without the court’s intervention.  Calling the judge’s chambers in the middle ...

30
Aug

Mr. David Bruce presented on the topic of Class Certification at the Seminar Group's 21st Annual Labor & Employment Law Conference on August 24th, 2018. In his presentation titled "Class Certification: The End or Just The Beginning", Mr. Bruce discussed how wage and hour class actions present issues of CR 23 commonality and predominance, highlighted in U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes. These issues are often prominent in litigating certification, and many class actions settle if and after a ...

08
Nov

All documents filed in a court proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (and most places) are available to the public—unless filed under seal. In the Western District, a party can file a document under seal only: (a) where a statute, rule, or prior court order expressly authorizes it or (b) if the party filing the document under seal files a motion to seal (which the court may or may not grant) either before or ...

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 ...

16
Aug

A previous post addressed the situation where individuals other than the deponent, court reporter, and counsel attend a deposition at the invitation of one party and without notice to the other side. In short, while the best practice is to provide advance notice to opposing counsel, there are no clear prohibitions. But that situation assumed that those invited to the deposition would be physically present, and thus their attendance known. With the increasing use of live-stream technology in depositions, ...