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with “the costs then accrued.”[1]  The offeree then has 14 days to accept the offer, or the offer is considered withdrawn.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, ...

19
May

It is important to understand the difference between a contractual provision requiring mediation or arbitration and one that makes mediation a condition precedent to arbitration or the filing of a lawsuit. Here is a typical arbitration clause: Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this contract, or the breach thereof, shall be settled by arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association under its Construction Industry Arbitration Rules, and judgment on the award rendered by the arbitrator(s) may be ...

01
Mar

In any class-action settlement, the fate of unclaimed funds can be pivotal. For instance, with a common-fund settlement (with an agreed amount deposited into a common fund for distribution to class members), a significant portion of the fund may remain after distributions are made depending on how payments are calculated and distributed. And even with a “claims-made” settlement (with the amount paid equaling the sum of the claims filed), there will usually be some settlement checks that go ...

09
Feb

A will that does not reflect the true intent and free will of the person making it (the “testator”) is not valid. One familiar illustration of this basic principle is the requirement that the testator have the requisite mental (“testamentary”) capacity to do so. Another all-too-common concern arises where the testator, often elderly and with reduced mental and physical capacity, is coerced into making or changing a will so as to disproportionately favor the coercer (called “undue influence”). ...