You just received a summons and complaint filed against your company by an employee, vendor or supplier, client, or customer.   What you do in immediate response may have a profound effect on what follows.  To position your company for the best possible outcome, here are five things to keep in mind in every case. 1.  Do Not Communicate or Reach Out in Your Own Your first instinct may be to try to communicate with the plaintiff—the person who brought the suit.  You ...


In this era of tightening federal budgets and periodic government shutdowns, there can be no guarantee that any particular federal courthouse will be open for business—or even in existence—at the time an agreement spawns litigation. Under a recent Ninth Circuit decision, such a closure could be more than inconvenient: it could cut off a party’s bargained-for access to federal court. In a matter of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that a venue-selection clause ...


SBW is pleased to report that our partner Steve Willey has been named a "BTI Client Service All-Star" for 2019. Unique among those who review or rate legal services, BTI's appellation relies only on the input of clients, predominantly major companies.  No attorney or firm can self-nominate, self-refer, nor pay to be included in this report, and peers at the bar also have no say.  Clients have the final--and only--say in the identification of those named.  To be included in ...


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 ...


SBW Welcomes Rena Chng

We are pleased to announce that Ms. Rena Chng has joined Savitt Bruce & Willey LLP. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Chng was a partner at Mayer Brown LLP, and an associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC, in Palo Alto, CA.  Ms. Chng has represented clients in the technology, telecommunications, financial, insurance, and agriculture industries.  She is a 2000 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School. Welcome, Rena!


Our website has a blog. We think (hope?) it is good—that it has articles of interest to our clients and our colleagues at the bar, and that it sometimes is not just interesting but amusing. (E.g. here and here.) It doesn’t have a name, though, and don’t all good blogs have a name? Well, we like a musical as much as anyone else, and we can recognize much of ...


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 ...


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, ...


Geekwire sought out SBW partner Steve Willey's experience and expertise for its recent article on Amazon's decisions about when to seek to enforce the non-competition provisions in its employment agreements. In "It's Business, and it's Personal: How Amazon Web Services Decides to Enforce Non-Compete Contracts", (Geekwire, June 15 2017), Steve offered input about the practical, business considerations that are often relevant to enforcement of non-competes and other contractual restrictive covenants. (See also our blog post on "


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 ...