Skip to content

Search results for 'Mark Fucile'

4
Oct
The cogs of law graphic

Supreme Court Holds Order Allowing Withdrawal Precludes Subsequent Malpractice Claim Over the Withdrawal

The Washington Supreme Court held recently in Schibel v. Eymann that a court order permitting withdrawal under CR 71 precludes a subsequent malpractice claim over the withdrawal. Schibel grew out of a commercial lease and related mold exposure litigation. Disagreements over strategy in the underlying case led the lawyers to seek leave to withdraw. Because the trial was approaching rapidly, the lawyers also filed a motion to continue. The trial court allowed the withdrawal but denied the continuance. When the clients — who were then pro se — did not appear for trial, the trial court dismissed their claims with prejudice and the Court of Appeals affirmed in Schibel v. Johnson, 2012 WL 2326992 (Wn. App. June 19, 2012) (unpublished). The clients later sued the lawyers for legal malpractice, alleging that the lawyers’ withdrawal was improper that close to trial. In the legal malpractice case, the lawyers moved for summary judgment — arguing that the clients were precluded from challenging their withdrawal because it had been allowed by the trial court and affirmed on appeal. The trial court in the legal malpractice case denied the motion, concluding that the subsequent action was not barred by collateral estoppel. On discretionary review, Division III agreed. On a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court reversed — holding that the portions of the subsequent legal malpractice claim focused on withdrawal were precluded as a matter of law.

Read more

28
Aug

Court of Appeals Rules on Authority of Insurance Defense Counsel

A client and attorney
Appeals court addresses an insurance defense counsel’s authority when the counsel had no contact with the insured throughout litigation.

A client and attorneyDivision II of the Court of Appeals recently addressed the authority of insurance defense counsel in an unusual scenario: where defense counsel had no contact with the insured throughout the course of the litigation involved. Kruger-Willis v. Hoffenburg, 198 Wn. App. 408, 393 P.3d 844 (2017), arose out of an automobile accident. The defendant drove a truck into the plaintiff’s parked car. The defendant’s insurer paid for the property damage involved, but then the plaintiff sued the defendant for the diminished value of the vehicle. The defendant prevailed at trial, and the trial court awarded the defendant $11,490 in fees and costs. In the course of litigating the fee award, defense counsel admitted that he had never had any contact with the defendant. Read more »

7
Aug

Court of Appeals Underscores Significance of Written Fee Agreement

A man and female attorney signing a document
A recent decision by Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals highlights the importance of a written fee agreement.

A man and female attorney signing a documentA recent decision by Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals highlights the importance of a written fee agreement. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP v. Peterson, 2017 WL 1593009 (Wn. App. May 1, 2017) (unpublished), was a fee collection case by a law firm against a client. The law firm had represented the client in commercial litigation before withdrawing. After the underlying case resolved, the law firm sued the client for unpaid fees and related expenses that the law firm had advanced. Read more »

19
Jul

Court of Appeals Discusses Implied Waiver of Privilege When Claiming Attorney Fees as Damages

books on the table and classes and the bottom shelf
Division I of the Court of Appeals recently discussed implied waiver of the attorney-client privilege when claiming attorney fees as damages.

books on the table and classes and the bottom shelfDivision I of the Court of Appeals recently discussed implied waiver of the attorney-client privilege when claiming attorney fees as damages. Bellevue Farm Owners Association v. Stevens, ___ Wn. App. ___, ___ P.3d ___, 2017 WL 1293482 (2017), was on discretionary review. The underlying litigation involved the development of waterfront property and included a counterclaim for abuse of process. The damages asserted under the counterclaim were solely attorney fees and related costs.The counterclaim defendant sought discovery of billing records relating to the attorney fees and costs claimed. Following an order at the trial court requiring production, the counterclaimant requested — and was granted — discretionary review. At the Court of Appeals, the defendant argued that the counterclaimant had impliedly waived privilege by claiming the attorney fees and associated costs as damages. The counterclaimant, in turn, contended that implied waiver only applied to legal malpractice claims. Read more »

10
Jul

Legislative Update: Impact of New Budget on WSBA Priorities

Washington's flag
Late on June 30, the legislature avoided a partial government shutdown by passing, and Gov. Inslee signing, an operating budget.

Washington's Capitol in OlyLate on June 30, the legislature avoided a partial government shutdown by passing, and Gov. Inslee signing, an operating budget. The budget appropriates $43.7 billion over the next biennium.

Read more »