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Search results for 'Mark Fucile'

9
Aug

Supreme Court Holds No Double Jeopardy for Lawyer Discipline

In a case of first impression in Washington, the Supreme Court recently held that the double jeopardy provisions of the United States and Washington Constitutions do not apply to lawyer discipline proceedings. In re Waechter, ___ Wn.2d ___, 419 P.3d 827, 2018 WL 2977072 (June 14, 2018), involved a lawyer who had allegedly converted client funds from his trust account. Read more »

28
Jun

Confirming When Representation Begins Matters

handshake

handshakeA recent decision by Division III of the Washington Court of Appeals illustrates the importance of confirming whether or not you have taken on a client at an initial meeting.

Fechner v. Volyn, ___ Wn. App. ___, 418 P.3d 120, 2018 WL 2307703 (May 22, 2018), was painted against the backdrop of a medical malpractice case. The plaintiff was the personal representative of her late husband’s estate. She believed that her husband had died as a result of being prescribed inappropriate medications. The plaintiff contended she first consulted the defendant lawyer in October 2011 about pursuing a medical malpractice claim against the doctor involved and that the lawyer had agreed orally at that time to take on her case. The lawyer, by contrast, argued that he did not begin to represent the plaintiff until August 2012 when she signed a written authorization for him to investigate the claim. The significance of the two dates is that the statute of limitation on the medical malpractice claim ran in the meantime. Read more »

5
Jun

Appeals Court Considers Prosecutor’s Subpoena for Letter Held by Former Defense Counsel

A gavel in a courtroom.
Ethics guru Mark Fucile analyzes a Court of Appeals decision to overturn a lower court’s ruling for contempt against a defendant’s former counsel.

A gavel in a courtroom.Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals recently addressed a subpoena duces tecum to former counsel in State v. Rogers, ___ Wn. App. ___, 414 P.3d 1143, 2018 WL 1602957 (2018). The lawyer had represented the criminal defendant. On his own, the defendant had written a letter to the victim apologizing and offering to pay her to drop the charges. The victim gave the lawyer a copy of the letter. The victim, however, did not retain the handwritten original. After the lawyer left the case, the prosecutor subpoenaed the lawyer’s copy of the letter. The lawyer and new counsel for the defendant both moved to quash the subpoena. The trial court denied both motions. When the lawyer still declined to produce the letter, the trial court also held the lawyer in contempt. The lawyer appealed the contempt order and the defendant appealed the denial of the motion to quash. Read more »

10
May

Oh, Those Dreaded Words: ‘Can I Get Your Advice on Something?’

A family enjoying dinner and conversation.
Just as I lifted the fork to my open mouth, I heard the words that every attorney dreads most: “Can I get your advice on something?”

A family enjoying dinner and conversation.When it comes to Thanksgiving mac and cheese, my mother is basically Marie Curie. Four cheeses, added at four different times, melted at four different temperatures until the crispy top snaps like a potato chip. I wait all year for this.

So naturally I’d been watching what I was eating all day in preparation. I scooped a cheesy pile onto my plate along with other delectable fare, made a bee-line for the couch, and settled in to stuff my face. Read more »

11
Apr

Court of Appeals: Claiming Attorney Fees as Damages Waives Privilege

Abstract depiction of a scale and gavel
Attorney-client privilege is waived when claiming attorney fees for the work involved as damages, a Court of Appeals rules.

Abstract depiction of a scale and gavelDivision I of the Washington Court of Appeals held recently that the attorney-client privilege is waived when claiming attorney fees for the work involved as damages in a subsequent legal malpractice case. Leen v. Defoe, 2018 WL 582448 (Wn. App. Jan. 29, 2018) (unpublished), arose against the backdrop of a commercial transaction. The plaintiffs had hired the defendant law firm to represent them in negotiating the sale of a business. Read more »