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Posts from the ‘Case Law Updates’ Category


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 »


Supreme Court Punts on Skagit Tribal Sovereign Immunity

Upper Skagit Indian Tribe flag

Upper Skagit Indian Tribe flagA recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court over a land dispute between two Skagit County land owners and the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe provided some clarification on an earlier Washington Supreme Court precedent, but left open a much larger question concerning tribal sovereign immunity. Read more »


New Law Simplifies Credentialing for Health Care Providers

health careHelp has arrived for health care providers who are fed up with the burdens and delays of credentialing with multiple health carriers in the state of Washington.

Beginning this year, a new law should address two significant problems that have long plagued the credentialing process, which is the method insurance carriers use to ensure that a health care provider is qualified to provide services to their enrollees. Historically, health care providers have been required to provide different applications and information to each of the dozen or more carriers, and filling out and submitting these applications is a time-consuming process. Additionally, many providers have experienced significant delays in the processing of their applications. Read more »


Confirming When Representation Begins Matters


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 »


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 »