In a perfect world, there’d be less need for the safety nets of Social Security, and no one who warranted disability would be denied because of administrative or subjective biases. This world isn’t perfect, though, and biases exist to the point where a whole industry has been formed to get unduly denied and disabled Americans the support they have been and are guaranteed by Congress and the law. Read more
Division 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
Since Short v. Demopolis, 103 Wn.2d 52, 691 P.2d 163 (1984), the business aspects of law practice have been subject to the Washington Consumer Protection Act. RCW 19.86.020 prohibits “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce[.]” RCW 19.86.090, in turn, creates a private right of action for CPA violations and includes both attorney fees and treble damages (to $25,000 beyond actual damages) remedies for a successful claimant. Historically, most CPA claims involving lawyers touched on fee-related issues (see, e.g., Cotton v. Kronenberg, 111 Wn. App. 258, 273-75, 44 P.3d 878 (2002)). Division I of the Court of Appeals, however, recently discussed lawyer web advertising in the CPA context in Rhodes v. Rains, 2016 WL 3080727 (Wn. App. May 31, 2016) (published on July 28, 2016).
Recently, the WSBA has received several reports of scams either “spoofing” (pretending to be, or be from attorneys) or targeting attorneys. Some scams use an attorney’s or firm’s identity to extort money from victims, while others are sending ransomware directly to the attorneys. Read more
Attorney Mark Fucile takes a closer look at the state Supreme Court’s stance on legal practice under the Consumer Protection Act. Read more