Vintage illustration of President James Buchanan meeting chiefs of the Pawnees and Poncas in 1858.

A Reservation Attorney’s Thoughts on the Castro-Huerta Decision

Several members of the U. S. Supreme Court deem themselves originalists or strict constructionists whose duty it is to decide cases based upon constitutional intent at the time of its adoption as reflected in its original terms. This nation could not have made it through its formative years without recognizing its dependence on what were then powerful sovereign nations with whom a solemn pact was made and never to be broken. The recent Castro-Huerta decision bodes well for the elevation of state sovereignty. For tribal nations, not so much.

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Thief steals a purse while witness does nothing.

Are Bystanders Complicit? The Holocaust as Foundation for Crimes of Omission

If you are a bystander and witness a crime, should it be a legal obligation for you to intervene? Or is moral responsibility enough? I have come to view the bystander, who fails to act, as complicit in harm that befalls the victim. This has compelled me to create a workable legal requirement whereby duty can be imposed on the bystander. Relying on the oft-repeated phrase that “people will do the right thing” is appealing and compelling, but the moral obligation model is, for me, tenuous and soft.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I Dissent: The Legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Perhaps the most impactful of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s famous dissents came in a case about gender pay inequity in the workplace: Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007). Plaintiff Lilly Ledbetter began working as a supervisor at the Goodyear Tire plant in Gadsen, Alabama, in 1979. She worked there for 19 years and for most of that time was the only woman manager.

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Law books

Demystifying the Qui Tam Process

There’s No Such Thing as an Average False Claims Case Defendants in qui tam lawsuits—in which a whistleblower accuses someone, usually a corporation, of fraud against the government—often don’t realize they’ve been targeted until months, or sometimes years, past the original filing date. This is deliberate: The federal False Claims Act (FCA) requires whistleblowers to […]

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April-May NWLawyer cover

When an Arm is a Gun, and More, in the April/May NWLawyer

What’s in a name? If it’s in a courtroom setting, everything. What’s in a name? If it’s in a courtroom setting, everything. In the April-May issue of NWLawyer, we look at the pivotal nuances involved in courtroom language interpretation and the three critical steps attorneys can take to make sure nothing is lost in translation.

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New WSBA Advisory Opinion on Withdrawal

WSBA’s Committee on Professional Ethics recently released an advisory opinion on withdrawal issues in for public court proceedings.   The Washington State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics recently released an advisory opinion surveying withdrawal issues in the context of public court proceedings. Advisory Opinion 201701 primarily addresses what you can — and can’t — […]

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A man, on the way to work, carrying bicycle beside a modern office building.

Setting the Bar Greener

  As chair of the Business Law Section’s Communications Committee at the Washington Bar Association, I recently edited the first Business Law newsletter edition focused entirely on issues of sustainability and climate change tailored to the interests of Washington business attorneys.

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

Division 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 […]

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Cartoon of man with mouth full of bricks

Supreme Court Holds No Privilege for Communications with Former Employees

In a case of first impression in Washington, the state Supreme Court recently held that communications between corporate or governmental counsel and former employees do not fall within the attorney-client privilege even if the communications concern matters that occurred during a former employee’s work for the corporation or government agency involved. The Supreme Court’s 5–4 […]

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