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Posts from the ‘Washington Supreme Court’ Category

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Court of Appeals Reiterates No Duty to Will Beneficiaries

Division I of the Court of Appeals in Reznick v. Livengood, Alskog, PLLC, 2016, recently reiterated that will beneficiaries ordinarily do not have standing to bring a legal malpractice claim against the attorney who drew the will involved because they are not clients of the lawyer. In doing so, the appeals court relied primarily on its own opinion in Parks v. Fink, 2013, which, in turn, applied the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in Trask v. Butler, 1994.

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Supreme Court Holds No Privilege for Communications with Former Employees

Cartoon of man with mouth full of bricks
No attorney-client privilege for communications between corporate or governmental counsel and former employees, state Supreme Court rules.

Cartoon of man with mouth full of bricksIn 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 decision in Newman v. Highland School District No. 203, ___ Wn.2d ___, ___ P.3d ___, 2016 WL 6126472 (Oct. 20, 2016), was on discretionary review. Read more »


Highlights from the 2016 WSBA 50-Year Member Luncheon

50-year members
Congratulations to our 71 members who celebrate 50 years of WSBA membership in 2016!

50-year membersCongratulations to our 71 members who celebrate 50 years of WSBA membership in 2016! Read more »


Court of Appeals Finds Fee Dispute Alone Doesn’t Support Consumer Protection Act Claim

Gavel and Bemjamins
A recent decision from the Court of Appeals illustrates that some fee disputes will not meet the “public interest” requirement.

Gavel and BemjaminsSince 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 “unfair 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. Read more »


Supreme Court Reaffirms ‘Actual Innocence’ Requirement for Criminal-Case Malpractice Claims

Gavel and scale
The state Supreme Court reaffirmed that legal malpractice claims from a criminal case must prove the plaintiff innocent of the crime.

Gavel and scale

The Washington Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the requirement that a plaintiff in a legal malpractice claim arising from a criminal case prove that the plaintiff was actually innocent of the crime involved. The “actual innocence” requirement presents a high bar for claimants because, as the Supreme Court explained in Ang v. Martin, 154 Wn.2d 477, 484-85, 114 P.3d 637 (2005), it means more than just “legal innocence” in the sense of having a conviction reversed or otherwise vacated. As the Supreme Court defined it in Ang, “actual innocence” means just that: a malpractice claimant must show that the claimant did not do the crime charged. Read more »