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The Pivotal Law Blog

Case Law Update: Is your Doctor Required to Tell You About Your Lab Results?

Posted Thursday, June 19, 2014 by Christopher L. Thayer

Short answer: maybe not. In a recent decision, Gomez v. Sauer, the Washington Supreme Court was asked to determine whether a doctor was obligated to report certain lab results to his patient. Under the specific facts of this case, the Court held that…

Is Skype Testimony Allowed In Court?

Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014 by Christopher L. Thayer

Traditionally, all witnesses are required to testify live in Washington courts, even if this means substantial inconvenience for the witnesses. On occasion, witnesses have been allowed to testify by telephone, but this has been a rare exception, as…

Free Agent at Mini-Camp not an “Employee” of Seahawks

Posted Monday, June 9, 2014 by Christopher L. Thayer

In a recent decision by the Washington Court of Appeals (Division 1), the Court addressed whether a free agent attending a mini-camp tryout could received Workman’s Compensation benefits if they were injured during camp. In Robinson v. Football Northwest…

Healthcare Directives in Estate Planning: Physician’s Wary of Measures to Extend Life

Posted Friday, June 6, 2014 by Michael A. Larson

As an estate planning attorney, healthcare directives and POLSTs are usual and standard estate planning documents and topics of discussion. Recently, when discussing these and other estate planning documents, I surprisingly discovered that a large…

Insurance Policy Interpretation—An Overview

Posted Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by Christopher L. Thayer

Very few people have taken the time to actually review in detail the provisions of their insurance policies. Insurance policies are contracts and subject to many of the same provisions that govern the interpretation of contracts. It likely comes as no…

Business Succesion Planning

Posted Monday, December 9, 2013 by Michael A. Larson

My practice is concentrated on business and real estate transactions with an emphasis on estate planning. Keeping an eye on personal financial goals while selling businesses, investing in real estate, forming partnerships and corporations and other…

Case Law Update: “Stigma” damages for car involved in a serious accident

Posted Monday, December 2, 2013 by Christopher L. Thayer

In a recent Washington Court of Appeals decision, Ibrahim v. AIU Insurance Company (No. 69554-1-1, November 4, 2013), Division I held that “stigma” damages to a vehicle are distinct from “diminished value” damages. In 2007, Ibrahim was involved in an…

Recent Washington Tax Determinations Underscore the Need for Written Rulings

Posted Friday, November 1, 2013 by Ron Bueing

Two recent published determinations of the Washington Department of Revenue underscore the need for taxpayers to obtain written rulings to support guidance received from the Washington Department of Revenue. In Det. No 13-0034,32 WTD 220 (2013), the…

Recent Changes to the Washington State Estate Tax Law

Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013 by Pivotal Law Group

In June 2013, Washington State Legislature made four significant changes to Washington estate tax laws. These changes are important to know as they may affect your existing or prospective estate plans. The changes are summarized below: The new…

Can I cut down a Boundary Tree that is right on the property line?

Posted Friday, October 18, 2013 by Christopher L. Thayer

As a general rule, you cannot cut down trees or vegetation on another person’s property without their express permission. If you do so, Washington has two separate statutes that can impose significant damages in a civil action: Trespass and the so-called…

Common Paymaster and Reimbursement of Affiliated Expenses Remains Complicated

Posted Wednesday, October 2, 2013 by Ron Bueing

In July Gov. Inslee signed legislation (Sections 101 & 102 of ESSB 5882) to restore a deduction for reimbursements between affiliated businesses that use a centralized payroll reporting system. Despite the common sense tax policy underlying this…

Recent Case Creates Risks for Lenders in Real Property Foreclosures

Posted Tuesday, August 27, 2013 by Michael A. Larson

In 1965 Washington State authorized non-judicial foreclosures as an expedited procedure for lenders to recover real property after loan defaults. We have conducted hundreds of foreclosures as trustees working on behalf of lenders through these years…

Case Law Update: "Scriveners" Error in Deed of Trust subject to Reformation by Court.

Posted Friday, August 23, 2013 by Christopher L. Thayer

In GLEPCO v. Reinstra, the Washington Court of Appeals, Division 1, held that a trial court had the authority to add the correct legal description on a trustee’s deed after a foreclosure sale where it was determined that there was an error in the…

When Two or More Tango: The Need for an Owners Agreement

Posted Monday, August 12, 2013 by Michael A. Larson

Running a business or investing in real estate can be a thrilling endeavor. Partners are a good way to share the risk and bring in additional capital or skills. If you want your entrepreneurial thrills to be positive when working with a partner, your…

In the News: Washington State Institutes New Gender-Neutral Vocabulary

Posted Tuesday, August 6, 2013 by Pivotal Law Group

On April 22, 2013, Washington governor Jay Inslee signed into law the final piece of a six-year effort to substitute gender-neutral vocabulary into state statutes. Since 2007, Lawmakers have been passing a series of bills to root out gender bias from…

Case Law Update: The Perils of Buying a Car on eBay

Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Brown v. Best Auto Limited, the Court of Appeals recently addressed a case involving a used vehicle purchased from a Washington-based company off of eBay. In Brown, the Browns purchased a 2004 Mini Cooper from Best Auto Limited based on an eBay…

Seattle Adopts Criminal Background Check Ordinance

Posted Wednesday, July 3, 2013 by Ron Bueing

On June 10, 2013, the Seattle City Council adopted an ordinance significantly affecting the ability of businesses to use criminal background checks in screening applicants for employment. Mayor McGinn is expected to sign the ordinance, which will become…

Guardianship vs. Less-Restrictive Alternatives: Navigating Legal Options When Caring for an Incapacitated Loved One

Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2013 by Pivotal Law Group

When a loved one becomes incapacitated by sudden illness or an accident, the first question asked by a client is typically how to continue taking care of that person and their affairs. This concern is especially common in situations where an…

Case Law Update: “Exercise of Judgment” Instruction Affirmed for Medical Negligence Action

Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2013 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Fergen v. Sestero, (No. 30523-6-III) the Washington Court of Appeals, Division III reviewed the appropriateness of the “exercise of judgment” standard pattern jury instruction. In Fergen, Mr. Fergen presented to Dr. Sestero with an asymptomatic lump…

Recent IRS Cases Point Out Need for Charitable Contribution Documentation

Posted Monday, April 1, 2013 by Ron Bueing

As individuals prepare to file their 2012 federal income tax returns, it is extremely important to pay attention to obtaining the appropriate documentation for charitable contributions, especially if those contributions are significant. In two cases…

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