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The Pivotal Law Blog

KIRO's Jesse Jones investigates a Seattle tree ordinance impacting homeowners, interviews Pivotal's Chris Thayer

Posted Monday, November 14, 2016 by Christopher L. Thayer

Hundreds of thousands of Seattle trees are on city property but are the responsibility of homeowners to maintain, including removal when necessary. This is the case when a tree is on a city-owned right-of-way abutting private property and the city did…

Cracks in Seattle Sidewalks: Who has the duty to repair? Who is liable when someone is injured?

Posted Thursday, November 10, 2016 by Christopher L. Thayer

According to recent surveys, Seattle has over 2,100 miles of sidewalks and public pathways in the city. That covers about 75% of the blocks in Seattle. At one point or another, we have all noticed cracks or broken concrete in sidewalks, whether due tree…

Court of Appeals permits foreclosures, saying they were not time-barred

Posted Thursday, November 3, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

Recently, the Washington State Court of Appeals decided two cases related to home foreclosures. In both, the Court upheld the lender’s right to foreclose in the face of challenges based upon Statute of Limitations – the argument that the legal time limit…

Crash avoidance features are constantly changing, expected to decrease collisions

Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2016 by Christopher L. Thayer

Every year, more crash avoidance features make their way into new vehicles. For instance, thirty years ago, the Reagan administration required new cars starting with 1986 models to have high-mounted “third brake lights,” intended to reduce the number of…

Washington Supreme Court confirms emotional distress damages for cutting down a tree are authorized, subject to trebling

Posted Friday, October 21, 2016 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Pendergrast v. Matichuk, the Washington Supreme Court revisited the Timber Trespass statute (which awards damages against a person who wrongfully cuts down a tree on another’s land. In 2006, Leslie Pendergrast and Robert Matichuk bought adjacent lots…

$50M Settlement in Oso slide case

Posted Thursday, October 13, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

Last Sunday, just one day before the jury was set to convene in the Oso landslide lawsuit, the plaintiffs settled with Washington state for $50 million. The settlement includes almost $395,000 in attorney’s fees and costs for various sanction motions…

State ordered to pay for destruction of emails in Oso case

Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

King County Superior Court Judge Roger Rogoff announced yesterday he would sanction the state over the deletion of emails that should have been preserved during litigation over the 2014 Oso landslide. Rogoff did not set a dollar figure on the amount of…

How to manage the Facebook account of a loved one who has died

Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

In this age of the internet, many of our “assets” are now digital. This is why in June, Washington State passed the Digital Assets Act, which gives a deceased person’s fiduciary the legal authority to manage their “digital assets.” We addressed this Act…

Mortgage Contracts Cannot Give Lenders the Right to Enter and Secure a Property Before Foreclosure

Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

When a person mortgages a property and then fails to make the required mortgage payments, the lender may not take possession of the property until it has gone through foreclosure. This is the rule by Washington statute, specifically RCW 7.28.230(1). This…

Car Crashes That Happen in Autopilot Mode: Who’s To Blame?

Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2016 by Christopher L. Thayer and Pivotal Law Group

The first known fatal crash of a Tesla vehicle while under the control of “autopilot” has sparked controversy and federal investigators. 40 year old Joshua Brown, a Tesla enthusiast, was the victim of the autopilot crash when his 2015 Tesla Model S…

Life-size Sculpture Created To Withstand Car Crashes

Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

Australia's Transport Accident Commission has teamed up with Melbourne artist Patricia Piccinini to create "Graham" -- a life-size sculpture that was designed specifically to survive car crashes. The sculpture is part of a road safety campaign…

Court Orders Yelp to Take Down Defamatory Reviews

Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

The popular business rating website Yelp.com recently took a stand against the California Court of Appeals. Yelp is known for publishing public reviews about local businesses. In a defamation case by attorney Dawn Hassell, Yelp was ordered to take down…

Municipality’s Duty to Maintain Roadways Extends Beyond Asphalt

Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

Municipalities have a duty to maintain their roadways in a reasonably safe condition for ordinary travel. In a recent decision, the Washington State Supreme Court held this duty extends beyond the roadways themselves to the surrounding areas. In June…

Court of Appeals Requires City to Ensure Roads are “Reasonably Safe” for Bicyclists

Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2016 by Christopher L. Thayer

Division II of the Court of Appeals in O’Neill v. City of Port Orchard, ruled the city had an obligation to ensure its roadways were maintained to be “reasonably safe” for bicyclists. In O’Neill, plaintiff, an avid cyclist, was riding her bike in Port…

The Makers of Pokémon Go Face $5 Million Class-Action Lawsuit

Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

The popular new mobile game, Pokémon Go, has finally caused property owners to react with legal action. The proposed class action lawsuit was filed by a New Jersey man who claims the game’s developer places Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms on private property…

New federal regs for e-cigarettes go into effect today

Posted Monday, August 8, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

New federal regulations for e-cigarettes are going into effect today. These regulations give the Food and Drug Administration more regulatory control over all e-cigarette products and make it more difficult for minors to buy e-cigarette products: The…

Washington State Accuses Comcast of Engaging in Deceptive Practices

Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

A lawsuit alleging more than 1.8 million violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act was filed against Comcast yesterday. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the $100 million suit saying that the cable giant engaged in deceptive…

Court of Appeals: When Spouses Divorce, Testamentary Gifts to Former Relatives Are Still Valid

Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2016 by Michael A. Larson and Pivotal Law Group

When people get married, the hope is it will last forever. And when the time comes to make an estate plan, couples often make those decisions together. A common estate plan has both wills look something like this: If I die first, everything goes to my…

NFL Accused of Pushing Painkillers on Former Players

Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2016 by Christopher L. Thayer

The NFL is currently facing serious allegations regarding the distribution of painkillers to NFL players. A group of more than 1,500 former NFL players and their families have filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL, alleging that all 32 NFL teams…

Caselaw Update – Interpreting Endorsements to Insurance Policies

Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2016 by Christopher L. Thayer

What many people do not realize, sometimes until after it is too late, is that insurance policies are just contracts, and what is covered, what is not covered, and what benefits you may be entitled to are limited to the express language of your policy…

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