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The Pivotal Law Blog

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…

Car Crash vs. Car Accident: Lawmakers Move Away From Labeling Crashes as Accidents

Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

Most car crashes stem from risky driver behavior like drinking, distracted driving, speeding and other dangerous activities. Only 6 percent of crashes are caused by vehicle malfunctions, weather, and other factors. The question remains then, why has…

Washington State Enacts Law Governing Access to a Person’s “Digital Assets”

Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2016 by Michael A. Larson and Pivotal Law Group

When a person dies or becomes incapacitated, they may have assets that need to be located, accessed, and managed. Traditionally, those assets could include things like houses, cars, bank accounts, other personal property, etc. The person formally named…

New Federal Regulations for E-Cigarettes Cause Controversy

Posted Thursday, June 23, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

The Food and Drug Administration has recently issued its first regulation on e-cigarettes. Previously subject to almost no oversight, the sale of e-cigarettes will soon be banned to anyone under the age of 18. Manufacturers of the product will now be…

Call Before You Dig– Excavator Liability For Damaging Underground Utilities in WA

Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2016 by Christopher L. Thayer

border left Washington has a comprehensive statutory scheme relating to homeowner and contractor responsibilities regarding excavation and underground utilities. The Underground Utility Prevention Act (the “UUPA”), which was significantly amended and…

With Recent Advances in Technology, Should Harm to Prosthetic Limbs Be Considered Property Damage or Personal Injury?

Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2016 by Pivotal Law Group

Prosthetic limbs have become increasingly advanced. For example, the most recent devices being created at Johns Hopkins' Applied Physics Laboratory have been developed with neurotechnology and may enable users to mentally control their prosthetic limbs…

Will Contests: How to Prove a Will Was the Product of Undue Influence

Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2016 by Michael A. Larson and Pivotal Law Group

In general, people have a fundamental right to distribute their property however they choose in the event of their death. So, when a person executes a will in the manner required by law, that will is presumed valid and will be honored. But what if a…

Prince Died Without a Will: The Importance of Estate Planning

Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2016 by Michael A. Larson

The late pop superstar, Prince, was found to have died without a will. His estate is estimated to be worth $300 million dollars and it is expected to grow now with the sales of his music skyrocketing since his death. Prince died without any known…

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