No Attorney Fees – Failed to Give Notice

No settlement offer Filipino Am. League v. Carino, 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 2043, 2014 WL 4087413 (Wash. Ct. App. Aug. 19, 2014) RCW 4.84.290 and 4.84.250 require offer of settlement and notice as precondition to obtaining attorney fees. Court’s opinion: 140819-Filipino-v-Carino Court’s summary: Bjorgen, A.C.J. —Lucena Carino appeals an award of reasonable attorney fees to the Filipino American League (League) based on a Thurston County District Court small claims default judgment against her. The League sued Carino for misappropriating funds during her presidency of the organization. Carino failed to appear and the small claims department entered a default judgment against her. She unsuccessfully moved to vacate the default judgment, and the League unsuccessfully sought reasonable attorney fees for defending against her motion. Carino appealed the denial of her motion to vacate the default judgment to the superior court, and the League cross appealed the denial of fees. The superior court ultimately granted the League reasonable attorney fees for work on the appeal under RCW 4.84.290. Carino sought discretionary review by us, arguing that the League failed to comply with the prerequisites for invoking the fee-shifting scheme found in RCW 4.84.250-.290.1,2 The League, in its response, requested attorney fees for defending this review. We agree with Carino and reverse the superior court’s grant of reasonable attorney fees to the League under RCW 4.84.290 and deny the League’s request for reasonable attorney fees on discretionary review. Share...

Expert Witnesses – Current Standards

Evidence Rules for Admission of Expert Testimony in Washington State   Cathy Johnston-Forbes v Dawn Matsunaga (August 28, 2014 WSC) Opinion: Johnston-Forbes v Matsunaga WSC 140528 Johnston-Forbes v Matsunaga WSC   In the context of a dispute over the admissibility of a biomechanical expert’s testimony, the Washington Supreme Court provided the most current summary of expert testimony law in Washington State: Generally, expert testimony is admissible if (1) the expert is qualified, (2) the expert relies on. generally accepted theories in the scientific community, and (3) the testimony would be helpful to the trier of fact. In applying this test, trial courts are afforded wide discretion and trial court expert opinion decisions will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of such discretion.1In re Marriage of Katare, 175 Wn.2d 23, 38, 283 P.3d 546 (2012), cert. denied, _ U.S. __, 133 S. Ct. 889, 184 L. Ed. 2d 661 (2013). If the basis for admission of the evidence is ‘”fairly debatable,”‘ we will not disturb the trial court’s ruling. Grp. Health Coop. of Puget Sound, Inc. v. Dep’t of Revenue, 106 Wn.2d 391, 398, 722 P.2d 787 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Walker v. Bangs, 92 Wn.2d 854, 858, 601 P.2d 1279 (1979 In Washington, there are four main Evidence Rules regarding the use of expert witnesses. ER 702 generally establishes when expert testimony may be utilized at trial: “If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the. trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify...

Washington State Legal Fees

Washington State Legal Fees Please update the research on this page before relying on its content This page describes some but not all of the statutes in Washington State that provide for legal fees.   The general rule in the United States is that each party pays their own legal fees (in contrast to other common law countries like the United Kingdom). The exception to the rule comes from specific agreements in contracts, equitable grounds, or in statutes that award legal fees in certain circumstances. “In Washington, “‘[a]ttorney fees may be recovered only when authorized by statute, a recognized ground of equity, or agreement of the parties.'” Wiley v. Rehak, 143 Wn.2d 339, 348, 20 P.3d 404 (2001) (alteration in original) (quoting Perkins Coie v. Williams, 84 Wn. App. 733, 742-43, 929 P.2d 1215 (1997)).” Niccum v Enquist (2012 WaSC). Often the language of contracts and statutes provides that the prevailing party is entitled to legal fees. The court or arbitration panel must decide who is the prevailing party (sometimes the decision is split with wins on both sides), how to allocate the fees incurred (time can be spent on losing issues), and what is a reasonable fee under the circumstances. $10,000 or less RCW § 4.84.250 awards attorney fees to the prevailing party for cases which plead damages of less than $10,000 whether in District or Superior Court (RCW § 4.84.300). Abortion clinic protestors Interfering with the operation of a health clinic or hospital is actionable and attorney fees are awarded to the prevailing party. RCW § 9A.50.040 Animal rights – agricultural or veterinary “Joint and several liability for...

Four Theories of Recovery for Misrepresentation

Recovery for Misrepresentations Causing Pecuniary Harm The Restatement (Second) of Torts identifies four causes of action that can be used to recover for misrepresentations causing monetary harm. The distinctions between the four theories are nuanced and are not uniformly applied by state courts. What follows is a simplified summary of some of the major differences between the four remedies. Both Fraud and Innocent Misrepresentation use scienter as an element of their causes of action. Restitution and Negligent Misrepresentation do not. Breach of warranty is also available under contract law and is subject to contract law defenses. (E.g. Restatement (Second) of Contracts (St. Paul, MN: American Law Institute Publishers, 1981), §§ 304, 306). It is outside the scope article which deals with tort and near tort remedies. In cases involving the sale of goods under Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, most fact patterns actionable under the tort of Innocent Misrepresentation would also be actionable under the Code on the theory of breach of warranty. Unlike Innocent Misrepresentation, the measure of damages for breach of warranty includes compensation for benefit of the bargain and for consequential losses. Innocent Misrepresentation has the advantage of not being subject to Code defenses such as the parol evidence rule. 1) Restitution After the merger of courts of law and equity in most jurisdictions, some courts applied the equitable rescission remedy at law allowing a party to seek rescission of a transaction on the ground of misrepresentation, even an innocent misrepresentation.1Rescission is similarly granted for mutual mistake. See Restatement of Restitution, §§ 6, 8. The usual precondition for Restitution is the return of what...

Unjust Enrichment

Unjust Enrichment – Washington State Law The terms “restitution” and “unjust enrichment” are the modern designations for the older “quasi contracts” terminology.127 WAPRAC § 5.51 The Washington court has adopted the unjust enrichment terminology, but continues to use the quasi contractual terminology interchangeably: “Quasi contracts” are not true contracts but are obligations created by the law when money or property has been placed in one person’s possession under such circumstances that in equity and good conscience, he ought not to retain it. [Citation omitted.] Thus, the substance of an action for unjust enrichment lies in a promise, implied by law, that one will render to the person entitled thereto that which in equity and good conscience, belongs to the latter. At common law, such actions are brought under the principles of assumpsit, and where the cause of action arises from a tortious wrong, it is the general rule, whether or not there be an express contract, that the injured party may waive the tort and sue in assumpsit, in which case the law will imply a contract on the part of the tort-feasor to pay the injured party a just remuneration for the damages suffered to his property.2Bill v. Gattavara, 34 Wash. 2d 645, 209 P.2d 457 (1949), (4-1 decision). In unjust enrichment terms, two basic elements must be established in quasi-contractual actions: the person receiving a benefit (such as money) must be unjustly enriched, and the party conferring the benefit must not be a volunteer.3Lynch v. Deaconess Medical Center, 113 Wash. 2d 162, 776 P.2d 681 (1989); Trane Co. v. Randolph Plumbing & Heating, 44 Wash. App. 438,...

Washington Exemptions

Exemptions from Execution in Washington State Washington’s State Legislature has provided numerous exemptions from execution of judgments. These also protect property in bankruptcy if the debtor elects state exemptions over the federal bankruptcy exemptions. What follows is a generalized summary of the most common exemptions. Several have important conditions and exceptions that are not discussed. If the value of an asset exceed the maximum exemption, the difference usually must be paid to creditors in order to keep the asset. If it is sold, the proceeds up to the maximum goes to the debtor. In bankruptcy, the debtor can chose either the Washington Exemptions or Federal Exemptions schedule. Homestead A homestead is real or personal property which is the debtor’s principal residence (RCW 6.13.010). The exemption is $125,000 for land, mobile homes, and improvements; $15,000 for other personal property used as homestead (RCW 6.13.030). The amount is not doubled for community property, a spouse or domestic partner. However, if the spouse or domestic partner files bankruptcy more than 6 months later than the other, both receive the full exemption (RCW 16.13.080 (3). If homestead property is sold, the proceeds are entitled to the same protection as homestead property (RCW 16.13.180). There is an exception for child support obligations. Retirement Funds All retirement accounts are protected from creditors (except child support obligations) including Keogh and IRAs (RCW 16.15.020 (4)). Clothing All wearing apparel is exempt except the exemption for furs, jewelry, and personal ornaments is limited to $3,500 (RCW 6.15.010 (1)(a)). Photos and Keepsakes All family photos and keepsakes are exempt (RCW 6.25.010 (1)(a)). Libraries Each individual is entitled to an...