2017 Changes in Seattle Municipal Code affect Deposit and Move-in fees for Seattle Renters

If you are a renter in the City of Seattle there are big changes to be aware of: The City of Seattle enacted two new subsections to the Seattle Municipal Code for 2017 involving security deposits and other move-in fees. Here are the most significant changes: The total amount of a security deposit and nonrefundable move-in fees may not exceed the amount of the first full month’s rent Other than non-refundable move-in fees, security deposits, and last month’s rent, landlords are ... [Continue Reading]

Brief Writing – Washington Style Sheet

Every attorney turns to the Bluebook at some point during their brief writing, but what about the Washington Style Sheet? If you are asking yourself what this is, then you may want to review it. The style sheet sets out specific rules of writing for Washington State. It deviates from the Bluebook in several places and, where is does, it controls.  Here are some of the deviations to keep in mind: Only spell out numbers 0-9. Always spell out “percent.” Cite to Wash. or Wn.2d; ... [Continue Reading]

Service of Process and Prior Bad Acts

November 28, 2014  Case Law Updates Newsletter   ... [Continue Reading]

WA Supreme Court Happenings Spring 2014

For Updates on select cases argued in Spring 2014 click here. ... [Continue Reading]

ABA Says Lawyers May Passively view a Juror’s Electronic Social Media

    Formal Opinion 466 Lawyer Reviewing Jurors’ Internet Presence The AB’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility was asked to form an opinion on whether a lawyer may review a juror’s electronic social media. The Committee determined that there are three levels of lawyer review of a juror’s internet presence: passive lawyer review of a juror’s website or electronic social media (ESM) that is available without making an access request where ... [Continue Reading]

A New Scheme to Defraud Homeowners: 7th Circuit follows 9th in Holding No Specific Unanimity as to the Means

United States v. Daniel, No. 13-2399, (7th Cir. Apr. 15, 2014) When unsuspecting homeowners were told they could place their titles in trust and regain full title free and clear of any mortgage after five years, they were eager to join Rym Tehnology Holdings, LLC’s (Rymtech’s) program. As part of the program, they signed over the title of their property to straw purchasers called “A buyers” who were supposed to obtain financing from mortgage lenders to pay off the mortgage. Instead, ... [Continue Reading]

Alternative Means Crime Trafficking in Stolen Property and Jury Unanimity

State v. Owens, No. 88905-8 (Mar. 27, 2014) How many alternative means does RCW 9A.82.050 (trafficking in stolen property in the first degree) create?  Does the jury have to unanimously agree to which means were used in order to convict?  In this case the Washington Supreme Court held the statute has only two alternative means and, because there was sufficient evidence to show Owens committed the crime by one of those two means, the jury did not have to unanimously agree on which means he ... [Continue Reading]

Exceptions to Public Duty Doctrine in Negligence Cases

Fabre v. Ruston, No. 43459-8-II, (Mar. 19, 2014). The issue in this case were the proprietary and special relationship exceptions to the public duty doctrine. The elements of negligence are duty, breach, causation and damages. A governmental entity is liable for damages "to the same extent as if they were a private person or corporation."   Cummins v. Lewis County, 156 Wn.2d 844, 853, 133 P.3d 459 (2006) (quoting RCW 4.96.010( 1)). However, when the defendant is a governmental agency, ... [Continue Reading]

Duty of Good Faith: No Contract Violation No Bad Faith

GMAC v. Everett Chevrolet, No. 68374-8-I (Ct. App. Jan. 27, 2014) In this case the court held that certain demand provisions were not limited by the duty of good faith because that duty does not create a new substantive contract provision.  Instead, it comes from the underlying contract obligations.  Therefore, a bad faith claim cannot  stand alone.  It must specify which contract provision the other party did not perform in good faith. GMAC and Everett Chevrolet (“EC”) signed a ... [Continue Reading]

New Seattle Ordinance Requires Landlords to Register Rental Property

  Seattle’s new Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance requires landlords to register all rental housing units, from single-family houses to large apartment buildings, and submit to an inspection.  The ordinance is being phased in this year.  There are many changes, but here are some of the highlights: Registrations must be renewed every 5 years The city is still working on setting up an online registration program, but it will be coming soon When you register, you will ... [Continue Reading]