GTH is proud to announce our long list of 2019 Washington Super Lawyers and Rising Stars!

Congratulations to Washington Super Lawyers:

Margaret Y. Archer (Real Estate/Land Use)

Stephanie L. Bloomfield (Employment & PI Litigation)

Donald S. Cohen (Utilities, Regulatory & Administrative Law)

Mark G. Honeywell (Mediation & Arbitration)

Bradley B. Jones (Business & Environmental Litigation)

Diane J. Kero (Defense Litigation)

William T. Lynn (Land Use/Zoning/Permitting)

Alan D. Macpherson (Estate Planning)

Warren E. Martin (Labor & Employment)

Andrea H. McNeely (Business Litigation)

Salvador A. Mungia (PI; Med Mal – Plaintiff)

Eileen S. Peterson (Estate Planning/Elder Law)

Michael E. Ricketts (Insurance Coverage)

Congratulations to Washington Rising Stars:

Shelly M. Andrew (Business & Employment Litigation)

Reuben Schutz (Real Estate/Land Use; Gen. Litigation)

Jemima McCullum elected to WSBA’s Real Property, Probate, and Trust Section

Congratulations to GTH Partner Jemima McCullum, who was recently elected as Council Member to the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Section of the Washington State Bar Association!

“The mission of the Real Property, Probate & Trust Section of the Washington State Bar Association is to assist members in achieving the highest standards of competence, professionalism, and ethics in their practices; to assist the Legislature in the enactment and improvement of the laws affecting real property, probate, trusts and estates; to assist the judiciary in the just administration of those laws; to support the WSBA with regard to those matters which concern the practice of law in the areas of real property, probate, trusts and estates and to otherwise serve our members by helping them realize their professional goals.”

Read More

Stephanie Bloomfield wins employment discrimination case against Walmart

After a six-day trial in the United States District Court, the jury reached a unanimous verdict on March 6, 2019, finding in favor of Plaintiff Lori Jacobs on her federal Americans with Disabilities Act claims against Walmart. The jury awarded Ms. Jacobs $1,094,620 in damages. Ms. Jacobs has longstanding disabilities due to cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. In 2017, Walmart changed its policy to require pharmacists to provide immunization injections. Plaintiff asked for accommodations due to complications related to her medical disabilities. Walmart moved forward placing Ms. Jacobs on indefinite unpaid leave in April of 2017. During closing arguments, it was  said, “The only reason Ms. Jacobs is not employed today is because of her disability, and if you take that away she would still be employed.”

Read More

Salvador Mungia Wins 2019 Goldmark Award

Every year, the Legal Foundation of Washington awards the Charles A. Goldmark Distinguished Service Award to an exceptional individual or organization for their extraordinary contributions to the justice system. GTH is proud to announce that Salvador Mungia is this year’s recipient of the Goldmark Award! For over 30 years Sal has been a pillar of the legal community in the Puget Sound area by contributing his time and energy to those in need of legal assistance. As we celebrate our 125th Anniversary, we are reminded of the untiring devotion GTH lawyers have committed to the legal industry and our communities over the years. We are especially proud of Salvador A Mungia, and his drive to help the underserved members of our community. GTH Partner, Eric Gilman states, “He’s an inspiring person to be around. It’s hard not to be around Sal and feel a little bit of infectious optimism.” Congratulations Sal!

Read More

Jones and Conway successfully defend alleged permit violations

GTH partners Brad B. Jones and Dianne K. Conway recently won a dismissal of a Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suit filed by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance (PSA) against SSA Marine, Inc. and SSA Terminals, LLC for alleged permit violations at the West Sitcum Terminal in the Port of Tacoma. The federal court found that the notice provided by PSA alleging future hypothetical claims if SSA Marine, Inc. and SSA Terminals, LLC were to later start operations at the Terminal was premature and failed to meet the basic requirements of CWA’s notice provision.

Read More

Archer wins appeal against Puyallup

Partners Bill Lynn and Margaret Archer recently obtained a favorable decision from the Pierce County Hearing Examiner following a highly contested two-week public hearing. The Examiner denied two separate appeals filed by the City of Puyallup challenging our client’s planned development known as the Knutson Farms Industrial Park. The Examiner also approved a shoreline permit for the project over Puyallup’s objection. The development, which has been approved by Pierce County, has been designed to minimize environmental impacts, will bring substantial employment opportunities and advance regional economic development. For the complete story please visit: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article222314455.html

Read More

Salvador Mungia becomes Chair of the Access to Justice Board

On October 1, 2018 Salvador A. Mungia became Chair of the Access to Justice Board. Sal was appointed to the ATJ Board by the Washington State Supreme Court in 2016. He devotes a large portion of his time to promote access to the civil justice system for those who cannot afford to hire an attorney by representing individuals and groups in state and federal courts without charging them a fee. The Washington State Supreme Court created the Access to Justice Board in 1994 and charged the Board with the responsibility to achieve equal access to the civil justice system for those facing economic and other significant barriers.

To learn more about Access to Justice visit https://www.justice.gov/atj

 

Read More

Washington Supreme Court Says Underpaid Workers are Entitled to Double Their Withheld Wages, Plus Interest

Employees in Washington enjoy some of the strongest wage and hour protections in the country. An employer that willfully fails to pay agreed or required (e.g., minimum wage) compensation is liable to its employee for double the unpaid amount. The same rule applies to improper payroll deductions.

In Hill v. Garda CL Northwest, Inc., the Washington Supreme Court held that employees who establish a wage violation are also entitled to interest on the unpaid wages. In its August 23, 2018 opinion, the Court rejected the employer’s argument that an award of both double damages and prejudgment interest is an impermissible double recovery. The Court explained that the statute allowing for two times the wages withheld, and the statute allowing interest, serve different purposes. The former is meant to “punish and deter” employers who underpay their workers. The latter is designed to repay the employee for the “use value” of the money he or she did not receive. Thus, both forms of relief are recoverable.

A new state law on Notarial Acts becomes effective on July 1, 2018. This article summarizes the effects for Notaries Public:

A new state law on Notarial Acts becomes effective on July 1, 2018. This article summarizes the effects for Notaries Public:

1. Journals. RCW 42.45.180 requires all notary publics to maintain a journal, except for lawyers, for whom it is optional if they keep the same information in their professional practice. Each entry must contain the following information:

a) date and time of act;

b) brief description of the document/act being notarized;

c) name and address of the signing parties;

d) description of method of identifying signing party (i.e. driver’s license, passport, etc.); and

e) the signing party’s signature; i.e. the signing party must sign the document and the journal.

An entry in a journal must be made contemporaneously with the performance of the notarial act and contain the information listed above.

The journal and notary seal must be kept in a locked and secured area, under the direct and exclusive control of the notary public. Failure to secure the journal may be cause for the director to take administrative action against the commission held by the notary public. If a notary public’s journal is lost or stolen, the notary public shall promptly notify the department on discovery the journal is lost or stolen.

The journal must be kept for 10 years after the date of the last dated entry. After ten years have passed, the journal must be destroyed by secure shredding.

A notary may maintain an electronic journal in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format complying with the rules of the director, but they must also keep a tangible journal.

2. Resignation/Revocation/Suspension. If a notary public resigns, is suspended or their commission is revoked, the notary public shall retain the notary public’s journal and inform the department where the journal is located.

3. Additional Changes:

• New notary stamps must include commission number. This new requirement does not take effect until the notary’s renewal date.

• Notaries may accept identification that is less than three years expired.

• Notaries may not notarize any document that gives them or their spouse a beneficial interest; they also cannot notarize their own signature.

• Notarial certificates must be in English, or in two languages so long as one is in English.

• Non-attorney notaries are specifically barred from giving legal advice, for example, regarding whether there is an issue with the notarial certificate.

4. Electronic Notarizations. Notaries will, in the future, be allowed to perform notarizations on electronic documents with an Electronic Records Notary Public endorsement. There is a $15 application fee, separate from the commission application fee, to become an E-Records Notary Public. Approval standards are a work in progress. The endorsement lasts for the duration of the notary’s commission. Tamper-evident technology is required that allows the notary’s signature and seal to be digitally affixed to the document. Full legal requirements for e-notarizations are not yet complete.

Read More

Clover Park School District to pay seven figures to ex-administrator who opposed sex offender transfers

The Clover Park School District is set to pay a settlement of $1.2 million to client Moureen David, an ex-administrator who lost her job for opposing the system of sexual offender transfers between schools.  Ms. David provided almost two decades of dedicated service to the school district, making sure that students’ safety and education was paramount. Children aren’t going to be in a safe environment if employees don’t feel free to speak out about situations in which students may be at risk of sexual assault, sexual harassment or policies breaking down in that regard. For further information, please click on The News Tribune story below:

Read More