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

 

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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.

Eric Gilman represents victims of unfair wage and hour practices, wrongful termination, workplace harassment and discrimination, and whistleblower retaliation. He handles all phases of employment litigation and class actions. Eric has obtained numerous successful outcomes for workers, including before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Washington Supreme Court.

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Western State Hospital loses federal funding related to lack of decent patient care

As recently reported, Western State Hospital, Washington’s largest psychiatric hospital, recently lost federal funding from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Lisa Bowser, whose mother, Susan Struthers, spent over two years in WSH, suffered from numerous falls and assaults that resulted in a broken arm and hip. Struthers passed away at a different facility in 2016. Bowser, represented by GTH attorney James Beck, filed a lawsuit against WSH and the Department of Social Health Services, which manages WSH, alleging severe abuse and neglect.

Highlighting the lack of care provided to WSH patients Beck explains in a recent article from the Associated Press that, “the problem is Struthers was committed to the hospital because she could not take care of herself. Our position is that the treatment she received at WSH was a cause in the timing of her death,” Beck said.

For more information, please see the full article at:

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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.

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GTH is proud to announce our long list of 2018 Washington Super Lawyers and Rising Stars!

Congratulations to Washington Super Lawyers:

Margaret Y. Archer (Real Estate/Land Use)

James W. Beck (Personal Injury/Civil Rights)

Joanne T. Blackburn (Defense Litigation)

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)

Janelle Chase-Fazio (Personal Injury; Employment Litigation)

Eric D. Gilman (Employee Rights & Discrimination; Personal Injury)

Lisa A. Kremer (Estate Planning)

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

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Lawsuit filed in Pierce County Superior Court by woman sexually abused as minor in state run facility

Justine Mary Rowe is suing DSHS alleging a counselor at a Lakewood, state run facility, sexually abused her as a teenager during treatment.

James Beck represents vulnerable people who have been harmed by the actions of others and diligently pursues holding institutions thought to be trustworthy, accountable for their actions.

Click here for futher details:

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Lawsuit filed in Pierce County Superior Court by woman sexually abused as minor in state run facility

Justine Mary Rowe is suing DSHS alleging a counselor at a Lakewood, state run facility, sexually abused her as a teenager during treatment.

James Beck represents vulnerable people who have been harmed by the actions of others and diligently pursues holding institutions thought to be trustworthy, accountable for their actions.

Click here for futher details:

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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 James Beck client Moureen David, an ex-administrator who lost her job for opposing the system of sexual offender transfers between schools. James Beck said, “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:

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Eric Gilman obtains class action settlement for truck drivers deprived of wages.

A court has approved a settlement in a class action alleging improper wage withholding, pursued by GTH attorney Eric Gilman. The defendant, a short haul trucking company, unlawfully deducted wages from drivers’ paychecks to pay for incidental damage to company equipment. With a motion for a finding of liability pending, the defendant agreed to repay each driver double the amount wrongfully withheld. More than half of the individual class members collected over one thousand dollars, with the largest single recovery exceeding $13,000. “These folks knew what was happening was wrong but they were afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation,” said Gilman. “It was rewarding to get happy calls and emails when they got their settlement checks in the mail.” As part of the settlement, the defendant was also required to pay the plaintiffs’ legal expenses and discontinue the illegal wage rebating scheme.

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