GTH Welcomes Two New Associates

The firm is pleased to welcome our newest Associates, Jeffrey Nielsen and Richard Lumley. 

Jeff joins the Trusts and Estates group with nine years of experience and he will continue advising clients in estate planning, trust preparation and administration, guardianship, and probate. He counsels clients on contract issues and structuring family businesses and corporations. Jeff has also served as guardian ad litem/court visitor in multiple counties. Richard brings a wealth of experience in representing corporations and individuals in complex commercial, trust and estate, real estate, and marine-related disputes in state and federal court for one of New England’s largest and most respected firms

We are excited to have these experienced, talented lawyers join the GTH team.

GTH Welcomes Owen Taylor & Mitch Wright

GTH is delighted to welcome our newest Associates Owen Taylor and Mitch Wright.  Owen received his law degree at the University of Washington Law School and is already a contributing member of our business group.  Mitch is a top graduate from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and is focusing his practice on litigation.  Both passed the Washington State Bar with flying colors.  Our team at GTH is event better with the addition of these talented lawyers.

Federal and Washington State Updates to Employer-Employee Arbitration, Confidentiality, Non-Disclosure, and Non-Disparagement Agreements

Spring of 2022 has seen notable changes to both federal and Washington state laws regarding arbitration, confidentiality, non-disclosure, and non-disparagement agreements between employers and their employees.  These changes were enacted to promote public policy that gives employees more freedom to either resolve or disclose claims of illegal activities that occur (or, in some cases, are reasonably believed to have occurred) in the workplace, which may have broad implications for employers in Washington State.

Amendments to the Federal Arbitration Act

On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, which amends the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) to invalidate arbitration agreements that require arbitration of sexual assault or harassment claims. The alleging party may, however, choose to arbitrate after his or her claim arises.

As a result, preexisting arbitration agreements and joint/class-action waivers are invalid and unenforceable when dealing with claims of sexual assault or harassment under federal, tribal, and state law. This rule applies to any dispute or claim arising on or after March 3, 2022.

Changes to Washington State Non-Disclosure and Non-Disparagement Agreements

In Washington, state legislators passed the Silenced No More Act, which will have a significant effect on Washington employers’ current and future confidentiality, non-disclosure, and non-disparagement agreements.

The new law states that beginning on June 9, 2022, employers may not bar any current, former, or prospective employee or independent contractor from disclosing or discussing conduct (or the existence of a settlement related to conduct) that he or she reasonably believes to involve:

  • Illegal discrimination, harassment, or retaliation;
  • Wage and hour violations;
  • Sexual assault; or
  • Any other matter “recognized as against a clear mandate of public policy.”

The law applies to conduct in the workplace, at work-related events (coordinated by or through the employer), between employees, and between an employer and employees on and off work premises, and retroactively applies to pre-existing agreements should an employer attempt to enforce such provisions.

In practical terms, this new law broadly prohibits Washington employers from requesting or requiring employees to sign confidentiality agreements concerning any conduct that the employee reasonably believes to be illegal, even as part of a settlement or severance agreement.

There are three narrow carve-outs to the Silenced No More Act:

  • The law does not apply retroactively to settlement and/or severance agreements entered into before June 9, 2022;
  • Employers may still require confidentiality as to the severance or settlement amount; and
  • Employers may still require and enforce confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements related to trade secrets, proprietary information, and confidential business information.

Employers who violate this law on and after June 9, 2022 could be liable for actual or statutory damages of $10,000, plus reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

Gordon Thomas Honeywell’s Labor and Employment attorneys can help you navigate these new changes in the law and ensure that any arbitration, confidentiality, non-disclosure, and non-disparagement policies in use at your business comply with these new federal and state regulations. Please do not hesitate to call our office for more information.

Stephanie Bloomfield achieves Trial Lawyer of the Year honor

Stephanie Bloomfield is being honored by the American Board of Trial Advocates Washington Chapter as its 2021 Trial Lawyer of the Year

ABOTA is an invitation-only national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges with 7,600 members nationwide. Membership is spread among 96 chapters throughout the entire United States—equally balanced between plaintiff and defense lawyers—and judges.  ABOTA and its members are dedicated to preserving and promoting the right to a jury trial in civil cases. Its mission is to foster improvement in the ethical and technical standards of practice in trial advocacy.

Trial Lawyer of the Year from ABOTA is a very prestigious and well-deserved award. We are thrilled that this and other organizations also recognize Stephanie as a gifted and amazing trial lawyer. Congratulations!

GTH Welcomes Chelsea Rauch

The firm is excited to welcome our newest Associate, Chelsea Rauch.  Before receiving her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law, she worked as an intern for the Washington Court of Appeals, Division II, and a summer associate at GTH.  She looks forward to growing her practice in the business and labor and employment fields of law, and we are confident she will serve our clients well. 

Meet our future leaders!

The firm is excited to welcome Ian Leifer and Kirsten Parris. Ian joins our Trial attorneys and Kirsten joins our Employment attorneys. These talented attorneys come to GTH with a diverse range of skills and experiences that will serve our clients well. They have already enriched the GTH team and we are delighted to have them on board.

GTH Welcomes New Partner Molly Kling Crowley

GTH is delighted to welcome our new partner, Molly Kling Crowley. Molly has successfully represented plaintiffs for negligence claims for twenty years. Her commitment to clients and dedication to excellence make her a perfect addition to GTH’s talented litigation team. Reputation and experience matter and we are pleased to have Molly join us in providing our clients with exceptional legal services.

Super Talented. Super Dedicated.

GTH Logo Stacked

GTH takes pride in announcing our 2021 Washington Super Lawyers
and Rising Stars!

Margaret Y. Archer (Land Use/Zoning – Top 50 Women Lawyers in Washington)

Stephanie L. Bloomfield (Business Litigation – Top 50 Women Lawyers in Washington)

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

Dianne K. Conway (Environmental Litigation)

Maggie E. Diefenbach (Personal Injury Defense)

Mark G. Honeywell (Mediation & Arbitration)

Bradley B. Jones (Environmental Litigation)

Diane J. Kero (Defense Litigation)

Lisa A. Kremer (Estate Planning)

William T. Lynn (Land Use/Zoning)

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 our Rising Stars:

Reuben Schutz (Land Use/Zoning)

Robert C. Wilke (PI; Med Mal – Plaintiff)

Salvador Mungia joins the American Bar Foundation’s new podcast

    Today, the American Bar Foundation (ABF) launches our new podcast: Whose Law Is It Anyway?   Whose Law Is It Anyway? explores social issues and legal challenges through conversations with the ABF’s community of researchers and practitioners. Join host Matthew Martinez Hannon as he goes beyond the headlines and into our classrooms, courtrooms, and homes to learn how empirical and interdisciplinary research matters in everyday life.   Echoing the ABF’s motto, “Expanding Knowledge and Advancing Justice,” the podcast offers an in-depth exploration of sociolegal subjects such as access to justice, rent and housing, civil rights, and sexual consent on college campuses.    New episodes of Whose Law Is It Anyway? will be published monthly. Episodes are available wherever you get your podcasts.     Stream the podcast online       Episode One: …And Justice for All   Access to justice is experiencing a crisis in the United States. Every day, millions of people contend with justice problems that can lead to devastating results such as bankruptcy, poverty, and homelessness. Yet, effective legal assistance remains out of reach for many Americans. How can lawyers help ordinary people get the affordable legal support they need? And how will the COVID-19 pandemic compound these problems?      Featuring:     Rebecca Sandefur ABF Faculty Fellow Program Director, ABF/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Scholars Program Arizona State University Professor     Salvador Mungia Partner, Gordon Honeywell Thomas Washington State Access to Justice Board      

A Cut Above

GTH congratulates Robert Wilke on his milestone achievement of becoming a partner of the firm. Rob is an excellent litigator and successfully represents clients in a variety of cases including personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability and commercial litigation.