Salvador A. Mungia assists in new rule to reduce bias in jury selection

Salvador Mungia, one of GTH’s most experienced trial attorneys, has spent the past five years working with an ACLU-W sponsored group formulating a proposed rule change to make it more difficult for attorneys to exclude a person from serving on a jury because of their race and ethnicity. On Thursday, April 12, 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court adopted the proposed rule change known as GR 37 and is the first state in the country to do so.

The rule change stems from a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Batson v. Kentucky that ruled it is unconstitutional to exclude a person from a jury because of their race. The Court established a procedure for enforcing its ruling that became known as the Batson rule. The Batson rule has long been criticized by legal scholars, commentators, and judges from around the country as failing in its goal of preventing attorneys from excluding potential jurors from serving because of their race. The Washington Supreme Court acknowledged in the case of State v. Saintcalle that the Batson rule isn’t working and something should be done to address that deficiency.

The fundamental problem with the Batson rule is that a court must find that an attorney who excludes a person of color from serving on a jury does so because they intend to discriminate based on the juror’s race. GR 37 includes the requirement that the trial court need only ask whether an objective observer could say that race was a factor in the exclusion of the juror.

GTH is proud of this historic step taken by our State Supreme Court and congratulates Sal on being part of this effort.

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Bill Lynn, GTH partner, interviewed by Crossing Division for a segment discussing the impacts of growth in the 253 area

Partner, Bill Lynn, was a guest on Crossing Division, a talk show dedicated to news in the 253 area. The episode titled When Cranes Come to Your Neighborhood, discusses the impact of the Growth Management Act, and how it is affecting our local community today. In the interview Bill uses his 39 years of experience to navigate the discourse and contention between residents and developers, and what can be done to improve communication to have productive conversations. You can listen to the full interview at:

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Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association honors GTH attorneys at the Lincoln Day Banquet

Joe Gordon, Jr receives Pro Bono Award for outstanding work with Washington Web Lawyer

GTH attorneys were recognized for their community service and pro bono work at the 2018 Lincoln Day Banquet, the annual event of the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association (TPCBA). Joe Gordon, Jr. was awarded the Individual Pro Bono Award for his advice given on prototype Washington Web Lawyer a website where low-income individuals who have a civil legal problem in Washington State can get free legal advice from volunteer attorneys. Presenter Mark Brady said Joe was responsible for nearly a third of the advice given on the website during its 18-month run. Joe also was recognized for volunteering regularly at the Housing Justice Project (HJP), and “bringing his years of experience and professionalism to help HJP with dignity, respect and impeccable preparation,” according to Laurie Davenport, director of Pierce County’s Volunteer Legal Services. HJP serves low-income clients with housing issues, including landlord-tenant disputes. Janelle Chase-Fazio was recognized for exceptional service provided to underserved populations of Pierce County, earning the Service to Diversity Award. Janelle has used her exceptional legal skills to litigate two pro bono cases with the ACLU protecting the civil rights of inmates and detainees. She also has organized a CLE to help other attorneys assist detainees, written a pamphlet assisting transgender people in advocating for their own health care, co-authored a deskbook chapter on disability discrimination, and volunteered for an immigration raid hotline. Janelle also frequently volunteers for TPCBA’s pro bono clinics, where her Spanish language skills help expand the reach of the program.

In an emotional tribute, outgoing TPCBA president, Diane Clarkson-concluded the evening festivities with a personal acknowledgment of Mark Honeywell’s parents, Valen and Sheila, for their incredible support and mentorship when she was a brand-new attorney. Val Honeywell was a longtime partner and leader of GTH, and his name graces our firm.

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GTH proudly announces new Managing Partner, Margaret Archer.

Gordon Thomas Honeywell (GTH) is proud to announce that Margaret Archer is our newly elected Managing Partner. Margaret has been with the firm for 27 years and is a preeminent real estate, land use, and trial attorney.  Since 2013, Margaret has been recognized annually as one of the Top Fifty Women Lawyers by Washington Super Lawyers.  Her outstanding work ethic, commitment to her clients and her unwavering professionalism are the foundation for her strong leadership. What separates Margaret is her compassion and consideration for every client, opposing counsel, judge and other person she works with.  Her unanimous election makes her the first woman to serve as GTH’s Managing Partner. 

The excitement for Margaret’s election is shared throughout the firm. Attorneys and staff cite her intelligence, leadership, compassion, and unmatched sense of humor as the key attributes that will make her an exceptional Managing Partner. 


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Gordon Thomas Honeywell welcomes new partner Travis Mahugh.

GTH is proud to welcome Travis Mahugh as a partner in the firm. As an associate, Travis has excelled in representing business owners through complex transactions, as well as digging into real estate issues and even some litigation. A Duck, Travis was at the top of his class in law school, and continues rising to the top wherever he goes. We at GTH are lucky to have a front seat to watch all he’s going to accomplish with his career. Congratulations, Travis!

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GTH partner Valarie Zeeck explains Initiative 1433, Washington’s new paid leave law

Washington’s new paid leave law is generating a lot of questions and commentary as employers prepare to implement the law, which becomes effective on January 1, 2018. Initiative 1433 will require all Washington employers to provide paid sick leave to all non-exempt employees, including full-time, part-time and temporary workers.  The law will require many employers to adopt or modify existing leave policies.  

In addition, employers will still be required to comply with local city laws, such as the Tacoma and Seattle paid leave ordinances, which impose additional requirements on employers in some instances.

Learn more about the new paid leave law that becomes effective January 1, 2018 in the article below.


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GTH Seattle Partner Mike Ricketts speaks to Super Lawyers about insurance coverage and being legally prepared

“Earthquake insurance is kind of like flood insurance: you’re not going to be required to have it—lenders will take the risk that it won’t happen in our lifetimes—but a sophisticated entity will probably have that type of policy,” Ricketts says.

“Everyone is waiting for the big one and we have to be prepared, but I don’t know that people will buy insurance for that because it’ll be an unprecedented event, if and when that should happen. … If it’s a total disaster, people typically don’t buy insurance that covers the value of a building falling down. It’s not like you turn it over to the insurance company and they take care of it; they only take care of a portion of your loss.”

Excerpt from Super Lawyer article written by Judy Malmon

For more information click on link below


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Dianne K. Conway settles neighbor dispute with unique solution

GTH Partner Dianne K. Conway was retained by local homeowners in July 2017 to represent them in a pending lawsuit regarding enforcement of a 2015 settlement agreement that resolved boundary line and invasion of privacy disputes with their neighbors.  The settlement agreement and resulting judgment transferred a small strip of each party’s property to the other; the agreement also included an anti-harassment clause.  When Dianne’s clients sought to refinance their property shortly after the settlement and related judgment were finalized, they learned there was a pre-existing lien on the portion of property transferred to them under the settlement agreement that would prevent any refinance or sale of their property until it was cleared.  The neighbors subsequently refused to cooperate with obtaining a release of the lien from the portion of property that they had granted to Dianne’s clients.

The neighbors’ obstruction resulted in more than a year delay in the clients’ refinance and considerable attorney fees and other costs before the clients were able to get the lien removed. Thereafter, the clients sought recovery of these fees and costs from the neighbors under the settlement agreement. Dianne was able to get the neighbors to agree to mediation and, if that was not successful, binding arbitration. During and preceding mediation, it became evident that the clients were more concerned about the neighbors being held accountable in some fashion than recovering of the costs they had incurred.  The neighbors, on the other hand, were very opposed to conceding anything to Dianne’s clients.

In the end, the mediator and parties came up with a decidedly unique resolution:  Each party agreed to donate $5,000 to a local charity that is near and dear to Dianne’s clients. This satisfied our clients’ concern that the neighbors be held accountable for their lack of good faith cooperation yet also let the neighbors feel that they hadn’t conceded anything to Dianne’s clients.  The parties also added more “teeth” to the anti-harassment provision of the settlement agreement, which will hopefully help end the ongoing harassment. Overall, this creative solution both resolved an otherwise intractable dispute and benefitted the community at large. 

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GTH client Shadrach White, CEO of cloudPWR, highlighted in #startupseverywhere article.

GTH is proud of Shadrach White’s efforts to promote technology startups in Tacoma.

“We participate in local networking events and help promote the city as a business friendly ecosystem for technology-focused startups. For example, we participated in a youtube video series as part of this marketing effort”, said Shadrach.

Excerpt from: Engine, #STARTUPSEVERYWHERE article by Monica Laufer.





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