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ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP

Issaquah Law Group: Experienced Counsel; Client Focus

PHILOSOPHY: Formed in 2014, Issaquah Law Group is a law firm with one focus: providing businesses and insurers with high quality legal representation with the responsiveness of a smaller firm. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built upon clear and consistent communication. 

LITIGATION: We work closely with our clients to fully and accurately understand their goals, work collaboratively to formulate specific legal strategies, and execute the agreed plan of action utilizing methods most likely to result in the efficient and effective resolution of the matter. ILG attorneys have a broad base of litigation experience to draw on in all Federal and State courts from on-the-ground investigations to Supreme Court appeals in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, product liability, commercial general liability, labor & employment, construction litigation, and catastrophic losses due to fire and explosion.

BUSINESS LAW: Rarely is the path from point A to point B a straight line, so our role in a business law practice is to find alternatives, devise workable strategies, and keep your business ideas, goals and objectives moving toward realization. ILG’s business attorneys help clients achieve their goals with respect to business formation, intellectual property, labor and employment, CAN-SPAM, copyright and trademark

COMMUNITY: In addition, the Lawyers at Issaquah Law Group remain active in the legal and civic community. A core commitment of our Issaquah Attorneys is community service. Our attorneys' civic involvement includes the King County Civil Rights Commission; the City of Issaquah Planning Policy Commission; the Northwest Screenwriters Guild, service as a pro tem judge. We live and work in the Pacific Northwest, and we aim to make it a better place.

In addition, through The Amateur Law Professor Blog and LinkedIn postings, we share pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Courts of Appeal so that our clients can be as update to date on cutting legal issues as we are.

WA Legal Roundup: Division II

In Re The Settlement/Guardianship of AGM and LMM

This is a case where the attorney missed the SGAL hearing, lied to the court (claiming she was stuck in snow when there was no snow), erroneously told the court that she requested and prepared documents for the SGAL, and sent a three page demand on a policy limit case (undetermined whether it included all the medical records to substantiate). 

Minor sisters were injured in an automobile accident.  AGM’s medical specials totaled over $68,000.00 while LMM’s medical specials were $3,500.00.  The family was represented by Rubinstein Law Firm who submitted a demand on behalf of the family that consisted of three pages and 7 lines dedicated to AGM’s claim.  State Farm offered policy limits ($100,000.00) for AGM and $4,500 for LMM. Rubinstein accepted the offer for AGM (pending approval) and negotiated LMM’s settlement.  An SGAL was appointed to review the settlement and fees (1/3 requested by the attorney per the rep agreement).  The SGAL opined that a lower fee was appropriate for AGM as the attorney spent very little time on the case and there was no need to negotiate.  After missing the first hearing and being requested to file an itemized lien wherein she claimed only 2 hours of attorney work on AGM’s case, the trial court approved $15,000.00 of the requested $33,333.33 fee for AGM.  Rubinstein Law Firm appeals.

On appeal, Rubinstein argues that the trial court lacked a reasonable basis to reduce the fee, based its decision on the itemized lien, and applied an improper method for determining the fee.  The court found that SPR 98.16W authorizes the trial court discretion over the fees and allows the trial court to consider itemized liens, SGAL recommendations, and attorney declarations.  The court also noted that Rubinstein was incorrect in alleging that the burden of proof for determining a reasonable fee should have been the SGAL or State Farm and held that the burden is on the attorney requesting the fees.  

Finally, the court disagrees again with Rubinstein, holding that the trial court did not determine the reduced fee on an unreasonable or arbitrary basis.  The court quotes the RPC 1.5(a) disallowing attorneys from accepting an unreasonable fee.  In pointing out that the attorney spent very little effort on AGM’s case to obtain the policy limit, the court ruled that the trial court acted reasonably in lowering Rubinstein’s fees.

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