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Issaquah Law Group - Injury Litigation Attorneys

TRUST: Personal injuries are personal. Which is why the attorneys at ILG treat every client and every case differently. Because they are different, and extremely personal. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built on trust. Trust that you will be heard. Trust that you will be protected. Trust that every effort will be made to see justice done in your case. The singular goal of every ILG attorney is to earn and preserve that trust.

EXPERIENCE: 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 and we bring this experience to bear on behalf of our clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of motor vehicle accidents, bus versus pedestrian accidents, defective and dangerous products, medical malpractice, slip/trip and fall accidents, and catastrophic losses due to fire.

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Division I: Commission Hearing With Wage Recovery Allows Fees and Costs Under RCW 49.48.030

Arnold v. Seattle Human Services

This case is all about when a person may seek attorneys fees under RCW 49.48.030. The statute allows someone to seek attorneys fees whenever successful in “recovering a judgment for wages or salary owed to him or her.” Now, it doesn’t say what kind of judgment, and this case wasn’t a direct wage action, but was an employment action to get  the job back from the employer or pages from wrongful termination:

The deputy director of the department recommended that Arnold be terminated. Arnold, whose performance evaluations had otherwise been excellent, hired counsel and requested a hearing. After the hearing, the director decided against termination and chose instead to demote Arnold from her management position with an annual salary of $85,500 to an entry-level position with an annual salary of approximately $56,000.

Through counsel, Arnold and her subordinate appealed to the Seattle Civil Service Commission. A hearing examiner conducted a lengthy hearing, in which three attorneys participated—one representing the City and one representing each employee. The issue with respect to Arnold was whether the demotion was for justifiable cause. The examiner concluded that demoting Arnold was not consistent with discipline imposed in comparable cases.

For example, one of the other supervisors had received a two-week suspension but no demotion. The examiner's written decision reversed Arnold's demotion and converted it to a two week suspension. The decision reinstated Arnold to her former position and awarded back pay and related employee benefits. Arnold requested an award of attorney fees.

Now, was this a judgment? I mean, obviously she was successful in recovering wages. But did RCW 49.48.030 apply. The court says it did, based on precedent in which a grievance arbitration counted, and the statute’s mandate that it be interpreted liberally for employees. 

So Arnold gets her attorneys’ fees.

While Issaquah Legal Services attorneys do not practice in employment law, please contact our Issaquah lawyers for a referral to a top-notch attorney in the area who can help you.

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