Subscribe in a reader

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

Sometimes the cases must wait for the sheer fun of it. The Prof had the pleasure of spending the afternoon in King County Superior Court in Kent watching the illustrious Karen Koehler do her thing at closing. For those in the plaintiffs game, an email is floating around recapping it.

Two new opinions out of the Washington Supreme Court yesterday.

In re Marriage of Bernard

This is one for the divorce attorneys. Tom and Gloria started dating. Tom was wealthy; Gloria was not. Tom told Gloria he wanted a prenup when he asked her to marry him. Tom told her to obtain counsel, giving her the names of three attorneys. But he never gave her a draft. Gloria got a draft eighteen days before the wedding. She obtained a lawyer who received a new draft three days before the wedding, which was substantially different from the draft Gloria had received. The lawyer didn't have time to conduct a full review and draft a counteragreement and was only able to lay out areas of concern the day before the wedding. She signed the prenup the day before the wedding and a letter was signed the day of agreeing to renegotiate the five areas noted. The amendments were negotiated, with Gloria and her lawyer of the impression that they were limited to the five areas outlined.

The majority found the unconscionability necessary to not enforce the prenup:

Here, the community property consisted of half of Gloria's salary, which was controlled by Thomas, and in effect $100,000 of Thomas's earnings per year. In addition, the prenuptial agreement limited Gloria's inheritance rights, prevented Gloria from seeking spousal maintenance, prevented Gloria from using community property to assist her children, and sheltered Thomas from liability for any debts incurred by Gloria. The prenuptial agreement as amended remedied some of these problems, but overall made provisions for Gloria disproportionate to the means of Thomas, and limited Gloria's ability to accumulate her separate property while precluding her common law or statutory claims on Thomas's property. The agreement as amended is substantively unfair. It can be enforced only if it was executed fairly, the second prong of our analysis.

The majority then upheld the findings of fact as to the procedural unconscionability involved. Thus, the two prong test requiring both substantive and procedural unconscionability was satisfied. The dissent agreed to the substantive, but not to the unconscionable prong.

 

State v. Sutherby

By no stretch of the imagination is Sutherby a fine upstanding citizen. He raped his five year old niece and had loads of child porn on his computer. The trial court sentenced by consolidating the child porn charges into two, as there were two minors depicted. Sutherby argued ineffective assistance because his attorney did not argue for severance of the child porn and child rape charged. He also argued that he should have been sentenced on one consolidated count of child porn instead of two.

The majority (and the larger of the dissents) held that one count was appropriate. It noted that the crime of transporting a woman or girl for prostitution had to be charged as one count under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution regardless of the number of women transported. This is because the statute did not state what the unit of prosecution was. You can bet your bottom dollar that their will soon be an amendment to the child porn statute.

As to the ineffective assistance, it is clear that any defense attorney in his right mind would have asked for severance. The more difficult issue is whether Sutherby was prejudiced by this. Essentially, the prejudice went towards evidence of the child porn possession likely not being admissible in a trial for the molestation as 404(b) propensity evidence, which is exactly how the state argued the child pornography when discussing motive.

Justice Fairhurst's dissent in part, joined by Justice Madsen, simply stated that she disagreed with the severance issue, but did not declare what basis. Justice Johnson issued a dissent based largely on emotion, but noting that a failure to severance saved Sutherby money, which is a strategic choice in litigation.

Subscribe in a reader