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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.

Court of Appeals - Div. II: GAL Petitioners not on the hook for costs and attorney fees GAL-initiated action

Matthews v. Sherwood Assisted Living, Inc. Ah, human greed and cruelty, why are you so prevalent?  Matthews arose out of the actions of two relatives of an incapacitated elder living in an assisted living facility.  After a State Ombudsman's investigation and report revealed (the court uses the kinder word "suggested") that the relatives were siphoning money off of grampa, an employee of the facility petitioned the court to appoint a guardian ad-litem (GAL).

Now, I don't really want to speculate beyond the facts presented in the opinion, but the situation had reached that point, it must have been quite bad.  Nonetheless, the relatives doubled-down on the greed by trying to move Mr. Matthews to California, out of his erstwhile home of six years, and the GAL petitioned for a temporary restraining order. (TRO)  Because a TRO petition is to be accompanied by a bond, the trial court ordered the facility to one up in the amount of $10,000.  When the facility refused, the court denied the TRO (allowing the relatives to move grampa to California), dismissed the GAL petition, and awarded attorney fees to the relatives.  Ouch.

Thankfully, Division II don't play that, and reversed the trial court:

We hold that a GAL appointed under RCW 11.96A.160 or former RCW 11.88.010 has an agency relationship with the court much like a permanent guardian or limited guardian appointed under the Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act (TEDRA) (ch. 11.96A RCW) has with the court. . . . A GAL is not an agent of a guardianship petitioner.  A GAL makes recommendations and takes actions free of a petitioning parties' vested interests.  See former RCW 11.88.090(3)(a).  Thus, the petitioner for a guardianship cannot be held liable for the GAL's actions taken during the guardianship petitioning process and vice versa.

This decision makes sense on a number of levels, but the main point is that unless an interested third party is petitioning for a GAL unreasonably or in bad faith, isn't this exactly the outcome we as a society want to see?  I would think so, and I'm glad the court read the statutes that way.

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