Nov 3, 2015
Small words can make big differences. For instance, when a court ignores an “or” and replaces it with an “of”, bad things can happen. A recent ruling by the Washington State Board of Tax Appeals (“the Board”) which guts Washington’s statutory provisions safeguarding the confidentiality of taxpayer returns and information shows why knowing the difference between “or” and “of” and demonstrating a basic level of reading proficiency should be required before anyone can interpret … Read more
Aug 12, 2015
In Davis v. Cox, 183 Wn.2d 269 (2015), the Washington Supreme Court held that Washington’s Anti-SLAPP Law, RCW 4.24.525, violated the state constitutional right to jury trial of civil cases and the First Amendment right to petition government under the United States Constitution. As this note will briefly show, the court’s rationale in Davis for invalidating the Washington law is equally applicable to the analogous Oregon Anti-SLAPP Law.
Summary of the Washington and Oregon Anti-SLAPP … Read more
Dec 31, 2014
As everyone knows, Washington has no state personal income tax while Oregon imposes a 9% personal income tax on all income earned in the state. Oregon makes no distinction between sources or kinds of personal income in applying its tax. The net effect of this difference can be dramatic. For instance, sale of a capital asset such as shares of corporate stock worth $10 million will result in a $900 thousand Oregon income tax obligation … Read more
Jul 12, 2012
A recent Washington Supreme Court case illustrates the extent to which the increasing convolutions of statutes and case law often lead to absurd results. In Peck v. AT&T Mobility, 174 Wn.2d 333 (2012) the Washington Supreme Court grappled with a question of statutory interpretation which only existed because of its own earlier misreading of a statue to mean more than the statute says. Rather than resort to a straightforward and reasonable interpretation of the statute … Read more
Jun 18, 2012
Employees owe a common law duty of loyalty to their employers. During their employment an employee can’t solicit customers or other employees for a competing business without violating that duty and incurring liability to their employer.
The breach of that duty can become particularly significant when one or more employees plan to join or start a business in competition with their present employer. Often employment agreements provide that the employee is obligated to not solicit … Read more
Jan 11, 2012
Like most children, cities and other local government bodies often forget that they lack innate authority to enact laws; that the only authority they have to enact laws and levy taxes is the authority which their superiors, the state constitution or legislature, grant to them. Also like children, cities and local government bodies often try to evade the limits set by their superiors and, when caught in the act, expend enormous amounts of effort … Read more
Dec 7, 2011
A recent Washington Supreme Court decision demonstrates how the interaction between administrative and common law is often critically important to the adjudication of employee claims. Specifically, the court held that an employee has no common law right to a claim of wrongful discharge solely because they are fired for reporting illegal or unsafe conditions of employment where other administrative or legal structures are deemed adequate for protection of the particular public policy which the employee … Read more