Beth Van Moppes To Conduct Anti-Harassment Training March 15th

If you are an employer or a manager in Washington State who wants to keep your business and your home, the flood of #MeToo news should have you concerned about your workplace culture. Because in the Evergreen State, in addition to businesses themselves, individual business owners and managers can be sued for workplace harassment. Prevention is your best tool against harassment lawsuits. Training your managers and yourself is your best tool for prevention. Here’s how Beresford Booth can help. On Thursday, March 15th , Beth Van Moppes will be conducting a One Hour Anti-Harassment Training Class. Morning session begins at 10:00...Read More

Amicable Divorce? You Still Need to Update Your Estate Plan!

Getting a divorce is never easy --- but it certainly is less stressful when it is done amicably. In fact, many couples decide that they don’t need the advice of counsel because they are able to agree on the division of assets and liabilities --- and thus they proceed with filing pro se. Further, many couples remain friendly – and sometimes even more so – after the divorce, finding they actually get along better and like each other more outside of the confines of the marital relationship. In these situations, it is often the case that the spouses do not...Read More

When There Is Something Strange In Your Neighborhood…

It may be your very own neighbor.  While many of us want to co-exist peacefully with our neighbors, you cannot always choose your neighbors, and they may have other goals in mind.  Conflicts between neighbors can arise in a variety of contexts, from tree cutting disputes to boundary disputes.  However, one of the most unsettling conflicts occurs when a neighbor trespasses onto your land and causes damage to your personal property. Perhaps a neighbor damages your fence or knocks down your retaining wall.  Whatever the case, having a neighbor enter onto your land without your permission and cause damage to...Read More

Paid Sick Leave In 2018: Are You At Risk Of Not Meeting This New Requirement For Washington Employers?

In the fall of 2016, Washington State voters approved Initiative 1433, which made four major changes to state law:  (1) it increases the minimum wage; (2) ensures tips and service charges are given to appropriate staff; (3) protects certain employees from retaliation for exercising their legal rights; and (4) requires employers to provide paid sick leave to certain employees beginning on January 1, 2018.  With the new year having arrived, employers now must have policies implemented that are in accordance with the new paid sick leave regulations promoted under Initiative 1433. Initiative 1433 requires employers to notify certain employees of...Read More

Remembering To Investigate As We Ride The Waves Of The #Metoo Sea Change

As a woman in the work force for more than 30 years, I am personally proud of the many women who have come forward in the #MeToo movement, and equally gratified by the enterprises that are supporting them. We are witnessing a sea change the likes of which have not happened in over 40 years. As the mother of a young daughter, it is nearly impossible to put my feelings into words. However, as a workplace investigator, I must continue to advise caution as we move forward in this wave of social progress. I do not question the veracity or the...Read More

Appointing A Special Master In Lawsuits In Washington State

The lawyers can see it coming. By their nature, certain lawsuits are primed from the outset to cost the parties excessive money and time, regardless of the amount in controversy. A certain a piece of litigation might involve a technical or complex area of the law. It might require ongoing and frequent oversight of the discovery process. It might involve heavy pre-trial factual analysis, such as damages determined by an expert and/or a complicated CPA-generated accounting. Finally, some litigation might call for compliance with a litany of settlement requirements. In cases like those, an often-underutilized solution is the Special Master....Read More

Tax Bill Impact On Divorce And Separation Settlements: Paying Spousal Maintenance Lost Its Tax Advantage

For the past 75 years, a party who pays Spousal Maintenance/Alimony received the benefit of a tax deductible expense, and the party receiving spousal maintenance/alimony had the burden of paying income tax on the maintenance received. The tax consequences will change dramatically effective January 1, 2019. Under the new Tax Plan, for all divorce decrees and separation agreements executed after December 31, 2018, spousal maintenance/alimony payments are NOT a tax deductible expense. Such maintenance/alimony payments are treated as tax neutral, like child support is today (e.g., neither a deductible expense to the parent who pays, nor income to a parent...Read More

Lauer, Keillor, Moore, Spacey, and Rose! Harassment Terminations: Where They Stop Nobody Knows!

Daily, the news brings us word of another celebrity termination for allegations of workplace harassment. We’re hearing of politicians, actors, and coaches terminated. It seems no male superstar is safe (we’ve yet to see a woman accused but I feel certain it is coming). We are living in what is being called the “Weinstein Era” or the “#MeToo Movement.” Social commentary aside, we’re witnessing a sudden consciousness that is going to have both short term and long term impacts on the workplace. Harassment in the workplace will never again be viewed the same. I’m receiving calls from clients concerned that...Read More

Washington State’s New Power Of Attorney Act

A power of attorney gives powers to another party (commonly known as an agent or attorney in fact) to act on his or her behalf. A power of attorney essentially allows the agent to step into the shoes of the principal, and perform all acts a principal could perform in his or her own right. The scope of the power of attorney may include dealing with financial matters as well as health care decisions. It can be a useful tool when the principal is unable to manage his or her own affairs for any reason, such as travelling, hospitalization, or...Read More

When Should A Creditor File A Bankruptcy Adversary Action?

Typically, creditors have little to no recourse when a debtor files for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Unless the debtor has sufficient non-exempt assets to pay all of his creditors, or the debts are secured by homes, cars, or other tangible items, the debts will likely be discharged – i.e., wiped out – leaving creditors with little to no recovery on their debt. In certain instances, however, debtors cannot discharge debts because of how debtors incurred the debt. If   The debt was obtained by false pretenses, false representation, or actual fraud; or The debt arose from fraud or...Read More