Charles Gussow

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Charles Gussow has experience in consumer protection law, administrative law, appellate litigation and federal practice. Before joining Stoel Rives, Charles was a law clerk for the Honorable Betty Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2012-2013).

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Washington Court of Appeals Streamlines Foreclosure Process

In Jacksons v. Quality Loan Service Corporation of Washington, No. 72-16-3-1 (April 6, 2015), the Washington Court of Appeals (Division 1) affirmed the dismissal of a plaintiff’s claims against various entities connected with a planned nonjudicial foreclosure sale of her house.   In so ruling, the court confirmed a number of procedures that together streamline mortgage … Continue Reading

Seeking Absolutes in a World of Probabilities: Washington Supreme Court Finds Mesothelioma to be Risk of Asbestos Exposure Rather than a Certain Harm

In Waltson v. Boeing Co., a 5-4 majority of the Washington Supreme Court held that Boeing did not have actual knowledge in 1985 that asbestos exposure would cause certain injury and that its former employee was therefore only entitled to worker’s compensation payment for the cost of the mesothelioma that likely resulted from that exposure.  … Continue Reading

Lucky Defendant Gets a New Trial, Appellate Court Doesn’t Get to Rain on His Parade

In State v. Hawkins, the Supreme Court reinstated a trial court’s grant of a new trial for newly discovered evidence after the Court of Appeals overturned that decision.  The decision is highly fact specific, and fascinating for mystery buffs, but the take away is clear: just as defendants can’t lightly disturb trial court rulings against … Continue Reading

The ER Should Not Be a Warehouse for Disabled People

Washington has allowed people to be involuntarily detained if they are a risk to themselves or others or are gravely disabled under the Involuntary Treatment  Act (ITA) since 1977 – first for a short period of evaluation, then for treatment.   Close of observers of modern mental health trends will not be surprised to learn that … Continue Reading

University of Washington Properly Suspended Merit Pay Increases in Face of Budget Cuts

In Storti v. University of Washington, the Washington Supreme Court determined that the University’s faculty handbook had created a valid unilateral contract with its faculty that promised a 2% merit-based salary increase subject to “reevaulation” based on funding.  When University funding went south at the height of the recession in 2009-10, the University cancelled the … Continue Reading

In Renters v. Landlords, the County Clerk Wins

Renters want to vindicate their rights without fear of retaliation.  Landlords want to know as much as they can about the people who seek to live in their property.  In Hundtofte v. Encarnacion a fractured Supreme Court resolved a conflict between those two impulses in favor of the landlords.  Renters can force their landlord to … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Declines to Blame Gun Owner for Injuries Caused When a Child Took the Loaded Gun to School

In the denouement of a much-publicized case, the Washington Supreme Court ordered a trial court to dismiss charges against Douglas Bauer, a man who left a loaded gun accessible to his girlfriend’s six year old child.  The child took the gun to school, where it discharged and seriously injured a classmate.  Bauer was charged with … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Roundup

The Supreme Court announced five opinions today. We will post further analysis of the most interesting of these cases in later blog posts. Futureselect Portfolio Mgmt., Inc. v. Tremont Grp. Holdings, Inc. : The Court reversed a trial court dismissal of a lawsuit by a Washington entity against an out of state defendant related to … Continue Reading

Washington Supreme Court Limits “Stop and Frisk”

In State v. Russell, a unanimous Supreme Court found that police officers who stop and frisk people under the “Terry stop” principle can only look for weapons and not fish for evidence of other crimes.  The Court also ruled that an individual does not give consent to a police search by “appear[ing] not to have … Continue Reading

Lying Isn’t Nice, But It’s Not Necessarily a Crime

Article by Manmeet Dhami, Summer Associate and law student at University of Washington School of Law [Learn more about Stoel Rives’ summer program here] According to a recent Washington Supreme Court decision, providing false information to a Sound Transit fare enforcement officer (FEO) is not punishable under Washington law. Typically, making a false or misleading statement … Continue Reading

Condo Shoppers – Beware of Lurking Liens

Article by Sook Kim, Summer Associate and law student at University of Washington School of Law [Learn more about Stoel Rives’ summer program here] In BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP v. Fulbright, the Washington Supreme Court held that a lien for future payments takes effect when the lien is recorded, regardless of whether the future … Continue Reading

You’re All Better Now: Courts Will Presume Defendants Are Competent After Treatment

In State v. Coley, the Washington Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that defendants bear the burden of proof for establishing they are incompetent to stand trial after they complete therapeutic treatment designed to restore them to competency.  While the right to be competent during a criminal trial is grounded in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, … Continue Reading

Washington Won’t Second Guess Your Out of State Conviction.

In State v. Jordan, a unanimous Washington Supreme Court ruled that a trial court properly increased a defendant’s prison sentence because he had been previously convicted of manslaughter in Texas, even though Washington has more forgiving self-defense laws than Texas.   The court held that sentencing judges may properly consider the fact that a defendant was … Continue Reading

Freedom is like a social security check: it can be taken away without full due process rights

In In re Detention of Morgan, a schizophrenic pedophile petitioned the Washington Supreme Court to reverse a civil commitment order.  The court declined to do so. To reach this unsurprising result, the Supreme Court had to determine that it was acceptable for the detained person to be found a sexually violent predator and deprived of liberty … Continue Reading

No comprende? No problema. Washington’s Supreme Court accepts poor performance by defense lawyer who didn’t speak the same language as his client

In the Matter of the Personal Restraint of Gomez, the Washington Supreme Court rejected a collateral attack on a mother’s conviction for killing her child through abuse. The Court ruled that the Spanish-speaking client did not deserve a new trial even though her lawyer only spoke English and also represented the child’s father in a … Continue Reading

The Court Assumes that Husbands Know It’s Illegal to Hold their Wives Captive for 3 Days

In State v. Johnson, the Washington Supreme Court provided two rulings.  First, it unanimously held that a charging document does not need to provide legal definitions of all the concepts within it to provide constitutionally sufficient notice to the defendant. Second, it ruled 7-2 that a jury must only be given a general criminal law … Continue Reading

Vacationers Are Welcome, Property Restrictions Aren’t: Washington’s Supreme Court Narrowly Reads Covenants

In Wilkinson v. Chiwawa Cmtys. Ass ‘n, the Washington Supreme Court determined that homeowners may offer their home to short-term vacation renters without violating community covenants restricting lots to single-family residential use.  In so holding, the Court looked to the full text of the covenants and found that the drafters anticipated short-term rentals by dictating … Continue Reading
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