Category Archives: Civil Justice

Tahuya Travel Company Continues Alaska Airlines Frequent Flyer Miles Fight

Consumer or airline: who owns frequent flyer miles?

That’s a question Brad Carey, owner of Tahuya-based Carey travel, has been asking for a long time now.

And Carey’s fight isn’t over yet. He wrote an email recently to say that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from both he and Alaska Airlines in late August.

A U.S. District Court Judge ruled in 2009 that Carey isn’t allowed to buy and sell airline miles, because the airlines ban the practice under no uncertain terms in their user agreements.

Each side had 15 minutes to make an argument before three judges, who then get to ask some questions.

The court hasn’t yet made a ruling, but Carey is optimistic.

“We are confident we will receive a favorable ruling several months later,” he said.

I’ll keep you posted.

Lawsuit: Waitress Sues Silverdale Restaurant for Withholding Tips

A waitress is taking a Silverdale restaurant to court, claiming the restaurant’s manager “withheld” tips, according to documents filed in Kitsap County Superior Court Dec. 14.

The lawsuit alleges that the restaurant manager “willfully withheld 60 percent of the tips,” that the waitress was supposed to receive, and “only paid to her 40 percent of the tips she received waiting tables in the course of her employment,” according to court documents.

There’s an “amended” lawsuit in the case file that states that sometime this past fall, the waitress had 50 percent of the tips withheld, rather than 60.

The lawsuit calls for the restaurant to pay damages, to include the amount of the “wrongfully withheld tips,” and interest, and attorney’s fees.

No court dates have yet been filed in the case.

Read more lawsuits in the Civil Justice category.

Info on New Inmate Public Records Law Requested … by Inmate


The recently-signed inmate public records abuse law will soon face its first test, following an inmates’ public records request for any information on the new inmate public records abuse law.

Sound redundant? To Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, the author of the new law, it’s ironic.

“I think it’s fitting that the very person who prompted the law in the first place will be the legal test case to try it out,” Carrell (pictured) said in a press release Monday. “It’s ironic that the individual is an inmate seeking excessive public records on bills that prevent inmates from seeking excessive public records.”

The new law’s aim is to cut down on public records requests by inmates that seem “abusive.” The attorney general’s office reports that in 2007, the Department of Corrections (DOC) staff spent 12,494 hours responding to offender records requests, costing taxpayers more than $250,000 and six full-time employees.

Carrell’s bill, signed into law March 20, had only two lawmakers vote against it (one of them was Poulsbo Democrat Sherry Appleton, and you can read about her no vote here).

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Words of Advice from the Tax Man (as April 15 Approaches)


Life’s only certainties, most of us know, are death and taxes. Yet around 1,000 people a year are prosecuted in the U.S. for “evading their income taxes, willfully failing to file tax returns, filing false tax returns in order to obtain inflated tax refunds and other such tax crimes,” explains Kenneth J. Hines, the IRS Special Agent in Charge for the Pacific Northwest.

Prior to April 15 — “tax day” this year — Hines has issued a memo to help you avoid losing your life savings. Or worse — having the tax man come for you.

Here are his main areas of concern, as emailed to me by Dan Wardlaw, another IRS special agent:

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Lawsuit: Jury Awards $6.75 Million to Woman Infected with Genital Herpes

This just in: a Palm Springs, Calif.- jury is penalizing a 77-year-old man to the tune of $6.75 million for knowingly infecting his sexual partner with genital herpes.

The 56-year-old woman awarded the sum in Riverside County Superior Court was unaware of the 77-year-old’s disease, and “he failed to disclose it to her prior to their sexual relationship and failed to use a condom to protect her,” lawyers with the firm Slovak, Baron & Empey said.

The lawyers claim it to be the largest ever award in such a case.

“We presented evidence to the jury that he ruined her life as a result of his blatant disregard for her health and he showed no remorse. It’s unforgivable. She will have to live with this for the rest of her life,” said Shaun Murphy, one of the woman’s attorneys.

“This verdict is a clear message to all persons infected with a sexually transmitted disease that this type of behavior simply will not be tolerated,” he said.

Lawsuit: Plaintiff ‘Fell While Bowling’

It’s been awhile, I know, but I thought it’d be a good time to take a peek inside the civil realm of the Kitsap County Courthouse with a look at a lawsuit.

Here’s one filed Sept. 4. A couple was bowling on March 3, 2007, at a local bowling alley when the husband “fell while bowling,” and allegedly “sustained serious injuries.”

They’re seeking monetary damages to compensate the man for his medical bills, attorney’s fees, and other relief “the court deems just and equitable.”

In these days of our “litigious society,” as one Kitsap County deputy prosecutor once told me, this lawsuit presents, I think, an interesting issue for bowling alleys.

Bowling is a physical activity (not on par with, say, running or swimming). I’m pretty sure every time I’ve gone skiing, for example, I’ve had to sign a massive liability agreement. I don’t think I’ve had to when bowling.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, though. The lawsuit’s language is minimal (was he mid-stride in bowling? Did he slip on the wood below him?). I guess that’s an issue the parties will take up with the judge.

Lawsuit: Christmas Cut is Court-Bound

It’s a scene that’s played out Christmas morning countless times: a husband happily tears through wrapping paper to discover a Craftsman toolbox from his wife.

Such was the case for a Kitsap County couple on Dec. 25, 2004 — but this time, the husband was the apparent victim of a “razor sharp edge” of the toolbox that cut his thumb.

And that two centimeter Christmas cut has led to a lawsuit filed by a Port Orchard lawyer.

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Lawsuit: ‘Plaintiff … Covered in a Thick, Syrupy like Substance’

A woman is suing the Bremerton School District after she apparently slipped on a recently waxed or mopped floor at Bremerton High School on July 16, 2004. She claims there wasn’t any “warning signs” around the area, according to the lawsuit, filed July 13 in Kitsap County Superior Court.

The woman was with clients from a local hospital at the school, when one of them ran off and went into the kitchen area. The plaintiff “went into the kitchen to retrieve her client,” and fell on the floor, “finding herself covered in a thick syrupy like substance,” court documents said.

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Lawsuit: ‘Pipe came loose … struck plaintiff’

A Kitsap County couple is suing Home Depot over an incident in October 2005 in which a woman was perusing an isle at the Silverdale store and a pipe fell from a shelf and struck her in the head, according to court documents.

The woman was at the store the afternoon of October 25, 2005, with her then 3-year-old daughter. She was standing in the middle of the “fencing” isle, “looking straight ahead,” when “a 7 foot piece of galvanized pipe came loose from the shelf and struck Plaintiff in the head,” court documents filed May 18 say.

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Parking Tickets: Surrender or Square Off?

Most of us know this feeling: you’re walking to your car, you’ve got your keys out, and you’re all set to turn your engine over and drive away.

But there’s that thin sheet of paper slipped under your wiper blades that threatens to pinch your pocket.

Well, I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve gotten a few parking tickets around here. And I think most of us would confess to that.

With most fines for outstaying our parking space welcome being in the neighborhood of $20 to $40, I think most of us give up the fight — even if we think the ticket was wrongfully issued — and write the check, recognizing that fighting a parking ticket isn’t worth our time.

But when I received a ticket at the Kitsap County Courthouse last week, I wasn’t ready to roll over.

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