Currently browsing: Immigrants in History

Non-compete and non-solicit clauses in Spokane: Let the worker beware

Washington is a “right to work” state, but that doesn’t necessarily give you the right to work anywhere you choose — especially not today, it seems.
In these tough economic times, the job market really is a buyer’s market. With a glut of labor trying to fill relatively few open positions, employers seem to be demanding more from the workers they hire — such as requiring them to sign “non-compete” and/or “non-solitication” agreements.
Spokane Washington Non Compete Agreements
Agreement and clauses not to compete are enforceable
These agreements, often buried in the employment contract, should wave a red flag in the face of anyone asked to sign them. They protect the employer, but can actually harm the employee.
Signing a non-compete agreement or a contract containing one means that you, the employee, cannot compete against your employer for a period of time after leaving the company where you work.
These clauses can not only prevent you from opening a competing business, but also may stop you from accepting a job with a company deemed to be in competition with your employer. If you work as a bank teller with Bank A, you might not be able to take that manager’s job at Bank B.
Clauses like these do offer the employer some protection against company secrets’ being divulged to the competition. Non-compete clauses are quite common in sales, for obvious reasons: Salespeople with inside knowledge of a company’s products as well as upcoming promotions, information the employer deems confidential. Having a sales representative take a job with a competitor increases the likelihood that the competing company will gain access to information that could hurt the original employer.

Read more

Oral Contracts vs. Written: Get It in Writing

It’s always a good idea to be careful about what you say, but especially when agreeing to a transaction. Because, in Washington and elsewhere, oral contracts can be every bit as binding as written ones.
The key factor is evidence. Without a witness’s testimony, a recording, or some other indication of the agreement’s terms, no judge can enforce your oral contract.
In the United States, any contract, written or oral, must have three components to be considered legally binding: offer, acceptance, and consideration, or price. That’s pretty simple, which is another reason to take care. An estimate or quote, if accepted and agreed upon, can constitute a contract.

Read more

A Different Perspective to Being a Lawyer

When I immigrated to the United States (January 20, 2000), I remember the excitement of the countless opportunities that laid ahead. My birth country, Colombia, with all of its problems and drug wars, was a difficult place to leave but America promised freedom, and I was seeking that freedom.
I always knew I wanted to study law (my grandfather, parents, uncles, and sister are Colombian attorneys). However, once in the United States, the roadblock to becoming a lawyer was self-evident. Most (not to say all) of my English as a Second Language teachers would remind me that English is the lawyer’s craft… and I was very far from ever mastering the skill.

Read more

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014!

We love this season! We have the blessing to spend time with our family and in a genuine way express of feelings of love and caring for each other. We appreciate you as a client, friend, and part of our extended family. We would like to express our gratitude to you for placing trust in our office.
The Quiroga Law Office, PLLC is a small family business and we could not do it without your continuing support. Thank you!

Read more

Forming an LLC in Spokane Washington

Say your employee has an accident in the company truck, and gets sued. Or maybe someone slips and falls on the steps leading to your business’s front door, and sues you. Or perhaps a customer isn’t pleased with the outcome of a service or product you provided, and files a lawsuit.
What would you stand to lose? Everything, if your business is a sole proprietorship. Because, if the plaintiff wins the suit against you and the award is greater than your business is worth, you might have to sell your house or car the cash, dip into — or deplete your savings and in some circumstances your retirement account, or worse.
What would you stand to lose? Everything, if your business is a sole proprietorship. Because, if the plaintiff wins the suit against you and the award is greater than your business is worth, you might have to sell your house or car the cash, dip into — or deplete your savings and in some circumstances your retirement account, or worse.
In Washington, a community property state, your spouse might have his or her wages garnished to pay the award.

Read more

Injured Pedestrian? Know Your Rights

Whoever said the pedestrian always has the right of way?
In Washington, nothing could be farther from the truth. If you’re a pedestrian, you must obey laws just as drivers do. You also have rights, however, which often include the right to medical coverage if a vehicle hits you, and possibly more.
Your vehicle insurance policy may provide coverage in case of a collision, even if you’re crossing the street on foot. If you aren’t insured, the insurance someone in your household carries — a parent, a spouse, or even a roommate — may pay your medical bills. Or, if the driver caused the accident, his or her insurance may pay.
Insurance companies, however, want to make money, not spend it. Some may unscrupulously try to discredit a pedestrian’s claims of injury or pain.
That’s why calling an attorney is one of the first things you should do if a vehicle strikes you. Because you can bet the insurance companies have already called their lawyers.
And remember: you have the right to remain silent. That claims adjuster may be friendly, but his job is to gather evidence against you.

Read more

Stop Creditor and Collection Companies Harassing Telephone Calls | Our Rights in Spokane Washington

As a bankruptcy attorney in Spokane Washington, I hear it all the time. Either creditors harass consumers for payment or they hire collection companies to contact consumers and attempt to collect a legitimate claim.
Usually, the creditor has a valid claim or that the debtor owes money to the creditor. The question often is: how far can a creditor go? What can a consumer do to stop the harassment? What are our specific and local rights in Spokane, Washington?
These are good questions and truthfully, questions like this, encourage me to talk about this subject.
How far can a creditor go when attempting to collect on a legitimate claim for money owed?
Creditors have a right and a duty to collect on the money owed to them. They can initiate legal actions and garnish wages, sell assets, or even foreclose on real estate if the proper legal process is followed.

Read more

Meeting of Creditors in Spokane Washington

The meeting of creditors (341 Meetings) are required in every bankruptcy case (Chapter 7 and/or 13). When you file for bankruptcy, typically, you will file a petition that is conformed of a Voluntary Petition with some Schedules. You will also file what is called a Creditor Matrix, which is a list of all your creditors with their contact information. When you file your petition the court will do two things: first, the court is going to set into motion what is called an Automatic Stay on the date of filing (11 USC § 362). The Automatic Stay is the law that will protect you against anybody harassing, contacting, calling you, etc. You receive immediate protection as soon as you file for bankruptcy, whether you file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.
The second thing that happens when you file your bankruptcy petition is the court schedules your Meeting of Creditors. The meeting is in Downtown Spokane at the Federal Court House 5th floor. This meeting is required by the Bankruptcy Code and is usually referred to as a 341 Meeting (11 USC § 341).

Read more

How to Evict a Tenant in Spokane, Washington

Many landlords in Spokane, Washington contact our office because they want to learn how to evict a tenant who is either not paying rent or causing damages to the property.
The first problem we have when it comes to help landlords is that many of them either have no written lease OR the lease that they have is not very good.
Many landlords fail to secure an attorney to review their leases so they have local enforceability. Many landlords make the mistake to go online and download an inexpensive or free form and attempt to enforce it. This leaves the landlord in a very weak position. Washington statutes and case law; however, municipalities like Spokane and Seattle add further requirements that must be followed. If the landlord fails to comply with those extra requirements, the landlord could be held liable for damages.
The Residential Landlord Tenant Act, RCW 50.18, codifies the requirements and laws a landlord and a tenant must comply with. When a lease is not properly drafted or nonexistent, the code would dictate the rights and responsibilities of each party. It is important to note that the act is heavily enforced against the landlord. Spokane County Courts try to benefit the tenant when interpreting the code.

Read more
Photographer Contract

Photography | Photographer Contracts in Spokane Washington

A written contract is the best way for any given business AND for a client/customer to ensure the agreement protects both parties. A contract must be obtained with full disclosure and it must be fair (it cannot be obtained by deceit, fraud, and/or misrepresentation).
In Washington, oral contracts are also enforceable (with a few exceptions). An oral agreement which contains an offer, an acceptance, and legal consideration paid by both parties can be fully enforceable and award damages against the party who breached the agreement.
The main issue with an oral contract is that often, it is very hard (if possible at all) to prove the terms, duties, and considerations of the contract. Although the parties can attempt to prove the important terms of the agreement, it is up to the party enforcing the contract to show, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the term was entered into and breached by the other party. This legal standard is usually difficult to overcome as evidence can be disputed and witnesses can be brought in to rebut any allegation.
Local business owners in Spokane, Washington should have their contracts in writing. Clients and customers should also procure a contract when having any given transaction that is important to the client/customer. A contract does not have to be complicated or several pages in length. However, it should outline the duties and responsibilities of each party including delivery times, payment amount, payment terms, warranties, refund/return policies, etc.

Read more