Skip to main content
J. C. Becker

J. Becker’s Answers

10 total

  • My flight was delayed and I missed an international connection.

    The air traffic was busy and it was too late for me to make my connection. The airline wouldn't pay my hotel or meals. Can I successfully sue?

    J.’s Answer

    Airlines used to provide a lot more "comps" than they do today, mostly because the profits are so narrow now and because the laws have changed to give them protection from these types of claims/suits. Most tickets also include language which limits their liability to you as does several international conventions (you said international) with their defense being you assumed the risk when you agreed to board that we might not get you there on time. The airlines will also claim "force majeure" which means they are excused from any obligation owed to you due to government intervention like the FAA air traffic controller who said (pilots hate this too) "hold" for traffic due to safety concerns. Checkout the website for more info or search on airline passenger bill of rights for other (social media) suggestions...but a lawsuit would not be my first suggestion.

    See question 
  • Traveling back via plane, safe?

    I was stopped by HSI on my way out of states at the airport months ago. Not arrested but my electronics are detained. I wish to come back via plain, is it safe? Should I get a lawyer to contact HSI I first? I am a immigrant, never...

    J.’s Answer

    Not sure if you were flying yourself (general) or a passenger on commercial aviation but there are very specific import/export rules for general aviation that require approval in advance. Flying as a passenger however is different, if this was a case where they suspected criminal activity or copyright issues, you should have received a notice and receipt for any items seized. Suggest you give an attorney a call in the local area (where this happened) and ask them your questions as well as provide them some additional infoormation which could help figure this all out for you.

    See question 
  • It looks like my employer is pushing me out. I know of illegal activity that they've conducted themselves in. And, they are

    talking about witholding my annual bonus as well. Our fiscal year finished in June. What are my rights?

    J.’s Answer

    When you say illegal, do you mean violations of contract or state/federal law? Be careful when trying to negotiate using an employer's unlawful conduct as a bargaining chip. In Washington it may be unlawful to do so and even result in a criminal charge (extortion) if you are caught trying to trade "not reporting them" for money. Absent contract prohibitions, I always recommend clients report the unlawful conduct first to the appropriate regulatory agency and then you are both considered a whistleblower (protected) and free to negotiate with them without the taint of being involved in their unlawful activities... As for contract or employment violations, that is why you need to contact a lawyer so that he or she can help you identify them, properly assert them and hopefully collect damages (money) on your behalf. I hope your situation gets resolved in your favor.

    See question 
  • Is a non compete still valid if you sign it and stop working for the company in the first 90 days of employment

    I started work for a company that had a non compete and I stopped working for them in the trial period and now that I worked for a different shop and then also help my friend with his company that is doing the same types of work as the place I qui...

    J.’s Answer

    Perhaps. Washington courts will often enforce these types of agreements if it can be shown they were entered into voluntarily, with knowledge and in exchange for some type of consideration/value (i.e. a paycheck). The "trial period" you mentioned might create an enforcement issue especially if it is unilateral in nature, i.e. only gives them the right to reject you and not you them yet still leaves the non-compete in effect. This way they could hire their entire field of competition, have them work one day, let them go and try to hold them to the non-compete. You should have a lawyer review the document before you make any decision whether or not to accept competing employment and possible have the lawyer write your former employer a letter informing them of your legal position and disputing the validity of their agreement. That way if they do not respond you have a good argument the trial period worked both ways and they did not object to your new job, if they do respond it will open the dialog for resolution hopefully without litigation or the embarrassment of a claim by them against you and your new employer.

    See question 
  • Do I have a slander case against a former employer?

    I recently started as the director of business development with a new company, which provides similar products to similar clients in the same market as my former employer. I did not have a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement. In competing ...

    J.’s Answer

    The other answer covers most of what I would tell you but you might also consider hiring an investigator to contact the former employer undercover as a prospective employer and see what else they will say. Strengthing your case for false statements/defammation or providing a sworn statement in defense of your former service (in the event the former employer does not say anything bad) will be worth the small investment you make in the private investigator...not to mention helpful for a lawyer evaluating a claim from a damage and litigation perspective.

    One other thing, a lawyer could write a warning letter to your former employer putting them on notice of your intent to file suit if they don't issue an apology/retraction or continue to damage your reputation. Over the past twenty plus years I have written a number of these, some worked well, others had no impact but helped set the stage for the eventual litigation.

    Sorry to hear about your difficulties and best wishes for your new employment!

    See question 
  • Can my employer not allow me to work without a final release date from a Dr kn a non work related injury?

    I have a sprained acl and mcl. The Dr said I could go back to work, but for the next 1-2 weeks I would need light duty( no deep squatting or using ladders) . The note also said that if I felt like I needed a follow up appointment to schedule one d...

    J.’s Answer

    If you are on L&I ask your claim manager to intervene on your behalf and get a light duty assignment. Employers are not required to offer them but L&I will encourage them through their own internal methods to do so. If you are in a union talk to them about any past practice for this issue, if you are not in a union and you are not on l&I (limited protection) see if your doctor will simply write a "tentative" return to work note for you since the employer may be already considering your termination and the expected return date might convince them to just keep you rather than let you go and begin the replacement and training process for a new hire. You will have to be careful on this but since you said it does not affect your ability to do the job, it may be possible to avoid to work a political solution rather than getting a lawyer involved (who may not be able to do much). Work with your doctor to satisfy the employer and hopefully "get off their radar". Best of luck and always get several opinions on an important legal or medical problem!

    See question 
  • After a movant is denied summary judgment(Plaintiff in this case) I am defendant what is time frame to proceed?

    I am Pro Se, I can't find any information on time frame after summary judgment denied. Can the plaintiff denied SJ drag the law suit out forever? Do they have a set time frame to notify the court,to notify me how they will proceed. Do I now have t...

    J.’s Answer

    Depends on the jurisdiction, King County has a case management schedule which must be followed and you should have received a copy of it with the original summons and complaint. Other counties do not, and the standard rules apply which is that if there is no action taken on the record for one year, the matter is subject to clerk's dismissal (but that is without prejudice so the matter may be filed again or simply avoided by taking some action on the record). See below. Also, winning a summary judgment is not the same as the winning the case, the standard for prevailing in a summary judgment motion is high and only granted when there is no need for a trial (or facts in dispute). I would strongly suggest you retain a lawyer and not wait until the matter is ready to proceed to trial.

    RULE 41

    (a) Voluntary Dismissal.
    (1) Mandatory. Subject to the provisions of rules 23(e) and 23.1, any
    action shall be dismissed by the court:
    (A) By stipulation. When all parties who have appeared so stipulate in
    writing; or
    (B) By plaintiff before resting. Upon motion of the plaintiff at any
    time before plaintiff rests at the conclusion of his opening case.
    (2) Permissive. After plaintiff rests after his opening case, plaintiff
    may move for a voluntary dismissal without prejudice upon good cause shown
    and upon such terms and conditions as the court deems proper.
    (3) Counterclaim. If a counterclaim has been pleaded by a defendant
    prior to the service upon him of plaintiff's motion for dismissal, the
    action shall not be dismissed against the defendant's objection unless the
    counterclaim can remain pending for independent adjudication by the court.
    (4) Effect. Unless otherwise stated in the order of dismissal, the
    dismissal is without prejudice, except that an order of dismissal operates
    as an adjudication upon the merits when obtained by a plaintiff who has
    once dismissed an action based on or including the same claim in any court
    of the United States or of any state.
    (b) Involuntary Dismissal; Effect. For failure of the plaintiff to
    prosecute or to comply with these rules or any order of the court, a
    defendant may move for dismissal of an action or of any claim against him or her.
    (1) Want of Prosecution on Motion of Party. Any civil action shall be
    dismissed, without prejudice, for want of prosecution whenever the
    plaintiff, counterclaimant, cross claimant, or third party plaintiff
    neglects to note the action for trial or hearing within 1 year after any
    issue of law or fact has been joined, unless the failure to bring the same
    on for trial or hearing was caused by the party who makes the motion to
    dismiss. Such motion to dismiss shall come on for hearing only after 10
    days' notice to the adverse party. If the case is noted for trial before
    the hearing on the motion, the action shall not be dismissed.
    (2) Dismissal on Clerk's Motion.
    (A) Notice. In all civil cases in which no action of
    record has occurred during the previous 12 months, the clerk of the
    superior court shall notify the attorneys of record by mail
    that the court will dismiss the case for want of prosecution
    unless, within 30 days following the mailing of such notice,
    a party takes action of record or files a status report with
    the court indicating the reason for inactivity and
    projecting future activity and a case completion date. If
    the court does not receive such a status report, it shall,
    on motion of the clerk, dismiss the case without prejudice
    and without cost to any party.
    (B) Mailing notice; reinstatement. The clerk shall mail
    notice of impending dismissal not later than 30 days after
    the case becomes eligible for dismissal because of

    See question 
  • Employment probation

    Can an employer establish different probation periods for various new employees?

    J.’s Answer

    It may also depend on whether there is a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in effect at the time and if it covers probationary employees. Many CBAs set the probationary time by referencing the fact that employees are probation have no rights under the agreement but if the "no rights" period is set at 6 months in the contract, the employer cannot change it without bargaining.... If you have a union or guild check with them and if not, you probably need one!

    See question 
  • Internet Spam/Fraud

    My mother and I responded to an avertisement in my mothers e-mail box that called for a Rebate Processor. Her name is Angela and she owns Penbrook Productions. My mother took a look at the website, thought it was good because it passed all her t...

    J.’s Answer

    contact your credit card company and dispute the charge (they will do a charge back) and cancel the card as the number has been compromised. These types of scams are difficult to prosecute both civilly and criminally because they are operated accross state lines (or international borders) and they close down very quickly after ripping a lot of people off (the hit and run approach).

    The FTC also has a website for this, check it out at FTC.GOV

    See question 
  • Is a rebate considered gambling:

    Say I offer my customers who buy my product between now and opening day a 25% rebate if the Mariners win their home opener. I would mail them their rebate check upon a Mariners win. Would this be considered gambling? All of my sales are online ...

    J.’s Answer

    I would check with the Washington State Gambling Commission, they would give you an opinion in writing that would be a safer bet than an online answer (pun intended)

    See question