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John J. Tollefsen
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John Tollefsen’s Answers

12 total


  • How can I collect judgement issued by Turkish court from a Washington state registered business owner?

    A Seattle based business owner runs operations in Turkey. I was the manager responsible for his business in Turkey, but towards the end of my employment, I didn't get paid by this person. after filing a lawsuit, Turkish court issued a judgement ag...

    John’s Answer

    Washington has enacted the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act (RCW Chapter 6.40A). You can enter the judgment in Superior Court but may face a challenge if the Turkish judgment violates Washington public policy (e.g. lack of due process).

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  • What is the difference between franchising and licensing in regards to expanding a business

    When it comes to expanding a business, what's the difference between franchising and licensing?

    John’s Answer

    If you allow your business name, service mark, or trade mark to be used for a fee, you are selling a franchise or business opportunity in most if not all states. There are no loopholes that allow expansion of a business through independent operators who pay money for the right. There is a difference between licensing (“franchising”) and dealer networks. Dealer networks are also regulated.
    This is a complex area of the law that requires a legal professional.

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  • WA white collar crime laws

    i am a victim of white collar crime and want to file a civil suit - what kind of lawyer do I need? John

    John’s Answer

    John, Usually suing the embezzler is sending good money after bad. However, if you believe the obligation is collectable, you should hire someone who has experience in the field. You search under the keyword “fraud” on the Internet. Most business litigators can do the work. It is helpful if the lawyer is a certified fraud examiner. The judgment you obtain for fraud is generally nondischargeable in bankruptcy and will last 20 years (including one renewal). We have more information on the subject on our website: tollefsenlaw.com.

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  • Appeals Court Jurisdiction

    Upon the filing of an appeal the Appeals Court receives jurisdiction from the Trial Court (Superior Court). In Washington the Trial Court may only correct clerical erors and omissions in its Judgment to perfect its intent from the original order b...

    John’s Answer

    The rule is designed to allow only one court to have jurisdiction at a time. Otherwise there could be inconsistent rulings. The Rules of Appellate Procedure have some provisions for going back to the trial court to make certain determinations. The answer to your question depends on the facts and circumstances but generally, the trial court has no authority (jurisdiction) to make any change in the judgment without the approval of the appellate court.

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  • Why do lawyers and law firms participate on Avvo answers?

    It is amazing that so many legal professionals are participating on Avvo answering questions? As a lawyer with limited time, WHY do others participate? 1) For the good of the community 2) To build up my Avvo points and ratings 3) To build my...

    John’s Answer

    In the mid 1800's some lawyers started to print their names and areas of practice on envelopes used for mail. It was referred to as "advertising" and considered shocking and unethical. Soon many lawyers were doing the same.
    In the 1960's, some bar associations (like Oregon's) protected the profession by making the minimum (not maximum) fees charged part of the ethical rules. The Federal Trade Commission sued on restraint of trade theories and the bar associations repealed these ethical rules.
    In the early 1970's, bar associations fought vigorously against any legal advertising in the media. Advertising was unseemly and implied that lawyers needed to compete like tradesmen. The courts intervened under freedom of commercial speech theories. Today, lawyers are giving free legal information on the Internet. Isn't it simply shocking?
    The answer to the question - Why do it? - is this: TO KEEP UP WITH THE COMPETITION. Times change.

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  • Business set-up

    My brother-in-law and his wife, and my wife and I want to go into business together. We will both be investing $50,000 for start-up costs. My brother-in-law says we should just trust each other but I disagree. What kind of agreements should we hav...

    John’s Answer

    No one goes into business expecting to fail. But most small businesses fail. It is wise to decide in advance who will be responsible and how the obligations will be handled if the business fails. Even if the business is successful, many issues arise that should be handled in advance (e.g. divorce, new partners, sale of business, sale of partnership interest, retirement, and how to handle disagreements such as working hours, new employees, and the direction of the firm). Expect to spend $1,000 to $3,000 for the basic agreements.

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  • Debt responsibility

    An attorney helped me and my wife form a corporation. We set up a small business, and took out loans and signed vendor agreements for the corporations business. Are we on the hook for the agreements if the business fails?

    John’s Answer

    It depends on the terms of the contracts. Generally vendors require personal guarantees from small corporations. Check the agreements and determine whether they include a personal guarantee. To avoid personal responsibility, the contracts should be signed by an authorized representative of the corporation ONLY in his or her representative capacity (e.g. ABC Corp by Judy Jones, President).

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  • Contract validity

    Our company has a service contract with a copy machine company which was sold to another company. Is our contract valid with the new company even though we didn't sign it with them?

    John’s Answer

    The validity of the contract depends on its terms. Read the fine print. Generally service contracts are not assignable but you may be able to work out an arrangement with the service company. Usually your company will remain liable on the service contract for its term if the other company does not pay the amount due.

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  • Amended contract

    Can a contract be amended without notice? I have a one-year contract with a gym and they recently changed the terms of membership and it is substantially different from what I agreed to when joining. Is this legal?

    John’s Answer

    Generally a contract cannot be amended without notice. The gym contract is probably covered by your state’s consumer protection laws and you may have additional rights. If you continue to use the gym or pay the fees after receiving notice of the change, you may be deemed to have accepted the change in the contract terms. Read the fine print in the contract to see what the agreement says about amendment. You may find that you have agreed to allow amendment in certain circumstances.

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  • Storing company emails

    Should I store/archive e-mail from employees in my company for legal purposes for some specified period of time?

    John’s Answer

    There is no easy answer to this question. Your company should consult with a litigation expert and develop a written document retention policy to cover this issue.

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