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Jeffrey L Smoot

Jeffrey Smoot’s Answers

17 total


  • What is the interest rate on a legal judgement in Washington state?

    My husband and I have a judgement against us for about $3700, it was awarded in feb 09 and after being garnished 25% we still owe $2000+ in nov 09. Is the interest rate legal?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    The judgment interest rate can be 25% if the judgment is based on a written contract that provides for that rate of interest. RCW 4.56.110(1). Credit card and other retail installment contract debts typically have interest rates higher than the usury law otherwise allows, so that could be why your judgment interest rate is so high. A voluntary wage assignment is a good idea if the judgment creditor will accept it; it will allow more to go to pay down the judgment balance instead of paying garnishment fees and costs.

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  • Will I loose every asset if its in my girlfriends name of 20 years? If I want to leave

    Ive been w/ my girlfriend for 20 years, we have 2 kids and own alot of rental properties, rv, boat, toys etc. They are all in her name because i have bad credit. If I leave do I loose everythinh, or am I entitled to half of everything.

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Your relationship with your girlfriend would appear to be a meretricious relationship, in which case, assuming you were not able to agree to an equitable division of assets out of court, the court would evaluate your respective interests in property acquired during your relationship and make a just and equitable division. Income and property acquired during a meretricious relationship is presumed to be owned by both parties and is distributed fairly by the court to avoid one party being unjustly enriched, so you would probably not lose all of the assets. Unless you and your girlfriend are able to agree to an equitable division of assets, a court would have to decide how the assets are divided. You should definitely consult with an attorney if you are planning to leave the relationship to be sure your rights are protected.

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  • I am looking for an attorney to file a suit for defamation in King County , WA.

    I am looking to file a suit against the people that falsely accused my husband of sexual abuse. He has gone through trial in May of 2009 and was found not guilty by a jury of 12 people and despite the state's 12 "witnessess." We are trying to rec...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Instead of filing suit first and then trying to mediate, you should consider trying to mediate first and only file suit if the accuser refuses to mediate or an acceptable settlement is not reached out of court. Defamation suits by their nature tend to be heavily litigated, so if mediation and settlement is your goal it may be better to try to mediate first and sue only if settlement efforts fail.

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  • What does "not reported in P.3d" mean?

    In Westlaw, it states under a case "not reported in P.3d" but it is reported in the Washington reporter. What does that mean?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    It means that it is an unpublished opinion, lacking precedential value. See RCW 2.06.040. GR 14.1(a) states “A party may not cite as an authority an unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals.” The case may be helpful to your understanding of the issues involved, but should not be cited as authority. You can be sanctioned for citing to an unpublished opinion.

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  • How do I file a Judgment agains a body/shop? My car is finished but he wont release it to me becuase were disputing a 25K bill

    I called the local pd and sherrifs -- both told me that I needed to get a court order in order for me to reposses my car... how do I get a court order? The guy thats been working on my car (not really even a business) decided that he was going to...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    A body shop can assert a lien against a car for unpaid charges under RCW 46.71 (automotive repair act) and RCW 60.08 (chattel lien statute). A person running their own body shop falls within the definition of “repair facility” under RCW 46.71.011(3) if he does collision repair and refinishing. He has to provide a written estimate of work over $100 and obtain written authorization from the owner for work exceeding the estimate by 10%, and must post a sign disclosing customer rights. If he failed to give a written estimate, did work exceeding the estimate without written approval, or did not post the required sign, he is not entitled to assert a lien against the car. Failure to release the car without lien rights and other violations such as overbilling is a violation of the act and the owner would be entitled to damages including treble damages and attorney fees and costs under the consumer protection act. Contact a consumer rights attorney or the Attorney General's office.

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  • Can I request an attorney to show me proof of hours worked

    My son is paying by the hour on a divorce and the hours spent seem excessive. 38 hours in one week when the attorney has other clients I presume. Reviewing the same set of answers several times a week for example seems odd . Can he ask his attor...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Washington's Rules of Professional Conduct, specifically RPC 1.5(b), require that " Upon the
    request of the client in any matter, the lawyer shall communicate to the client
    in writing the basis or rate of the fee." Your son should definitely ask for a statement of time spent on the case. It may be that the attorney has had to put a lot of work into the case that wasn't anticipated (divorce cases go that way sometimes), or the attorney could be overbilling. Ask for an accounting and an explanation. If the attorney won't give it to him or he finds out he is being overcharged, it would be time for your son to get a new attorney.

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  • I bought a house with a deck, but it is not up to code like the seller told me.

    I bought a house with a deck. I told it was up to code, but it is not and the city wants modifications (est $3,800) made. Do I have any right to sue the seller, or is it my problem? Should I have to check with every single city department ...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    It depends on your contract with the seller or inspector. Did you hire an inspector to inspect the house before you bought it? Did you waive inspection in your purchase contract? If so, then you probably do not have a good case against the seller for misrepresenting the condition of the deck. The "economic loss rule" would most likely bar a misrepresentation claim where your contract allocated the risk of loss. Recent cases including Jackowski v. Borchelt, 151 Wn. App. 1 (2009) and Cox v. O’Brien, 150 Wn. App. 24 (2009), held that fraud claims for the seller's failure to disclose that one property was in a landslide zone and another house had structural defects were barred where a reasonable inspection would have revealed the problems. By failing to conduct a reasonable inspection or waiving the inspection contingency, the buyers assumed the risk of any defects. In Alejandre v. Bull, 159 Wn.2d 674 (2007), the Washington Supreme Court held that a seller who failed to diclose a defective septic system could not be sued for fraud or misrepresentation, but only for contractual remedies. The economic loss rule would not prevent a breach of contract claim, a suit to rescind the purchase, or claims against an inspector if he/she failed to spot the code violation, but could make it difficult to sue the seller for fraud or misrepresentation unless those claims were reserved in your contract. The dollar amount in question would make this case appropriate for small claims court.

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