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Michael G. Gusa

Michael Gusa’s Answers

16 total


  • Domestic violence victim eviction

    Someone I know is a victim of DV and lives in apartments. It was reported to law enforcement about the abuse. They gave him tilend of wweekend to get his personal belongings out. Can the complex/landlord evict the victim for police came to residen...

    Michael’s Answer

    RCW 59.18.580(2) provides, in part, that a landlord may not terminate a tenancy or fail to renew a tenancy due to the tenant's status as a victim of domestic violence. Under that statute, a landlord is prohibited from evicting a tenant because the tenant is a victim of domestic violence. Being a victim of domestic violence is not a lawful basis for eviction.

    However, the statute does not prevent eviction based upon some other cause. Therefore, if the landlord has some other lawful grounds for eviction, the landlord can proceed with eviction on that lawful basis. Your friend will want to act to prevent the landlord from bringing the eviction action rather than waiting until the eviction action is brought then presenting a defense. Your friend should consult a lawyer who does landlord-tenant work.

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  • I have a question about getting a complaint and summons served

    I filed a lawsuit in Thurston County and the filing fee was waived by a judge but now I need to have the complaint and summons served in Cowlitz County and just saw on their website that there is a $40-65 fee for the sheriff to serve it - can that...

    Michael’s Answer

    If the defendants reside in Cowlitz county, it may be that the case should have been filed in Cowlitz county. You may have filed the case i the wrong county. You should make certain that you filed the case in the right count before you proceed any further.

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  • Hello, Is an Attorney required to file a motion to vacate a non criminal order (CR 60) off your background?

    Hello , Many many years ago as I was going through a divorce , my wife of then tried to accuse me of child abuse simply out of spite because I divorced her . I was arrested for indecent liberties in which I quickly proved myself innocent of any...

    Michael’s Answer

    A motion to vacate under CR 60 applies to civil matters only. It is not clear from your question that this is a civil matter. Moreover, to have the motion granted, you must meet the criteria in the rule. The standard for granting these motions is not easy to meet. You have a right to do this yourself. However, you may not have the skill needed to succeed. If you try on your own and fail, the court probably will not allow you to try again with a lawyer. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.

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  • Self-help eviction RCW 59.18.290. Judge dismissed case w/ "You had no lease" even w/ police report and evidence. Is this legal?

    Living with friend who told me to leave, with no reason, then would change his mind. After four months he dragged my belongings outside and and into his truck. I rented a van and moved the items to the van. At midnight he said I had to leave and I...

    Michael’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It appears that you constituted a "tenant at will". The tenancy of a tenant at will can be terminated upon notice terminating the tenancy and a reasonable time to move. It appears that the landlord acted improperly and his actions may have given rise to a claim. However, if the judge dismissed the case, your only option is to appeal, if the time for appeal has not passed. If you appeal and prevail, the decision will be overturned and you will get a new trial. If the time for appeal has passed, you have no options. Even if the judge was wrong, you do not have the opportunity to bring a new suit.

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  • Brown water is coming out of the faucet after Monday's flood and we are waiting for water test results, do I pay tenant's hotel?

    My house is near a creek which was subject to flooding in the storm earlier this week. The flood on Monday in western Washington caused the well to be underwater for part of the time, and now brown water with sediments is coming out of the faucets...

    Michael’s Answer

    Ms. Powell and Mr. Alexander have given you the safest course of action. And that may also be the best course to take. However, I will offer a different perspective.

    You say that the condition resulted from the flooding of a nearby creek. If this is a fairly frequent event, the tenants may be able to successfully claim that you have not provided an adequate water supply. However, if this is the first time you are aware of, that may be another matter. In the Tucker case cited by Ms. Powell, the owner was informed of the problem when he purchased the property in 1994 and the problem continued until 2000.

    RCW 59.18.070 imposes a duty upon the landlord to commence repairs within 24 hours when the defective condition deprives the tenant of hot or cold water, except where circumstances are beyond the landlord's control. This situation may well be beyond your control. Another issue is how long it will take before water quality is restored. Another consideration is whether you have a landlord's insurance policy or only homeowners' insurance.

    For liability to occur, the tenants would have to prove that you violated the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, duties imposed upon landlords by the courts (what lawyers call the common law) or the lease/rental agreement. One consideration may be whether it is possible for you to hook up to a public water system. If you have that option, but have not done so, that could work agaist you.

    From what you have written, It is not clear that you have violated any of these. If not, you have no duty to pay for a hotel. On the other hand, paying for a hotel is probably the best way to reduce the risk of litigation. You have to weigh the risks and expenses, and proceed in what you perceive to be your best interests.

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  • Does a sewer easement granted to neighbor A extend indefinitely to other neighbors that want to connect through neighbor A?

    I have a sewer line easement with the neighbor next door. My neighbor is requesting a modification to allow another neighbor to connect as well, which is fine by me. However, they are asking for the easement text to not state that the easement is...

    Michael’s Answer

    There is no such thing as a "standard" easement. Absent some fact that you do not mention, you have no obligation to give a sewer easement to another neighbor. Nor do you have an obligation to allow the holders of the easement to convey a right to use to others.

    The terms of any easement you grant are up to you. The fact that they want the right to allow other use suggests that they seek more than a neighborly accommodation. If you do not limit use, you could find that your property may one day become the location of a sewer line that serves a major development. You may wish to consult an attorney to make sure that any easement you grant is limited in accordance with your intent.

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  • Mandatory mediation- If I know 100% it will not work. My ex husband won't agree on anything that is why it is almost to trial.

    Is this a good reason to ask the judge to waive mediation? I have no problem participating but I know it will be a waste of the courts time. If I end up having to participate can I ask for temp orders at this time outlining upcoming visits?

    Michael’s Answer

    I have seen situations where attorneys for both sides felt that mediation would not work ad jointly asked that it be waived, but the Court refused to do so. Your chances of having it waived are very small. Often, the mediator is not a judge, so the judges usually do not view mediation as a waste of court time.

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  • Is someone selling drugs in front of their children considered abuse? Can I report it without having witnessed it firsthand?

    I know a woman who sells heroin and meth to people while her children are in the car. There are also dirty needles and things in the house which the children have access to. It is my friends girlfriend's mom. I have never witnessed any of this fi...

    Michael’s Answer

    Certainly, you can report these allegations to Child Protective Services. The fact that you have no first hand knowledge does not prevent you from making a report. However, it may limit the agency's ability to act. If you make a report, it will be in the agency's hands. If you don't, and no one else does, the agency will be able to do nothing.

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  • I repaired a vehicle and the owner never returned. How do I obtain title on this vehicle?

    6 years ago I performed the work. How do I take ownership of this vehicle in WA state?

    Michael’s Answer

    You say that you performed the work six years ago. The exact date may be significant. Another significant issue is whether you had a written agreement with the customer. If the debt is a significant sum, you should consult an attorney.

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  • Wa. State. Is the POA accountable for letting someone else be negligent with funds.

    My Brother, POA for my mother, is letting my other brother (drug addict) be negligent with my mothers check book. Forgeing checks and not paying any bills. who is accountable? Can we ask for accountablility?

    Michael’s Answer

    The holder of a power of attorney has some discretion in how funds are used. The question is
    whether the use of the funds constitutes abuse. Allowing forged checks and not paying bills could well constitute abuse. If your mother is elderly, Adult Protective Services may step in. You should contact that agency. Another possibility is that you could bring suit against your brothers for forgery, breach of duty under the power of attorney and appointment of a guardian of your mother or your mother's estate. The guardian could then cause the power of attorney to be terminated.

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