Washington's attorneys' lien law.
Apparently, the Washington Legislature has been following the attorneys' fee issue fairly closely; on June 10, 2004, a new attorneys' lien law want into effect;, see the Notes to Wash. Rev. Code Ann. [section] 60.40.010, citing 2004 Wash. Laws, chapter 73, [section] 1. The law's stated purpose is to:
[E]nd double taxation of attorneys' fees obtained through judgments and settlements, whether paid by the client from the recovery or by the defendant pursuant to a statute or a contact. Through this legislation, Washington low clearly recognizes that attorneys have a property interest in their clients' cases so that the attorney's fee portion of an award or settlement may be taxed only once and against the attorney who actually receives the fee. This statute should he liberally construed to effectuate its purpose. This act is curative and remedial, and intended to ensure that Washington residents do not incur double taxation on attorneys' fees received in litigation and owed to their attorneys.
This lien law was designed to replicate those discussed in Cotnam and Banaitis. Washington's new law not only mirrors Alabama's and Oregon's laws (in that it provides attorneys with generous property interests in settlements and judgments), but actually surpasses them, by providing that attorneys' liens in Washington are now superior to all other liens (including tax liens); see Wash. Ray. Code Ann. [section] 60.40.010(3). Thus, it appears that Washington's new law may provide the strongest protection yet under the Cotnam line of reasoning.
Robert W. Wood, J.D., Robert W Wood, P.C., San Francisco, CA
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|Author:||Wood, Robert W.|
|Publication:||The Tax Adviser|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2004|
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