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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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It’s the season of love – yep, Valentine’s Day! Here at Lether Law Group, we are starting a new tradition of decorating waffles and having breakfast together. As we begin our own tradition, here are some ways others celebrate.

In Wales, they celebrate by giving each other wooden spoons known as “love spoons”. Though the Welsh celebrate a little earlier than us instead celebrating on January 25th or Saint Dwynwen’s Day. Saint Dwynwen’s Day celebrates the legend of the patron saint of love, Saint Dwynwen.

Argentina doesn’t just celebrate Valentine’s Day – they celebrate an entire week called “the week of sweetness” in July. The tradition originally started as a commercially driven celebration and is now widely celebrated. Throughout the week lovers exchange chocolates and other types of candy. How sweet!

Valentine’s Day is also the “day of winemakers” or San Trifon Zartan in Bulgaria. The tradition originates from when priests would cut unnecessary branches off and bless the grape vines at the beginning of February. Today, San Trifon Zartan is celebrated with lots of wine and a feast.

In El Salvador, Valentine’s Day isn’t just a day of love, but also a day of friendship. A centerpiece is used to put in the names of friends, family members, coworkers, etc. and everyone draws a name to buy a gift for. Think Secret Santa, but there’s a twist! You also say a good quality about your friend and the group tries to guess the gift’s recipient before giving the gift to your secret friend.

White Day follows exactly a month after Valentine’s Day in Japan. On Valentine’s Day, women buy their male companions chocolates and gifts, but men can’t reciprocate until White Day on March 14th. Traditionally, men would give out white chocolate, marshmallows, and cookies on White Day.

However you celebrate, we at Lether Law Group wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Citations:

https://traveltriangle.com/blog/valentines-day-traditions-around-the-world/

https://time.com/5528685/valentines-traditions-around-the-world/

https://theculturetrip.com/europe/bulgaria/articles/trifon-zarezan-bulgarias-second-valentines-day/

 

Fresh Faces

Lether Law Group is happy to announce the addition of two new associate attorneys to the firm.  Welcome to the team Maria Hull and John Isaacson.

 

Maria attended the University of Texas, where she earned a degree in Social Work. After working as a social worker in the private and public sectors, she went back to school to pursue her Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law . During law school, Maria earned her transactional law certificate, which propelled her into an in-house corporate role for an energy company in Houston.  After relocating to Seattle, Maria joined the Lether Law Group and is a member of the Board of Directors at a local nonprofit.  Maria spends her free time playing golf with her husband.

 

Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, John spent his undergrad years in the State of Texas before moving to Spokane, Washington to attend law school at Gonzaga. Although he initially planned to return to the heat and sunshine, he enjoyed his time in Washington far more than he expected to and feels lucky to be able to call it home for the foreseeable future. After law school, John worked with Pierce County’s Department of Assigned Counsel as a Public Defender before deciding to transition to the life of private practice. He enjoys fishing, painting, cooking, and admittedly more than a few Netflix shows.

 

 

Congrats to Our Newest Senior Associates

Congrats to Our Newest Senior Associates
We would like to congratulate Kasie Kashimoto and Chance Laboda on their promotions to Senior Associates this week. Kasie and Chance were classmates at Seattle University School of Law, and have both been with Lether Law Group since becoming licensed attorneys.
Chance is a Seattle native and earned his Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law where he served as the Vice President of the Business and Entrepreneurial Law Association. While attending law school, Chance externed at the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Banks and was a Rule 9 intern for Hughes Robbins P.S. Chance’s experience includes coverage and litigation of disputes arising from commercial general liability, commercial auto, personal auto and business owners insurance policies. Chance’s litigation practice includes cases before the Washington State Court of Appeals, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, United States Judicial Panel on Multijurisdictional Litigation, and class action litigation.

 

Kasie is from Honolulu, Hawaii, and earned her Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law where she also graduated cum laude. While attending law school, Kasie externed at the District Court of the First Circuit in Honolulu, Hawaii for Judge Dean E. Ochiai. Kasie’s experience includes coverage and litigation of disputes arising from commercial general liability, business owners, public entity, automobile, and watercraft insurance policies. Kasie’s litigation practice includes cases before the Washington State Court of Appeals, United States Judicial Panel on Multijurisdictional Litigation, and class action litigation. Kasie actively practices in both Washington and Hawaii.

 

Congratulations
Kasie and Chance!

Duck Duck Goose – Wildlife at Lether Law Group

Located directly on the water, the Lether Law Group office is often visited by wildlife. As she does every year, a mother goose came to lay her eggs in the planter on the deck earlier this spring. This month, a mother duck did the same. When it came time for the duck babies to join their mom in the water this week, the height of our deck presented a challenge for the small and fragile ducklings. We are pleased to announce that after a successful rescue mission, all ducklings were safely reunited with their mother in the water. We wish them luck on their new adventure, and hope they come back to visit.

Happy New Year And 10 Year Anniversary

As Lether Law Group moves on to a New Year, we are proud to announce that 2021 represents our 10th year in business as a firm. In 2011, Tom Lether started a new practice which focused on a different and better way of representing clients. Despite the challenges of a new practice, the past 10 years have been enormously successful. We want to again thank all of our employees and clients that have been a part of our unparalleled success.

In 2011, the firm adopted the following 5 benchmarks:
Experience Matters, Efficiency Matters, Client Service Matters, Results Matter, Honesty Matters.

To celebrate our 10th year, we are adding 5 new standards. This totals to 10 core values for 10 years of service. Each one of these goals is something that we at Lether Law Group strive for every day.

Experience, Efficiency, Client Service, Results, Honesty, Compassion, Winning, Reputation, Wisdom, Teamwork.

We look forward to continuing to represent our clients in 2021. Over the next 12 months, we will feature our values one by one. Each core value represent how we practice law. We look forward to showing you how they are reflected in our work, relationships with clients and daily life.

Thank you again for your dedication and the opportunities that you have provided. We have so much to be grateful for. We are extremely proud to be associated with such incredible clients. Please stay safe and healthy. We look forward to seeing what we will accomplish together in 2021.

COVID-19 Litigation Update

COVID-19 Litigation Update
Lether Law Group represents The Dentists Insurance Company (TDIC) as national coordinating counsel in COVID-19 related business interruption litigation in a number of jurisdictions throughout the United States. We are happy to announce the dismissal of one such action in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

 

In KesslerDental Associates, P.C. v. The Dentists Insurance Company, Cause No. 2:20-cv-03376-JDW, Honorable Joshua D. Wolson granted TDIC’s Motion to Dismiss finding that the COVID-19 pandemic and the governmental and societal response thereto does not trigger the business interruption coverages in the TDIC policy. Summarizing his decision, Judge Wolson stated the following:
“The Covid-19 pandemic might be unprecedented, particularly in its impact on businesses large and small. But it is not a writ for the Court to rewrite the Policy to which Kessler Dental and Dentists Insurance agreed. That Policy does not provide coverage for the losses that Kessler Dental has suffered.”

Kessler Dental sued TDIC claiming that TDIC wrongfully denied coverage for business income losses sustained as a result of the pandemic and the State of Pennsylvania’s shutdown orders. The Court, “at the risk of being labeled anti-Dentite”, citing to The Yada Yada Seinfeld episode from 1997, held that the TDIC virus exclusion operates to defeat coverage.

The TDIC virus exclusion precludes coverage for “loss or damage, including economic loss” caused by a virus. The Court found, simply, that the language is not ambiguous and applies to the COVID-related claims. Kessler attempted to overcome the virus exclusion by claiming that the business income losses that it sought were not “loss” or “damage”. The Court rejected this argument based on the plain language of the policy and Pennsylvania’s clear law regarding policy construction and interpretation.

Kessler also argued that the Court should bar TDIC’s reliance on the virus exclusion based upon a regulatory estoppel theory. Kessler argued that ISO and AAIS made false representations to the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner in 2006 when proposing the virus exclusion. The Court rejected this argument for two reasons. First, the Court held that Kessler had failed to allege that ISO or AAIS was representing TDIC in making any regulatory representations. Second, the Court held that Kessler had failed to allege any inconsistent statements.
“But even if the Court were to attribute those trade groups’ statements to Dentists Insurance, Kessler Dental does not plead any inconsistency. it alleges that ISO and AAIS made statements in 2006 representing that property policies were not intended to cover virus-related losses. Dentists Insurance takes the same position here today as the ISO and AAIS did in 2006; it argues that the Virus Exclusion bars coverage. Thus, regulatory estoppel does not apply, even if, as Kessler Dental claims, the insurance trade groups made statements to regulators in 2006 that were at odds with the then-current state of the law.”

The Court went on to further analyze the specific Business Interruption Coverages – Business Income Loss, Extra Expense, Civil Authority – finding that even in the absence of the virus exclusion, the coverages are not triggered. Importantly, the Court found that the virus and the governmental response thereto did not cause “direct physical loss of or damage to” the insured premises. Notably, the Court found that Kessler was never actually shut down. Pursuant to the governor of Pennsylvania’s business shutdown order, dental practices were not actually closed, but were limited to performing emergency procedures.

Below is a link to the complete Order of the Court.

Order of the court

TDIC was represented by Tom Lether and Eric Neal as national coordinating counsel and was represented locally by Michael Smith and Marc Kamin of the Stewart Smith law firm in Philadelphia.

To the extent that you have any questions about any COVID-19 related matters, please feel free to contact Lether Law Group at any time.

The above article is an opinion based on various resources such as industry knowledge and is not to be construed as legal advice or to be used as such. If you require legal advice or would like to inquire further about the information contained in this article, please feel free to contact our office directly.