Civil JurisdictionPOWERS OF ATTORNEY
SHB 1135a (S)
Chapter 203, Laws 2001
Creates a superior court proceeding for reviewing powers of attorney. Authorizes a court to review the attorney-in-fact's authority, to limit that authority, to ratify acts, to remove the attorney-in-fact, and to require or prohibit certain other acts (sections 3 through 10). Also addresses:
EHB 1347a (S)
Chapter 178, Laws 2001
Requires court approval before a tort plaintiff or a worker compensation claimant may transfer "structured settlement" rights (sections 4 and 6). Defines "structured settlement" to include court recoveries for personal injuries or sickness, worker compensation recoveries, and certain special needs trusts, all as defined in federal law (section 2). Also provides other protection to plaintiffs who wish to transfer their structured settlement rights.
Streamlines the appeal process for Department of Ecology's decisions to transfer or change water rights, but only with regard to property that is subject to the on-going general adjudication proceeding in the Yakima Valley basin. Does not change the appeal process for water right decisions elsewhere in the state.
Eliminates requirement to serve a permanent anti-harassment order where respondent was personally served with the temporary order and notice of the hearing, failed to appear, and the temporary order did not materially change at the hearing.
Notice must include: date and time of the hearing; notice that an ex parte order will be issued for a period of one year if the respondent fails to appear; a brief statement of the provisions of the ex parte order; and notice that the ex parte order has been filed with the clerk of the court.
Limits the liability of volunteers working for the government or certain non-profit organizations. Provides that these volunteers will be personally liable only for acts of willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, or reckless misconduct. Does not apply to a variety of exempted volunteers.
Provides the first significant overhaul of water law in decades, although the effect on the courts should be minimal. Focuses primarily on freeing up the transferring and changing of water rights. Includes the following changes:
SB 5048 (S)
Chapter 12, Laws 2001
Requires courts in mental illness commitment cases to give "great weight" to the respondent's prior history of decompensation and discontinuation of treatment (current law requires this only when determining whether the person is gravely disabled). Was proposed as a response to the Court of Appeals decision in In re R.W., 98 Wn.App. 140 (1999).
CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY COMMITMENTS
Expands the definition of two of the elements required for commitment - "likelihood of serious harm" and "incapacitated"- thereby lowering the threshold for committing people for chemical dependency (section 1). Allows a chemical dependency petition to be brought in another county's court if permitted by court rule (section 3). Authorizes counties to designate the CDMHP to perform chemical dependency commitment duties (section 4).
TRUST AND ESTATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Makes various "clean-up" changes to the Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act (passed in 1999). Includes changes to:
SB 5054 (S)
Chapter 60, Laws 2001
Replaces the common law's confusing rule against perpetuities with a rule that requires a trust (and similar property dispositions) to vest within 150 years.
Clarifies venue provisions for unlawful issuance of a check or draft. Expands venue for filing personal injury cases to include the location the injury occurred.
Creates a venue provision allowing hearings to be held outside a court's normal venue in the event of a natural disaster, civil unrest, technological failure or other hazardous condition.
Provides that venue in a criminal matter based on a local ordinance can be held by electronic means when the defendant is outside the courts geographic jurisdiction.
USE OF JUDGES PRO TEMPORE
The Washington State Constitution is amended to provide that, in addition to those persons currently authorized to be a judge pro tempore in superior court, any sitting elected judge may serve as a judge pro tempore in superior court without the approval of the litigants, as provided by Supreme Court rule. The rule must require that assignments of judges pro tempore be based on the experience of such judges and provide for the right, exercisable once during a case, to a change of a judge pro tempore.
Draft and adopt Supreme Court Rule.
Effective: January 1, 2002 (upon approval by the voters and certification by the Secretary of State).
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