A Kennewick attorney has been ordered to pay $128,269, including double the amount of owed wages, to a former employee who left last year to start his own law firm.
When John C. Bolliger sued Scott T. Ashby last September in Benton County Superior Court, he had hoped a judge would rule that no wages were owed to his former employee.
But Friday, Judge William Acey found that Bolliger is responsible for paying commissions that Ashby earned that became due after he left the firm.
Ashby worked at the Bolliger Law Offices from February 2010 to June 2012, according to Ashby. He then opened Ashby Law in Kennewick.
Ashby claimed that Bolliger refused to pay the earned commissions and filed a wage claim with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries.
Bolliger responded with a Superior Court lawsuit, and Ashby filed a counterclaim seeking payment of the $34,002 disputed wages, along with penalties and attorney fees, Ashby said in a news release.
Acey, of the Hells Canyon Circuit Court, presided over the case after Benton County's six judges recused themselves because the matter involved two local attorneys.
Acey dismissed Bolliger's suit against Ashby and his wife, Shauna. The only matter he left is whether Ashby is contractually liable for charges he accrued from an online legal research service that came due after Ashby left the firm.
Bolliger was ordered to pay double the owed wages for $68,004. Acey said the lawyer also owes $58,075 in attorney fees to Ashby, who represented himself, along with fees and interest.