Businesses in the Construction Industry: Beware the Independent Contractor Risks

SGFS welcomes Brian Keeley to the firm. Brian is an employment lawyer who represents businesses in employment, employee benefits, and litigation matters. Just before joining the firm, Brian co-wrote and article about the dangers of using independent contractors or subcontractors. The article ran in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, and the Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC) reprinted it.

The US Department of Labor recently dropped some not-so-subtle hints that it would step up its investigations into businesses that misuse the independent contractor label and treat workers as independent contractors who could be considered to be the business’s employees instead. The risks to businesses can be substantial: if a worker who was treated as an independent contractor is re-classified as an employee, they could be owed back pay and back benefits, and the business that they worked for could owe back income and payroll taxes, unemployment taxes, workers’ compensation premiums, and penalties and interest. Any business that engages others to do work who aren’t employees (including subcontractors at any level) could be at risk. Please take a look at the article, and contact Schlemlein Goetz Fick and Scruggs, PLLC by phone at 206-448-8100 and ask for Brian or email Brian at if you think you might be at risk or want to confirm that you are not.

SGF&S Named 9th Best Small Company to Work for in Washington

We here at SGF&S try to keep our bragging to a minimum and our practice as the focus, but last night we received some wonderful news. We are officially one of Seattle Business Magazine’s top 10 small businesses! This is a rank that we can only receive based on our employees and their love of the work that they do.  We are humbled to be on this list now for two years running and very excited to have broken into the top 10 this year (we were 13th last year).

So, last night we celebrated! Our wonderful team headed down to the Washington State Convention Center in the heart of downtown to attend the 100 best party thrown by Seattle Business Magazine and toasted to a great work family.




Congratulations to Our Newest Member, Mark Davis

Things at our firm just keep getting busier and busier – and that’s a good thing. To make sure we have the bandwidth necessary to meet all of our clients’ needs, we have expanded a bit and would like to recognize the hard work and achievement of our lawyers. In addition to the two attorneys who joined our ranks recently, one of our associates was invited to become a member of our firm this month.

 Mark Davis has been practicing law in Washington since 2007.  In building his practice, Mark has established a track record of representing individuals and businesses with passion and integrity, and in doing so has created a name for himself as a skilled trial attorney.  He has litigated a variety of employment and commercial disputes, such as workplace issues involving discrimination, hostile environments, retaliation, and wage violations (to name a few).   Mark’s tireless efforts on behalf of his clients have been highlighted by his recent selection as a Rising Star among attorneys in Washington State, a prestigious award named by Super Lawyers and only bestowed upon less than 2.5 percent of lawyers in the State.  Whatever the matter, Mark does his best to obtain justice for each client as swiftly as possible.  He sets a great standard of practice and it’s a high bar we strive to maintain.

Mark is a team player and a hard worker. When Mark’s not hard at work in his office or in meetings with clients, he can be found playing a game of ping pong in our office rec center or spending time with his wife and young family.

So with our sincerest gratitude and excitement we are proud to recognize this achievement.

Congratulations, Mark!

SGFS Welcomes Rick Birinyi to the Team

We are very excited to welcome Richard Birinyi to our growing firm! Rick is an established bankruptcy attorney focusing mainly on creditor and debtor issues with over 30 years of experience to bring to the team.  We here at Schlemlein Goetz Fick & Scruggs couldn’t be more excited to have him on board with us.

Rick is a leader in Washington State’s bankruptcy law, having lent his talents to firms such as Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt and Bullivant Houser Bailey. We feel lucky that he has decided to join us for this next chapter of his career. He is no stranger to creditor/debtor issues, corporate reorganizations, business transactions and complex commercial litigation. His expertise and dynamic personality will be a great asset to us as well as our clients.

Welcome to the team, Rick!

For more on Rick visit our website.