Joe Hamell

Practice Emphasis and Experience

Business, Construction, Dispute Resolution, Employment, Insurance Coverage and Recovery, Labor, Litigation

Business Litigation Attorney, Seattle

I am a client-focused business litigation attorney. When business owners are in tough situations I excel at helping them achieve an outcome they can live with. Helping businesses overcome conflict is my top priority. I understand how much is at stake and getting my clients to a successful resolution is rewarding for me.

I know first-hand how expensive litigation can be. Substantial legal bills can be devastating to a business. For this reason, I am also committed to obtaining the best results for my clients in the most cost-effective manner. With the bottom line in mind, I take a pragmatic approach to resolving disputes. I work with my clients to form a customized strategy that balances economic considerations with the critical need for a satisfactory resolution so you can get back to focusing on what is most important to you, running your business.

Business Litigation and Business Disputes

I understand how the law affects you and your business as well as how business disputes reach settlement. Most business disputes are eventually settled by parties outside of the courtroom. The question really is not whether the case will settle, but how long it will take, and how much money will be spent. I work within your budget to tailor a strategy that reaches optimal results while avoiding trial.

Trial is the most costly venue for the resolution of a business dispute. In the rare occasion a case is brought before a judge or a jury, I have the experience to prepare, present, and advocate for my clients in a courtroom. Even in this instance, my priorities are focused on timely and cost-effective representation.

I am skilled at repairing broken business relationships which can stop a business before it begins. I can help restore calm to turbulent relations between a co-owner or partner. If the relationship is already at an end, I can guide you in protecting your interests. I can assist in many areas including:

  • Partnership break-up
  • Partnership dissolution
  • Contract dispute
  • Business break-up
  • Partnership or co-owner dispute
  • Limited partnership dispute
  • Dispute between members of an LLC
  • Disputes between tenants in common or other joint owners of property
  • Receivership
  • Partition of property

Employer and Employee Relations and Employment Law

Employee relations are one of the most challenging aspects of owning or running a business. I can help answer your questions about how to deal with a problem employee or how to respond to an employee complaint. I can be the outside human resource advisor for your business when it’s facing the complicated web of disability, family and medical leave regulations. I represent clients in employee/employer related business disputes and can assist with various issues including:

  • Employee disputes
  • Wrongful discharge
  • Discrimination (based on sex, race, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, religion, sexual preference, and marital status)
  • Retaliation
  • Sexual harassment
  • Wage and hour issues (minimum wage, overtime, safety, and exempt employee classification)
  • Disability discrimination
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Federal Civil Rights Claims: 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1981
  • Employer workers’ compensation
  • Labor and Industries

Administrative Agency Investigations and Defense of Administrative Claims

I have successfully represented businesses facing administrative charges in front of these federal, state and local government agencies:

  • Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC)
  • Washington Nursing Quality Assurance Commission (NQAC)

Businesses are often the target of a government investigations or audits. I represent targeted businesses who do work for the government (such as doctors who treat workers compensation patients or contractors) and businesses who pay B&O tax, sales tax, employment security tax, and workers’ compensation tax. I have experience addressing:

  • Classification of independent contractors
  • Compliance with medical billing guidelines
  • Billing fraud
  • Compliance with HIPPA privacy requirements
  • Prevailing wage
  • Appeal of improper NPDB reports

Real Estate Development and Real Estate Litigation

Many of my clients own commercial, business or personal property that is developed or is in the process of being developed. I often counsel and guide real estate owners on land use issues such as:

  • Zoning
  • Subdivision
  • Boundary line adjustments
  • Property line disputes
  • Code enforcement actions
  • Appearances before a hearing examiner
  • Permit disputes and appeals under LUPA
  • Breach of a sale contract or lease agreement
  • Landlord-tenant disputes
  • Discrimination claims by tenants


When I am not in the office, I spend my time with my wife and our five daughters. I love the outdoors and we take our girls hiking, backpacking, and snowshoeing.  I also enjoy my time spent as a volunteer for King County Explorer Search and Rescue, Kent Covington Youth Soccer, the Girl Scouts, and as a teacher at my children’s homeschool co-op.