City tries to dismiss lawsuit over head tax repeal

Yesterday the City of Seattle filed a motion to dismiss one of two lawsuits filed against it that alleged the City Council and Mayor violated the Open Public Meetings Act when they repealed the head tax.

This particular lawsuit, by James Egan, was only filed against the City of Seattle, not against the Council members and the Mayor individually (as the second lawsuit, filed by Arthur West, does). In yesterday’s filing, the city argues that Egan only asks for civil penalties against the individuals, not the city itself, and doesn’t ask for the repeal vote to be invalidated. As such, he has made no claims that the city is required to defend, and since he didn’t list the Council members and Mayor as defendants, he can’t ask for civil penalties to be imposed upon people who aren’t listed parties to the case.  Therefore as a matter of law, there are no claims to be adjudicated and the case must be dismissed.

Even if the city succeeds with its motion, it doesn’t change much. The two cases have already been consolidated into a single proceeding, and the second case does list the nine Council members and the city as defendants — though not Mayor Durkan. Unlike Egan, West requests the court to invalidate the Council’s vote repealing the head tax as well as to impose $500 fines against the Council members.

The judge will hear oral arguments on the motion to dismiss on September 7th.