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Filo Foods, LLC v. City of Seatac

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1

February 10, 2014

Filo Foods, LLC, et al., Respondents,
v.
The City of Seatac, Respondent, Seatac Committee for Good Jobs, Petitioner

Reconsideration denied February 27, 2014.

Superior Court County: King. Superior Court Cause No: 13-2-25352-6.KNT. Date filed in Superior Court: August 26, 2013. Superior Court Judge Signing: Andrea Darvas.

Dmitri L. Iglitzin and Laura E. Ewan (of Schwerin Campbell Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt ); and Bess M. McKinney, for petitioner.

Harry J.F. Korrell III and Rebecca O. Meissner (of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP ); Cecilia A. Cordova (of Pacific Alliance Law PLLC ); Mary Mirante Bartolo, City Attorney, and Mark S. Johnsen, Assistant ; and Wayne D. Tanaka (of Ogden Murphy Wallace ), for respondents.

AUTHOR: Leach, C.J. Spearman, J., DWYER, J. concurred.

OPINION

Page 818

Leach, C.J.

[179 Wn.App. 403] ¶ 1 The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects statutorily created initiative rights. It requires this court to subject any burden on the exercise of these rights to exacting scrutiny. Petitioner Seatac Committee for Good Jobs (Committee) seeks discretionary review of a trial court decision prohibiting the placement of an initiative measure on the ballot and striking the signatures of those registered voters who signed supporting petitions multiple times. Because the statute requiring this result impermissibly burdens the First Amendment rights of these voters, the trial court committed error that substantially altered the status quo. As a result, we previously accepted review and reversed the trial court. We now explain.

FACTS

¶ 2 In June 2013, the Committee, a coalition of individuals, businesses, neighborhood associations, immigrant groups, civil rights organizations, people of faith, and labor organizations, circulated a proposed ballot initiative entitled " Ordinance Setting Minimum Employment Standards for Hospitality and Transportation Industry Employers" (Proposition One). This initiative proposed an ordinance setting minimum employment standards for hospitality and transportation employers, including an hourly minimum wage of $15.

¶ 3 The Committee collected 2,506 signatures on supporting petitions and filed them with the city of Seatac (City). The Seatac Municipal Code (SMC) required that the proposed petitions be supported by at least 1,536 signatures to qualify for the November 2013 general election ballot. As [179 Wn.App. 404] required by the SMC, the City submitted the petitions to the King County Department of Elections, as ex officio supervisor of city elections, to determine the sufficiency of the signatures. On June 30, 2013, the King County Elections Supervisor validated 1,780 signatures, enough to qualify Proposition One for the ballot. On June 28, 2013, the city clerk issued a certificate of sufficiency.

¶ 4 On July 2, 2013, Filo Foods LLC, BF Foods LLC, Alaska Airlines Inc., and The Washington Restaurant Association (Challengers) filed a challenge to the certificate of sufficiency. The Challengers could not confirm that the City would convene its petition review board before the time to seek judicial review of the certificate of sufficiency expired. Therefore, they filed this action on July 8, 2013, and scheduled a hearing for July 19, 2013. The City then confirmed that its board would convene the afternoon of July 19, 2013. As a result, the trial court denied the Challengers' requested relief

Page 819

without prejudice to return if dissatisfied with the ...


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