United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO INTERVENE
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on the motion to intervene of
the Campaign to Prevent Fraud and Protect Seniors
(“Campaign”). Dkt. 17. The Court has considered
the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the
motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the
motion for the reasons stated herein.
April 5, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their complaint against the
State of Washington (the “State”) and moved for
an emergency temporary restraining order (“TRO”).
Dkts. 1, 2. On April 10, 2017, the State responded. Dkt. 15.
Later that day, the Court held a hearing and denied the
motion for TRO. Dkt. 21.
April 10, 2017, the Campaign moved for permissive
intervention. Dkt. 17. On April 21, 2017, Plaintiffs
responded in opposition to the motion. Dkt. 25. On April 28,
2017, the Campaign replied.
case deals with Plaintiffs' constitutional challenge to
Washington State Initiative I501 (“I-1501”).
Washington voters adopted I-1501 in the 2016 general
election. I-1501 made several changes to laws regarding
“vulnerable adults” and their homecare providers.
It increased penalties for criminal identity theft and civil
consumer fraud targeting seniors or vulnerable adults. I-1501
also created an exemption to Washington's Public Records
Act (“PRA”). The PRA generally makes publicly
available all records prepared, owned, used, or retained by
government entities. See RCW 42.56.010(3); .070.
Unless exempted by the PRA or other statute, public records
must be provided upon request, or the public entity will face
harsh monetary penalties. RCW 42.56.070(1); RCW 46.56.550(4).
See e.g., Zink v. City of Mesa, 162 Wn.App.
688, 701 (2011). Specifically, I-1501 exempted from public
disclosure personal information of vulnerable individuals, as
well as the information of their homecare providers,
including names, addresses, GPS coordinates, telephone
numbers, email addresses, social security numbers,
driver's license numbers, or other personally identifying
information. RCW 42.56.640.
in particular Plaintiff Freedom Foundation, have been
attempting for years to obtain up-to-date public records of
contact information for state-funded homecare providers
(identified by statute as “Individual
Providers”). Plaintiffs use the information in the
records to contact homecare providers to inform them of their
constitutional right as partial-state employees to opt out of
union membership and dues, as announced in Harris v.
Quinn, 134 S.Ct. 2618 (2014). However, due to efforts by
SEIU unions (who represent the applicable bargaining units as
majority unions), a lengthy litigation process prevented
Plaintiffs from obtaining up-to-date records, despite state
court rulings that Plaintiffs were entitled to receive the
records. See Dkt. 2 at 7-8; Dkt. 6; Dkt. 26. When
the records were finally released in September of 2016, they
were out-of-date and therefore useless to Plaintiffs'
the state courts grappled with Plaintiffs' rights to
receive the records under the then-applicable provisions of
the PRA, the Washington State legislature was dealing with
proposals by certain unions to create a new exemption under
the PRA that would prevent disclosure of the records. These
efforts in the legislature failed. However, unions SIEU 775
and SEIU 925 also sponsored I-1501 through the 2016 general
election ballot initiative process. Ultimately, I-1501 was
passed by the state electorate and, through the initiative
process, the unions' efforts successfully resulted in a
PRA exemption that prevents the disclosure of contact
information for members of the unions' bargaining units.
As a result of I-1501, the State has denied Plaintiffs'
recent PRA requests seeking up-to-date contact information
for homecare providers, thereby hindering Plaintiffs'
ability to efficiently identify and contact homecare
providers to inform them of their First Amendment right to
opt out of union dues and membership. Plaintiffs challenge
the constitutionality of I-1501 on the basis that it abridges
their First Amendment rights and violates the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Campaign moves to intervene in order to defend the
constitutionality of I-1501. Dkt. 17. Plaintiffs object to
the addition of the Campaign to this action under the
permissive intervention rule, Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b), arguing
that intervention by the Campaign will poses a significant
risk of delay and prejudice. Dkt. 25 at 12-13.
intervention is available to any party at the Court's
discretion. In relevant part, Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b) provides:
(1) . . . On timely motion, the court may permit anyone to
intervene who: (A) is given a conditional right to intervene
by a federal statute; or (B) has a claim or defense that
shares with ...