United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ROBERT REGINALD COMENOUT SR. and EDWARD AMOS COMENOUT III, Plaintiffs,
ERIC BELIN, AL ANDERSON, KANDRA TINNERSET, and PAUL JOHNSON, Defendants.
ORDER ON DEFENDANT ERIC BELIN'S MOTION FOR
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant Eric Belin's
Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 115. The Court has
considered the pleadings filed in support of and in
opposition to the motion and the file herein.
RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY A.
following facts are substantiated by the record and written
in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs. Where Plaintiffs
have not contested facts provided by Defendant Belin, those
facts are construed as true for the purposes of this motion.
Billboard on the Allotment.
Fourth Amended Complaint names Defendant Belin in his
official capacity as a City of Puyallup employee who
“trespassed on Plaintiffs' property and posted stop
[work] orders causing Plaintiffs to stop construction”
of a commercial sign (“the billboard”). Dkt. 79
at ¶19. According to Plaintiff Robert Comenout Jr., on
an unidentified date in 2006, he “was present”
when two City of Puyallup employees visited the real property
central to the claims in this case (“the
Allotment”). Dkt. 120. Plaintiff Robert Comenout Jr.
represents that the two employees “tried to stop the
Indian Country billboard sign from being built.”
Id. at ¶2. He recalls hearing Edward Comenout
Jr. tell the two employees “words to the effect that
the City of Puyallup had no authority to stop [Edward] from
building the sign.” Id. at ¶5. The two
employees “served the employee of the sign building
contractor with some kind of stop order . . . [that is] still
attached to the sign.” Id. at ¶6.
Belin recalls visiting the Allotment once on October 24, 2006
with Cynthia Kiersey, Code Enforcement Officer, for the
purpose identifying the billboard contractor. Dkt. 118 at
¶¶10, 13(a). Defendant Belin maintains that he
“never at any time took any enforcement action against
Plaintiffs over or involving the billboard[, ]” and had
no involvement in drafting, reviewing, approving, or issuing
a stop work order. Id. at ¶¶11, 13(b).
City of Puyallup issued a stop work order on or about the
26th or 27th of October, 2006.
See Dkt. 116-1 at 55-66.
Notice of Violation and Stop Work Order, and 2007
City of Puyallup's stop work order was the subject of
prior litigation assigned to this Court and commenced on
April 17, 2007 (“the 2007 litigation”).
See Dkt. 116-1 at 55-66 (Edward Comenout Jr. v.
City of Puyallup, Cause No. 3:07-cv-05182-RJB, Dkt. 1).
The initial plaintiff in the 2007 litigation, Edward Comenout
Jr., attached to the Complaint a copy of an October 27, 2006
Notice of Civil Violations and Stop Work Order. Id.
at 60-66. Sent in letter format by the City Attorney to
Edward Comenout Jr., the notice and order was issued
“[p]ursuant to IBC [International Building Code]
section 114:1, ” which gives the “City's
Building Official  the authority to issue” the civil
infraction. Id. at 64. The document allowed for
written appeal of the infraction to the “Code
Compliance Hearing Examiner.” Id. at 65. The
document describes violations based on observations by the
City of Puyallup on two dates: October 19, 2006, by Cynthia
Keirsey, Code Enforcement Officer, and Reilly Pittman,
Assistant Planner; and October 24, 2006, by Ms. Keirsey, Code
Enforcement Officer, and Defendant Belin, Senior Building
Inspector. Id. at 60, 61.
Court dismissed the 2007 litigation without prejudice after
the plaintiffs failed to explain why all parties with
interests in the Allotment had not been joined. Dkt. 116-2 at
Defendant Belin as an employee of City of Puyallup.
Belin is currently a Senior Plans Examiner for the City of
Puyallup, a position held since January 1, 2008. Dkt. 123 at
¶2. Prior to 2008, including during 2006, Defendant
Belin held the position of Senior Building Inspector.
Id. at ¶7. He has never had the authority to
issue, revoke, or take action on building permits. Dkt. 118
at ¶5. He has never held the position of Code
Enforcement Officer or City Building Official, and he does
not act as a speaking agent for the City of Puyallup or
possess authority to make its policy. Id. at
Belin is not, and has never been, employed by the City of
Puyallup Police Department. Dkt. 117 at ¶6; Dkt. 118 at
¶7. He ...