United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
following Minute Order is made by direction of the Court, the
Honorable Thomas S. Zilly, United States District Judge:
Plaintiff is ICT Law and Technology Group, PLLC
(“Plaintiff” or “ICT”). ICT's
sole member-lawyer is Dale Cook. This action arises from a
Final Judgment of $402, 817.68 entered by King County
Superior Court Judge John R. Ruhl on May 17, 2017, against
ICT and Mr. Cook and in favor or James Namiki. See
docket no. 45-1 at 14-17 (the “Final
Judgment”). Judge Ruhl issued Final Judgment after
motion for summary judgment on his claims against ICT and Mr.
Cook for unpaid wages. See Id. at 8-12 (“Order
Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary
Complaint in this case asserts three claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Defendant King County. See
Complaint at ¶¶ 21-37 (the “1983
Claims”). The 1983 Claims arise out of the alleged
wrongful garnishment of funds from Mr. Cook's bank
accounts as a result of the Final Judgment. Count I alleges
that King County violated Plaintiff's Fourteenth
Amendment due process rights by failing to provide certain
“procedural safeguards” to ensure that
commissioners at the Washington State Court of Appeals do not
improperly convert notices of appeal to motions for
discretionary review and because King County Superior Court
lacked jurisdiction to enter the summary judgment order and
Final Judgment. See First Complaint at ¶¶
1, 21-26. Count II asserts that King County violated
Plaintiff's Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due process
rights by failing to give notice and a hearing before issuing
the writs of garnishment. See Id. at ¶¶ 1,
27-30. Count III alleges that King County violated
Plaintiff's Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment
rights by maintaining policies and procedures that allowed
the Final Judgment creditors to seize money from Mr.
Cook's bank accounts pursuant to the writs of
garnishment. See Id. at ¶¶ 31-37. The
First Complaint also asserts a state law fraud claim against
Mr. Namiki and Seatree PLLC. Id. at ¶¶
38-40 (“Count IV”).
Pending before the Court is King County's motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(c), docket no. 44 (“King
County's Motion”), and Mr. Namiki and Seatree
PLLC's motion to dismiss the state law claims for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1)
(“Namiki's Motion”). Plaintiff also moves to
amend the Complaint, docket no. 29, to add a claim against
King County under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act (RICO) (the “Motion to
King County's Motion, docket no. 44, is GRANTED in part
and DEFERRED in part, as follows:
(a) Count I is dismissed with prejudice. Washington Rule of
Appellate Procedure 17.7 affords Plaintiff with an adequate
remedy to challenge the commissioner's decision and the
alleged deprivation of Plaintiff's rights. Brogan v.
San Mateo Cty., 901 F.2d 762, 764 (9th Cir. 1990)
(affirming dismissal of complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983). Additionally, under Washington Rule of Appellate
Procedure 7.1, the King County Superior Court had
jurisdiction to enter the summary judgment order and Final
Judgment notwithstanding Plaintiff's Notice of Appeal.
For these reasons, Plaintiff's § 1983 claim under
this theory must be dismissed.
(b) Count II is DISMISSED with prejudice. Plaintiff does not
allege that King County failed to follow the procedural
safeguards established in RCW Chapter 6.27. These safeguards
mandate that a writ be issued once a judgment creditor
applies by affidavit for the writ and the filing fee is paid.
RCW 6.27.060, .070. Service of the writ provides the judgment
debtor with notice and an opportunity to defend. Watkins
v. Peterson Ents., Inc., 137 Wash.2d 632, 638 (1999).
(c) Count III is DISMISSED without prejudice. Plaintiff has
not identified any King County custom, policy, or practice,
that caused its alleged constitutional deprivations, see
Monell v. Dep.t of Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658, 690- 91
(1978), and this Court does not have jurisdiction to review
the Final Judgment under the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine, see Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus.
Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005).
Namiki Motion, docket no. 44, is also GRANTED. Count IV is
DISMISSED without prejudice. The Court DECLINES to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).
Motion to Amend, docket no. 29, is DENIED as futile. The
proposed amended complaint identifies only two individuals
who purportedly acted on King County's behalf: Judge
Inveen and a court clerk. Judge Inveen is absolutely immune
from civil liability stemming from the alleged conduct
discussed in the proposed amendment because she was acting in
her official judicial capacity. Stump v. Sparkman,
435 U.S. 349, 355-64 (1978). Likewise, the clerk is protected
by absolute quasi-judicial immunity for her ministerial
actions alleged in the proposed amended complaint.
Morrison v. Jones, 607 F.2d 1269, 1273 (9th Cir.
1979), cert. denied, 445 U.S. 962 (1980).
Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Minute Order to all
counsel of record.