United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
SANDRA L. FERGUSON, Plaintiff,
BRIAN J. WAID AND THE WAID MARITAL COMMUNITY, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL
SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON CIVIL HARASSMENT CLAIM
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Sandra L.
Ferguson's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on
Defendant Brian J. Waid's Civil Harassment Counterclaim.
Dkt. #71. For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES this
Sandra L. Ferguson and Defendant Waid are both licensed
attorneys in the state of Washington. See Dkt. #1.
In July of 2017, Ms. Ferguson published a “client
review” of Mr. Waid on the attorney-rating website
Avvo.com. Ms. Ferguson's review stated, in part:
I am an attorney. However, the opinions expressed in this
review are based on my personal experience as a former client
of this attorney, Brian J. Waid. I consulted and retained
Brian Waid in April 2011 regarding a contact [sic] dispute
matter. He represented me until December 10, 2012, the date
he abandoned me on a false pretext while an important motion
was pending. Let me state it unequivocally: Brian J. Waid is
a PREDATOR and a FRAUD. He should be prosecuted as a white
collar criminal. However, this decision is not within my
control. But I can write this review to warn and hopefully,
prevent others from becoming future victims of Attorney Waid.
I am not Waid's only victim. I assisted one of his other
clients to find capable counsel. We have both filed civil
suits against Waid for malpractice, false and deceptive
business practices, and fraud. . . . Here is what Waid did to
me: (1) he failed to enforce my priority lien over the money
that was in dispute; (2) he advised me to file a lawsuit
instead of using a more cost-effect [sic] procedure that was
available, so that he could fraudulently charge, bill and
collect fees from me for his worthless legal services; (3) he
concealed and failed to disclose to me that he had a conflict
of interest; (4) he deposited and left $265, 000 of my money
in the court registry. . . he  abandoned me, lying to the
court so that he would be allowed to withdraw over my
objections. . . . By similar methods, Waid's other
client-victim was bilked of hundreds of thousands of dollars
by Waid and his co-counsel.
Ferguson repeated these statements in a second internet
posting on August 11, 2017, that was titled “This
Lawyer Reported for Fraud.” Dkt. #6-3. In addition to
the above statements, the second posting also stated that Mr.
Waid “violated the professional ethics rules, ”
and had been reported by her “to the Washington State
Bar Association and to law enforcement authorities for
engaging in criminal conduct (fraud).” Id.
Ferguson's claims in this matter have been dismissed with
prejudice as meritless. Dkt. #39. This Court has also granted
Rule 11 sanctions against Ms. Ferguson for filing this case.
Dkt. #40. Ms. Ferguson has pursued three prior lawsuits
against Defendant Waid. See Dkt. #50 in Caruso
et al. v. Washington State Bar Association, et al., No.
2:17-cv-00003 (Ms. Ferguson failed in her attempt to add Mr.
Waid as a defendant); Dkt. #87-1 (October 2014 Complaint
filed in King County Superior Court); Dkt. #87-2 (December
2015 Complaint filed in King County Superior Court with a new
case number). Plaintiff's claims in Caruso
against Defendant Waid were found to be procedurally improper
and likely meritless. Dkt. #57 in Caruso, No.
2:17-cv-00003. The first of Ms. Ferguson's state actions
resulted in dismissal with prejudice of a majority of
Plaintiff's claims on summary judgment, and the remainder
were dismissed when Plaintiff failed to appear prepared for
trial. See Dkts. #74-1 and #74-2. Plaintiff
subsequently appealed the dismissal of her claims and that
appeal was dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to file an
opening brief. See Dkt. #74-3. The second state
court action, filed immediately after her claims were
dismissed without prejudice in the first state court action,
is currently stayed pending the outcome of an appeal.
Waid has asserted counterclaims of defamation and civil
harassment in this case. Dkt. #6. The Court previously
declined to dismiss the claim of defamation on summary
judgment, and that claim is currently proceeding to trial.
See Dkt. #85. The civil harassment counterclaim now
before the Court, brought under RCW 10.14, seeks relief in
the form of an injunction preventing Plaintiff and others at
her direction from engaging in further harassment.
See Dkt. #6.
Legal Standard for Summary Judgment
judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). Material facts are those which
might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In ruling on summary
judgment, a court does not weigh evidence to determine the
truth of the matter, but “only determine[s] whether
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Crane v.
Conoco, Inc., 41 F.3d 547, 549 (9th Cir. 1994)
(citing Federal Deposit Ins. Corp. v. O'Melveny &
Meyers, 969 F.2d 744, 747 (9th Cir. 1992)).
motion for summary judgment, the court views the evidence and
draws inferences in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255;
Sullivan v. U.S. Dep't of the Navy, 365 F.3d
827, 832 (9th Cir. 2004). The Court must draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See
O'Melveny & Meyers, 969 F.2d at 747,
rev'd on other grounds, 512 U.S. 79 (1994).
However, the nonmoving party must make a “sufficient
showing on an essential element of her case with respect to
which she has the burden of proof” to survive summary
judgment. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,