questions concerning service of process concern service of a
summons, complaint, or petition on an opposing party. This
case entails the unique posture of sufficient service of
process on a cooperating party whose interests are identical
to the petitioner. The appeal asks whether parties to a land
use petition act (LUPA) action may agree to accept service of
process by e-mail. We hold in the affirmative and reverse the
trial court's dismissal of a petition for lack of timely
appellants are RST Partnership (RST) and NSJB Enterprise,
Inc. (NSJB), also known as Evergreen Productions, to whom we
jointly refer to as "landusers." RST owns an
industrial building in Monitor and leases the property to
NSJB. NSJB utilizes the property for the purpose of operating
a cannabis growing and processing business. On February 10,
2017, the Chelan County Department of Community Development
issued RST a "Notice and Order to Abate Zoning and
Building Code Violations Pursuant to Chapter 16.06 to the
Chelan County Code." The notice and order listed
violations of local regulations surrounding the production or
processing of cannabis. The substance of those violations
lack relevance to this appeal.
February 27, 2017, the landusers filed a joint notice of
appeal of the notice and order to abate with the Chelan
County hearing examiner. The landusers appeared with
respective counsel before the hearing examiner on May 17,
2017, and presented argument and evidence during an
administrative proceeding. On June 5, 2017, the hearing
examiner authored findings of fact and conclusions of law
affirming the notice and order. The findings identified RST
and NSJB as appellants before the examiner.
6, 2017, Chelan County's counsel e-mailed a copy of the
hearing examiner's decision to counsel for RST and NSJB.
Chelan County attorney's e-mail read:
wanted to make sure you received a copy of Hearing Examiner
Kottkamp's decision. Clerk's Papers (CP) at 87. On
June 13, 2017, the Chelan County Community Development
Department sent RST another copy of the hearing
examiner's decision via e-mail. No Chelan County agent
sent the hearing examiner's decision to RST or NSJB by
certified or first-class mail.
26, 2017, NSJB filed a land use petition that sought review
of the hearing examiner's decision. On the same day, RST
filed its own land use petition that sought review of the
examiner's decision. The two petitions read similarly.
for RST and NSJB knew of the other party's filing of a
petition. The two counsel coordinated efforts with the
understanding that their clients would later consolidate both
cases. In the interest of time, both parties agreed to
electronic service of each other's petition. In
fulfillment of this agreement, counsel sent each other his
respective client's petition by e-mail. According to NSJB
attorney Taudd Hume's declaration:
Under that agreement, a copy of Evergreen's [NSJB's]
LUPA petition was sent to Mr. Steinberg's office
[RST's counsel] . . . on June 26, 2017.
199. According to the declaration of RST's attorney
Taudd Hume (counsel for Evergreen Production) and I
coordinated our efforts as we prepared our respective LUPA
Petitions for filing, with the understanding that we would
ultimately consolidate both cases, and had exchanged drafts,
he agreed to waive service of process of our LUPA petition,
and we e-mailed him the conformed copy on June 28, 2017.
CP at 434-35 (grammar in original).
counsel for NSJB officed outside Chelan County, RST's
counsel directed his staff to physically serve a copy of
NSJB's petition on the Chelan County auditor. Staff
physically served the ...