United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS OF DEFENDANTS SCOTT
MARLOW AND STATE OF WASHINGTON
A. TSUCHIDA Chief United States Magistrate Judge
Scott Marlow (“Marlow”) and State of Washington
(“State”) move pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6),
to dismiss Plaintiff Chuck Pillon's
(“Pillon”) amended complaint. Dkt. 10. Defendant
Julia Garratt also filed a motion to dismiss (Dkt. 13), which
is addressed by separate order.
Marlow and State argue dismissal is warranted because the
State has sovereign immunity; Marlow has prosecutorial
immunity; the Younger and Rooker-Feldman
abstention doctrines dictate this Court should not hear this
case; and, Pillon has failed to state a claim. Dkt. 10. In a
response entitled “Interim Pleading, ” Pillon
argues he is entitled to summary judgment because the
uncontested facts show “grievous errors on the part of
the two State agents here…Judge Julia Garratt and AAG
Scott Marlow.” Dkt. 15 at 5.
Court finds that the motion to dismiss should be granted
because Marlow and State are immune from liability and that
abstention by this court is appropriate because federal
adjudication of Pillon's claims would interfere with a
pending state court criminal matter.
State of Washington charged and convicted Pillon with
unlawful dumping of solid waste without a permit under RCW
70.95.240. Dkt. 7 (Affidavit of Exhibits to Amended
Complaint), Ex. 2, State v. Pillon, King County
Superior Court No. 16-1-05983-6 KNT). Pursuant to RCW
70.95.240(3)(c)(i), it is a gross misdemeanor for a person to
litter a cubic yard or more. If that occurs, the person shall
pay a “litter cleanup restitution payment, ”
which “must be the greater of twice the actual cost of
removing and properly disposing of the litter, or one hundred
dollars per cubic foot of litter.” RCW
was also charged and convicted in the same case of violating
the Hazardous Waste Management Act (RCW 70.105.085(1)(b)
& .010) and wrecking vehicles without a license with a
prior conviction (RCW 46.80.020). Dkt. 10, Exhibits 1-3,
State v. Pillon, King County Superior Court No.
16-1-05983-6 KNT) (Ex. 1-first amended information), (Ex. 2 -
findings of fact and conclusions of law), and (Ex. 3 - docket
sheet showing conviction)).
County Superior Court Judge Julia Garratt presided over the
trial and Assistant Attorney General Scott Marlow prosecuted
the matter. Dkt. 6 at 3. After Pillon's conviction, the
Superior Court had to determine the amount of payment,
according to RCW 70.95.240(3)(c)(ii). Given the scale of the
litter on Pillon's property, the State calculated that
the volume of cubic waste on the property was 558, 419.88
cubic feet. Dkt. 7, Ex. 5 at 3.
than multiply that by $100 under RCW 70.95.240(3)(c)(ii) to
arrive at a $55, 841, 988 penalty, the State proposed that
the Superior Court follow a stipulation between the parties
that Pillon brought 120 cubic yards of solid waste onto the
property during the 12-month charging period. Id.
The State contended that the $55 million was inappropriate.
Id. That lead to a calculation under RCW
70.95.240(3)(c)(ii) of an award of $3, 888, 000. Id.
The Superior Court agreed and entered an order setting litter
cleanup restitution in the amount of $3, 888, 000. Dkt. 7,
appealed to the Washington Court of Appeals, Division I. The
parties' briefs have been filed and the matter is
presently awaiting decision. Dkt. 10, Ex. 4. In his appellate
brief, Pillon relies on the same factual allegations relating
to the Superior Court's actions throughout the trial to
support an alleged violation of his federal rights. Dkt. 7,
also brought an action in King County Superior Court
regarding the water quality near his property, which action
led to a stipulation that Washington's Department of
Ecology did not need further water samples. Dkt. 7, Ex. 3.
However, there is no apparent connection between that
stipulation and the solid waste on Pillon's property.
finally, Pillon filed the lawsuit in this case, alleging
violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of
Washington, “in the persons of” AAG Marlow and
Judge Garratt. Dkt. 6 at 1. Pillon alleges that AAG Marlow
and Judge Garratt acted illegally throughout the course of
the trial, that the water quality in a nearby river on the
property shows that there is no need for further remediation,
and Pillon was convinced not to allow individuals to stay on
his property. Dkt. 6.
asks the Court to vacate the litter cleanup restitution
order, to order that all funds be returned to Pillon, and to
award “punitive penalties” for “the
emotional and practical harm Plaintiff has suffered.”
Id. at 21.