I-1183 Litigation Update

Today the Washington State Supreme Court accepted review of the challenge to I-1183.  The briefing schedule has been posted, and the arguments are set for May 17th.  We expect an opinion to be issued before the June 1st implementation date for retail spirits sales.  Our colleague Hunter O. Ferguson provided the following update:

I. WASAVAP v. State

A. Entry of Final Judgment by the Cowlitz County Superior Court

On March 19, the Cowlitz County Superior Court granted the Costco-led intervenors’ and the State’s motion for reconsideration and, in turn, granted summary judgment upholding I-1183 in its entirety

B. Proceedings before the Washington Supreme Court

After the trial court entered final judgment, the plaintiffs promptly filed a notice of appeal. On March 28, they filed with the Washington Supreme Court a “statement of grounds for direct review”, which is a motion for the state supreme court to address the validity of I-1183 directly, bypassing the usual process of appealing first to the state court of appeals. Contemporaneously, the plaintiffs filed a motion for injunctive relief seeking to halt the implementation of I-1183 until final resolution on appeal, as well as a request for an expedited briefing schedule. The Supreme Court, through its Commissioner (which is a court officer empowered to rule on procedural matters) will hold a hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion for injunctive relief and expedited review this Thursday, April 5. As of Friday, Costco and the State have not filed responsive pleadings. Presumably, they will present substantially the same arguments they made in the trial court

II. Teamsters Local No. 174 v. State

As you probably recall, there is also a parallel challenge to I-1183 pending in King County Superior Court here in Seattle. The plaintiffs in this action are unionized employees of the Liquor Control Board who stand to lose their jobs upon the full implementation of I-1183. The court entered an order staying proceedings in this case pending resolution of WASAVP v. State, and the Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiffs’ motion for discretionary review of that ruling.

The plaintiffs now have moved to lift the stay on the ground that the Cowlitz County Superior Court has entered final judgment. Costco and the State have urged the court to maintain the stay in favor of waiting for a decision by the state supreme court.

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