Lawsuit against Gov. Inslee delayed
Okanogan County Superior Court Judge Henry Rawson wants time to review late-minute pleadings
May 28, 2020
OKANOGAN — A lawsuit filed Friday in Douglas County against Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order was continued to 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 29, in Okanogan County Superior Court this morning.
The case was moved to Okanogan County because Douglas County commissioners are among the plaintiffs in the suit.
Assistant Attorney General Zachary Jones contended Inslee’s stay-at-home order was issued in Thurston County and therefore should be heard in a Thurston County courtroom.
Jones claimed Inslee’s “action arose” in Thurston County.
Joel Ard, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the case should be heard locally because the actions of Inslee have had a direct impact on residents in Douglas County.
“Some part of the action arose in Douglas County, because some part of the harm is felt in Douglas County,” Ard said.
Superior Court Judge Henry Rawson said he had not had time to review all of the court documents, as some were filed after hours last night.
“I have a problem because I haven’t seen the documentation,” Rawson said. “My initial inclination is to move the matter (to Thurston County),” he said, adding he was interested in reviewing the documents and hear arguments before ruling.
The Douglas County case parallels a case filed in Chelan County last week.
Both suits seek immediate injunctive relief from Inslee’s ongoing state of emergency declaration and related quarantines.
The Chelan County hearing was scheduled to take place yesterday in Chelan County Superior Court by Judge Travis Brandt, but he was disqualified from hearing the case at the attorney general’s request.
The case was then assigned to Judge Kristin Ferrera, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week.
In that case, too, the State Attorney General's Office requested it be moved to Thurston County.
A third case filed in Eastern Washington — in Whitman County Superior Court on May 11 — was previously moved to federal courts.
The plaintiff in that case, Kevin Akesson of Steptoe, has filed another motion assigned to Whitman County Superior Court.
He, too, seeks an injunction preventing Gov. Inslee's quarantine orders from continuing.