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IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON

IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF THURSTON


)
)
)
Plaintiff,
)
) No. 13-2-01603-3
vs.
)
)
WASHINGTON STATE LIQUOR
)
CONTROL BOARD, et al.,
)
)
Defendants.
)
___________________________________________________________
ARTHUR WEST,

ORAL OPINION OF THE COURT

BE IT REMEMBERED that on the 18th day of November,


2014, the above-entitled and numbered cause came on for
hearing before the Honorable Christine M. Schaller,
Judge, Thurston County Superior Court, Olympia,
Washington.
Kathryn A. Beehler, CCR No. 2448
Certified Realtime Reporter
Thurston County Superior Court
2000 Lakeridge Drive S.W.
Building 2, Room 109
Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 754-4370

A P P E A R A N C E S

For the Plaintiff:

For the Defendant:

Arthur West
Pro Se
120 State Avenue NE
Suite 1497
Olympia, WA 98501
Awestaa@gmail.com

Mary Maureen Tennyson


Assistant Attorney General
- and R. July Simpson
Assistant Attorney General
P.O. Box 40110
1125 Washington Street SE
Olympia, WA 98504-0110
360-753-0225
Maryt@atg.wa.gov

November 18, 2014,

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Olympia, Washington
AFTERNOON SESSION

The Honorable Judge Christine M. Schaller, Presiding

Kathryn A. Beehler, Official Reporter

--o0o--

THE COURT:

Please be seated.

If I can have

the parties in West versus the Washington State

Liquor Control Board, et al, come forward.

to have you come forward to the podium, please.

I'm going
I'm

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in the middle of a trial, and I indicated to counsel

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that they could keep their things at the tables.

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This matter comes before the court on a

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continuation of the summary judgment hearing that

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started on October 31, 2014.

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that hearing, Mr. West requested a continuance solely

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on the issue of knowledge as it relates to the Open

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Public Meetings Act issue, indicating that there was

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discovery that he believed would be relevant and that

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he was not able to completely get through for the

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purposes of submitting information for that hearing.

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Ultimately, because I found that he had met the

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requirements of CR 56(f), I granted a continuance on

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that issue; I indicated that he could supplement the

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record with materials and a brief; the State could

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provide a response; and that the court would then

During the course of

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take up the issue today.


Ms. Simpson, if you would like, you can come

forward to the podium, as well.

stay where you're at, but you're also welcome to come

forward.

present on behalf of the defendants in this matter.

Mr. West is present, representing himself.

not going to hear any further argument.

heard a lot of argument on this issue at the last

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You're an free to

Both Ms. Tennyson and Ms. Simpson are

And I'm

I really

hearing, and I have considered all of the materials.


Certainly when I set this matter over, it was with

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the belief, frankly, that I would be making a ruling

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today that would resolve the issue on summary

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judgment, so striking the trial seemed appropriate.

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The Open Public Meetings Act claim involves meetings

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that were held with the Liquor Control Board in

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January, February, and March of 2013.

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Control Board was traveling around the state, and

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during this time period, they were holding two

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different types of meetings.

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the public meetings, and those were announced in

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newspapers and were essentially informal sessions

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that were intended to reach a wide audience.

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Simultaneously, the board held what appears to me to

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be stakeholder-type meetings with specific groups:

The Liquor

It held what it called

Law enforcement, journalists, advocates for children

and so on.

that are really at issue here, and I previously have

found that there were 17 of these meetings that

violated the notice requirements of the Open Public

Meetings Act.

there was no action taken at any of those meetings or

subsequent meetings that could relate back to the

meetings where proper notice was not provided, and

The stakeholder meetings are the ones

However, I also previously held that

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therefore there was nothing for the court to

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invalidate, because there was no action taken.

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So the remaining issue, as I have previously

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indicated, is whether or not the board members have

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knowledge and whether or not the court can decide

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that issue on summary judgment as a matter of law.

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The issue of knowledge, of course, is important,

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because if the board members were attending meetings

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that were in violation of the Open Public Meetings

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Act and they knew that they were attending these

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meetings that weren't properly noticed, they could be

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fined civilly $100 per meeting.

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The standard on summary judgment is pursuant to

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CR 56(c), "The judgment shall be rendered forthwith

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if the pleadings, depositions," and other discovery

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"show that there is no genuine issue as to any

material fact and that the moving party is entitled

to judgment as a matter of law."

I know that the parties are well aware that a

material fact is one that would affect the outcome of

the litigation.

the facts in the light most favorable to the

nonmoving party.

Liquor Control Board members had any knowledge that

the stakeholder meetings violated the Open Public

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And the court is required to view

So the issue is whether or not the

Meetings Act.
RCW 42.30.120 of the Open Public Meetings Act
provides,
"Each member of the governing body who attends a

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meeting of such governing body where action is taken

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in violation of any provision of this chapter

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applicable to him or her, with knowledge of the fact

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that the meeting is in violation thereof, shall be

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subject to personal liability in the form of a civil

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penalty in the amount of $100."

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The plaintiff, Mr. West, has provided a lot of

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evidence regarding how these stakeholder meetings

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were arranged.

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communications with the board's confidential

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secretary, Samantha Trotter.

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responsible for giving public notice about board

Much of the evidence involves

Ms. Trotter was

meetings, arranging the schedule, taking minutes or

delegating that task to others, and other issues

regarding compliance with the Open Public Meetings

Act.

Ms. Trotter was not directly supervised by the

Liquor Control Board members on these issues, and she

has testified that she had received no formal Open

Public Meetings Act training.

was that she was complying with the Open Public

Her sworn testimony

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Meetings Act.

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these e-mails, it seems hard to comprehend that she

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might not be concerned about whether or not there was

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compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act, her

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knowledge is ultimately not at issue, because I do

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find that the court cannot impute her knowledge to

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the Liquor Control Board members.

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And although, in my review of all of

I agree with the State's argument that knowledge,

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for the purposes, of this statute and civil penalties

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requires a mens rea that must be personal to the

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actor at issue.

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State's argument that the defendant's refusal to

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waive attorney-client privilege would not be evidence

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of liability.

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Additionally, I agree with the

Now, had I decided this matter on October 31,


2014, with the information that had been presented at

that time, I would have granted summary judgment to

the State; however, with the additional documentation

provided by Mr. West, and in consideration of the

summary judgment standards, construing the evidence

in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, I

do find that there is a genuine issue of material

fact as to the Liquor Control Board's members'

knowledge as to whether some or all of the

17 meetings that I have found were violations were

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private and only open to a certain group of

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participants and were not advertised.

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am denying the defendant's renewed motion on summary

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judgment on the issue of knowledge and am requiring

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that the issue of knowledge proceed to trial.

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Therefore, I

The court is only going to be reissuing a new

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pretrial and trial date to address that issue.

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Clearly at the time of trial, Mr. West, you have the

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burden of proof to show that there was knowledge in

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whatever manner, obviously, you choose to proceed.

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And I am not going to cite all of the different

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things, but there were multiple e-mails submitted in

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the second batch where there were cc's that included

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Liquor Control Board members, and it really was that

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evidence that ultimately persuaded me that there is a

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genuine issue of material fact when I take the

evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving

party on the purposes of knowledge.

Judge Wilson will be hearing the trial on the

issue of knowledge.

She has civil trial months in

January, April, and May.

clerk set this case for a trial scheduling conference

on December 5th, and I am requiring that the parties

file trial scheduling questionnaires specifically

noting that the trial will be set in January, April,

I am requesting that my

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or May.

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for one day; it was supposed to happen this week; and

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it was going to be for one day.

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And when it was set previously, it was set

Mr. West, do you agree that one day is

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appropriate, since the only issue going to trial is

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knowledge?

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MR. WEST:

I don't believe we could exceed one

day with that, Your Honor.


THE COURT:

All right.

And do you agree with

that, Ms. Tennyson?

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MS. TENNYSON:

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THE COURT:

Yes, I do.

All right.

Thank you.

So it will

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remain for one day.

And I would like to enter an

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order either today, or if the parties want to prepare

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a different type of order that's just really clear

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for the one issue going to trial, that the court

expects only a pretrial date and a trial date will be

issued when the new case scheduling order is prepared

on December 5, so that my judicial assistant

understands that those are the only two dates to be

ordered at this point.

MR. WEST:

If counsel is agreeable, I'm sure

we could agree on an order and present it to you at a

break in the next proceeding.

THE COURT:

You don't even have to wait for a

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break.

If you get the order completed, you can just

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bring it up to my clerk.

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MR. WEST:

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THE COURT:

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MS. TENNYSON:

Thank you very much, Your Honor.


Thank you.
Okay.

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(Conclusion of the November 18, 2014 Proceedings.)

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SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON


IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF THURSTON
The Honorable Judge Christine M. Schaller, Presiding
_____________________________________________________________
Arthur West,
)
)
Plaintiff,
)
)
vs.
) Case No. 13-2-01603-3
)
Washington State Liquor Control
) REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE
Board, et al.,
)
)
Defendants.
)
____________________________________________________________

STATE OF WASHINGTON
COUNTY OF THURSTON

)
) ss
)

I, Kathryn A. Beehler, Official Reporter of the Superior


Court of the State of Washington, in and for the county of
Thurston, do hereby certify:
That the foregoing pages, 1 through 11, inclusive,
comprise a true and correct transcript of the proceedings
held in the above-entitled matter, as designated by Counsel
to be included in the transcript, reported by me on the
18th day of November, 2014.

Kathryn A. Beehler, Reporter


C.C.R. No. 2248

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