After years of litigation, Possinger Law Group and the Law Offices of Jon M. Zimmerman are pleased to share that we have reached a settlement for our client in Danieli v. King County, et al.. In addition to a $125,000 settlement award, King County and the City of Bellevue have agreed to engage in discussions with Anna Danieli regarding her experience and recommendations for policy improvements. Alongside our client, Possinger Law Group and the Law Offices of Jon M. Zimmerman are dedicated to advocating for positive changes that will prevent others from having the same experiences as Danieli.
The Danieli case dates back to 2014, when Bellevue resident Anna Danieli began receiving violation notices against her brown tabby cat, Miska. Among the alleged violations, this house cat had, among other things, been allowed to freely roam through her neighborhood. After dozens of citations and more than $30,000 in fines, Miska’s family sought legal assistance with the Law Offices of Jon M. Zimmerman and Possinger Law Group. Research uncovered numerous issues in King County’s case against Miska, including the fact that one of her neighborhood complainants was also the head of Regional Animal Services of King County (“RASKC”). Danieli’s legal team filed a lawsuit in April 2019 against King County, the City of Bellevue, and various government entities and officials [link article]. The path to a positive outcome in this case has been long and hard-fought, and included a court ruling obtained by Danieli’s lawyers that required Bellevue to change its city code, an appeal effort headed by Marla Zink of Luminata Law, and a detour through the federal court system. Prior to settling, the case was scheduled to be heard in front of the Honorable Timothy Ashcraft in Pierce County Superior Court.
Since joining attorney Zimmerman on the case in 2019, attorney Jeffrey Possinger has been able to achieve a number of positive outcomes for his client. When asked about these achievements, Possinger expressed that he is especially proud of successfully arguing for and obtaining a court order that required changes to Bellevue’s City Code, which were implemented in December 2020, changing the way that civil offenses involving animals are heard in Bellevue. “From the onset of this case, more than anything, we have advocated for real change,” Possinger added. “Not every case has wins that are tangible or simple, so achieving something this big for our client and for the Bellevue community as a whole was very rewarding.” Beyond satisfaction for Danieli and her legal team, this win is also meaningful in improving government transparency. “This victory affirms that citizens ought to be able to rely on the laws as written, and not on backroom agreements by politicians,” Attorney Jon Zimmerman notes.
The case may have been settled, but concerns raised by Danieli and her team will continue to remain important. “This case exposed how government officials can use their influence and positions to take unjust and unreasonable action against neighbors and other people in their personal lives,” Zimmerman warns. While Danieli and her cat, Miska, appeared to specifically targeted in this case, Zimmerman and Possinger’s discoveries uncovered during litigation suggest that Danieli was not the only citizen subject to government enforcement actions that were taken under the outdated Bellevue Code, and there may be recourse for other citizens that were impacted by the same or similar incidents. “The settlement with our client does not fully address the government defendant’s mistakes here,” Possinger asserts. “We look forward to supporting Ms. Danieli and our community in the future, whenever there is a good fight to fight.”
Anna Danieli is represented by Jeffrey Possinger of Possinger Law Group, PLLC and Jon Zimmerman of The Law Offices of Jon M. Zimmerman, PLLC. Media inquiries relating to Danieli’s case should be directed to [email protected]. For all other legal questions or concerns, Possinger and Zimmerman can be reached through their respective websites.