Court Rules Bellevue City Code Invalid. King County Hearing Examiner enjoined from hearing any further Animal Control Cases until City of Bellevue updates Bellevue City Code.
Attorneys for Miska, the brown tabby cat from Bellevue, and her owner, Anna Danieli, were in court again on Friday, November 13th, 2020, for entry of an Order on Danieli’s earlier success in court on October 23rd, 2020, where Judge Bryan Chushcoff ruled in favor of Danieli’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment seeking Declaratory Relief and Injunctive Relief against the various Government Defendants.
Danieli and the Government Defendants disagreed on the the final order that the Court should enter. Argument around this final written order concerned itself with a number of issues, a critical one relating to the scope and effect of the court’s earlier ruling on the legal authority of the King County Hearing Examiner to hear animal control cases arising out of the City of Bellevue. After legal counsel for Danieli and the various Government Defendants concluded their legal arguments, the court determined to take the issues presented under advisement. Judge Chushcoff entered his final order later the same day.
The order entered by the court is significant. In addition to directly affecting Anna Danieli’s case (in which matters are expected to be dismissed by the King County Hearing Examiner shortly as a result) there may be a broader impact on other cases that have been before the King County Hearing Examiner since 2016. The court’s order indicates that the City of Bellevue’s law never properly gave legal authority to the King County Hearing Examiner to hear cases coming from the City of Bellevue. “The Court’s order that was entered today clearly calls into question the validity of any other similar decisions made by the King County Hearing Examiner since 2016 [on cases from Bellevue]”, stated attorney Jeffrey Possinger commenting on the Court’s final decision. “The same legal issues would exist for any decisions that were made [by the King County Hearing Examiner] from cities that failed to update their municipal codes after King County made its shift from the Board of Appeals to the [King County] Hearing Examiner to hear animal control cases. Legally speaking, this is a ticking time bomb for a number of jurisdictions”
The Defendants have 30 days to appeal the Court’s Order.