Judge upholds business lawsuit against Seattle for Capitol Hill protest

Oct 27, 2020
Written by wpengine

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly has denied a motion by Seattle to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that it violated property and safety rights by allowing protestors to take over a Capitol Hill neighborhood near Twelfth Avenue and East Pine Street last summer, including the abandonment of a police station. The occupation of the Capitol Hill Occupying Protest by demonstrators against police violence lasted for 3 ½ weeks.

Seattle had asked the court to dismiss the suit and to deny its class action status. The judge upheld 2 of the 5 claims and ruled that it’s too early to determine the plaintiffs’ class action status. The judge gave the plaintiffs another two weeks to make a better argument in support of their two Equal Protection claims.

The case is in its very early stages, including a lengthy discovery process. However, the preliminary opinion means the city must continue to defend itself against claims in the action.

They are:

  • The city violated the plaintiffs’ procedural due process rights to a protected property interest in the full use and enjoyment of their property;
  • The city violated their substantive due process rights by placing the plaintiffs in danger;
  • The city participated in an unlawful “taking” of the plaintiffs’ property rights;
  • The city failed to provide equal protection under the law.

Read Judge Zilly’s opinion here. Read more coverage here.