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Posted on: March 4, 2019

City of Snoqualmie to Be Awarded Attorney Fees in Lawsuit

Snoqualmie, WA – Jane Storrs, a resident of unincorporated King County, brought a lawsuit against the City of Snoqualmie in November 2018 stating her personal opposition to the Salish Lodge & Spa expansion project and making claims against aspects of the Salish Expansion Development Agreement approved in 2004.

In December 2018, City of Snoqualmie Attorney Bob Sterbank, on behalf of the City of Snoqualmie, responded to Ms. Storrs in a letter outlining the many deficiencies in her case and offering that if she would dismiss the lawsuit, the dismissal would be without costs or fees to either party. Ms. Storrs did not dismiss the lawsuit.

Subsequently, Mr. Sterbank prepared a motion against Ms. Storrs seeking dismissal of her lawsuit and requesting an award of costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees. The City of Snoqualmie’s Finance Department calculated that, based on market rate, the fees would be $24,000 for legal services rendered in defense of the City and essential to the outcome of the litigation.

The cost to Snoqualmie taxpayers was – in effect – much higher because the time spent by Mr. Sterbank on this case could have been used for other legal duties that were delayed or performed by retained attorneys.

On January 18, 2019, King County Superior Court Judge David Keenan granted the City of Snoqualmie’s motion to dismiss and, on February 27, he ordered Ms. Storrs pay the City of Snoqualmie $10,873 within ten days of his Order.

The King County Superior Court Order states, “The Court having reviewed the records, files, and pleadings herein, the Court finds: Petitioner’s suit was not well-ground in fact or warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for reversal.”

“While we always appreciate citizen interest and participation in City land use decision processes, no one has the right to file a lawsuit just to bog down a development they don’t like,” said Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson. “Lawsuits consume taxpayer-funded City and court staff and financial resources, and may only be brought when legal prerequisites are met. The Court has the power to punish someone who doesn’t follow the rules, as the Court did with Ms. Storrs. The City is obligated to protect the interests of our taxpayers and the integrity of decision-making processes related to land use."

More information about the Salish Lodge & Spa expansion project, including a project summary, renderings, historical documents, presentations, and video of meetings and public hearings, is available on the City of Snoqualmie website.

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Contact:
Joan Pliego
Communications Manager/PIO
City of Snoqualmie

425-888-8014 | 425-281-3317

jpliego@ci.snoqualmie.wa.us




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