Efforts – Involvements

Some of Steve Eugster’s past Efforts and Involvements.

Friends of North Spokane County Parks v. Spokane County , October 21, 2014 (Court of Appeals Division III).  In this case Plaintiffs established that they had taxpayer standing to contest the legality of the desire of Spokane County to allow a private developer to build a road through a county park despite the fact they could not show their taxes went to the project the county owned, the park in north Spokane County.

In Re The Parentage of MRK , October 6, 2014 (Court of Appeals I).  This case clarified the right to trial de novo of the decision of a dispute resolution arbitrator under the parenting plan for the child of the parties.  See also, In re Parentage of Smith-Bartlett, 95 Wash.App. 633, 636, 976 P.2d 173 (1999).

In re . . .SWANK AND McPOLAND, LLC, Debtor: PRESTON LINKER TRUST et al. v. SWANK AND MCPOLAND, LLC, et al., Case No. 11 – 01412 – FLK, Chapter 11,  Adv. Case No. 13-80029 – FLK, March 2014 (UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON).  Plaintiffs established, pursuant to the after-acquired property doctrine and Washington law, that when the lots they purchased, under a Memorandum of Sale to a right of possession of two riverfront RV lots, evolved into a right to a Statutory Warranty Deed as to the lots which deed was prior to all interests in the lots after the date of the Memorandum of Sale.

1. Blankenship v. Boyle.  As a VISTA “lawyer” — Volunteers in Service to America – in 1969-1970 my wife and I were assigned to the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm in Washington DC (today, it is known as the Children’s Defense Fund). I worked primarily with Harry Huge, who for years was a Washington, DC lawyer, on a case known as Blankenship v. Boyle — primarily a breach of trust case — disabled miners and their widows were being denied proper treatment by the United Mine Workers Welfare and Retirement Plan. Most of my time in VISTA was spent working on this law suit involving a then corrupt union leadership in control of the UMWA. See,  Blankenship v. Boyle, 329 F. Supp. 1089 (D.D.C. 1971). Mr. Huge and his litigation team prevailed.

2.  Washington House Joint Resolution (HJR) 1, Fall 1972.  Worked on campaign to defeat legislation which would have sun-setted any an all statutes which provided for exemptions within the Washington State taxation structures. The legislation if passed would have thrown the entire tax structures of the State of Washington into chaos. The legislation was defeated.

3. Bare v. Gorton, 84 Wn.2d 380, 526 P.2d 379 (1974).  Case concerning campaign expenditure limitations found in Washington Public Disclosure Act. Initiative 276 passed in November 1972. In a 9 – 0 decision, the Supreme Court held that spending limitations were unconstitutional. This was the first reported case in the United States which held that campaign spending limitations were a violation of freedom of speech and association rights.

4. Fritz v. Gorton, 83 Wash.2d 275, 517 P.2d 911, appeal dismissed, 417 U.S. 902, 94 S.Ct. 2596, 41 L.Ed.2d 208 (1974),  Case involving constitutionality of Washington Public Disclosure Act. An understanding of how Act is to be applied was a good part of the outcome. Act upheld as to lobbyists and lobbyist associations. A companion case was Young Americans for Freedom Inc. v. Gorton, 83 Wn.2d 728, 522 P.2d 189 (Wa. 05/16/1974). This case and the companion cases did much to lend understanding to Initiative 276, the Public Disclosure Act. The decision is used today.

5. Spokane Park Department High Bridge Park, circa 1985. Opposed development of a golf course at the confluence of Latah Creek and the Spokane River. Asserted that Park Department would be in violation of restrictive covenants in deeds for property by development of property into a golf course. Park board dropped the plans.

6. Spokane Skywalk System Circa 1986 – 88. Developer, Goodale & Barbieri, sought to gain permit to construct 80-foot wide skywalk across Riverside Avenue just west of Wall Street in downtown Spokane. I resisted the efforts and threatened litigation. Skywalk was not permitted.

7. Spokane Park Department – Cannon Hill Park, City of Spokane, circa 1989 – 1990. Case involving the private use of park land for a parking area and storage of construction materials and debris. Park Department wanted to ignore the problem and to solve the problem by leasing the land to the wrongdoing property owner. The threat of litigation caused the Park Department to abandon its plans and to enforce the public trust duties. Cannon Hill Park is an Olmstead Brothers Designed Park.

8. Spokane River Shoreline Management Case, circa 1986.   Case concerned propriety of a substantial development along Spokane River in Peaceful Valley on Clark Street. Settlement reached, park property set to be acquired in future, and shoreline path easement created. In addition, shoreline use as to remaining property was limited.

9. Summit Property Dumping, City of Spokane, circa 1986 – 1987.  Efforts to keep citizens from dumping their waste in City of Spokane Park areas along the banks of the Spokane River and Latah Creek.

10. Rim Rock Drive, City of Spokane, circa 1992 – 1994.  Spokane Park Department. Park Department was considering closure of Rim Rock Drive in Palisades Park west of the City of Spokane.

11. Street Vacation at Sunset Highway and Government Way.  Asserted that addition of property to street vacation when property was not part of proper vacation was illegal.  Vacation withdrawn and property separated.

12. Sinking Creek — Rettkowski v. Department of Ecology, 122 Wn.2d 219, 858 P.2d 232 (1993) ; Rettkowski v. Department of Ecology, 128 Wn.2d 508, 910 P.2d 462 (1996).  In this case, I advocated on behalf of my clients including the Sinking Creek Surface Water Project that water rights and water use decisions in Washington should be public trust based. I also advocated that the Department of Ecology had the authority under state law to regulate water permits once issued based upon the public trust. Case will eventually serve as a possible basis for application of public trust principles to water issues. As I recall, four justices of the State Supreme Court agreed with me about the application of public trust principles in the issuance and regulation of water rights. See Justice Richard Guy”s dissent. I consider that I prevailed despite the fact that the court held that the Department of Ecology under the law at the time could not regulate water rights once they were issued. Prevailed in the further advancement of an important issue regarding water rights.

14. Spokane Research & Defense Fund v. Spokane Transit Authority. CenterPlace I. (1991).  Case successfully prevented the Spokane Transit Authority from engaging in a subsidy at the CenterPlace Project in downtown Spokane. Case involved the application of Wash. Const. Art. IIIX, Section 7. Washington State Attorney General and State Auditor intervened in the case on the side of SRDF.

15. Spokane Research & Defense Fund v. Spokane Transit Authority, 122 Wn.2d 1006, 859 P.2d 603 (1991) CenterPlace II.  Unpublished opinion approved an unreasonable method by which appraisers valued property for condemnation purposes – use of options on property in question to set market price.

16. Zahara (Pasadena Park) v. Spokane Park Department and City of Spokane, circa 1991. Whether Park Department could sell park land. Spokane City Charter issue as to whether Park Board had authority to sell park land. Park Department was forced to take the matter to a vote. The electorate turned down the sale. Did not have to proceed with the case. Principle regarding sale of park land was advanced.

17. Lincoln Street Bridge (circa 1991 and following).  Case involving the propriety of construction of a proposed Lincoln Street Bridge across Spokane River Falls in Downtown Spokane. Case settled on basis that substantial park lands would be created, Post Street Bridge would be entirely removed, and property on the river side of the Spokane Public Library would be acquired by condemnation or otherwise. (One can only wonder why the Spokane Library Board would have built the main library with a river view and physical orientation without securing or protecting the view to the river.) Other litigants took the case on and prevailed on substantial development issue. Position taken was a final success in hands of others, Doug and Laurel Siddoway.

18. Manito Shopping Center.   Illegal signage at residential Manito Shopping Mall in Spokane, Washington. The Mall was the first contract rezone in the state of Washington. The case established that contract rezones can be enforced as to their terms.

19. Spokane Skywalk System (circa 1994).  Case involving ensuring that elaborate skywalk system in downtown Spokane be kept open B prevented private parties from closing easement. Offending property owner removed the barricade and the case was dismissed.  Despite dismissal, the end result was the success sought.

20. Leonard v. City of Spokane, 127 Wn.2d 194, 897 P.2d 358 (1995).  Case involving constitutionality of tax increment financing laws of the state of Washington. Court in a 9 B 0 opinion agreed with the plaintiff. The court reasoned that the entire act was unconstitutional because it allowed common school funds to be used for tax increment projects.

21. CLEAN v. State, 130 Wn.2d 782, 928 P.2d 1054 (1996).  Case contesting the constitutionality of legislation calling for the construction Mariners Stadium in Seattle. Court in my view rewrote the constitution to allow gifts of public funds to be made to private parties and made it possible for the legislature to avoid or prevent the constitutional right of referendum by claiming that legislation was an emergency knowing the court would not disagree with the designation because would defer to the legislature on the matter.

22. Coalition for a New Spokane v. City of Spokane, (9th Cir 1999).  Case involving whether City of Spokane could invalidate signatures on an initiative by putting the initiative on a primary election ballot in opposition to the desires of the initiative’s proponent.

23. Spokane Research & Defense Fund v. City of Spokane, 96 Wn. App. 568, 983 P.2d 676 (1999).   Disclosure of Nordstrom Lease in River Park Square Mall. Court agreed that the lease was a public document that had to be disclosed. Of course, by the time the lease was disclosed, the project had been put together and the damage done or well in the making. Viz. the River Park Square Litigation.

24. Priorities First v. City of Spokane, 93 Wn. App. 406, 968 P.2d 431 (1998). Case involving the legality of an initiative to call for sunset elections regarding Spokane public development authorities.

25. Smith v. Spokane County, 948 P. 2d 1301 – Wash: Court of Appeals, 3rd Div. 1997. Case involving the Spokane Aquifer Protection Area – issues were to ensure city of Spokane got a share of the fees and to ensure that fees were fees not taxes. Partial success — City and county entered into agreement that City would receive at least $500,000 per year from APA funds for its septic tank elimination program and other sewer system projects to protect the Spokane Sole Source Aquifer.

26. Brower v. State, 137 Wn.2d 44, 969 P.2d 42 (1998), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1088 (1999). The Seahawks Stadium case involving constitutionality of special referendum election for financing and construction of football stadium in Seattle for Paul Allen and the Seahawks football team.

27. Mound Hardware v. City of Spokane, No. 16487-0-III (Wn. App. 11/25/1997). Case to determine whether signature from one public petition could be used on another petition and whether the Washington Business improvement laws allowed assessments against property.

28. Crosby v. County of Spokane, 87 Wn. App. 247, 941 P.2d 687 (1997), reversed, 137 Wn.2d 296, 971 P.2d 32 (1999).

29. Eugster v. City of Spokane, 110 Wn. App. 212, 39 P.3d 380 (2002). Open Meeting Act case involving council rules.

30. Spokane Research & Defense Fund v. City of Spokane, circa 1994. Spokane County Superior Court case. Publication of the Spokane City Code. Court required publication of the code and regular updating of the code.

31. In re Parentage of Smith- Bartlett , 95 Wn. App. 633, 976 P.2d 173 (Wn. App. Div. 3 05/11/1999). Case of first impression dealing with decisions under parenting plans for children.

32. Spokane Research & Defense Fund v. City of Spokane, 99 Wn. App. 452, 994 P.2d 267 (2000).  The City of Spokane appealed the decision of the Superior Court that the performance evaluation summaries for the Spokane City Manager are subject to public disclosure under RCW 42.17.

33. Eugster v. City (River Park Square Case). Eugster v. City of Spokane, 118 Wash.App. 383, 76 P.3d 741 (Wash.App. Div. 3 Sep 16, 2003) (NO. 21853-8-III), review denied , 151 Wash.2d 1027, 94 P.3d 959 (Wash. Jun 02, 2004) (TABLE, NO. 74748-2) .

34. Feature Realty, Inc. v. City of Spokane, 331 F.3d 1082 (9th Cir. 2003).  Action involving application of Washington Open Public Meetings Act to settlement City of Spokane had entered into with a developer at a non-open meeting of the City Council. Prevailed.

35. Washington Public Trust Advocates Washington Public Trust Advocates v. City of Spokane, 117 Wn. App. 178, 69 P.3d 351 (2003).  RPS litigation issue.  This was case involving control of litigation — City Council or City Attorney.  Court clarified the authority.

36. Washington Public Trust Advocates v. City of Spokane, 120 Wash.App. 892, 86 P.3d 835 (2004). This case established the principle of tax payer derivative actions in the State of Washington. Standards set for tax payer derivative actions in Washington state.

37. Adams v. City of Spokane, Action concerning method forced upon Avista regarding the imposition and collection of utility taxes from Avista customers within the City of Spokane.

38. Eugster v. City of Spokane, 121 Wash.App. 799, 91 P.3d 117 (2004). Case involving civil discovery disclosure of communications between a legislator and his or her constituents. Prevailed.

39. Reid and Eugster v. Dalton, 124 Wash.App. 113, 100 P.3d 349 (2004), petition for review to the Washington State Supreme Court denied. Case was a challenge to the constitutionality of the Washington State Blanket Primary within the context of actual facts showing how the blanket primary was unconstitutional.

40. Armstrong v. Eugster, 133 Wn. App. 1014 (2006) Case involving authority of trial judge to arbitrarily impose sanctions on lawyer outside of CR 11 and after denial of CR 11 sanctions and on court’s own motion.

41. Emmerson v. Weilep, 126 Wash.App. 930, 110 P.3d 214 (2005), petition for review to the Washington State Supreme Court was denied.  This was an Anti-SLAPP statute case dealing with whether the statutory language of “civil liability” is limited to civil “damages” liability.

42. Sappenfield v. Department of Corrections, 127 Wash.App. 83, 110 P.3d 808, Wash.App. Div. 3, Apr 19, 2005, petition for review to the Washington State Supreme Court denied.  This a Public Disclosure Act case dealing with the right to “inspect” public records. Lost.  Effect of decision was to say that the right to inspect did not apply to persons who were incarcerated and who sought to inspect public records.

43. Spokane & Eastern Lawyer v. Spokane County Law Library Board et al., Court of Appeals III, Case No. 23335-9-III.  This case addresses the issue of whether the Spokane County Law Library Board has a duty under law to locate the Spokane County Law Library in the Spokane County Courthouse. See RCW 27.

44. River Park Square III .   This case deals with the local government accounting statute, RCW 43.09.210. Case would have had significant impact on use of assets in various city funds for other city funds and purposes.

45. Eugster v. City of Spokane, 114 P.3d 1200 (2005). Case deals with the Open Public Meetings Act and the propriety of secret votes under the act.  Court allowed what in effect was a secret vote, RCW Ch. 42.30 not violated.

47. SRDF v. West Central Community Center, 133 Wash.App. 602, 137 P.3d 120 (2006).  The issue in this case is whether a non-profit organization is the functional equivalent of a City of Spokane Agency for purposes of the Washington Public Disclosure Act. Lost.  The unfortunate effect of the decision is that the Open Public Meetings Act does not apply to organizations operating public facilities on behalf of the government.

48. Spokane & Eastern Lawyer v. Hon. Linda G. Tompkins, 150 P. 3d 158 (Court of Appeals, 2nd Div. 2007).  This case addresses the question whether Superior Court non-case records are subject to the Public Disclosure Act. The subject of the public disclosure request is all complaints filed by the Spokane County Superior Court against lawyers with the Washington State Bar Association. Lost.  Case stands for the proposition that the Washington Public Disclosure Act does not apply to the courts of the state of Washington.

49.  Eugster v. State, 259 P. 3d 146 – Wash: Supreme Court 2011 One – person one vote re election of judges to the Court of Appeals.  Court held that one – person – vote did not apply.

Civic and Political Efforts Past and Present

Civic participant in effort to adopt a City – County Unified Government Home Rule Charter for Spokane County.  Measure finally proposed failed.  Circa 1994 – 1996.

Sponsor and author of the Strong Mayor – Council by District Charter Amendment Initiative.  September 1996, failed.

Sponsor and author of Strong Mayor Charter Amendment Initiative, November 1999, passed.

City Council Member, City of Spokane, 2000 – 2003. While I was a member of the Spokane City Council I initiated much legislation and was involved in a number of major city matters. Some of these are as follows:

a. Caused fellow council members to hire Rodger Bragdon as the City Police Chief.

b. River Park Square – numerous efforts re this litigation and settlement of the litigation, proposed several settlements from Spring of 2000 on.

c. Put on a seminar regarding metropolitan government.

d. Multiple Family Housing Exemption.

e. Biennial Budgeting

f. Resolution re pursuit of Metro Government.