BY DON NELSON
The owners of a small cabin on Flagg Mountain are seeking reconsideration of a recent Okanogan County Superior Court ruling, asking that two plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the cabin’s placement be dismissed from the suit.
On May 28, Superior Court Judge Chris Culp ruled that a lawsuit filed to enforce property covenants on the cabin near Mazama can proceed, but without two of the original plaintiffs.
At that hearing, Culp dismissed motions by Wenatchee attorney Michelle Green of Jeffers, Danielson, Sonn & Alyward, representing the owners of the cabin, to disqualify all the plaintiffs in the suit. But Culp agreed with Green to eliminate Lee and Theresa Miller from the legal action.
The other plaintiffs – John and Rayma Hayes and Steve and Kristin Devin – were allowed to proceed with the suit, which was brought to enforce long-standing covenants the plaintiffs say were violated when the cabin was built last fall.
In a June 6 filing asking Culp to reconsider his earlier decision, Green requests that the Devins also be disqualified from the suit, alleging that they misrepresented their ownership interest in Mazama-area properties with a view of the cabin.
Green claims in her filing that the Devins don’t currently own the “third-party beneficiary property” cited in their claim, and that the property is instead owned by Devin Farms Limited Partnership. That entity is not included as a plaintiff party, Green said.
A hearing on the motion for reconsideration has been tentatively set for June 27 at 11 a.m. in Culp’s court.
Representing the plaintiffs is Claudia Newman of the Seattle firm Bricklin & Newman. She said this week that her firm is preparing a response to Green’s filing.
“We find it perplexing that the defendants are spending so much money and time trying to bar the Devins from court when it makes no difference on whether the case will proceed,” Newman said in a statement. “The Devins have standing and we expect to prevail on this motion, but John and Rayma Hayes have standing regardless of the Devins’ standing. Because the Hayes have standing, the judge will hear the merits of the case despite the outcome of this motion and despite every effort that Jim Dow and Tom Kundig have made to avoid that from happening. This attempt to ask the court for a second time to dismiss the Devins from the lawsuit appears to be an effort to drive the costs of litigation up as high as possible rather than addressing and presenting the real issues that matter.”
The Seattle-based owners of the cabin are James Dow, Tom and Jeannie Kundig, and Ben Rand. Ultimately, the plaintiffs are asking the court to impose a permanent injunction that would order the defendants to abide by the provisions of covenants – in other words, remove the cabin from its current location.
The main point of contention at the May 28 hearing was whether any of the plaintiffs have legal standing to enforce the covenants and thus bring a lawsuit. At that hearing, Culp said it’s clear the Devins have standing because they own property that benefits from the covenants – and thus, it could be argued that they have been harmed by any alleged violation of the covenants.