Mark Peterson v. City of Yakima et. al.
Mark Peterson, the owner of H&H Furniture, exercised his 1st Amendment right to oppose the City of Yakima’s plan to construct a plaza area in downtown Yakima, Washington. On the morning of November 5, 2013, Mr. Peterson made his objection known to Tony O’Rourke, the City Manager. Later that day the City’s fire code inspector arrived at Mr. Peterson’s business and cited Mr. Peterson for, among other things, non-compliance with a 2002 requirement to construct a fire resistant ceiling in his basement – – – a requirement that the City subsequently found to be a non-issue in multiple follow-up fire inspections between 2003 and 2011. Ultimately the City criminally charged Mr. Peterson for refusing to allow City fire inspectors into H&H but, on the eve of trial, dropped its criminal prosecution after admitting that it refused to get a required search warrant. Mr. Peterson sued the City and others for malicious prosecution, 1st Amendment retaliation, and civil conspiracy. A copy of Mr. Peterson’s complaint is available here.
On January 23, 2020, the Court denied the City of Yakima’s motion to dismiss Mr. Peterson’s lawsuit and allowed Mr. Peterson’s First Amendment Retaliation, Civil Conspiracy, and Malicious Prosecution claims to go to trial. A copy of the Court’s order is available here.
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