Phonebook Lawsuit Cost Seattle $264,503 in Legal Fees
Update: Seattle Weekly reports that the city has announced a $517,500 settlement with the phonebook companies. The total cost of the settlement and legal fees to the city therefore is $781,503. City says phonebook opt-out service will be taken offline soon.
In response to my public records request, the City of Seattle reports it has paid $264,503 in outside counsel fees during the Yellow Pages Lawsuit.
The Seattle Times report of a rumored $500,000 settlement did not include these costs. Neither do these costs account for the city’s own in-house legal/oversight. Thus, we can say that the Yellow Pages ruling may cost the city more than $764,503.
While the City may be restricted in how it can appeal the Court’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, this might be an opportunity to lead a national challenge of corporate personhood, corporate constitutional rights and the standing of foreign companies to seek equal protection rights. Similar precedents are at issue in the city’s inability to pass laws that regulate escalating coal train exports.
I believe the Court of Appeals decided this case on the wrong basis and issued an obtuse, narrow-minded ruling. I’d personally be happy to have the city spend my tax dollars on a broader appeal. Tell the Mayor and Council what you think.
- Why You Should Care About Seattle’s Phonebook Debacle
- City of Seattle Response to Public Records Request: Invoices Paid to Summit Law Group for Legal Representation in Yellow Pages Lawsuit
- Court Rules Yellow Pages Are Protected Speech (TechDirt)
- Seattle will pay $500,000 to settle yellow pages lawsuit (Seattle Times)
- Seattle’s stand against treating corporations as people (Crosscut)
- Seattle’s Perkins Coie Secures Victory in Ninth Circuit First Amendment Case (Perkins Coie Website)
- Seattle’s Phonebook Opt Out Site