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.

Cost of Third Party Seattle City Legal Fees in Phonebook Lawsuit

Cost of Third Party Seattle City Legal Fees in Phonebook 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.

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Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest.

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