WELA Amicus filed in Billings v. Town of Steilacoom, 2 Wn.App. 2d 1, 408 P.3d 1123 (Wash. Ct. App. 2017).
Plaintiff was a law enforcement officer and alleged he was terminated in violation of First Amendment, a clear mandate of public policy (pursuing union activities), and the Washington Law Against Discrimination. The trial court dismissed his claims on summary judgment holding that he did not raise issues of public concern under the First Amendment claim and that his other claims were collaterally estopped by the findings of a labor arbitrator. The Court of Appeals affirmed and WELA filed an amicus curiae memorandum.
WELA argues that an arbitrator’s finding of “just cause” is not dispositive of the whether an illegal motive was a substantial factor in the decision to terminate, and that the disparity of the remedies offered at arbitration as compared to superior court, as well as the importance of the public policies involved in this case, weigh against the applicability of collateral estoppel. WELA relied upon Sprague v. Spokane Valley Fire Department, 409 P.3d 160 (2018), which was decided after the decision by the Court of Appeals.
Joseph Shaeffer and Jeffrey Needle wrote the amicus curiae memorandum for WELA. See WELA’s brief HERE.