Molly Moon’s suing City of Seattle over losses from CHOP
Jun 9, 2023, 4:31 PM | Updated: 4:45 pm
Update 4:00 p.m.:
Mark Lindquist, the former Pierce County Prosecutor, told KIRO Newsradio Molly Moon’s, even though it supported CHOP, the company decided it wanted its share of the city treasury after watching other businesses’ lawsuits succeed.
“The City of Seattle screwed this up so bad that the plaintiffs are certain to win this lawsuit despite some weaknesses,” Lindquist said.
Local ice cream maker Molly Moon’s is suing the City of Seattle for losses it claims came from the decision by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to leave its East Precinct building during the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP).
In the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, Molly Moon’s stated its constitutional rights were “overrun” by the city’s decision to “abandon” the 10-block area of Capitol Hill overtaken by protesters. The ice cream maker is accusing the city of materially supporting and encouraging “a hostile occupation of that neighborhood.”
“This lawsuit does not seek to undermine CHOP participants’ message or present a counter message,” the lawsuit, acquired by KIRO Newsradio, read. “Rather, this lawsuit is about the plaintiff’s constitutional and other legal rights, of which were overrun by the City of Seattle’s decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public at large, and then materially support and encourage a hostile occupation of that neighborhood. The City’s decision subjected businesses, employees, and residents of that neighborhood to extensive property damage, public safety dangers, and an inability to use and access their properties.”
NEW: Molly Moon’s Ice Cream is suing the City of Seattle because of losses tied to CHOP.
The ice cream maker accuses the city of supporting and encouraging “a hostile occupation” of the neighborhood surrounding their Pine Street store. pic.twitter.com/SPxjOX9kNO
— Sam Campbell (@HeySamCampbell) June 8, 2023
Molly Moon’s claimed the protest made its shop, located just across from Cal Anderson Park, unreachable and they suffered huge losses in revenue.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and demands payment for damages, which are unspecified as of this reporting.
A Molly Moon’s spokesperson released a statement, saying that they supported the protests and their goals but were looking to make up for what they call a significant loss of revenue caused by the city’s actions.
At Molly Moon’s we hold race equity at the top of our list of our priorities for how we want to make the world better. Black Lives Matter. The lawsuit filed on Wednesday, June 7 is not meant to undermine that important message. It’s seeking indemnification for the significant revenue losses and team morale impacts we experienced during and for many months after CHOP caused by the City of Seattle’s decision to abandon the police precinct and stop responding to public safety needs in our beloved Capitol Hill community.
From the Dori Monson archives: After CHOP lawsuits are over, ‘city will end up paying millions,’ says attorney
Earlier this year, a federal judge, Thomas Zilly, handed down sanctions against the City of Seattle for deleting tens of thousands of missing text messages from the phones of top officials, including the former mayor and police chief, during CHOP in the summer of 2020. Zilly wrote there was evidence of “gross negligence” by the city and significant evidence that the destruction of CHOP evidence was intentional and city officials attempted to hide the deleting of texts for months in the face of opposing lawsuits.
But despite the sanction, not all businesses have received vindication or compensation for operating near CHOP. Several Capitol Hill property owners ultimately failed to meet several criteria to reach class-action certification last year. The judge’s reasoning, according to court documents, was the differences among the accusations and damage descriptions the individual plaintiffs leveled against Seattle.
The Office of the Seattle City Attorney said that they will “review the pleadings and respond as appropriate.”