Brooke Fisher<br>Enterprise editor
The clerk of the Washington State Supreme Court, on June 7, denied a request for discretionary review of the Supreme Court decision not to grant a partial summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by Friends of Fircrest and Washington State Federation of State Employees.
A trial date is still set for May 2005.
The plaintiffs’ asked the court to review Judge Julie Spector’s decision in a lawsuit filed Dec. 18 in King County Superior Court. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction to keep Fircrest School open and asks that residents not be moved without the consent of guardians.
Supreme Court Commissioner Geoffrey Crooks upheld Spector’s March 2 ruling, that the Legislature has authority to establish downsizing through the budget process. The Legislature, in directing the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to reduce the Fircrest’s population, acted within its authority and was consistent with the Constitution, according to the ruling.
DSHS attorney Bill Williams said Crooks’ decision to deny review allows DSHS officials to continue downsizing Fircrest, since there was no order preventing the department from moving residents.
Since December, DSHS has moved several Fircrest residents to the Rainier School in Buckley. Fircrest’s population, by March 2005, is set to be reduced from 253 residents to less than 200, according to DSHS officials.
Phil Talmadge, an attorney for several Fircrest residents and a Democratic candidate for governor, said a motion will soon be filed in an attempt to modify Crooks’ decision.
“We still believe this is a matter for the Supreme Court to address,” Talmadge said. “We are very comfortable with the idea that the justices of the court will believe this is a case they should consider.”
Talmadge said Crooks’ ruling is unfortunate because DSHS’ downsizing efforts are “way stations on the road to eventual closure of the Fircrest School.”