‘Implausible’ Gold Bar lawsuit gets tossed

SEATTLE — A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by a Gold Bar woman who alleged people working for local governments in Snohomish County have for years conspired to violate her rights.

Anne Block brought the lawsuit in 2014, naming as defendants the county, Gold Bar and more than a dozen current or former government officials.

In a 19-page ruling filed July 8, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones characterized Block’s assertions as “implausible,” “incomprehensible,” or involving activities that she may not appreciate, but aren’t violations of federal law.

When she first filed the lawsuit, Block alleged that she’d become the target of various misdeeds by Gold Bar and county officials after making a series of records requests and writing numerous blog posts. Much of her activities focused on the public and personal life of a former Gold Bar mayor and, later, that woman’s husband, John Pennington, who heads up the county’s Department of Emergency Management.

The Penningtons eventually brought a complaint against Block, who is an attorney. The Washington State Bar Association suspended her law license as part of an ongoing disciplinary investigation. In response, Block attempted to expand her federal lawsuit to include the bar association and its disciplinary officials.

The judge refused to allow Block to take that step. He put the case on hold months ago, and told Block that she must address several deficiencies in her complaint. For example, he wanted Block to present details to support claims against a former aide to Aaron Reardon, who records show engaged in shadowy online harassment of Block and others he considered the former county executive’s enemies.

Instead, Block opted to submit paperwork asserting that she is the focus of racketeering by people in government and the legal establishment.

“The court concludes that Ms. Block will not state claims even if given another opportunity to amend the complaint and the court therefore declines to grant her another opportunity,” Jones wrote.

Block already has challenged the decision in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Because she took that step, county prosecutors say it is premature to seek recovery of public funds spent on the case. In February, Block launched a failed attempt to recall Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe, alleging he’d engaged in misfeasance for how he responded to her federal lawsuit.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snorthnews

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