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Brower v. State

969 P.2d 42 (1998)

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Brower v. State

Washington Supreme Court

969 P.2d 42 (1998)

Facts

During the 1997 legislative session, the Washington legislature enacted a bill providing for construction and financing of a new stadium for the Seattle Seahawks as a public-private enterprise (the act). The owner of the Seahawks football team wanted to move the Seahawks to California. Football Northwest, Inc. (Northwest) (defendant) had an option to purchase the Seahawks, keeping the team in Washington, but the option expired on July 1, 1997, and Northwest would not exercise its option unless the act became law. The legislature referred certain sections of the act to the people for a vote (referendum 48). The referred sections allowed the creation of a public stadium authority by any county that had a letter of intent with a “team affiliate” to develop the stadium. “Team affiliate” included a football team or an entity affiliated with the team. Certain sections of the act were not referred for a vote, including one in which the legislature declined to state any position on the value of the proposed stadium, one section that conditioned the act’s validity on the team affiliate’s paying for the costs of the referendum, and another “emergency” section requiring the referendum and reimbursement provisions to take effect immediately (section 608). Jordan Brower (plaintiff) sued the state (defendant) and Northwest to stop the referendum from occurring. Brower challenged the act on constitutional and other grounds. The trial court preliminarily ordered the election to proceed in mid-June 1997, and referendum 48 was passed by the people. On summary judgment, the court ruled in favor of the state and Northwest. The Washington Supreme Court reviewed the case.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Madsen J.)

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