Largo Wales, left, and Nancy Backus. FILE PHOTOS

Largo Wales, left, and Nancy Backus. FILE PHOTOS

Judge dismisses Wales’ lawsuit against the city of Auburn

Case had been scheduled for trial on July 7

A King County Superior Court judge has dismissed former Auburn City Councilmember Largo Wales lawsuit against the city of Auburn.

The case had been scheduled for trial on July 7, 2020 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, but the city moved to have the case dismissed on Friday, Jan. 3.

Wales filed her lawsuit t on Aug. 1, 2019 against the city of Auburn, its mayor, the Committee to Reelect Nancy Backus, and Rob Roscoe, the city’s former director of human resources and risk management, alleging that the people and entities she named had violated her privacy and her right to freedom of speech.

Wales had been seeking special damages to be proven at trial for “lost potential future earnings,” general damages for pain, suffering and mental anguish, attorney fees, and any additional or further relief that the court found appropriate or just.

Here, specifically, is what Wales alleged.

That in September 2016, Roscoe had called her to a meeting, at which only he and she were present, and at that meeting Roscoe complained about a statement – not described in the suit – that Wales had allegedly made in an open, non-governmental forum, and that he advised her that her speech “should be attenuated.”

Because the Roscoe-Wales’ discussion was private, Wales alleged, no one else should have known about it, and his subsequent actions violated her right to free speech

But, Wales claimed, Roscoe then reported the meeting to Backus, and that Backus re-election committee later issued a campaign notice that described the Roscoe-Wales interaction as “the city of Auburn chastised Largo Wales .…”

She claimed that Backus, as mayor, “violated Ms. Wales right to free speech by using her position to create unfavorable information on a political opponent,” and then releasing information that she would not have had if she were not mayor.

And that the Committee to Reelect Nancy Backus and its members knew, or should have known, that the information was “ill gotten.”

Wales did not seek reelection to a third term on the council. Her term ended on Dec. 31

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