Burman v. State, Nos. 18173-4-

CourtCourt of Appeals of Washington
Writing for the CourtJOHN W. SCHUMACHER; SCHOLFIELD, C.J., and SWANSON
Citation749 P.2d 708,50 Wn.App. 433
PartiesDeeAnn S. BURMAN, individually and on behalf of the class of all persons similarly situated, Appellant, v. STATE of Washington; Shoreline District Justice Court; Jane Doe, Clerk of the Shoreline District Justice Court; John Gonsalez, Director of the Department of Licensing; Joe Taller, Director of Financial Management; Robert V. Graham, State Auditor; and Robert S. O'Brien, State Treasurer, Respondents. DeeAnn S. BURMAN, individually and on behalf of the class of all persons similarly situated, Respondent, v. STATE of Washington, Appellant, Shoreline District Justice Court; Jane Doe, Clerk of the Shoreline District Justice Court, Defendants, John Gonsalez, Director of the Department of Licensing; Joe Taller, Director of Financial Management; Robert V. Graham, State Auditor; and Robert S. O'Brien, State Treasurer, Appellants.
Decision Date25 January 1988
Docket Number19827-1-I,Nos. 18173-4-

Page 433

50 Wn.App. 433
749 P.2d 708
DeeAnn S. BURMAN, individually and on behalf of the class of
all persons similarly situated, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Washington; Shoreline District Justice Court;
Jane Doe, Clerk of the Shoreline District Justice Court;
John Gonsalez, Director of the Department of Licensing; Joe
Taller, Director of Financial Management; Robert V. Graham,
State Auditor; and Robert S. O'Brien, State Treasurer, Respondents.
DeeAnn S. BURMAN, individually and on behalf of the class of
all persons similarly situated, Respondent,
v.
STATE of Washington, Appellant,
Shoreline District Justice Court; Jane Doe, Clerk of the
Shoreline District Justice Court, Defendants,
John Gonsalez, Director of the Department of Licensing; Joe
Taller, Director of Financial Management; Robert
V. Graham, State Auditor; and Robert S.
O'Brien, State Treasurer, Appellants.
Nos. 18173-4-I, 19827-1-I.
Court of Appeals of Washington,
Division 1.
Jan. 25, 1988.
Reconsideration Denied March 15, 1988.

Page 434

[749 P.2d 710] Ramer B. Holton, Eugene C. Chellis, Perkins Coie, Seattle, for appellant Deeann S. Burman.

Fred A. Kaseburg, Deputy Pros. Atty., Civ. Div., Seattle, Richard A. McCartan, Asst. Atty. Gen., Olympia, for respondents State, et al.

JOHN W. SCHUMACHER, Judge Pro Tem. *

DeeAnn Burman appeals the trial court's order dismissing her due process claims against

Page 435

Shoreline District Court and the State of Washington. The State appeals the trial court's denial of its motion for review of a special master's decision, denying release of the State from the lawsuit. Shoreline appeals the trial court's denial of its request for costs.
FACTS

On October 3, 1981, Burman was cited for driving a vehicle with expired license tabs. Burman failed to respond to the infraction notice by either timely paying the $37 fine, or requesting a trial or a mitigation hearing. Shoreline District Court (hereinafter Shoreline) imposed an additional fee of $47 ($25 late penalty plus assessments) and forwarded a notice of failure to appear to the Department of Licensing (hereinafter DOL).

Burman paid the $37 fine by check on October 15, 1981 (3 days late). In November 1981, Burman attempted to renew her driver's license and was informed that she was first required to pay the additional $47. Burman sent a letter to Shoreline requesting a mitigation hearing concerning both the infraction and the imposition of the $47 additional penalty.

Apparently, Burman received no response from Shoreline to her hearing request, and ultimately paid the additional $47 in March 1982. Burman was subsequently told by court personnel that she would not receive any type of hearing because Shoreline believed it lacked authority to change the amount of the penalty.

Burman filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court, naming the State of Washington, Shoreline District Court and its clerk, John Gonsalez, Director of DOL, and Joe Taller, Director of the Office of Fiscal Management, as defendants, on July 2, 1982.

Burman's complaint listed several causes of action: (1) that Shoreline collected a late penalty in excess of that permitted; (2) that Burman was deprived of her property without due process; (3) that the $47 penalty [749 P.2d 711] was excessive for a short delay in payment; and (4) that the conduct complained of constituted conversion.

Page 436

Burman prayed for the following relief: (1) monetary damages; (2) a declaratory judgment stating that $25 is the maximum allowable late penalty, and declaring that due process requires that an individual have a reasonable opportunity to contest the imposition of the late penalty; (3) injunctive relief; (4) a writ of mandamus directing the defendants to reimburse the plaintiff and refrain from imposing the late penalty without a hearing; and (5) costs and attorney's fees.

In 1982, the Legislature amended RCW 46.63.110(3) 1 to provide that the $25 late penalty is not subject to statutory assessments. Laws of 1982, 1st Ex.Sess., ch. 12, § 1, p. 1043. In October 1982, the trial court granted partial summary judgment in Burman's favor and held that the statutory assessments (criminal justice training assessment, traffic safety education assessment, general fund fee) were not applicable to the $25 late penalty, and that the total late penalty that could be imposed pursuant to RCW 46.63.070(5)(a) 2 or RCW 46.63.110(3) was $25.

In September 1983, Burman's lawsuit was certified as a class action, with the class defined as those persons who

Page 437

either in the past were required or in the future would be required to pay a late penalty for failure to respond to a notice of traffic infraction or to pay a monetary fee for a traffic infraction.

In October 1983, the trial court granted partial summary judgment for Shoreline against the State of Washington, finding that the State was liable for any refund of amounts collected by Shoreline and remitted to the state treasurer.

Burman and the State negotiated a settlement obligating the Legislature to appropriate $1.2 million to pay late penalty refunds. This settlement agreement limited its own scope as follows:

F. Scope of Settlement

* * *

3. Release of refund claims against the state. This agreement, when approved by the court, will constitute a final settlement and release of all refund or restitution claims in this action against all state defendants, on behalf of all members of the plaintiff overcharge subclass with respect to all infractions for which FTAs are on file at the DOL batched from January 1, 1981 to September 1, 1982.

4. Remaining claims. All claims on due process issues and all claims against the Shoreline defendants are expressly reserved and are not affected by this agreement. Members of the plaintiff class also retain any claims against any county, city or other local entity on any issues other than improper collection of assessments on traffic infraction late penalties.

The trial court approved the negotiated settlement on October 29, 1985.

In September 1985, the trial court heard Burman's motion for summary judgment on the due process issues, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Because Shoreline[749 P.2d 712] stated that it was ready to implement any due process rights that the courts might establish, it argued that injunctive relief was unnecessary. Shoreline filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, claiming that there was no justiciable controversy, that the statutory procedures were

Page 438

constitutional, and that adequate remedies already existed under the law.

The State filed no documents on its own behalf in opposition to Burman's motion, apparently believing as a result of the settlement negotiations that it had been released on the due process claims. The trial court dismissed Burman's cause of action against Shoreline on the due process issues, granting Shoreline's cross-motion on February 24, 1986.

Burman filed a notice of appeal (cause No. 18173-4-I) in this court on March 24, 1986, naming both Shoreline and the State as respondents. After Burman filed her appellant's brief, the State filed a motion to dismiss itself from the appeal, claiming that the trial court's order failed to include the State, and claiming that the settlement agreement released the State on the due process issues.

The Commissioner's Ruling dated October 8, 1986, indicated that the State's motion to dismiss would be granted if this court did not receive a copy of an order from the trial court below indicating that at the time of summary judgment, the State was still a party in the lawsuit, and that the absence of any reference to the State in the summary judgment order was inadvertent. Such an order was filed in this court on November 21, 1986.

Nonetheless, the Amended Commissioner's Ruling, dated November 4, 1986, indicates that the parties agreed to arbitrate the issue of whether due process claims against the State were released by the settlement agreement.

At the arbitration hearing, although the State argued that its counsel's understanding was that the State's agreement to pay the refunds was in exchange for release from the due process issues, the special master ruled that extrinsic evidence was irrelevant due to the document's integration and to the plain meaning of the settlement agreement. The special master determined that Burman had reserved the due process claims against all defendants, including the State. On December 16, 1986, the trial court denied the State's motion for review of the special master's ruling.

Page 439

The State appealed the trial court's decision on this issue, and the appeal was consolidated with Burman's appeal now before this court.

DECLARATORY JUDGMENT AND DUE PROCESS ISSUES

Shoreline argues that the case before us does not present a justiciable controversy. To enable a trial court to assume jurisdiction and render a declaratory judgment, it must...

To continue reading

Request your trial
6 practice notes
  • Stevens Cnty. v. Stevens Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 37467-0-III
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 16. November 2021
    ...we must consider this issue first. Diversified Indus. Dev. Corp. v. Ripley, 82 Wn.2d 811, 814-15, 514 P.2d 137 (1973); Burman v. State, 50 Wn.App. 433, 439, 749 P.2d 708 (1988). In this case, Stevens County has filed an action under the UDJA, claiming that enforcement of the ITA will violat......
  • Stevens Cnty. v. Stevens Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 37467-0-III
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 16. November 2021
    ...first. Diversified Indus. Dev. Corp. v. Ripley , 82 Wash.2d 811, 814-15, 514 P.2d 137 (1973) ; Burman v. State , 50 Wash. App. 433, 439, 749 P.2d 708 (1988). ¶10 In this case, Stevens County has filed an action under the UDJA, claiming that enforcement of the ITA will violate the constituti......
  • State v. Allen, No. 18734-1-I
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 25. Januar 1988
    ...Jolene had ample opportunity to impeach Rick with other relevant evidence, namely the numerous inconsistencies between his testimony[749 P.2d 708] at Jolene's trial and the testimony at his own trial as well as his statement to the police shortly after he shot Chuck. See State v. Alexis, 95......
  • Hirata v. EVERGREEN STATE LTD. PARTNERSHIP, No. 52481-0-I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 13. Dezember 2004
    ...Due process requires notice and an opportunity to be heard appropriate to the nature of the case. Burman v. State, 50 Wash.App. 433, 440, 749 P.2d 708 (1988). Here, after Hirata and Volz filed their motion for a second supplemental judgment, the trial court granted Outback's request for add......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Stevens Cnty. v. Stevens Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 37467-0-III
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 16. November 2021
    ...we must consider this issue first. Diversified Indus. Dev. Corp. v. Ripley, 82 Wn.2d 811, 814-15, 514 P.2d 137 (1973); Burman v. State, 50 Wn.App. 433, 439, 749 P.2d 708 (1988). In this case, Stevens County has filed an action under the UDJA, claiming that enforcement of the ITA will violat......
  • Stevens Cnty. v. Stevens Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 37467-0-III
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 16. November 2021
    ...first. Diversified Indus. Dev. Corp. v. Ripley , 82 Wash.2d 811, 814-15, 514 P.2d 137 (1973) ; Burman v. State , 50 Wash. App. 433, 439, 749 P.2d 708 (1988). ¶10 In this case, Stevens County has filed an action under the UDJA, claiming that enforcement of the ITA will violate the constituti......
  • State v. Allen, No. 18734-1-I
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 25. Januar 1988
    ...Jolene had ample opportunity to impeach Rick with other relevant evidence, namely the numerous inconsistencies between his testimony[749 P.2d 708] at Jolene's trial and the testimony at his own trial as well as his statement to the police shortly after he shot Chuck. See State v. Alexis, 95......
  • Hirata v. EVERGREEN STATE LTD. PARTNERSHIP, No. 52481-0-I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 13. Dezember 2004
    ...Due process requires notice and an opportunity to be heard appropriate to the nature of the case. Burman v. State, 50 Wash.App. 433, 440, 749 P.2d 708 (1988). Here, after Hirata and Volz filed their motion for a second supplemental judgment, the trial court granted Outback's request for add......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT