City settles Shaw property lawsuit for $60,000

Ocean Shores has settled its lawsuit with property owner Judith M. Shaw for $65,000 after facing a potential $750,000 court judgment because the city earlier failed to show up to defend itself last year.

In a 4-2 vote after an executive session with the city’s new attorney Monday night, with City Council members Ed Engel and Jackie Farra voting against the settlement agreement, the council authorized the payment to end the litigation.

The city had appealed a ruling by Grays Harbor Superior Court Judge Dave Edwards that it had failed to respond to a notice that it was being sued by Shaw over the impact city work had on flooding and drainage problems at her apartment/condo units on Anchor Avenue. The city argued that, essentially, it was an honest mistake and the lawsuit had been misplaced.

Shaw has claimed road work by the city has caused flooding and damage to the property. The first lawsuit was dismissed, and the notice of a newly filed suit was delivered to former City Clerk Diane Foss on Sept. 13, 2012 According to court filings, Foss contacted then-city attorney Art Blauvelt and was told to forward the complaint to the city’s insurer, Washington Cities Insurance Authority.

“I inadvertently and mistakenly failed to do that,” Foss wrote in a statement to the court. “It was a purely unintentional oversight.”

Ultimately, Edwards concluded the fact Foss was at work, knew the policy and seemed to act in accordance with it wasn’t a good enough reason to dismiss the judgment.

Blauvelt later was dismissed as city attorney and replaced by Brent Dille of Olympia, who was introduced at Monday night’s regular City Council meeting where the settlement was voted on and then announced to the public.