The International Franchise Association and its members are shocked, shocked to find that lawyering is going on in here:
The City of Seattle’s decision to hire expensive outside legal counsel to try to defend its discriminatory actions against small businesses in the recently adopted minimum wage ordinance should outrage every taxpaying resident and business, according to Jan Simon, President and CEO of the Washington Lodging Association (WLA).
Last week the City announced it had hired Susman Godfrey, a Texas law firm with offices in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City and Seattle, and Erwin Chemerinsky, dean at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, to assist in its defense of the ordinance.
“As a Seattle taxpayer I am flabbergasted and disappointed that the Mayor and City Council believe it is appropriate to hire an outside law firm charging a reported $1,100 an hour to defend the blatantly discriminatory sections of the ill-conceived ordinance,” said Simon.
Even worse, adds Simon in the press release, is that some of the money used to pay the city’s legal expenses will come from taxes on the very businesses who have filed this lawsuit! Which is, of course, hilarious.
Well it is true that the IFA lawsuit is laughably frivolous, that still wouldn’t excuse lazy lawyering on the part of the City Attorney’s office. Government agencies hire outside attorneys all the time, particularly to deal with highly specialized areas of the law. So it’s good to know that City Attorney Pete Holmes isn’t too stoned to know that he better seek outside expertise on this one, especially since he’s facing off against evil genius former US Solicitor General Paul Clement.
As for the IFA’s mock outrage, what’s next? Suing the Pike Place Market for refusing to rent to franchises? They can decry Seattle’s $15 minimum wage ordinance as “discriminatory” all they want—and maybe it is—but this sort of discrimination is neither illegal nor immoral. The only thing more laughable than its frivolous lawsuit is the IFA’s efforts to spin this into some sort of a civil rights issue.