SUNNYSIDE — The ongoing civil rights and breach of due process lawsuit and its subsequent motions between the City of Sunnyside and the Washington State Attorney General’s (AG) office, has progressed, some, following a Wednesday, Oct. 2, telephonic hearing on the matter.

Judge Rosanna Malouf-Peterson, Federal U.S. Court, Eastern Washington District judge, heard the Motion to Dismiss, filed by Menke Jackson Beyer & Ehlis of Yakima, on behalf of the City of Sunnyside, from her Spokane courtroom. The forty-three-minute hearing, according to the Washington State Court reporting system, PACER, was attended by representatives from both the city and the AG office, by phone.

Kirk Ehlis, of the Yakima law firm of Menke Jackson Beyer & Ehlis, argued in favor of the Motion For Dismissal, followed by questions from Judge Malouf-Peterson, with responses by Ehlis and Mitchell Riese, with the AG office.

Following Ehlis’ pro argument, Riese responded with AG’s con position. Transcript details are not available.

According to PACER, Judge Malouf-Peterson questioned counselor Riese, with counselor Ehlis rebutting a final time. According to the PACER, “Court will issue an Order” with no definitive date set.

The initial proceedings began on July 30, 2019, when Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office filed a Federal lawsuit in Eastern Washington District Court against the city.

In response, the city, through Ehlis’ firm, filed an Aug. 7, 2019, Motion to Dismiss. The motion claimed due to insufficient information, vague or missing detail and the AG office lacked standing to pursue the claim. These are the dual issues heard by Judge Malouf-Peterson on Oct. 2.

When contacted by the Sunnyside Sun, Brionna Aho, Communications Director for the AG’s Office, on Oct. 3, noted, “Yes, the hearing was yesterday, and we are waiting on a decision,” without additional comment. City Manager Martin Casey directed media to contact Mr. Ehlis. Mr. Ehlis had not responded as of press time.

Deb Brumley can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email

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