A long-running lawsuit involving the Olympia Food Co-op will remain in court.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy denied a motion by the defense Thursday to dismiss the case.
The lawsuit, filed by five Olympia Food Co-op members in 2011, alleges that the co-op’s board enacted the boycott of Israeli goods in violation of its own policies because it did not first reach consensus among its members. The defendants are 16 people who served on the co-op board at the time of or after the boycott was adopted.
The case was remanded back to the local court in May 2015 after the Supreme Court struck down the state’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute, which allowed many speech-based cases to be thrown out early in the process.
One of the defendants is now deceased, and only one currently serves on the board, according to attorney Bruce Johnson, who represents the defendants.
In 2012, now-retired Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee threw out the case and ordered the plaintiffs to pay the defendants $160,000 as part of a mandatory “anti-SLAPP penalty,” along with more than $60,000 in attorney’s fees.
That decision was upheld by the state Court of Appeals in 2014, but struck down by the Supreme Court in 2015.
With the Supreme Court’s decision, the case has been brought back to square one. No trial date has been set.