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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: City mounts legal defense to minimum wage challenge

7/3/2014  2:30:00 PM
Kimberly Mills  (206) 684-8602

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has retained the nationally known litigation firm Susman Godfrey, LLP, as co-counsel in defending against a constitutional challenge to the $15 an hour minimum wage ordinance that the Seattle City Council passed June 2.

“Seattle’s Mayor and City Council have courageously taken direct aim at income inequality with passage of Ordinance 124490,” Holmes said Thursday. “It is my responsibility to protect this historic legislative victory and so we have assembled the best legal team possible.”

Attorneys from Holmes’ office and Susman Godfrey jointly entered their appearance Thursday in the case before U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones in the Western District of Washington. The lawsuit was filed June 11 by the International Franchise Association and several franchise owners.

"We are honored that the City Attorney has selected our law firm to assist in defending the legality of Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage law,” Parker Folse III, Seattle managing partner, said. “Our goal is to make sure that the law takes effect on schedule."

Susman Godfrey, LLP, limits its practice to high-stakes civil litigation, with 100 lawyers in offices in Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York City. The Seattle office is the firm’s second-largest office with 20 attorneys.

Assisting in the City’s defense will be Erwin Chemerinsky, dean and distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, a noted author and scholar of constitutional law.

Susman Godfrey lawyers have agreed to take on this work for half their usual fee and capped the amount they will charge for each phase of the litigation.

"The City’s $15 minimum wage ordinance is a landmark measure both for Seattle and for the nation,” Folse said. “Those of us who will be representing the City in defending it have closely watched the process that led to its adoption, and look forward to defending its legality.”

Ordinance Number: 124490

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