IBA seeks speedy end to beach wall dispute

Citing newly discovered evidence, one party litigation against a Coupeville couple who are blocking a Greenbank public beach access with a wall told the Skagit County Superior Court May 17 that the case’s “facts are undisputed and the law is clear,” urging the court to decide the matter without a trial.

Citing newly discovered evidence, one party litigation against a Coupeville couple who are blocking a Greenbank public beach access with a wall told the Skagit County Superior Court May 17 that the case’s “facts are undisputed and the law is clear,” urging the court to decide the matter without a trial.

In its 26-page motion for summary judgment, the citizen advocacy group Island Beach Access contends that the new evidence “completely undermines earlier efforts” by the couple, Joanne and Alan Bruce Montgomery, “to create seeming issues of fact.”

The Montgomerys, in 2008, built a stone wall on land at the eastern end of Wonn Road, leading to a 2013 lawsuit by Island County and Island Beach Access claiming that the county, not the couple, owns that property. The Montgomerys were successful in having the lawsuit moved to Skagit County shortly thereafter, alleging that they couldn’t get a fair trial in Island County.

The new evidence consists of three items, Island Beach Access said:

• A March deposition of Alan Bruce Montgomery in which he said his comments supporting an earlier motion for summary judgment were unfounded and “simply wrong,” as they were based on misunderstood definitions.

• A letter from Bruce’s father disproving the Montgomerys’ claim that they believed in good faith that they own the contested land.

•The Montgomerys recent receipt of a $270,750 settlement in a lawsuit against their title insurance carrier. That represented their future anticipated loss of privacy when Island County is found to own the disputed land, so they can no longer show they’d be injured if the court found against them, Island Beach Access said.

Because of this new information, “the county and public are entitled to an order quieting title” — that is, declaring the disputed land’s true owner — “as a matter of law,” Island Beach Access concluded.

Motions for summary judgment filed shortly after the lawsuit began were dismissed because they were premature, not necessarily because they lacked merit, said Jane Seymour, an attorney representing Island Beach Access.

The Montgomerys have until approximately June 15 to file a response to the motion.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for June 30. If the motion is denied, the matter will likely go to trial.

A jury trial is currently scheduled to start on Oct. 11. Before that, however, the Montgomerys could submit their own motion for summary judgment. 

Earlier this year, the Montgomerys offered to settle the lawsuit, but Island County’s Board of Commissioners declined to accept the settlement offer, an act that won acclaim from supporters of beach access on Whidbey Island.

 

More in News

Records requests increases budget

City Hall adding staff to establish new system, comply with state law

Rural event code adopted

Living near rural wedding venues, neighbors may still hear the Macarena, but… Continue reading

Burglars furnish vacant house with stolen loot

A man and a woman moved into a temporarily vacant house on… Continue reading

Photo provided
Neo-Nazis accused in hate crime attended vigil on Whidbey

An alleged hate crime in Lynnwood this week prompted news organizations across… Continue reading

Mayer spreads Christmas warmth, cheer

Kids quilts made with love by 90-year-old seamstress

Donating to food bank will spread good cheer

For many, this time of the year is a time to make… Continue reading

Tickets going fast for Whidbey’s debut film festival on Jan. 12-13

‘Femme fatales of Film Noir.’ Sultry, saucy and possibly a sell-out

Police ‘expert’ in use of force charged in stabbing

A use-of-force expert hired by the city of Langley to evaluate the… Continue reading

WhidbeyHealth decreasing its costs to patients

Prices reduced about one-third for physical therapy, other services

Most Read