Friday, October 31, 2014

Annual Membership Meeting



Please join us for our annual chance to share information and good food with the Co-op membership! There will be great treats from the Co-op Deli and entertainment with live flute music by Peter Ali. We will be celebrating the work we've achieved at our stores this year and hear an update on more expansion plans. We will also discuss upcoming changes to our membership cards and record keeping and hear statements from the Board of Directors Candidates. And of course there will be a chance to cast your vote!


Sunday, Nov. 2nd, 4-7p

Olympia Women's Club

1002 Washtington ST SE

Downtown Olympia

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Olympia Food Co-op Harvest Party

Announcing the Olympia Food Co-op's 10th Annual Harvest Party and Local Eats event!  


Celebrate the bounty of the harvest and our local producers, bring a potluck item to share, take part in our First Annual Zuch Fest!  Do you have a zucchini in your garden that got a little out of control?  Bring it to our giant zucchini contest!  Roll it in the zucchini derby, or bake your favorite zuch-creation for the zucchini bake-off!  Details for each are below.

This year, we'll be hosting the Harvest Party at our newly remodeled, warm and welcoming Westside location --  come see our fresh new look!  Check out the new expanded Wellness department!  With our beautiful new floor, widened aisles, and more natural light, your friendly neighborhood store now has a more open, spacious feel.  We we can't wait to see you there!


10th Annual Harvest Party and Local Eats: Sunday Sept 14th, 1p-6p.  921 Rogers St NW.


Details for the Contests:

Grow Off: Zucchinis in the Giant Zucchini contest must have been grown by the contestant.

Bake Off: Entries in the bake-off must not require refrigeration and must have been baked by the contestant.


There will be an entry table set-up for folks to sign-in.  Judging will begin at 3:30, the Derby at 4:30, and the rewards ceremony right after. 


Zucchini Car Derby Guidelines

Zucchini Car must be made by the participant. Adult supervision is allowed.
Cars must be created at the party on the day of the event, with supplies provided.  
You may bring your own zucchini, or use one of ours.

Race Day Procedures & Rules
  1. Car must be no more than 10″ wide and 12″ long
  2. The first car to cross the finish line in each race wins. The race officials have final say.
  3. Cars must cross the finish line in one piece to win the race and advance to the next round.
  4. There must be NO gas, battery, electric, wind-up or powered motors of any kind attached to the car. Fire works and explosives are prohibited.
  5. Entries are submitted by age group:
    Little Kids 10 and Under
    Middle Kids 11-18
    Big Kids Over 18
  6. Entries will be judged in the following classes:
  • Fastest Car- First one to the bottom wins! 
  • Best in Show: Creativity 
  • Best in Show: People’s Choice
If the entry rules are not followed, disqualification is possible. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Apply to Join the Board of Directors!

Update: Deadline for submitting applications has been extended to Sept. 10th

Take this opportunity to be an active participant in your Co-op’s future and the future of our community by joining the Board of Directors!

This issue of the Co-op News has important information about applying for the Board.

What does the Board do?  Glad you asked!  From the article:

The Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors is the elected body that represents the membership. The Board establishes policies, oversees the operating and capital budgets, approves plans and recommendations, and sets general guidelines for staff and working members. The Board holds ultimate legal responsibility for the operations and actions of the Co-op.

Board members receive working member credit for their time spent in Board and committee meetings. The monthly hour commitment ranges between 10 to 20 hours.

Read more about it:

August/September Issue of the Co-op News

Board application (.doc)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Westside Store Exterior Painting

Update: Painting will begin 6/20 Friday morning on the North side of the building and will end on Tuesday 6/24

The West-Side store exterior is going to be painted soon! Depending on the weather, the work will start on June 20th or 23rd.  

This project should take about 2 days. Flying Colors, the company hired for the West-Side, are active Co-op members and have been great to work with so far.  They are aware of the effects this type of work can have on a retail environment.  

Flying Colors will be using low VOC products.  And to lessen the impact they will be starting work in the entrance area before the store hours.

The Eastside store will be open as usual if you'd rather switch stores for those two days. Check back here for updates; and please contact us if you have any further questions or comments.

Here's looking forward to brighter tones and a more vibrant Welcome to the store!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

2014 Local Eats!

Local Eats!

Join us as we celebrate our Local Vendors this weekend at both stores!  
Westside: Sat. June 14th 11-5
Eastside: Sun. June 15th  11-5
Come learn about the growing local economy of our community and meet the people who make it happen.  Local vendors will be on hand sampling their offerings and available to answer your questions.  These are some our favorite food and products to carry.  We're proud and delighted to host this event, and celebrate our local abundance -- see you there!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Olympia Food Co-op Boycott FAQs

Olympia Food Co-op Boycott FAQs


Why does the Co-op take political stands?
What other countries does the Co-op boycott?
How did the Co-op come to join the boycott of Israeli products?
What does “block” or “consent” mean at the Co-op?
Why didn’t members vote on the boycott before it was enacted?
Are all boycotts decided by the Board?
How many products were affected by the Israeli boycott?
Has the Co-op lost money due to the boycott?
Is the Co-op boycotting all Jewish businesses? Is the Co-op Anti-Semitic?
Did the boycott create division in the community?
Why isn’t the Co-op pursuing community dialogue or a reconciliation process right now?
MORE FAQs



Why does the Co-op take political stands?
Politics are at the heart of what makes the Co-op different from other grocery stores. Organic standards, fair trade, and GMO policies are all political stands that the Co-op weighs in on, from the products on our shelves to the signs on our doors.
Being political is part of the Co-op’s purpose. Our mission statement directs the kinds of work we do, and that includes encouraging economic and social justice, making good food accessible to more people, fostering a socially and economically egalitarian society, making human effects on the earth and its inhabitants positive and renewing, and supporting local production.
Other, conventional grocery stores are also political. Many of them donate to political parties or other causes. The difference is that the Co-op’s political decisions are based on our mission statement, are transparent, and can be directly changed by member vote.

What other countries does the Co-op boycott?
In addition to the boycott of Israeli goods, the Co-op also boycotts products from China. This is due to China’s ongoing human rights violations against the Tibetan people.
In the past, the Co-op has boycotted Norway, for its decision to resume commercial whaling, and the state of Colorado, for anti-gay legislation passed in the early 90s. The Co-op has also boycotted individual companies, including IAMS, Gardenburger, and Coca Cola.
Some individuals have suggested that the Co-op should boycott producers in the United States, because of U.S. human rights violations at home and abroad. Although we disagree with many actions, past and present, at home and abroad, taken by the U.S. government, it would not be possible to run a co-op while boycotting U.S. producers. Furthermore, such a decision would be in direct opposition to our goal of “supporting local production”.

How did the Co-op come to join the boycott of Israeli products?

What does “block” or “consent” mean at the Co-op?
The Co-op Board and staff both use consensus process to make decisions. In consensus decision-making, there is no majority vote. Instead, everyone must either consent (agree) or stand-aside (similar to abstaining from a vote) in order for a decision to be made. Any single person can “block” a decision.
There are many different forms of consensus. Wikipedia gives a good overview of general consensus history, theory and practice at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making.

Why didn’t members vote on the boycott of Israeli products before it was enacted?
There are three main reasons that the Board did not call for a member vote when considering the boycott in 2010:
  • It has never been a practice of the Co-op to ask members to vote on boycotts. The Co-op has instituted many boycotts, but has never brought one to a member vote.
  • The Co-op had already spent more than a year considering the boycott suggestion at the time that members—and staff—asked the Board to make a decision.
  • The Board felt that the boycott clearly fell under both the Co-op’s mission and current boycott policy, which stated, “Whenever possible, the Olympia Food Co-op will honor nationally recognized boycotts which are called for reasons that are compatible with our goals and mission statement.”
However, any member may collect signatures to put the issue on a Co-op ballot via the “Member Initiated Ballot” process. http://olympiafood.coop/MIBProcedurePetitionReqs.pdf

Are all boycotts decided by the Board?
At the moment, the current boycott policy remains in effect, and the Board also continues to have the right to make decisions, too, per the Co-op’s bylaws. The boycott policy is available at http://olympiafood.coop/boycott.
The recommendations of the Boycott Policy Committee have not yet been considered, due to the ongoing lawsuit.

How many products were affected by the Israeli boycott?
The Co-op stopped selling about nine products. They included gluten-free and regular ice cream cones, moisturizer, baby wipes, crackers, and several flavors of dairy-free chocolate bars. The boycott affected approximately 0.075 percent of the Co-op’s inventory.

Has the Co-op lost money due to the boycott?
Sales and memberships continued to rise in the months after the boycott was enacted, as well as in the years since. Although some of this rise may be attributable to the enactment of the boycott, it could also be due to other factors; it is difficult to say for sure. Although a small number of Co-op members rescinded their membership after the boycott was enacted, more joined the Co-op. In the future, we hope to regain the trust and reactivate the memberships of those who have left.

Is the Co-op boycotting all Jewish businesses? Is the Co-op Anti-Semitic?
The Co-op continues to sell products made by Jewish producers, and to stock ritual and holiday Jewish foods. We strive to work against both Anti-Jewish and Anti-Arab racism. We have passed on information and held trainings on Anti-Semitism within the community since the boycott was enacted. We do not believe that criticizing the government of Israel is anti-Semitic.
Did the boycott create division in the community?
Members of the Co-op, and members of the larger community, held strong views about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict before the Co-op enacted the boycott of Israeli products in support of Palestinian human rights. The enactment of the Israeli product boycott did not create divisions within the community – but it did expose divisions that already existed.

Why isn’t the Co-op pursuing community dialogue or a reconciliation process right now?
Because we are involved in a lawsuit, we have not been able to undertake the additional dialogue within the community that we, and many others, feel is needed. This includes reconciliation processes and community dialogue (as recommended by the Co-op Conversation) as well as updating the Co-op’s boycott policy. There are several reasons that the Board has decided to pause this work:
  1. The lawsuit poses a financial risk to the Co-op. The plaintiffs have argued that, even if they lose their appeal, the Co-op should pay any fees or fines they incurred because they are suing on behalf of the Co-op. (Page 46 of their appeal, available at http://ccrjustice.org/files/Davisv.Cox_AppellantsBrief(02-22-2013).pdf).
Conversely, if the plaintiffs win their appeal, the indemnification clause in the Co-op’s bylaws requires the Co-op to pay any fees or fines assessed to the defendants. (See part III, section 18 of the Co-op’s bylaws for information on indemnification of Board members.) Until the lawsuit is resolved, the Co-op’s financial risk remains unclear.
  1. As long as the lawsuit is ongoing, individual member and community comments could be used by either the plaintiffs or defendants in the lawsuit. Open dialogue is not possible when it is only attended by those individuals who are willing to take the risk that their comments might become part of a lawsuit.
  2. Full participation in reconciliation processes is not possible when some parties cannot take part because they are parties in a lawsuit. Regardless of whether an individual is in the right or in the wrong, the threat of their statements being used against them in court precludes open dialogue.
The Board is committed to continuing our work on the Co-op Conversation’s recommendations, and on the boycott policy review, as soon as the lawsuit is resolved. The Co-op Conversation report can be read at http://coopconversation.org/2012/10/01/co-op-conversation-board-report-2/.

MORE FAQs
The Olympia Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group also maintains its own FAQ sheet on the Olympia Food Co-op’s boycott. Members looking for an additional perspective can read them at http://www.olympiabds.org/resources/faq.html.



Olympia Food Co-op Lawsuit FAQs


Olympia Food Co-op
LAWSUIT FAQs

For an overview of what has happened in the lawsuit to-date, see the Lawsuit section of the Co-op’s Boycott Overview (link). All court filings can be read on the Center for Constitutional Rights’ case page (http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/davis-v-cox).

Frequently Asked Questions
Who is suing, and who is being sued?
Is the Co-op being sued?
What is an anti-SLAPP motion and why did the defendants use it?
How is the lawsuit about free speech?
Was the outcome of the lawsuit impacted by the Co-op’s incorporation under the Washington State Nonprofit statute?
Is the Co-op seeking damages against the Plaintiffs?
What is the Citizens United ruling, and why is it cited in the defense to this lawsuit? Does this mean that the Co-op endorses the Citizens United ruling?
How much does the lawsuit cost the Co-op?
What is going on with the lawsuit right now?
Who is suing, and who is being sued?
The lawsuit was brought by five Co-op members: Kent L. Davis, Linda Davis, Susan G. Trinin, Jeffery I. Trinin and Susan Mayer.
The defendants who are being sued are: Grace Cox, Erin Genia, Eric Mapes, Jayne Rossman (formerly Kaszynski), Harry Levine, Jackie Krzyzek, Julia Sokoloff, TJ Johnson, Rochelle Gause, Rob Richards, John Nason, Ron Lavigne, John Regan, Joellen Reineck Wilhelm, Suzanne Shafer, and Jessica Laing.

Except for Grace, Jayne and Harry (who are all staff members), the defendants were volunteer Board members at or after the time of the board vote on the boycott.

Is the Co-op being sued?
No. The lawsuit has been filed as a “derivative” lawsuit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_suit), in which the five plaintiffs claim to bring the case on behalf of the Co-op itself. The defendants disagree with this, and have said so in their legal filings.
The current and former Board members were sued individually, but retained counsel as a group.

What is an anti-SLAPP motion and why did the defendants use it?
A SLAPP is a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. According to Tim Wyrwich in the Washington State Law Review,
Plaintiffs file SLAPPs to interfere with the protected free expression of defendants. A SLAPP has little or no chance of success in the courts. Even without a successful court judgment, though, a SLAPP accomplishes an ulterior goal: forcing defendants who legally exercised their constitutional rights of free expression into costly litigation that chills their current and future involvement in public debate.” (https://digital.law.washington.edu/dspace-law/bitstream/handle/1773.1/1063/86WLR663.pdf?sequence=1)
Washington State has an anti-SLAPP law that protects defendants from frivolous SLAPPs, and this is what the defendants used to protect themselves against this suit.
There are many reasons that the defendants chose to counter-file a SLAPP motion:
  • Most importantly, evidence strongly suggests that this lawsuit is a SLAPP.
  • Furthermore, in situations like this one where the plaintiffs can’t show that they have a likelihood of winning the case, the SLAPP counter-motion protects the defendants and the Co-op itself from the cost and burden of the litigation process.

In lawsuits about the free speech rights of the defendant, the plaintiff must show by “clear and convincing evidence a probability of prevailing on the claim”.

In plain speech, this means that plaintiffs must convince the court that their lawsuit is not frivolous before the court requires the defendants (and, in this case, the Co-op itself) to spend a lot of time and money on the case. In this case, the court decided that the suit was meritless, and spared the Co-op and defendants’ attorneys from spending even more time defending against it.
  • Lastly, the SLAPP counter-motion speeds the processing of the case, so that defendants spend less time in between court hearings. As the lawsuit was filed in 2011 and continues to date, this might be difficult to believe. But the lawsuit could be taking significantly longer, if not for the SLAPP law’s protections.

How is the lawsuit about free speech?
The lawsuit is about free speech in two ways:
  • Defending the Co-op Board’s right to free speech on behalf of the Co-op
  • Supporting our state’s Anti-SLAPP law, which protects the free speech of other activists and citizens.
The lawsuit was filed because of the Board of Directors’ decision to join the boycott of Israeli products in support of Palestinian human rights. In their complaint, the plaintiffs ask the court to “permanently enjoin the OFC Board from enforcing or otherwise abiding by the Israel Boycott…” (emphasis added.) By filing this lawsuit, the plaintiffs have attempted to override the decision of democratically elected Co-op Board members.
As part of their appeal, plaintiffs have argued that Washington State’s anti-SLAPP law is unconstitutional and that it should be struck down. In defending themselves, the Co-op’s past and current board members are defending our state’s anti-SLAPP law, too.
Washington’s anti-SLAPP law provides important protections to activists. Without it, individuals, corporations, and others can file meritless lawsuits against activists, forcing them to either spend huge sums of money to defend themselves in court, or settle on unfavorable terms. Animal rights activists, environmentalists, unions, and many other groups have been faced with SLAPPs and have used laws like Washington’s in their defense.
In Gordon v. Marrone, Judge Colabella stated:
SLAPP suits come in many forms camouflaged as ordinary lawsuits. The conceptual thread that binds them is that they are suits without substantial merit that are brought by private interests to ‘stop citizens from exercising their political rights or to punish them for having done so’… The ripple effect of such suits in our society is enormous. Persons who have been outspoken on issues of public importance targeted in such suits or who have witnessed such suits will often choose in the future to stay silent. Short of a gun to the head, a greater threat to First Amendment expression can scarcely be imagined.”

In continuing to fight the lawsuit, the defendants are also working to support our state’s strong anti-SLAPP law.

Was the outcome of the lawsuit impacted by the Co-op’s incorporation under the Washington State Nonprofit statute?
The Co-op’s incorporation status was not the cause of the court’s ruling in defendants’ favor.
The lawsuit was ruled a “SLAPP” (or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation”). The SLAPP law applies regardless of how the Co-op is incorporated.
Here’s why: in all legally recognized organizations having a Board of Directors (whether they are cooperatives, non-profits, or corporations), the Board is legally required to follow the organization’s bylaws. The Co-op’s bylaws (http://olympiafood.coop/bylaws.html) give the Board – as the elected representatives of the membership – the power to oversee all operations of the Co-op.
The plaintiffs argue that the Board is guilty of acting “ultra vires”, or of exceeding its powers under our bylaws. They claim that the Board was legally required to follow the staff boycott policy, which states that all staff members must consent for them to approve a boycott.
The trial court has stated this argument is incorrect for at least the following two reasons.
  • First, the Board did follow the boycott policy: they sent it to staff for consent. When staff consent failed, they took the issue up at the request of both a staff committee and Co-op members. Furthermore, when the Board approved the current boycott policy in 1993, the meeting notes stated that the “BOD can discuss if they take issue with any particular decision.” Boycott decisions were intended to be open to review by the Board.
  • The bylaws specifically give the Board the power to adopt policies in support of the Co-op’s mission, resolve staff disagreements, and oversee the entire operation of the store. The boycott policy is not part of our bylaws, and cannot override the Bylaws.
Regardless of how the Co-op is incorporated, the same standards apply for all types of organizations: the Board is answerable to the bylaws.
As a final note, there are many misconceptions about the Co-op’s legal status and whether or not we are a real co-op. To clarify: all consumer cooperatives in Washington are incorporated under nonprofit statutes. The only difference between the Olympia Food Co-op and newer cooperatives is that newer cooperatives are incorporated under a nonprofit statute that allows them to give patronage refunds.
As part of the Co-op’s Strategic Priorities, which were based on the 2012 Co-op Conversation, the Board has researched other ways to incorporate, and is embarking on a process to gather member feedback on the possibility of changing our incorporation. This was presented to members at the 2013 Annual Meeting; more feedback opportunities will be planned in 2014. Any decision to change our incorporation status would need to pass a member vote, per Co-op bylaws.

Is the Co-op seeking damages against the Plaintiffs?
Fees and statutory awards were granted to the defendants when the lawsuit was declared a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). These fees and awards are part of the SLAPP law itself.
Anti-SLAPP laws are meant to protect against frivolous lawsuits. One way that Washington’s law does so is by requiring people who file SLAPPs to pay fees, costs, and a statutory award. This is meant to deter people from filing such lawsuits. The law requires that when a lawsuit is deemed to be a SLAPP, the plaintiff has to pay a prevailing party $10,000. Because the plaintiffs sued sixteen people, the law required that they pay $10,000 per defendant, for a total of $160,000. The judge’s decision on this point was made based on precedent. The award of these statutory damages is mandatory, under the statute.
The SLAPP law also requires that plaintiffs pay the legal fees of the defendants, but unlike the $10,000 penalty, a specific amount is not set by the law. The amount awarded to the defendants’ lawyers (about $62,000) was set by the judge.

What is the Citizens United ruling, and why is it cited in the defense to this lawsuit? Does this mean that the Co-op endorses the Citizens United ruling?
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission “is a U.S. constitutional law case, in which the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission). Or in other words, the court ruled that corporations and other organizations can give unlimited sums to political causes and campaigns.
The Citizen’s United decision was cited by the defendants’ legal team in court filings because it is the most recent Supreme Court decision upholding the right of organizations to free speech. Specifically, the citation in the Co-op lawsuit is a footnote that says, “First amendment protection extends to corporations and decisions made by a corporate board of directors.” The fact that it was cited in the case does not mean that the Co-op agrees with the ramifications of the Citizens United ruling for unlimited corporate election spending.
In the Co-op’s case, the right to free speech means that the Co-op can take a stand on topics ranging from organic standards and GMO foods to speaking out on social issues. Without the right to free speech, the government could theoretically regulate which issues the Co-op was “allowed” to make decisions about, and what the scope of our decisions could be. An organizational “right to free speech” also means that other groups that we tend to agree with (like labor unions, farmworker alliances, and anti-war groups) cannot have their speech rights taken away by the government.
Some people think that any legal framework in which organizations have a “right to free speech” is wrong. Others think that it is unlimited corporate contributions to political campaigns that are the biggest problem. There are many complex and nuanced arguments about what is right; there may be better ways for organizations to be protected from government interference than considering them legal entities with free speech rights.
In our current system, these free speech rights allow the Co-op to take positions as an organization - that is why it is cited in the lawsuit. However, the Supreme Court’s decision (in Citizens United) that money is a type of speech, and that therefore no government can limit campaign contributions of corporations, is not one supported by the Co-op.
Lastly, Citizens United was one of more than 100 cases cited by the defendants’ legal team. It is possible that there are others that the Co-op itself, or individual defendants, disagree with. However, lawsuits are argued based on case law and legal precedent, and to refuse to use any cases which defendants did not wholly agree with would be impractical, as a matter of consensus, and prejudicial to the position being defended.

How much does the lawsuit cost the Co-op?
In terms of money, the lawsuit costs the Co-op very little. However, it has hampered the Co-op’s ability to communicate freely, which is a different type of “cost”.
The Co-op’s bylaws provide that the Co-op will pay for the legal defense, fines, or other costs of Board members. The defendants worked hard to secure legal assistance that does not cost the Co-op money.
The defendants’ legal team includes members of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Davis Wright Tremaine, as well as the National Lawyer’s Guild. The legal team is not charging for their services, but some of the lawyers might receive court awarded fees. If fees are not awarded, the Co-op and defendants will owe nothing.
The lawsuit has, however, cost the Co-op in terms of our freedom of communication. Because the Co-op is involved in a lawsuit, we have not been able to undertake the additional dialogue within the community that we, and many others, feel is needed. This includes reconciliation processes and community dialogue (as recommended by the Co-op Conversation) as well as updating the Co-op’s boycott policy. There are several reasons that the Board has decided to pause this work:
  1. The lawsuit poses a financial risk to the Co-op. The plaintiffs have argued that, even if they lose the lawsuit, the Co-op should pay any fees or fines they incurred because they are suing on behalf of the Co-op. (Page 46 of their appeal, available at http://ccrjustice.org/files/Davisv.Cox_AppellantsBrief(02-22-2013).pdf). Conversely, if the plaintiffs win the lawsuit, the Co-op could be ordered to pay for the plaintiffs’ legal fees. Meanwhile, the Co-op’s bylaws provide that it will pay the expenses of Board members (e.g. the defendants). Until the lawsuit is resolved, the Co-op’s financial risk remains unclear.
  2. As long as the lawsuit is ongoing, individual member and community comments could be used by either the plaintiffs or defendants in the lawsuit. Open dialogue is not possible when it is only attended by those individuals who are willing to take the risk that their comments might become part of an ongoing lawsuit.
  3. Full participation in reconciliation processes is not possible when some parties cannot take part because they are named in an ongoing lawsuit. Regardless of whether an individual is in the right or in the wrong, the threat of their statements being used against them in court precludes open dialogue.
The Board is committed to continuing their work on the Co-op Conversation’s recommendations, and on the boycott policy review, as soon as the lawsuit is resolved.

What is going on with the lawsuit right now?
On April 7, 2014, attorneys for both parties were informed that the Washington State Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of the 16 defendants by upholding the Thurston County Superior Court ruling by Judge Thomas McPhee. The earlier ruling dismissed the lawsuit. The plaintiffs have the right to petition for review or reconsideration of the appeal, with a deadline of May 7th. For more information: http://bit.ly/Otzk8P