A reporter for the Northwestern Multiple Listing Services summarized the judge’s dismissal of the case (which has since been appealed) on the NWMLS website as follows:
In tossing the complaint the judge agreed with the defendants’ contention that no unfair or deceptive acts under the state Consumer Protection Act were committed, and that disclosures provided were sufficient to alert homeowners of aircraft noise impacts. The judge further determined that reasonable inspection would have revealed the facts available in a second more detailed disclosure statement.
Does this make sense? Why would any buyer search for a second disclosure? Who could possibly imagine that the disclosure provided, copyrighted by NWMLS attorneys, would leave out all of the legally required jet noise information and that there could be another disclosure that would include it?
Even the most diligent buyers wouldn’t have found it if they had gone looking. See 2014 Disclosure.
Washington Realtors had this summary on their web site:
Washington REALTORS® supported Island County real estate brokerages in organizing a defense against the lawsuit, and assisted the North Puget Sound Association of REALTORS® in explaining this issue to the public. “We provided a disclosure that stated ‘there is significant aircraft noise.’ Both plaintiffs in this case signed this disclosure. Our members will continue working with Island County to ensure that adequate disclosure occurs. We greatly appreciate Washington REALTORS® assistance with this issue,” said Eric Mitten, broker and owner with Windermere Real Estate, one of the defendants in the case.
There is no explanation as to why the required 1992 disclosure was not provided. The disclosure was not “adequate” which is why it is now required.
Of most concern is the blame put on the plaintiffs for the suffering they have experienced because they signed an NWMLS document and apparently should have gone looking for the one that would allow them to choose a more normal, healthy life.
The placement of blame based on the lie “they were told” has resulted in persecution by neighbors and other communities, by Island County Commissioners, by elected representatives at both the state and national levels, and by the Navy. It wrecked their lives and may have irreparably lessened the quality of life on Whidbey Island.
See the Appeal documents and the response from the Defendants. An oral hearing will be the next step.