Washington LFO Lawsuit

Washington Case Sought Relief for Drug-related Legal Financial Obligations

In March 2021, Outten & Golden LLP, along with Frank Feed Subit & Thomas LLP and the Public Defender Association, brought a class action seeking to provide refunds and cancel debt for Legal Financial Obligations (“LFOs”) imposed for convictions under Washington’s former drug possession statute, RCW 69.50.4013, and related convictions, which were rendered void by the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Blake, 197 Wn.2d 170, 173 (2021).

In Blake, the Washington Supreme Court struck down the former drug possession statute as unconstitutional. The Court held that the drug possession statute was overbroad and violated the Washington and United States Constitution by imposing “harsh consequences” even on innocent conduct.  Blake, 197 Wash. 2d at 185.  Therefore, the Court invalidated the drug possession statute, and by implication prior versions of the statute dating back to at least 1971.  Washington enacted a new law prohibiting the possession of drugs on July 25, 2021.



After the Blake decision, the Civil Survival Project, and six individual plaintiffs filed the Civil Survival Project v. State of Washington case, seeking to recover LFOs collected, received, and retained by State and all 39 Washington counties, and for further monetary, equitable and injunctive relief necessary to make impacted individuals whole with respect to the harms they suffered. 

The case was initially dismissed by the trial court and the plaintiffs appealed to the Washington Supreme Court. On May 9, 2023, the Supreme Court issued an order denying the petition for review. This means the trial court’s order dismissing the case is final and the case is permanently closed.  


In State of Washington v. Blake, the Washington Supreme Court found that RCW 69.50.4013 is unconstitutional.

Recent News

Recent News Civil Survival Project Amends Legal Financial Obligations Lawsuit Naming Washington State and all Thirty Nine Counties

Aug 19, 2021 / Press Release
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON. The Civil Survival Project (CSP), a non-profit organization, and six class representatives Irene Slagle, Christina Zawaideh,...
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Lawsuit Challenges State and Counties to Refund Financial Penalties for Drug Charges

Apr 17, 2021 / News Item
A nonprofit representing formerly incarcerated Washington residents is suing the state and its 39 counties in an attempt to address one of the loose...
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Civil Survival Project Amends Legal Financial Obligations Lawsuit Against Washington State And Counties, Files Class Action

Apr 15, 2021 / Press Release
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON …. The class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of the Civil Survival Project (CSP) , a non-profit organization, and three class...
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Meet The Legal Team Working On The Case