Amelia Powell (left), who has worked as a bikini barista, and Derek Newman (right), who has been representing the Everett baristas in their federal civil rights lawsuit, seen here in November 2017 in Seattle. Newman in May 2018 sought to leave the case. (Rikki King / The Herald)

Amelia Powell (left), who has worked as a bikini barista, and Derek Newman (right), who has been representing the Everett baristas in their federal civil rights lawsuit, seen here in November 2017 in Seattle. Newman in May 2018 sought to leave the case. (Rikki King / The Herald)

Bikini baristas’ lawyer seeks to bow out of Everett lawsuit

Derek Newman says his clients aren’t listening to him or paying their legal bills.

EVERETT — The Everett bikini baristas face a new challenge in their legal battle: Their lawyer wants out.

Seattle attorney Derek Newman says the baristas aren’t listening to him or paying him as promised, according to paperwork filed May 24. Newman is seeking a judge’s permission to leave the case.

“There has been a substantial breakdown in the attorney-client relationship … ” he wrote. “(They) have declined material advice from counsel. This is their prerogative, but it makes representation difficult.”

The baristas have been fighting with the city of Everett since filing a federal lawsuit in September. That followed the city passing legislation banning their business model. Most of the arguments in court have been focused on how much or how little clothing the employees can wear, and if such rules violate their civil rights.

In December, a U.S. District Court judge approved a temporary ban on Everett enforcing the rules until the lawsuit was resolved. The city then asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the ban, also known as a preliminary injunction.

The dress code requires quick service employees to wear clothing that covers the upper and lower body. (City of Everett)

The dress code requires quick service employees to wear clothing that covers the upper and lower body. (City of Everett)

That step led to the parties meeting to discuss a potential settlement, with a gathering scheduled May 7. The mediation was unsuccessful, the city later told the court.

In his motion to withdraw, Newman said he had warned his clients in person about the unpaid bills and suggested they find another attorney. His firm is out thousands of dollars, he said.

His main concerns are with one of the clients, who has ties to the bikini barista business. That client is not named as a plaintiff, unlike the Hillbilly Hotties owner, Jovanna Edge, and several of her employees.

Newman could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Edge referred questions to a spokesman, Schuyler Lifschultz. He said a new attorney, an appeals specialist from California, should be added to the case in the coming days.

“Not only is this not going away but we’re bringing in the proverbial big guns,” he said.

Newman’s motion said he expects the court to extend the June 25 deadline for the baristas to respond to the city’s appeal.

_________

This story was first published in the Everett Herald. Rikki King can be reached at 425-339-3449 or rking@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rikkiking.

More in Northwest

The man on Iron Mountain

Chuck Pillon has been living on a 10-acre junk-filled property near Renton for decades.

Safe consumption part 3: The opposite of addiction

Final episode of our three-part series on controversial supervised consumption sites

Safe consumption: The debate

In the first of a three-part series, we enter into the heated, emotional, and sometimes bitter debate around one of the most controversial policy proposals in the country.

Dockless in Seattle

In the year since a new kind of bikeshare was launched in Seattle, the bikes have been found in many interesting spots. But is there a place for them in the region’s future?

Olympic National Park to start capturing mountain goats this summer

Park Service releases record of decision on relocating, killing animals

Legislators and activists seek solutions to farmer suicides

Agricultural workers end their own lives at a higher rate than workers in any other profession.

The Rev. Michael Curry, left, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church who gained international fame with his sermon at the royal wedding last month, was in Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon for a rally that sought to highlight homelessness. Photo by Scott Johnston
Bishop Curry speaks at Aberdeen affordable-housing rally

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church gained international fame with his sermon at the royal wedding last month.

Defendant in 1987 slayings of BC couple pleads not guilty

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Extremely low tide surprises Everett boaters

One boat was stranded for several hours off the Port of Everett launch.

Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg, of Vancouver Island, were found slain in Washington in 1987.
Murder charges filed in 1987 killing of young B.C. couple

The suspect’s former friends have filled in some of the missing pieces for police.

Music on the Strait festival to debut this summer in Port Angeles

The even is intended to host great live music on Labor Day weekend and give Port Angeles yet another economic draw.

Amelia Allen (left) looks down at the track as she races another driver in unweighted practice soap box derby cars June 7 on Camano Island. The 11th Stanwood-Camano Soap Box Derby takes place Saturday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Brand-new track, permanent Camano home for Soap Box Derby

Races involving 73 cars are on Saturday at a converted ranch where striped pavement belongs to kids.