WA Supreme Court: Sale of Land Not Void for Procedural Notice Violation
The department of transportation sold some land without giving statutory notice under RCW 47.12.063(2)(g). Under the statute, DOT was required to give statutory notice to abutting landowners. They thought they were the only abutting landowners, but was having mistaken. When South Tacoma Way, LLC tented to purchase the property of one of the landowners, it learned that that landowner had not been given notice of the sale and objected. STW attempted to block the sale is ultra vires.
Court found that the sale by DOT did not amount to ultra vires. Of particular note, for the doctrine to apply there must be no legal authority to take the action at issue. Here DOT did have the authority to make the sale and purchase, the only error was procedural. The court also made particular note of the fact that declaring these types of transactions, in which procedural irregularities occur, void would leave these transactions open to challenge years or even decades later. As we all know from first year property class, we favor finality in these types of transactions.