A judge in Washington state sought a restraining order against his neighbor’s urinating cat but the public would not know much about the matter because the judge sealed the court records.
The Spokesman-Review reports that Judge Michael Price of Spokane County resolved the suit recently, but the records are not accessible to the public. The only public document in the case is the two-page sealing order.
Bob Dunn, Price's Lawyer, shared to the Spokesman-Review that his client filed the suit because their neighbor’s cat was inconveniently using the Prices’ back porch as a litter box. Dunn said that the situation became so uncomfortable that the Price family couldn’t go outside and enjoy themselves because of the smell.
Dunn also revealed that Price pursued to have the case sealed to protect his identity and home address. Price’s court docket happens to include murder cases.
The lawyer explained that it’s probably embarrassing for a judge like Price to have to take action against his own neighbor.
Whatever the judge's reasons, University of California, Los Angeles law professor Eugene Volokh wouldn’t hear of it. Volokh filed a motion to unseal the case. A hearing on his motion is scheduled for Friday.
Volokh argued: “I’m not a lawyer in Washington, but because I am intervening on my behalf, I believe I’m entitled to do that. Everybody has an individual right to get access to court files.”
The cat case was eventually resolved without a trial and without the payment of financial damages as revealed by Dunn. Beyond that, unless Volokh wins the motion he filed, the public would not know much about the cat case that sent a judge to sue his neighbor.