John Morrison was hit with a bunch of Department of Labor & Industries citations for violations of the state electrical laws. He wanted to appeal, so he did. But he didn’t pay the $200 filing fee for such appeals. Why not? Well, Morrison thought the fee was unconstitutional because the “pay to appeal” procedure deprived him of property (his money!) without due process.
In John Woodford Morrison v. State of Washington Department of Labor & Industries (Division 1, March 5, 2012) (published May 21, 2012), the Court of Appeals saw it a bit differently. Applying the familiar standard of Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976), the Court of Appeals rejected Morrison’s argument. His interest in appealing the citation was purely a monetary interest, not a “fundamental” interest of the sort that is entitled to a higher level of protection. Filing fees of the sort here at issue are appropriate where the issue is purely financial.