Chapter 7.48 RCW

NUISANCES

Sections

7.48.010Actionable nuisance defined.
7.48.020Who may sueJudgment for damagesWarrant for abatementInjunction.
7.48.030Issuance and execution of warrant.
7.48.040Stay of issuance of warrant.
7.48.050Moral nuisancesDefinitions.
7.48.052Moral nuisances.
7.48.054Moral nuisancePersonal propertyEffects of notice.
7.48.056Abate moral nuisanceEnjoin owner.
7.48.058Maintaining action to abate moral nuisanceBond.
7.48.060Moral nuisanceJurisdictionFiling a complaint.
7.48.062Moral nuisanceRestraining orderViolations.
7.48.064Moral nuisanceHearingNoticeConsolidation with trial.
7.48.066Finding of moral nuisanceOrders.
7.48.068Abatement of moral nuisance by ownerEffect on injunction.
7.48.070Moral nuisancePriority of action on calendar.
7.48.072Moral nuisanceEffects of admission or finding of guilt.
7.48.074Moral nuisanceEvidence of reputationAdmissibility.
7.48.076Moral nuisanceTrialCostsDismissalJudgment.
7.48.078Moral nuisanceJudgmentPenaltiesDisposal of personal property.
7.48.080Moral nuisanceViolation of injunctionContempt of court.
7.48.085Moral nuisanceProperty owner may repossess.
7.48.090Moral nuisanceContrabandForfeitures.
7.48.100Moral nuisanceImmunity of certain motion picture theatre employees.
7.48.110Houses of lewdness, assignation or prostitution may be abatedVoluntary abatement.
7.48.120Nuisance defined.
7.48.130Public nuisance defined.
7.48.140Public nuisances enumerated.
7.48.150Private nuisance defined.
7.48.155Unlawful use of firearm or deadly weaponArrest required.
7.48.160Authorized act not a nuisance.
7.48.170Successive owners liable.
7.48.180Abatement does not preclude action for damages.
7.48.190Nuisance does not become legal by prescription.
7.48.200Remedies.
7.48.210Civil action, who may maintain.
7.48.220Abatement, by whom.
7.48.230Public nuisanceAbatement.
7.48.240Certain places of resort declared nuisances.
7.48.250PenaltyAbatement.
7.48.260Warrant of abatement.
7.48.270Stay of warrant.
7.48.280Costs of abatement.
7.48.300Agricultural activities and forest practicesLegislative finding and purpose.
7.48.305Agricultural activities and forest practicesPresumed reasonable and not a nuisanceExceptionDamages.
7.48.310Agricultural activities and forest practicesDefinitions.
7.48.315Agricultural activities and forest practicesRecovering lawsuit costsFarmers.
7.48.320Agricultural activities and forest practicesRecovering costs to investigate complaintsState and local agencies.
7.48.905Severability1979 c 122.

NOTES:

Nuisances
criminal: Chapter 9.66 RCW.
drug, injunctions: Chapter 7.43 RCW.
jurisdiction of superior court: State Constitution Art. 4 § 6 (Amendment 28).


Actionable nuisance defined.

The obstruction of any highway or the closing of the channel of any stream used for boating or rafting logs, lumber or timber, or whatever is injurious to health or indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to essentially interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of the life and property, is a nuisance and the subject of an action for damages and other and further relief.

NOTES:

Crimes
malicious mischief: Chapter 9.61 RCW.
public nuisance: RCW 9.66.010.



Who may sueJudgment for damagesWarrant for abatementInjunction.

Such action may be brought by any person whose property is, or whose patrons or employees are, injuriously affected or whose personal enjoyment is lessened by the nuisance. If judgment be given for the plaintiff in such action, he or she may, in addition to the execution to enforce the same, on motion, have an order allowing a warrant to issue to the sheriff to abate and to deter or prevent the resumption of such nuisance. Such motion shall be allowed, of course, unless it appear on the hearing that the nuisance has ceased, or that such remedy is inadequate to abate or prevent the continuance of the nuisance, in which latter case the plaintiff may have the defendant enjoined.

NOTES:

FindingsDeclarationSeverability1994 c 45: See notes following RCW 7.48.140.



Issuance and execution of warrant.

If the order be made, the clerk shall thereafter, at any time within six months, when requested by the plaintiff, issue such warrant directed to the sheriff, requiring him or her forthwith to abate the nuisance at the expense of the defendant, and return the warrant as soon thereafter as may be, with his or her proceedings indorsed thereon. The expenses of abating the nuisance may be levied by the sheriff on the property of the defendant, and in this respect the warrant is to be deemed an execution against property.



Stay of issuance of warrant.

At any time before the order is made or the warrant issues, the defendant may, on motion to the court or judge thereof, have an order to stay the issue of such warrant for such period as may be necessary, not exceeding six months, to allow the defendant to abate the nuisance himself or herself, upon his or her giving bond to the plaintiff in a sufficient amount with one or more sureties, to the satisfaction of the court or judge thereof, that he or she will abate it within the time and in the manner specified in such order. The sureties shall justify as provided by law. If the defendant fails to abate such nuisance within the time specified, the warrant for the abatement of the nuisance may issue as if the same had not been stayed.

NOTES:

Corporate suretyInsurance: Chapter 48.28 RCW.



Moral nuisancesDefinitions.

The definitions set forth in this section shall apply throughout this chapter as they relate to moral nuisances.
(1) "Knowledge" or "knowledge of such nuisance" means having knowledge of the contents and character of the patently offensive sexual conduct which appears in the lewd matter, or knowledge of the acts of lewdness, assignation, or prostitution which occur on the premises.
(2) "Lewd matter" is synonymous with "obscene matter" and means any matter:
(a) Which the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find, when considered as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; and
(b) Which depicts or describes patently offensive representations or descriptions of:
(i) Ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated; or
(ii) Masturbation, excretory functions, or lewd exhibition of the genitals or genital area.
Nothing herein contained is intended to include or proscribe any matter which, when considered as a whole, and in the context in which it is used, possesses serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
(3) "Lewdness" shall have and include all those meanings which are assigned to it under the common law.
(4) "Live performance" means any play, show, skit, dance, or other exhibition performed or presented to or before an audience of one or more, in person or by electronic transmission, with or without consideration.
(5) "Matter" shall mean a live performance, a motion picture film, or a publication or any combination thereof.
(6) "Moral nuisance" means a nuisance which is injurious to public morals.
(7) "Motion picture film" shall include any:
(a) Film or plate negative;
(b) Film or plate positive;
(c) Film designed to be projected on a screen for exhibition;
(d) Films, glass slides, or transparencies, either in negative or positive form, designed for exhibition by projection on a screen;
(e) Videotape or any other medium used to electronically reproduce images on a screen.
(8) "Person" means any individual, partnership, firm, association, corporation, or other legal entity.
(9) "Place" includes, but is not limited to, any building, structure, or places, or any separate part or portion thereof, whether permanent or not, or the ground itself.
(10) "Publication" shall include any book, magazine, article, pamphlet, writing, printing, illustration, picture, sound recording, or a motion picture film which is offered for sale or exhibited in a coin-operated machine.
(11) "Sale" means a passing of title or right of possession from a seller to a buyer for valuable consideration, and shall include, but is not limited to, any lease or rental arrangement or other transaction wherein or whereby any valuable consideration is received for the use of, or transfer of possession of, lewd matter.
[ 1990 c 152 § 1; 1979 c 1 § 1 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977); 1913 c 127 § 1; RRS § 946-1.]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.
Severability1990 c 152: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [ 1990 c 152 § 6.]



Moral nuisances.

The following are declared to be moral nuisances:
(1) Any and every place in the state where lewd films are publicly exhibited as a regular course of business, or possessed for the purpose of such exhibition, or where lewd live performances are publicly exhibited as a regular course of business;
(2) Any and every place in the state where a lewd film is publicly and repeatedly exhibited, or possessed for the purpose of such exhibition, or where a lewd live performance is publicly and repeatedly exhibited;
(3) Any and every lewd film which is publicly exhibited, or possessed for such purpose at a place which is a moral nuisance under this section;
(4) Any and every place of business in the state in which lewd publications constitute a principal part of the stock in trade;
(5) Any and every lewd publication possessed at a place which is a moral nuisance under this section;
(6) Every place which, as a regular course of business, is used for the purpose of lewdness, assignation, or prostitution, and every such place in or upon which acts of lewdness, assignation, or prostitution are conducted, permitted, carried on, continued, or exist;
(7) All public houses or places of resort where illegal gambling is carried on or permitted; all houses or places within any city, town, or village, or upon any public road, or highway where drunkenness, illegal gambling, fighting, or breaches of the peace are carried on or permitted; all houses, housing units, other buildings, or places of resort where controlled substances identified in Article II of chapter 69.50 RCW and not authorized by that chapter, are manufactured, delivered or possessed, or where any such substance not obtained in a manner authorized by chapter 69.50 RCW is consumed by ingestion, inhalation, injection or any other means.
[ 1990 c 152 § 2; 1988 c 141 § 1; 1979 c 1 § 2 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see Spokane Arcades, Inc. v. Brockett, 631 F.2d 135 (9th Cir. 1980), aff'd without opinion Brockett v. Spokane Arcades, Inc., 454 U.S. 1022, 102 S. Ct. 557, 70 L.Ed.2d 468 (1981).
Severability1990 c 152: See note following RCW 7.48.050.



Moral nuisancePersonal propertyEffects of notice.

The following are also declared to be moral nuisances, as personal property used in conducting and maintaining a moral nuisance:
(1) All moneys paid as admission price to the exhibition of any lewd film or lewd live performance found to be a moral nuisance;
(2) All valuable consideration received for the sale of any lewd publication which is found to be a moral nuisance;
(3) The furniture, fixtures, and contents of a place which is a moral nuisance.
From and after service of a copy of the notice of hearing of the application for a preliminary injunction, provided for in RCW 7.48.064, upon the place or its manager, acting manager, or person then in charge, all such persons are deemed to have knowledge of the acts, conditions, or things which make such place a moral nuisance. Where the circumstantial proof warrants a determination that a person had knowledge of the moral nuisance prior to such service of process, the court shall make such finding.
[ 1990 c 152 § 3; 1979 c 1 § 3 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.
Severability1990 c 152: See note following RCW 7.48.050.



Abate moral nuisanceEnjoin owner.

In addition to any other remedy provided by law, any act, occupation, structure, or thing which is a moral nuisance may be abated, and the person doing such act or engaged in such occupation, and the owner and agent of the owner of any such structure or thing, may be enjoined as provided in this chapter.
[1979 c 1 § 4 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Maintaining action to abate moral nuisanceBond.

The attorney general, prosecuting attorney, city attorney, city prosecutor, or any citizen of the county may maintain an action of an equitable nature in the name of the state of Washington upon the relation of such attorney general, prosecuting attorney, city attorney, city prosecutor, or citizen, to abate a moral nuisance, to perpetually enjoin all persons from maintaining the same, and to enjoin the use of any structure or thing adjudged to be a moral nuisance.
If such action is instituted by a private person, the complainant shall execute a bond to the person against whom complaint is made, with good and sufficient surety to be approved by the court or clerk thereof, in the sum of not less than five hundred dollars, to secure to the party enjoined the damages he or she may sustain if such action is wrongfully brought, and the court finds there was no reasonable grounds or cause for said action and the case is dismissed for that reason before trial or for want of prosecution. No bond shall be required of the attorney general, prosecuting attorney, city attorney, or city prosecutor, and no action shall be maintained against such public official for his or her official action when brought in good faith.
[ 2011 c 336 § 212; 1979 c 1 § 5 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceJurisdictionFiling a complaint.

The action provided for in RCW 7.48.058 shall be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction in the county in which the property is located. Such action shall be commenced by the filing of a verified complaint alleging the facts constituting the nuisance. After the filing of said complaint, application for a temporary injunction may be made to the court in which the action is filed, or to a judge thereof, who shall grant a hearing within ten days after the filing.
[1979 c 1 § 6 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977); 1913 c 127 § 2; RRS § 946-2.]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceRestraining orderViolations.

Where such application for a temporary injunction is made, the court or judge thereof may, on application of the complainant showing good cause, issue an ex parte restraining order, restraining the defendant and all other persons from removing or in any manner interfering with the personal property and contents of the place where such nuisance is alleged to exist, until the decision of the court or judge granting or refusing such temporary injunction and until the further order of the court thereon, except that pending such decision, the stock in trade may not be so restrained, but an inventory and full accounting of all business transactions may be required.
The restraining order may be served by handing to and leaving a copy of such order with any person in charge of such place or residing therein, or by posting a copy thereof in a conspicuous place at or upon one or more of the principal doors or entrances to such place, or by both such delivery and posting. The officer serving such restraining order shall forthwith make and return into court an inventory of the personal property and contents situated in and used in conducting or maintaining such nuisance.
Any violation of such restraining order is a contempt of court, and where such order is posted, mutilation or removal thereof while the same remains in force is a contempt of court if such posted order contains therein a notice to that effect.
[1979 c 1 § 7 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceHearingNoticeConsolidation with trial.

A copy of the complaint, together with a notice of the time and place of the hearing of the application for a temporary injunction, shall be served upon the defendant at least three days before such hearing. The place may also be served by posting such papers in the same manner as is provided for in RCW 7.48.062 in the case of a restraining order. If the hearing is then continued at the instance of any defendant, the temporary writ as prayed shall be granted as a matter of course.
Before or after the commencement of the hearing of an application for a temporary injunction, the court, on application of either of the parties or on its own motion, may order the trial of the action on the merits to be advanced and consolidated with the hearing on the application for the temporary injunction. Any evidence received upon an application for a temporary injunction which would be admissible in the trial on the merits becomes a part of the record of the trial and need not be repeated as to such parties at the trial on the merits.
[1979 c 1 § 8 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Finding of moral nuisanceOrders.

If upon hearing, the allegations of the complaint are sustained to the satisfaction of the court or judge, the court or judge shall issue a temporary injunction without additional bond, restraining the defendant and any other person from continuing the nuisance.
If at the time the temporary injunction is granted, it further appears that the person owning, in control of, or in charge of the nuisance so enjoined had received three days notice of the hearing, then the court shall declare a temporary forfeiture of the use of the real property upon which such public nuisance is located and the personal property located therein, and shall forthwith issue an order closing such place against its use for any purpose until a final decision is rendered on the application for a permanent injunction, unless:
(1) The person owning, in control of, or in charge of such nuisance shows to the satisfaction of the court or judge, by competent and admissible evidence which is subject to cross-examination, that the nuisance complained of has been abated by such person; or
(2) The owner of such property, as a "good faith" lessor, has taken action to void said lease as is authorized by RCW 7.48.085.
Such order shall also continue in effect for such further period as the order authorized in RCW 7.48.062 provides. If no order has been issued pursuant to RCW 7.48.062, then an order restraining the removal or interference with the personal property and contents located therein shall be issued. Such restraining order shall be served and the inventory of such property shall be made and filed as provided for in RCW 7.48.062.
Such order shall also require such persons to show cause within thirty days why such closing order should not be made permanent, as provided for in RCW 7.48.078.
[1979 c 1 § 9 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Abatement of moral nuisance by ownerEffect on injunction.

The owner of any real or personal property to be closed or restrained, or which has been closed or restrained, may appear after the filing of the complaint and before the hearing on the application for a permanent injunction.
The court, if satisfied of the good faith of the owner of the real property and of the innocence on the part of any owner of the personal property of any knowledge of its use as a nuisance, and that with reasonable care and diligence such owner could not have known thereof shall, at the time of the hearing on the application for the temporary injunction and upon payment of all costs incurred and upon the filing of a bond by the owner of the real property with sureties to be approved by the clerk in the full value of the property to be ascertained by the court, conditioned that such owner will immediately abate the nuisance and prevent the same from being established or kept, refrain from issuing any order closing such real property or restraining the removal or interference with such personal property, and, if such temporary injunction has already been issued, shall cancel said order and shall deliver such real or personal property, or both, to the respective owners thereof. The release of any real or personal property under this section shall not release it from any judgment, lien, penalty, or liability to which it may be subjected by law.
[1979 c 1 § 10 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.
Voluntary abatement: RCW 7.48.110.



Moral nuisancePriority of action on calendar.

The action provided for in RCW 7.48.058 shall be set down for trial at the first term of the court and shall have precedence over all other cases except crimes, election contests, or injunctions.
[1979 c 1 § 11 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977); 1913 c 127 § 3; RRS § 946-3.]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceEffects of admission or finding of guilt.

In such action, an admission or finding of guilty of any person under the criminal laws against lewdness, prostitution, or assignation at any such place is admissible for the purpose of proving the existence of such nuisance, and is prima facie evidence of such nuisance and of knowledge of, and of acquiescence and participation therein, on the part of the person charged with maintaining such nuisance.
[1979 c 1 § 12 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceEvidence of reputationAdmissibility.

At all hearings upon the merits, evidence of the general reputation of the building or place constituting the alleged nuisance, of the inmates thereof, and of those resorting thereto, is admissible for the purpose of proving the existence of such nuisance.
[1979 c 1 § 13 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceTrialCostsDismissalJudgment.

If the action is brought by a person who is a citizen of the county, and the court finds that there were no reasonable grounds or probable cause for bringing said action, and the case is dismissed before trial for that reason or for want of prosecution, the costs, including attorneys' fees, may be taxed to such person.
If the existence of the nuisance is established upon the trial, a judgment shall be entered which shall perpetually enjoin the defendant and any other person from further maintaining the nuisance at the place complained of, and the defendant from maintaining such nuisance elsewhere. The entire expenses of such abatement, including attorneys' fees, shall be recoverable by the plaintiff as a part of his or her costs of the lawsuit.
If the complaint is filed by a person who is a citizen of the county, it shall not be dismissed except upon a sworn statement by the complainant and his or her attorney, setting forth the reason why the action should be dismissed and the dismissal approved by the prosecuting attorney in writing or in open court. If the judge is of the opinion that the action should not be dismissed, he or she may direct the prosecuting attorney to prosecute said action to judgment at the expense of the county, and if the action is continued for more than one term of court, any person who is a citizen of the county or has an office therein, or the attorney general, the prosecuting attorney, city attorney, or city prosecutor, may be substituted for the complainant and prosecute said action to judgment.
[ 2011 c 336 § 213; 1979 c 1 § 14 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceJudgmentPenaltiesDisposal of personal property.

If the existence of a nuisance is admitted or established in an action as provided for in RCW 7.48.058 or in a criminal proceeding, an order of abatement shall be entered as a part of the judgment in the case, which order shall direct the removal from the place of all personal property and contents used in conducting the nuisance and not already released under authority of the court as provided for in RCW 7.48.066 and 7.48.068, and shall direct the sale of such thereof as belong to the defendants notified or appearing, in the manner provided for the sale of chattels under execution. Lewd matter shall be destroyed and shall not be sold.
Such judgment shall impose a penalty of three hundred dollars for the maintenance of such nuisance, which penalty shall be imposed against the person or persons found to have maintained the nuisance, and, in case any owner or agent of the building found to have had actual or constructive notice of the maintenance of such nuisance, against such owner or agent, and against the building kept or used for the purposes of maintaining a moral nuisance, which penalty shall be collected by execution as in civil actions, and when collected, shall be paid into the current expense fund of the county in which the judgment is had.
Such order shall also require the renewal for one year of any bond furnished by the owner of the real property, as provided in RCW 7.48.068 or, if not so furnished, shall continue for one year any closing order issued at the time of granting the temporary injunction, or, if no such closing order was then issued, shall include an order directing the effectual closing of the place against its use for any purpose and keeping it closed for a period of one year unless sooner released.
The owner of any place closed and not released under bond may then appear and obtain such release in the manner and upon fulfilling the requirements provided in RCW 7.48.068.
Owners of unsold personal property and contents so seized must appear and claim the same within ten days after such order of abatement is made, and prove innocence to the satisfaction of the court of any knowledge of such use thereof, and that with reasonable care and diligence they could not have known thereof. If such innocence is established, such unsold personal property and contents shall be delivered to the owner, otherwise it shall be sold as provided in this section. For removing and selling the personal property and contents, the officer shall be entitled to charge and receive the same fees as he or she would for levying upon and selling like property on execution; and for closing the place and keeping it closed, a reasonable sum shall be allowed by the court.
[ 2011 c 336 § 214; 1979 c 1 § 15 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceViolation of injunctionContempt of court.

A violation of any injunction granted under RCW 7.48.050 through 7.48.100 is a contempt of court as provided in chapter 7.21 RCW.
[ 1989 c 373 § 11; 1979 c 1 § 16 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977); 1913 c 127 § 4; RRS § 946-4.]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceProperty owner may repossess.

If a tenant or occupant of a building or tenement, under a lawful title, uses such place for the purposes of maintaining a moral nuisance, such use makes void at the option of the owner the lease or other title under which he or she holds, and without any act of the owner causes the right of possession to revert and vest in such owner, who may without process of law make immediate entry upon the premises.
[ 2011 c 336 § 215; 1979 c 1 § 17 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977).]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceContrabandForfeitures.

Lewd matter is contraband, and there are no property rights therein. All personal property declared to be a moral nuisance in RCW 7.48.052 and 7.48.054 and all moneys and other consideration declared to be a moral nuisance under RCW 7.48.056 are the subject of forfeiture to the local government and are recoverable as damages in the county wherein such matter is sold, exhibited, or otherwise used. Such moneys may be traced to and shall be recoverable from persons who, under RCW 7.48.064, have knowledge of the nuisance at the time such moneys are received by them.
Upon judgment against the defendants in legal proceedings brought pursuant to RCW 7.48.050 through 7.48.100 as now or hereafter amended, an accounting shall be made by such defendant or defendants of all moneys received by them which have been declared to be a public nuisance under this section. An amount equal to the sum of all moneys estimated to have been taken in as gross income from such unlawful commercial activity shall be forfeited to the general funds of the city and county governments wherein such matter is sold or exhibited, to be shared equally, as a forfeiture of the fruits of an unlawful enterprise and as partial restitution for damages done to the public welfare, public health, and public morals.
Where the action is brought pursuant to RCW 7.48.050 through 7.48.100 as now or hereafter amended, special injury need not be proven, and the costs of abatement are a lien on both the real and personal property used in maintaining the nuisance. Costs of abatement include, but are not limited to the following:
(1) Investigative costs;
(2) Court costs;
(3) Reasonable attorney's fees arising out of the preparation for and trial of the cause, appeals therefrom, and other costs allowed on appeal;
(4) Printing costs of trial and appellate briefs, and all other papers filed in such proceedings.
[1979 c 1 § 18 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977); 1927 c 94 § 1; 1913 c 127 § 5; RRS § 946-5.]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Moral nuisanceImmunity of certain motion picture theatre employees.

The provisions of any criminal statutes with respect to the exhibition of, or the possession with the intent to exhibit, any obscene film shall not apply to a motion picture projectionist, usher, or ticket taker acting within the scope of his or her employment, if such projectionist, usher, or ticket taker (1) has no financial interest in the place wherein he or she is so employed, other than his or her salary, and (2) freely and willingly gives testimony regarding such employment in any judicial proceedings brought under RCW 7.48.050 through 7.48.100 as now or hereafter amended, including pretrial discovery proceedings incident thereto, when and if such is requested, and upon being granted immunity by the trial judge sitting in such matters.
[ 2011 c 336 § 216; 1979 c 1 § 19 (Initiative Measure No. 335, approved November 8, 1977); 1927 c 94 § 2; 1913 c 127 § 6; RRS § 946-6.]

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see note following RCW 7.48.052.



Houses of lewdness, assignation or prostitution may be abatedVoluntary abatement.

If the owner of the building in which a nuisance is found to be maintained, appears and pays all costs of the proceeding, and files a bond with sureties to be approved by the clerk in the full value of the property to be ascertained by the court, conditioned that he or she will immediately abate said nuisance and prevent the same from being established or kept therein within a period of one year thereafter, the court or judge may, if satisfied of his or her good faith, order the premises, closed under the order of abatement, to be delivered to said owner, and said order closing the building canceled. The release of the property under the provisions of this section shall not release it from any judgment, lien, penalty, or liability to which it may be subject by law.



Nuisance defined.

Nuisance consists in unlawfully doing an act, or omitting to perform a duty, which act or omission either annoys, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of others, offends decency, or unlawfully interferes with, obstructs or tends to obstruct, or render dangerous for passage, any lake or navigable river, bay, stream, canal or basin, or any public park, square, street or highway; or in any way renders other persons insecure in life, or in the use of property.
[Code 1881 § 1235; 1875 p 79 § 1; RRS § 9914.]

NOTES:

Crimes
malicious mischief: Chapter 9.61 RCW.
nuisances: Chapter 9.66 RCW.



Public nuisance defined.

A public nuisance is one which affects equally the rights of an entire community or neighborhood, although the extent of the damage may be unequal.
[Code 1881 § 1236; 1875 p 79 § 2; RRS § 9912.]

NOTES:

Crimes, nuisances: Chapter 9.66 RCW.



Public nuisances enumerated.

It is a public nuisance:
(1) To cause or suffer the carcass of any animal or any offal, filth, or noisome substance to be collected, deposited, or to remain in any place to the prejudice of others;
(2) To throw or deposit any offal or other offensive matter, or the carcass of any dead animal, in any watercourse, stream, lake, pond, spring, well, or common sewer, street, or public highway, or in any manner to corrupt or render unwholesome or impure the water of any such spring, stream, pond, lake, or well, to the injury or prejudice of others;
(3) To obstruct or impede, without legal authority, the passage of any river, harbor, or collection of water;
(4) To obstruct or encroach upon public highway, private ways, streets, alleys, commons, landing places, and ways to burying places or to unlawfully obstruct or impede the flow of municipal transit vehicles as defined in RCW 46.04.355 or passenger traffic, access to municipal transit vehicles or stations as defined in *RCW 9.91.025(2)(a), or otherwise interfere with the provision or use of public transportation services, or obstruct or impede a municipal transit driver, operator, or supervisor in the performance of that individual's duties;
(5) To carry on the business of manufacturing gun powder, nitroglycerine, or other highly explosive substance, or mixing or grinding the materials therefor, in any building within fifty rods of any valuable building erected at the time such business may be commenced;
(6) To establish powder magazines near incorporated cities or towns, at a point different from that appointed by the corporate authorities of such city or town; or within fifty rods of any occupied dwelling house;
(7) To erect, continue, or use any building, or other place, for the exercise of any trade, employment, or manufacture, which, by occasioning obnoxious exhalations, offensive smells, or otherwise is offensive or dangerous to the health of individuals or of the public;
(8) To suffer or maintain on one's own premises, or upon the premises of another, or to permit to be maintained on one's own premises, any place where wines, spirituous, fermented, malt, or other intoxicating liquors are kept for sale or disposal to the public in contravention of law;
(9) For an owner or occupier of land, knowing of the existence of a well, septic tank, cesspool, or other hole or excavation ten inches or more in width at the top and four feet or more in depth, to fail to cover, fence or fill the same, or provide other proper and adequate safeguards: PROVIDED, That this section shall not apply to a hole one hundred square feet or more in area or one that is open, apparent, and obvious.
Every person who has the care, government, management, or control of any building, structure, powder magazine, or any other place mentioned in this section shall, for the purposes of this section, be taken and deemed to be the owner or agent of the owner or owners of such building, structure, powder magazine or other place, and, as such, may be proceeded against for erecting, contriving, causing, continuing, or maintaining such nuisance.
[ 1994 c 45 § 2; 1955 c 237 § 1; 1895 c 14 § 1; Code 1881 § 1246; RRS § 9913.]

NOTES:

*Reviser's note: The reference to RCW 9.91.025(2)(a) appears to be erroneous. Reference to RCW 9.91.025(2) was apparently intended.
FindingsDeclaration1994 c 45: "The legislature finds that it is important to the general welfare to protect and preserve public safety in the operation of public transportation facilities and vehicles, in order to protect the personal safety of both passengers and employees. The legislature further finds that public transportation facilities and services will be utilized more fully by the general public if they are assured of personal safety and security in the utilization.
The legislature recognizes that cities, towns, counties, public transportation benefit areas, and other municipalities that offer public transportation services have the independent authority to adopt regulations, rules, and guidelines that regulate conduct in public transportation vehicles and facilities to protect and preserve the public safety in the operation of the vehicles and facilities. The legislature finds that this act is not intended to limit the independent authority to regulate conduct by these municipalities. The legislature, however, further finds that this act is necessary to provide statewide guidelines that regulate conduct in public transportation vehicles and facilities to further enhance the independent regulatory authority of cities, towns, counties, public transportation benefit areas, and any other municipalities that offer public transportation services." [ 1994 c 45 § 1.]
Severability1994 c 45: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [ 1994 c 45 § 6.]
Crimes
malicious mischief: Chapter 9.61 RCW.
nuisance: Chapter 9.66 RCW.
Devices simulating traffic control signs declared public nuisance: RCW 47.36.180.



Private nuisance defined.

Every nuisance not included in the definition of RCW 7.48.130 is private.
[Code 1881 § 1237; 1875 p 79 § 3; RRS § 9915.]



Unlawful use of firearm or deadly weaponArrest required.

The unlawful use of a firearm or other deadly weapon by a person in, or adjacent to his or her dwelling, that imminently threatens the physical safety of other people in the adjacent area, so as to essentially interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of their residences, is a nuisance and may be abated, and the person who unlawfully used the firearm or deadly weapon is subject to the punishment provided in this chapter. This section does not apply unless the person who unlawfully used the firearm or other deadly weapon is arrested for this activity.

NOTES:

IntentEffective date1992 c 38: See notes following RCW 59.18.352.



Authorized act not a nuisance.

Nothing which is done or maintained under the express authority of a statute, can be deemed a nuisance.
[Code 1881 § 1238; 1875 p 79 § 4; RRS § 9916.]



Successive owners liable.

Every successive owner of property who neglects to abate a continuing nuisance upon, or in the use of such property caused by a former owner, is liable therefor in the same manner as the one who first created it.
[Code 1881 § 1239; 1875 p 79 § 5; RRS § 9917.]



Abatement does not preclude action for damages.

The abatement of a nuisance does not prejudice the right of any person to recover damages for its past existence.
[Code 1881 § 1240; 1875 p 79 § 6; RRS § 9918.]



Nuisance does not become legal by prescription.

No lapse of time can legalize a public nuisance, amounting to an actual obstruction of public right.
[Code 1881 § 1241; 1875 p 80 § 7; RRS § 9919.]



Remedies.

The remedies against a public nuisance are: Indictment or information, a civil action, or abatement. The remedy by indictment or information shall be as regulated and prescribed in this chapter. When a civil action for damage is resorted to, the practice shall conform to RCW 7.48.010 through 7.48.040.
[ 1957 c 51 § 12; Code 1881 § 1242; 1875 p 80 § 8; RRS § 9920.]



Civil action, who may maintain.

A private person may maintain a civil action for a public nuisance, if it is specially injurious to himself or herself but not otherwise.
[ 2011 c 336 § 218; Code 1881 § 1243; 1875 p 80 § 9; RRS § 9921.]



Abatement, by whom.

A public nuisance may be abated by any public body or officer authorized thereto by law.
[Code 1881 § 1244; 1875 p 80 § 10; RRS § 9922.]



Public nuisanceAbatement.

Any person may abate a public nuisance which is specially injurious to him or her by removing, or if necessary, destroying the thing which constitutes the same, without committing a breach of the peace, or doing unnecessary injury.
[ 2011 c 336 § 219; Code 1881 § 1245; 1875 p 80 § 11; RRS § 9923.]



Certain places of resort declared nuisances.

Houses of ill fame, kept for the purpose, where persons are employed for purposes of prostitution; all public houses or places of resort where gambling is carried on, or permitted; all houses or places within any city, town, or village, or upon any public road, or highway where drunkenness, gambling, fighting or breaches of the peace are carried on, or permitted; all opium dens, or houses, or places of resort where opium smoking is permitted, are nuisances, and may be abated, and the owners, keepers, or persons in charge thereof, and persons carrying on such unlawful business shall be punished as provided in this chapter.
[ 1973 1st ex.s. c 154 § 18; Code 1881 § 1247; 1875 p 81 § 13; RRS § 9924.]

NOTES:

Severability1973 1st ex.s. c 154: See note following RCW 2.12.030.



PenaltyAbatement.

Whoever is convicted of erecting, causing or contriving a public or common nuisance as described in this chapter, or at common law, when the same has not been modified or repealed by statute, where no other punishment therefor is specially provided, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, and the court with or without such fine, may order such nuisance to be abated, and issue a warrant as hereinafter provided: PROVIDED, That orders and warrants of abatement shall not be issued by district judges.
[ 1987 c 202 § 136; 1957 c 45 § 1; Code 1881 § 1248; 1875 p 81 § 14; RRS § 9925.]

NOTES:

Intent1987 c 202: See note following RCW 2.04.190.



Warrant of abatement.

When, upon indictment or information, complaint or action, any person is adjudged guilty of a nuisance, if it be in superior court the court may in addition to the fine imposed, if any, or to the judgment for damages or costs, for which a separate execution may issue, order that such nuisance be abated, or removed at the expense of the defendant, and after inquiry into and estimating, as nearly as may be, the sum necessary to defray the expenses of such abatement, the court may issue a warrant therefor: PROVIDED, That if the conviction was had in a district court, the district judge shall not issue the order and warrant of abatement, but on application therefor, shall transfer the cause to the superior court which shall proceed to try the issue of abatement in the same manner as if the action had been originally commenced therein.
[ 1987 c 202 § 137; 1957 c 45 § 2; Code 1881 § 1249; 1875 p 81 § 15; RRS § 9926, part. FORMER PARTS OF SECTION: Code 1881 § 1250; 1875 p 81 § 16.]

NOTES:

Intent1987 c 202: See note following RCW 2.04.190.



Stay of warrant.

Instead of issuing such warrant, the court may order the same to be stayed upon motion of the defendant, and upon his or her entering into a bond in such sum and with such surety as the court may direct to the state, conditioned either that the defendant will discontinue said nuisance, or that within a time limited by the court, and not exceeding six months, he or she will cause the same to be abated and removed, as either is directed by the court, and upon his or her default to perform the condition of his or her bond, the same shall be forfeited, and the court, upon being satisfied of such default, may order such warrant forthwith to issue, and an order to show cause why judgment should not be entered against the sureties of said bond.
[ 2011 c 336 § 220; 1957 c 45 § 3; Code 1881 § 1251; 1875 p 81 § 17; RRS § 9927.]



Costs of abatement.

The expense of abating a nuisance, by virtue of a warrant, can be collected by the officer in the same manner as damages and costs are collected on execution, except that the materials of any buildings, fences, or other things that may be removed as a nuisance, may be first levied upon and sold by the officer, and if any of the proceeds remain after satisfying the expense of the removal, such balance must be paid by the officer to the defendant or to the owner of the property levied upon, and if said proceeds are not sufficient to pay such expenses, the officer must collect the residue thereof.
[Code 1881 § 1252; 1875 p 82 § 18; RRS § 9928.]



Agricultural activities and forest practicesLegislative finding and purpose.

The legislature finds that agricultural activities conducted on farmland and forest practices in urbanizing areas are often subjected to nuisance lawsuits, and that such suits encourage and even force the premature removal of the lands from agricultural uses and timber production. It is therefore the purpose of RCW 7.48.300 through 7.48.310 and 7.48.905 to provide that agricultural activities conducted on farmland and forest practices be protected from nuisance lawsuits.



Agricultural activities and forest practicesPresumed reasonable and not a nuisanceExceptionDamages.

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, agricultural activities conducted on farmland and forest practices, if consistent with good agricultural and forest practices and established prior to surrounding nonagricultural and nonforestry activities, are presumed to be reasonable and shall not be found to constitute a nuisance unless the activity or practice has a substantial adverse effect on public health and safety.
(2) Agricultural activities and forest practices undertaken in conformity with all applicable laws and rules are presumed to be good agricultural and forest practices not adversely affecting the public health and safety for purposes of this section and RCW 7.48.300. An agricultural activity that is in conformity with such laws and rules shall not be restricted as to the hours of the day or day or days of the week during which it may be conducted.
(3) The act of owning land upon which a growing crop of trees is located, even if the tree growth is being managed passively and even if the owner does not indicate the land's status as a working forest, is considered to be a forest practice occurring on the land if the crop of trees is located on land that is capable of supporting a merchantable stand of timber that is not being actively used for a use that is incompatible with timber growing. If the growing of trees has been established prior to surrounding nonforestry activities, then the act of tree growth is considered a necessary part of any other subsequent stages of forest practices necessary to bring a crop of trees from its planting to final harvest and is included in the provisions of this section.
(4) Nothing in this section shall affect or impair any right to sue for damages.

NOTES:

Intent2009 c 200: "Commercial forestry produces jobs and revenue while also providing clean water and air, wildlife habitat, open space, and carbon storage. Maintaining a base of forestlands that can be utilized for commercial forestry is of utmost importance for the state.
As the population of the state increases, forestlands are converted to residential, suburban, and urban uses. The encroachment of these other uses into neighboring forestlands often makes it more difficult for forestland owners to continue practicing commercial forestry. It is the legislature's intent that a forestland owner's right to practice commercial forestry in a manner consistent with the state forest practices laws be protected and preserved." [ 2009 c 200 § 1.]
FindingsIntent2007 c 331: "The legislature finds that agricultural activities are often subjected to nuisance lawsuits. The legislature also finds that such lawsuits hasten premature conversion of agricultural lands to other uses. The legislature further finds that agricultural activities must be able to adopt new technologies and diversify into new crops and products if the agricultural industry is to survive and agricultural lands are to be conserved. Therefore, the legislature intends to enhance the protection of agricultural activities from nuisance lawsuits, and to further the clear legislative directive of the state growth management act to maintain and enhance the agricultural industry and conserve productive agricultural lands." [ 2007 c 331 § 1.]



Agricultural activities and forest practicesDefinitions.

For the purposes of RCW 7.48.305 only:
(1) "Agricultural activity" means a condition or activity which occurs on a farm in connection with the commercial production of farm products and includes, but is not limited to, marketed produce at roadside stands or farm markets; noise; odors; dust; fumes; operation of machinery and irrigation pumps; movement, including, but not limited to, use of current county road ditches, streams, rivers, canals, and drains, and use of water for agricultural activities; ground and aerial application of seed, fertilizers, conditioners, and plant protection products; keeping of bees for production of agricultural or apicultural products; employment and use of labor; roadway movement of equipment and livestock; protection from damage by wildlife; prevention of trespass; construction and maintenance of buildings, fences, roads, bridges, ponds, drains, waterways, and similar features and maintenance of stream banks and watercourses; and conversion from one agricultural activity to another, including a change in the type of plant-related farm product being produced. The term includes use of new practices and equipment consistent with technological development within the agricultural industry.
(2) "Farm" means the land, buildings, freshwater ponds, freshwater culturing and growing facilities, and machinery used in the commercial production of farm products.
(3) "Farmland" means land or freshwater ponds devoted primarily to the production, for commercial purposes, of livestock, freshwater aquacultural, or other farm products.
(4) "Farm product" means those plants and animals useful to humans and includes, but is not limited to, forages and sod crops, dairy and dairy products, poultry and poultry products, livestock, including breeding, grazing, and recreational equine use, fruits, vegetables, flowers, seeds, grasses, trees, freshwater fish and fish products, apiaries and apiary products, equine and other similar products, or any other product which incorporates the use of food, feed, fiber, or fur.
(5) "Forest practice" means any activity conducted on or directly pertaining to forestland, as that term is defined in RCW 76.09.020, and relating to growing, harvesting, or processing timber. The term "forest practices" includes, but is not limited to, road and trail construction, final and intermediate harvesting, precommercial thinning, reforestation, fertilization, prevention and suppression of diseases and insects, salvage of trees, brush control, and owning land where trees may passively grow until one of the preceding activities is deemed timely by the owner.

NOTES:

Intent2009 c 200: See note following RCW 7.48.305.
FindingsIntent2007 c 331: See note following RCW 7.48.305.



Agricultural activities and forest practicesRecovering lawsuit costsFarmers.

(1) A farmer who prevails in any action, claim, or counterclaim alleging that agricultural activity on a farm constitutes a nuisance may recover the full costs and expenses determined by a court to have been reasonably incurred by the farmer as a result of the action, claim, or counterclaim.
(2) A farmer who prevails in any action, claim, or counterclaim (a) based on an allegation that agricultural activity on a farm is in violation of specified laws, rules, or ordinances, (b) where such activity is not found to be in violation of the specified laws, rules, or ordinances, and (c) actual damages are realized by the farm as a result of the action, claim, or counterclaim, may recover the full costs and expenses determined by a court to have been reasonably incurred by the farmer as a result of the action, claim, or counterclaim.
(3) The costs and expenses that may be recovered according to subsection (1) or (2) of this section include actual damages and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs. For the purposes of this subsection, "actual damages" include lost revenue and the replacement value of crops or livestock damaged or unable to be harvested or sold as a result of the action, claim, or counterclaim.
(4) In addition to any sums recovered according to subsection (1) or (2) of this section, a farmer may recover exemplary damages if a court finds that the action, claim, or counterclaim was initiated maliciously and without probable cause.
(5) A farmer may not recover the costs and expenses authorized in this section from a state or local agency that investigates or pursues an enforcement action pursuant to an allegation as specified in subsection (2) of this section.



Agricultural activities and forest practicesRecovering costs to investigate complaintsState and local agencies.

A state or local agency required to investigate a complaint alleging agricultural activity on a farm is in violation of specified laws, rules, or ordinances and where such activity is not found to be in violation of such specified laws, rules, or ordinances may recover its full investigative costs and expenses if a court determines that the complaint was initiated maliciously and without probable cause.



Severability1979 c 122.

If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.