PO restaurant appeal regarding COVID fines in limbo

The appeal by former owner of That One Place restaurant of $132,000 in COVID-related fines has sat idle for six months and prevented the state from moving to collect the penalties.

The fines were imposed for 11 instances the Port Orchard restaurant conducted dine-in service between Jan. 6-18, 2021, when the practice was barred by a COVID mandate by Gov. Jay Inslee, court rulings say. Each violation was deemed “willful” and carried a $12,000 fine.

Last year the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals upheld all of the fines imposed on Craig Kenady, then-owner of That One Place. Following his legal troubles Kenady — who has consistently fought the allegations made against his business — sold the restaurant.

On Oct. 12, 2022, Kenady, filed a notice of appeal of the BIIA ruling in Kitsap County Superior Court. The appeal is listed as “active” in court file, but Kenady has filed no additional paperwork with the court to advance the case.

“To move the case forward [Kenady] would have to file a trial setting for the Superior Court to set that hearing,” Superior Court clerk Tamra Cook said. Once trial setting paperwork is filed the case would go before a judge, she added.

Should Kenady take no additional action the court can dispose of the case. “We are able to dismiss it after a year of inactivity,” Cook said. “But that does not necessarily mean it will be done then. It depends on staffing and time constraints.” The state can also bring a motion to dismiss the case, she added.

While the case remains in appeal status the state is not taking any steps to make Kenady begin payment of the $132,000. “(State Department of Labor and Industries) doesn’t pursue fines against companies still in the appeal process, but once that process wraps up, we will make every effort to collect those penalties,” state Labor and Industries spokeswoman Dina Lorraine said.

Kenady declined comment on whether he intends to proceed with the appeal.