Update: I dropped off the letter at his 'office' (executive offices, solo type) and he signed for it; I took it to the Clerk and filed it with a cover, to get it in the file. (no working papers function for the high-volume evictions court) That day he called me saying that the Show Cause hearing should be canceled, because they're out of the house and I know they're out. I politely declined. (I'm sure he was recording -- they will use anything to try and cast doubt on me, but they have nothing) I suspected the case would be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, but I didn't say anything to him.
So he told me that I should talk to an attorney. I didn't tell him that I'd already spoken with two and got conflicting answers, apparently because of the complexity of Washington law for unlawful detainer. He said that if I go forward with the Show Cause, that he will ask that I pay his attorney fees. I told him that I know he doesn't want to go to court, and that it is important that he should do what he thinks he has to do. I think this is his first eviction case, and he's one of these attorneys who tries to avoid trials at all costs.
He again tried to settle, offering me $250 and waiver of the deposit if I drop both cases. I told him that's a non-starter. Just because they had skipped out, doesn't mean that they no longer owe the money. I've just paid a $113 water bill they'd left too. So he told me that if I move forward, that the tenants may sue me for discrimination under the ADA about my trying to get their large pit bull out --
I laughed out loud. I'm afraid he was hurt by this, from his tone after that.
He complained about my filings, that rather than file a new case for the damages in District, that I should have converted the unlawful detainer to a civil suit. And that I shouldn't have filed a Show Cause in the District case, I should have just let it proceed as a civil case. I told him that that is the way I decided to do it, and that he must understand, if I don't take his word for things. The phone call was mostly about him waving his arms all around in the air, which was amusing.
Fast-forward to yesterday at the hearing. The judge swiftly dismissed the unlawful detainer case, for no subject matter. Their lawyer then asked the judge to order that I pay his attorney fees, as he'd promised, to which the judge looked at him sardonically and asked how she could order that with no subject matter jurisdiction? He stammered and spluttered and had no answer, so request denied. I thanked the judge and left straightaway.
Week-after-next is when the District Court case comes up. I'm sure he will make more attempts to settle, but I am just going to have to have the rent they owe and the cost of the damages they caused. I can bend on late fees and overdraft, but I think he now knows he's dealing with an experienced hard-ass. They will still owe more than $6k if I waive all fees.