MARCH 19, 2024 – The successful collaboration between Scott Schipma, deputy general counsel at The GEO Group, Inc., and Harry Korrell, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, has resulted in a decision preliminarily enjoining a discriminatory Washington state law. The win was highlighted in American Lawyer's "Litigators of the Week" column. 

In a decision March 8, Judge Benjamin H. Settle found that key sections of HB 1470 violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. He granted GEO's motion to preliminarily enjoin portions of the statute, which passed last year and was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, finding the law "impermissibly discriminates" against GEO.

Said Judge Settle: "The Court will not permit the State to enforce unconstitutional laws so that it can seek to address the public policy concerns that gave rise to those laws."

Judge Settle agreed with GEO that "the statutory language of HB1470 and its history indicate" that the law was designed to apply to only one existing facility: the federal Northwest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Processing Center (NWIPC) in Tacoma, Wash.

GEO provides immigration processing services to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations at NWIPC. 

HB 1470 imposed on GEO and NWIPC a host of unique burdens, including a detailed new regime of rulemaking, inspections, investigations, private rights of action, civil penalties, and numerous facility requirements. Many of these requirements are directly at odds with federal standards and requirements contained in GEO's contract with the federal government.

Judge Settle let stand challenged Sections of HB 1470 not currently applicable to the NWIPC.

The case was handled in close partnership between Korrell and Schipma. They were both recognized as runners up in the most recent edition of American Lawyer's "Litigators of the Week" for their success in the case.

Other Davis Wright attorneys who played a significant role in the matter were John Hodges-Howell, David Nordlinger, and Arthur Simpson, along with paralegal Allix DeGraff and legal assistant Heather Persun.

About Davis Wright Tremaine

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is an AmLaw 100 law firm with more than 600 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world. Learn more at