A judge essentially put the Northwest chapter of the American Lung Association out of business after the national group challenged the chapter for giving its Seattle headquarters and $600,000 to a different, newly created charity.
King County Superior Court Judge Regina Cahan said Monday that the association would probably win its claim that the regional affiliate breached its contract.
The judge's order forbids the chapter and the new charity from using American Lung Association donor lists and from spending money except for legal fees. They can't even use the word "lung" in their names anymore.
The Northwest chapter carried out the American Lung Association's mission in Alaska, Washington and Idaho with such activities as teen anti-smoking efforts, support of indoor smoking bans, and fundraising bike rides and mountain climbs.
Chapter chief executive Mike Alderson said he and two other people created the new charity last summer to do high-caliber fundraising to benefit not only the Northwest chapter, but also other organizations devoted to lung health.
The national organization argued the chapter was giving away its assets — raised to support the ALA's mission — to a competing fundraising organization with no promise of getting anything in return.
Cahan set a trial for June but ordered mediation in hopes of resolving the case before then.
Spokeswoman Carrie Martin said the national organization was pleased with the ruling.
Alderson said that the judge was speculating on the outcome and that the national group ultimately was forcing their dispute to trial.