Judge tosses Value Village lawsuit against attorney general

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge in Seattle has dismissed a pre-emptive lawsuit filed against Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson by the company that owns Value Village, Savers and other thrift stores.

TVI Inc., of Bellevue, sued the attorney general’s office in December in an effort to head off an expected legal action by Ferguson. The lawsuit said the attorney general had demanded $3.2 million to settle a three-year investigation, but that the demand violated its free speech rights.

Ferguson’s office did in fact sue TVI in state court about a week later, saying the company had deceived customers and donors about how much of their donations benefited charities, something TVI denies.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez dismissed TVI’s lawsuit Tuesday. He cited a legal principle that federal courts should stay out of enforcement actions that are also pending in state court.