Washington Supreme Court: Federal Arbitration Act Preempts Judicial Enforcement Provision of Washington Condominium Act
Because this is essentially three separate cases, I won't go into the facts. They're not important. The Washington Condominium Act (WCA), located at former RCW 64.34.100(2) (2005), amended by Laws of 2005, ch. 456, § 20 (effective Aug. 1, 2005, provides: "Except as otherwise provided in . . . chapter 64.35 RCW, any right or obligation declared by this chapter is enforceable by judicial proceeding."
The Federal Arbitration Act provides:
A written provision in any maritime transaction or a contract evidencing a transaction involving commerce to settle by arbitration a controversy thereafter arising out of such contract or transaction, or the refusal to perform the whole or any part thereof, or an agreement in writing to submit to arbitration an existing controversy arising out of such a contract, transaction, or refusal, shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.
Essentially, the Supreme Court (U.S., not the capital letters) has held that this evinces a national policy for the enforcement of contracts involving commerce. Why involving commerce and not affecting commerce? Who knows, but the top dawgs have said that they are essentially the same thing. If you remember from your Constitutional Law class, that gives a pretty wide stroke, and can involve an aggregate effect on commerce.
Given the wide stroke, it was found to apply, and to be in conflict with both the former and current WCA judicial enforcement provision insomuch as it provides for judicial enforcement concurrently with arbitration. If ADR doesn't work, you still get the enforcement.