WA Legal Roundup
One new opinion out of Div. III today:
What happens when a judge has discretion? Almost inadvertently, someone tried to challenge that discretion. Here, it involved sanctions against the District for trying to get out of arbitrating employee disputes, seeking to enjoin them. The problem was that Mount Adams Sch. Dist. v. Cook, 150 Wn.2d 716, 81 P.3d 111 (2003), held that whether a matter of employment law is subject to arbitration is up to the arbitrator. Thus, their suit to enjoin was frivolous, and sanctions were warranted.
Racy also sought review, arguing that attorneys fees should have been calculated under Lodestar. The trial court instead ordered that actual costs be used. Under Lodestar, adopted in Bowers v. Transamerica Tit. Ins. Co., 100 Wn.2d 581, 675 P.2d 193 (1983), the fee is calculated by "multiplying a reasonable hourly rate for the work involved by the amount of time the attorneys reasonably worked on the case." However, nothing in RCW 4.84.185, the frivolous litigation fees and costs statute, required the use of the Lodestar method, and the courts use of actual costs was one that was objectively based.