WA Legal Roundup: Division II
The Dill’s brought an action against the defendants under the Residential Landlord- Tenant Act. The Dill’s leased property and a storage area from the defendants and claim that they destroyed and disposed of some of their property in the storage area.
The case was moved to mandatory arbitration and the Dill’s agreed to waive any amount over $50,000.00. The arbitrator found in their favor awarding them $45,000.00 and a separate attorney’s fee award of $27K. The Defendants moved for entry of judgment on the arb award but with a modification to include all fees, costs and award to be a total of $50,000.00. The Dills argued that the $50,000.00 limit was exclusive of fees, interests, and costs. The trial court entered judgment with no modification.
The defendants appeal the trial court’s judgment confirming the arbitration award arguing that because the award was higher than $50,000.00 it was erroneous as a matter of law. The Dills argue that the trial court’s entering of judgment is not appealable.
The Appeals Court agrees with the Dills. They hold that the trial court’s entering of judgment is not appealable. They state that the purpose of mandatory arbitration is to alleviate the court congestions. Moreover, they found that there is a means to appealing the arbitration through trial de novo, which was not properly requested.
The Appeals Court dismissed the appeal and award the Dill’s fees.