Tolling and Commencement Are Reconcilable (WA State)

Tolling and Commencement are Reconcilable (WA State)


Under Washington State laws, is the statutory provision which governs the tolling of the statute of limitations reconcilable with the court rule governing the commencement of actions? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


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TOLLING THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS (RCW 4.16.170)

The Washington State statute regarding tolling the statute of limitations is RCW 4.16.170, and it states as follows:

Tolling of statute—Actions, when deemed commenced or not commenced.

For the purpose of tolling any statute of limitations an action shall be deemed commenced when the complaint is filed or summons is served whichever occurs first. 

If service has not been had on the defendant prior to the filing of the complaint, the plaintiff shall cause one or more of the defendants to be served personally, or commence service by publication within ninety days from the date of filing the complaint. 

If the action is commenced by service on one or more of the defendants or by publication, the plaintiff shall file the summons and complaint within ninety days from the date of service. 

If following service, the complaint is not so filed, or following filing, service is not so made, the action shall be deemed to not have been commenced for purposes of tolling the statute of limitations.

RCW 4.16.170 (paragraph formatting and emphasis added).

COMMENCEMENT OF ACTIONS (CR 3)

The Washington State court rule regarding commencement of actions is CR 3(a), and it states as follows:

(a) Methods. Except as provided in rule 4.1, a civil action is commenced by service of a copy of a summons together with a copy of a complaint, as provided in rule 4 or by filing a complaint. 

Upon written demand by any other party, the plaintiff instituting the action shall pay the filing fee and file the summons and complaint within 14 days after service of the demand or the service shall be void. 

An action shall not be deemed commenced for the purpose of tolling any statute of limitations except as provided in RCW 4.16.170.

CR 3(a) (paragraph formatting and hyperlinks added).

THE CORRELATION

"Thus, an action is tentatively commenced by service of a summons or the filing of a complaint and the statute of limitations is tolled pending filing of the summons and complaint within 90 days from the date of service." Nearing v. Golden State Foods Corporation, 114 Wn.2d 817, 820, 792 P.2d 500 (Wash. 1990) (emphasis added). 

"Either of these acts will toll the statute of limitations as long as the summons and complaint are filed within 90 days." Id., (citing RCW 4.16.170; Sterling v. County of Spokane, 31 Wash.App. 467, 471, 642 P.2d 1255 (1982)).

CONCLUSION

"The statutory provision which governs the tolling of the statute of limitations and the court rule governing the commencement of actions are reconcilable." Id. (emphasis added).

LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group, PS; please see our DISCLAIMER.

–gw

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