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Mandatory Arbitration is a "trial" for purposes of determining an award of attorney's fees under RCW 4.84.290

10-4-10        The case of Williams vs. Tilage is an interesting case, unpublished however,  in which the issue on appeal  was whether the Plaintiff was entitled to reasonable attorney's fees under RCW 4.84.290. That statute provides that when a party makes a settlement offer in a case in which the disputed amount does not exceed $10,000, and makes the offer at least 10 days before trial, the "prevailing party (the one whose settlement offer was met or exceeded by the arbitration award) can receive reasonable attorney's fees in addition to the award itself.  In this case, the Plaintiff did not make an offer of settlement per RCW 4.84.290 before the arbitration, but did so before the trial DeNovo (the trial following the arbitration). The Court of Appeals, Div. 1, held the arbitration was in fact the "trial" under the statute. Read the case by clicking the link below: