Civil Arbitration Bill Becomes Law
On March 13, 2018, Governor Inslee signed into law the Civil Arbitration Bill, EHB 1125. This bill, which is effective for cases filed on or after September 1, 2018, raises the civil arbitration limit from $50,000 to $100,000. This will allow far more cases to qualify for civil arbitration.
Civil arbitration is a simplified and economical tool for resolving disputes. When cases are heard in civil arbitration, a court-appointed arbitrator rather than a judge hears the evidence on the case and renders a decision. The process is far less formal than a trial and usually results in a much faster outcome to a lawsuit with far fewer costs involved.
EHB 1125 also requires a party wishing to appeal by asking for a de novo trial to sign the declaration seeking such an appeal. This will prevent insurance companies from seeking these reviews without the knowledge or permission of their insured.
The Washington State Association for Justice was instrumental in getting this law passed. Several attorneys from Small, Snell, Weiss & Comfort helped in lobbying for this bill.