August 12, 2020

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August 12, 2020

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August 10, 2020

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Mandatory Arbitration Struck Down in Washington

Some insurers include mandatory arbitration clauses in their policies. Today, in WSDOT v. James River Ins. Co. (.pdf), the Washington Supreme Court ruled that those provisions are unenforceable because they violate RCW 48.18.200(1)(b). The statute states that an insurance contract delivered or issued in Washington cannot deprive Washington courts of “the jurisdiction of action against the insurer.” In reaching its holding, the Court rejected James River’s argument that the legislature merely intended the statute to keep coverage disputes venued within the State of Washington. The Court also held that the Federal Arbitration Act does not preempt RCW 48.18.200 because the statute regulates the “business of insurance” such that there is “reverse preemption” under the McCarran-Ferguson Act

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About this Author

Sheryl Willert Attorney Williams Kastner
Member

Sheryl Willert is a Member in the firm’s Seattle office and served as the firm’s Managing Director from 1996-2001 and again from 2006-2013. Ms. Willert continues to serve the firm on its Board of Directors and chairs the firm’s Diversity Committee.

Ms. Willert concentrates her legal practice on counseling, investigations and dispute resolution. She has broad experience in all aspects of employment law for unionized and nonunionized employers in both the public and private sectors. A nationally recognized speaker and author on such topics as...

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