Christie-Lambert Van & Storage Co. v. McLeod

In Christie-Lambert Van & Storage Co. v. McLeod, 39 Wn. App. 298, 693 P.2d 161 (1984), the respondent moved for a trial de novo following an arbitration award in favor of Christie-Lambert. Id. at 300. At trial, the respondent asserted a cross-claim against a codefendant, which was not presented to the arbitrator. Respondent received a sizeable judgment on that claim, while all of Christie-Lambert's claims against respondent were resolved in the same manner and in the same amounts at arbitration and trial. The trial court denied Christie-Lambert's request for an MAR 7.3 attorney fee award, finding that because of the judgment on the cross-claim, respondent improved his position at the trial de novo. Id. at 301. The Court of Appeals reversed, stating: It is inherently unfair to deny an attorney fee award to a party that has borne the cost of mandatory arbitration and a trial de novo without a change in results where the denial is based upon the appellant's improving his overall position in the trial de novo solely because of a new claim brought for the first time on appeal. Id. at 304.