Clear and Convincing Standard of Proof In Washington

In Washington's statutory law, the Legislature has adopted the clear and convincing standard of proof in many instances where only money is involved. For instance, according to RCW 11.12.095(3), dealing with "omitted spouses," as the statute defines that term, "the omitted spouse must receive an amount equal in value to that which the spouse would have received under RCW 11.04.015 if the decedent had died intestate, unless the court determines on the basis of clear and convincing evidence that a smaller share, including no share at all, is more in keeping with the decedent's intent." RCW 4.24.460(2) creates a presumption of liability on the part of the operators of nuclear waste repositories that is rebuttable by clear and convincing evidence "that the nuclear incident was not the result of the operator's negligence and that the operator's negligence was not an actual cause of the nuclear incident." RCW 19.118.095(2), dealing with motor vehicle warranties, permits the State to charge a fine for noncompliance with an agency decision, "unless the manufacturer can provide clear and convincing evidence that any delay or failure was beyond its control or was acceptable to the consumer as evidenced by a written statement signed by the consumer." Washington's common law also shows the presence of varying standards of proof that do not fit neatly into categories. Fraud must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. Smith v. Doty, 91 Wash. 315, 323, 157 P. 881 (1916). A person who asserts the creation of a trust by operation of law must produce evidence that is clear, cogent, and convincing to carry the burden of proving the trust exists. Rodgers v. Simmons, 43 Wn.2d 557, 561, 262 P.2d 204 (1953). Wills are presumed to be valid, and the burden is upon will contestants to prove the contrary by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence. In re Estate of Reilly, 78 Wn.2d 623, 656, 479 P.2d 1 (1970). "The burden of showing excessive valuation made by the assessor was upon the appellant, and to overthrow the correctness of his determination of values requires evidence of the most clear and convincing character before the court can say that there has been worked any constructive fraud upon appellant's rights as a taxpayer." Heuston v. King County, 90 Wash. 200, 202, 155 P. 773 (1916). Clear, cogent, and convincing is the standard of proof for those attempting to prove a resulting trust. In re Estate of Spadoni, 71 Wn.2d 820, 822-23, 430 P.2d 965 (1967).