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Martin v. Hydraulic Fishing Supply, Inc – Case Brief Summary (Washington)

In Martin v. Hydraulic Fishing Supply, Inc., 66 Wn. App. 370, 378, 832 P.2d 118 (Wash. App. 1992), the court held, based on what it interpreted to be conflicting statutory provisions that did not expressly speak to this issue, that one could move to vacate, to modify, or to amend an arbitration award for the first time after judgment confirming the award, provided that one did so within the statutory period. Id., 66 Wn. App. at 373-74, 832 P.2d at 120.

However, the Martin court's basis for this holding was that, "in the absence of any provision explicitly providing that a party's rights . . . are limited by the entry of an order confirming the judgment . . ., we must conclude that the motion to vacate the judgment here was permissible . . . ," frankly acknowledging that "we have no basis for understanding what the Legislature's intentions were in establishing this particular statutory scheme concerning the time for filing a motion to vacate" and concluding that it was thus "constrained to interpret the statute as we have." Id., 66 Wn. App. at 374, 374 n.4, 832 P.2d at 120, 120 n.4.

Martin was also not a unanimous decision: two justices concurred, expressly disagreeing with the cited holding, and the majority even acknowledged that "the concurrence makes an excellent point concerning the inconsistencies among the various provisions of the statute." Id., 66 Wn. App. at 374 n.4, 832 P.2d at 120 n.4.