Martin v. Triol
In Martin v. Triol, 121 Wn.2d 135, 151-52, 847 P.2d 471 (1993), the plaintiffs attempted to personally serve process on the defendants within this state but were unsuccessful in that effort.
Thereafter, they served the secretary of state pursuant to the procedures in RCW 46.64.040. Unknown to the plaintiffs, the defendants were boating in Canada at the time the secretary of state was served with process.
The defendants objected to service under the nonresident motorist statute arguing that the plaintiffs failed to fulfill the statutory requirement of first exercising due diligence before serving the secretary of state.
On this issue, the Court determined:
"Findings of fact are appropriately made in the trial court. Here, however, the facts are not in issue. Rather, the "principal dispute relates to the meaning of a statutory term" and may be resolved by this court. The record is sufficiently developed in this case for this court to determine, as a matter of law and in accordance with the test announced in Meier, that Respondents acted in good faith and exercised due diligence in attempting to find Petitioners and serve process on them prior to substituting service on the Secretary of State." (Triol, 121 Wn.2d at 151.)