Nevers v. Fireside, Inc
In Nevers v. Fireside, Inc., 133 Wn.2d 804, 947 P.2d 721 (1997), the Court framed the issue that was before it as follows:
"The issue before us is whether the MAR 7.1(a) requirement that proof of service be filed within 20 days of the date the arbitration award is filed is mandatory and thus a condition precedent to obtaining a trial de novo. If it is, failure to strictly comply with that requirement is fatal to a request for trial de novo and the superior court's authority is limited to entering a judgment upon the arbitrator's decision and award." (Nevers, 133 Wn.2d at 811).
The Court then concluded:
"We are of the view that timely filing of a request for trial de novo of an arbitrator's decision in court ordered arbitration is necessary for the superior court to conduct a trial de novo. In that regard we are in accord with the Court of Appeals in State v. Hofer, 86 Wn. App. 497, 942 P.2d 979 (1997) to the effect that failure to strictly comply with MAR 7.1(a)'s filing requirement prevents the superior court from conducting a trial de novo. It follows, we believe, that the requirement in MAR 7.1(a) that proof of service of copies of the request for trial de novo be filed is also a prerequisite to obtaining a trial de novo. . . . It is only when there has been timely service and filing of proof of that service, that the court may conduct a trial de novo. Both steps must be taken, and on this the rule is unambiguous." (Nevers, 133 Wn.2d at 811-12.)