Sheldon v. Fettig

In Sheldon v. Fettig, 129 Wn.2d 601, 607, 919 P.2d 1209 (1996), the issue before the Court was whether a summons and complaint had been left at a defendant's "house of usual abode" under RCW 4.28.080(15). Fettig, 129 Wn.2d at 603. The Court noted there that "more recently we have applied liberal construction to substitute service of process statutes in order to effectuate the purpose of the statute while adhering to its spirit and intent." Fettig, 129 Wn.2d at 607. As an example of such a liberal construction we cited our decision in Meier and provided this fleeting commentary: In Martin v. Meier, 111 Wn.2d 471, 760 P.2d 925 (1988) the issue was whether a defendant was properly served under the motorist statute. Such service is statutorily permitted only when the defendant "departs from this state." RCW 46.64.040. The defendant in Martin had not left the state although plaintiff was unable to locate him. This court liberally construed the term and upheld the sufficiency of service of process. In doing so, the term "departs" was interpreted by looking at the underlying purpose of the motorist statute, which is to provide a method for serving motorists who cannot be found in the State. Fettig, 129 Wn.2d at 607.