Pursuant to RCW 4.12.010(1), an action for injuries to real property “shall be commenced in the county in which the subject of the action or some part thereof, is situated.” William Ralph and William Forth instituted actions in King County Superior Court against the Department of Natural Resources and other defendants for injuries to real property located in Lewis County. The trial court dismissed both cases without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

The Court of Appeals affirmed:

  • The nature of a claim for relief – for example, whether a cause is local in nature or transitory – is determined by the facts alleged in the complaint and as adduced thereunder and by the relief requested. Because the causes at issue were based on allegations of injury to land, they were local in nature, not transitory. Accordingly, RCW 4.12.010(1) applied.
  • Under Washington Supreme Court precedent, RCW 4.12.010 is a jurisdictional statute. Although other, more recent Washington Supreme Court cases interpret filing requirements similar to that set forth in RCW 4.12.010 as specifying venue, and it might be difficult to reconcile the reasoning in such cases with the Supreme Court’s earlier pronouncements on RCW 4.12.010, the Court of Appeals is not free to depart from binding precedent.

Read the October 15, 2012 decision

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Photo of Leonard Feldman Leonard Feldman

Leonard Feldman, a partner in the Litigation group, focuses his practice on appellate work and complex commercial litigation. His appellate practice encompasses all phases of civil and criminal appeals, including emergency motions, expedited appeals, case management, drafting and oral argument. His commercial litigation…

Leonard Feldman, a partner in the Litigation group, focuses his practice on appellate work and complex commercial litigation. His appellate practice encompasses all phases of civil and criminal appeals, including emergency motions, expedited appeals, case management, drafting and oral argument. His commercial litigation experience includes class actions, antitrust (litigation and counseling), intellectual property, construction law, securities litigation, environmental litigation and civil rights. Leonard is currently a District Coordinator for the Ninth Circuit Pro Bono Program and is the Pro Bono Coordinator for Division One of the Washington Court of Appeals. He is also a lecturer and teaches a course on appellate practice at the University of Washington School of Law.

Photo of J. Will Eidson J. Will Eidson

J. Will Eidson focuses his practice on complex litigation, including the representation of insurers in significant coverage disputes, particularly in the areas of fidelity and surety bonds and directors and officers insurance. He also has experience in matters involving antitrust issues, contractual disputes…

J. Will Eidson focuses his practice on complex litigation, including the representation of insurers in significant coverage disputes, particularly in the areas of fidelity and surety bonds and directors and officers insurance. He also has experience in matters involving antitrust issues, contractual disputes and investment-related claims.. He was a law clerk for The Honorable C. Arlen Beam in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (2007-2008).