Chapter 4.56 RCW

JUDGMENTSGENERALLY

Sections

4.56.050Effect of judgment against executor or administrator.
4.56.060Judgment in case of setoffWhen equal or less than plaintiff's debt.
4.56.070Judgment in case of setoffWhen exceeds plaintiff's debtEffect of contract assignment.
4.56.075Judgment in case of setoffWhen exceeds plaintiff's debt or affirmative relief required.
4.56.080Judgment in action to recover personal property.
4.56.090Assignment of judgmentFiling.
4.56.100Satisfaction of judgments for payment of money.
4.56.110Interest on judgments.
4.56.111Interest on judgmentsRate.
4.56.115Interest on judgments against state, political subdivisions or municipal corporationsTorts.
4.56.120Judgment of dismissal or nonsuit, grounds, effectOther judgments on merits.
4.56.150Challenge to legal sufficiency of evidenceJudgment in bar or of nonsuit.
4.56.190Lien of judgment.
4.56.200Commencement of lien on real estate.
4.56.210Cessation of lienExtension prohibitedException.
4.56.250Claims for noneconomic damagesLimitation.
4.56.260Award of future economic damagesProposal for periodic paymentsSecuritySatisfaction of judgment.

NOTES:

Enforcement of judgments: Title 6 RCW.
Judgments, financial support of child: RCW 13.34.161.
Liens, cessation, financial support of child: RCW 13.34.161.
Pleading judgments: RCW 4.36.070.
Time limit for decision: State Constitution Art. 4 § 20.
Verdict or award of future economic damages in personal injury or property damage action may provide for periodic payments: RCW 4.56.260.


4.56.050
Effect of judgment against executor or administrator.

When a setoff shall be established in an action brought by executors or administrators, and a balance found due to the defendant, the judgment rendered thereon against the plaintiff shall have the same effect as if the action had been originally commenced by the defendant.
[Code 1881 § 500; 1877 p 107 § 504; RRS § 269.]

NOTES:

Rules of court: Cf. CR 54(b).



4.56.060
Judgment in case of setoff—When equal or less than plaintiff's debt.

If the amount of the setoff, duly established, be equal to the plaintiff's debt or demand, judgment shall be rendered that the plaintiff take nothing by his or her action; if it be less than the plaintiff's debt or demand, the plaintiff shall have judgment for the residue only.
[ 2011 c 336 § 109; Code 1881 § 503; 1877 p 108 § 507; RRS § 271 1/2.]

NOTES:

Rules of court: Cf. CR 54(b).



4.56.070
Judgment in case of setoff—When exceeds plaintiff's debt—Effect of contract assignment.

If there be found a balance due from the plaintiff in the action to the defendant, judgment shall be rendered in favor of the defendant for the amount thereof, but no such judgment shall be rendered against the plaintiff when the contract, which is the subject of the action, shall have been assigned before the commencement of such action, nor for any balance due from any other person than the plaintiff in the action.
[Code 1881 § 504; 1877 p 108 § 508; RRS § 272. FORMER PART OF SECTION: Code 1881 § 303; RRS § 433 now codified as RCW 4.56.075.]

NOTES:

Rules of court: Cf. CR 54(b).



4.56.075
Judgment in case of setoff—When exceeds plaintiff's debt or affirmative relief required.

If a setoff established at the trial, exceeds the plaintiff's demand so established, judgment for the defendant shall be given for the excess; or if it appears that the defendant is entitled to any affirmative relief, judgment shall be given accordingly.
[Code 1881 § 303; 1877 p 62 § 307; 1869 p 74 § 305; 1854 p 173 § 231; RRS § 433. Formerly RCW 4.56.070, part.]

NOTES:

Rules of court: Cf. CR 54(b).



4.56.080
Judgment in action to recover personal property.

In an action to recover the possession of personal property, judgment for the plaintiff may be for the possession or value thereof, in case a delivery cannot be had, and damages for the detention. If the property has been delivered to the plaintiff, and the defendant claim a return thereof, judgment for the defendant may be for a return of the property, or the value thereof, in case a return cannot be had, and damages for taking and withholding the same.



4.56.090
Assignment of judgment—Filing.

When any judgment has been assigned, the assignment may be filed in the office of the county clerk in the county where the judgment is recorded and a certified copy thereof may be filed in any county where an abstract of such judgment has been filed and from the time of such filing shall be notice of such assignment: PROVIDED, That such assignment of a judgment or such certified copy thereof, may not be filed unless it is properly acknowledged before an officer qualified by law to take acknowledgment of deeds.
[1935 c 22 § 1, part; 1929 c 60 § 5, part; RRS § 447. Prior: 1893 c 42 § 6.]



4.56.100
Satisfaction of judgments for payment of money.

(1) When any judgment for the payment of money only shall have been paid or satisfied, the clerk of the court in which such judgment was rendered shall note upon the record in the execution docket satisfaction thereof giving the date of such satisfaction upon either the payment to such clerk of the amount of such judgment, costs and interest and any accrued costs by reason of the issuance of any execution, or the filing with such clerk of a satisfaction entitled in such action and identifying the same executed by the judgment creditor or his or her attorney of record in such action or his or her assignee acknowledged as deeds are acknowledged. The clerk has the authority to note the satisfaction of judgments for criminal and juvenile legal financial obligations when the clerk's record indicates payment in full or as directed by the court. Every satisfaction of judgment and every partial satisfaction of judgment which provides for the payment of money shall clearly designate the judgment creditor and his or her attorney if any, the judgment debtor, the amount or type of satisfaction, whether the satisfaction is full or partial, the cause number, and the date of entry of the judgment. A certificate by such clerk of the entry of such satisfaction by him or her may be filed in the office of the clerk of any county in which an abstract of such judgment has been filed. When so satisfied by the clerk or the filing of such certificate the lien of such judgment shall be discharged.
(2) The department of social and health services shall file a satisfaction of judgment for welfare fraud conviction if a person does not pay money through the clerk as required under subsection (1) of this section.

NOTES:

SeverabilityEffective dates2003 c 379: See notes following RCW 9.94A.728.
IntentPurpose2003 c 379 §§ 13-27: See note following RCW 9.94A.760.



4.56.110
Interest on judgments.

Interest on judgments shall accrue as follows:
(1) Judgments founded on written contracts, providing for the payment of interest until paid at a specified rate, shall bear interest at the rate specified in the contracts: PROVIDED, That said interest rate is set forth in the judgment.
(2) All judgments for unpaid child support that have accrued under a superior court order or an order entered under the administrative procedure act shall bear interest at the rate of twelve percent.
(3)(a) Judgments founded on the tortious conduct of a "public agency" as defined in RCW 42.30.020 shall bear interest from the date of entry at two percentage points above the equivalent coupon issue yield, as published by the board of governors of the federal reserve system, of the average bill rate for twenty-six week treasury bills as determined at the first bill market auction conducted during the calendar month immediately preceding the date of entry. In any case where a court is directed on review to enter judgment on a verdict or in any case where a judgment entered on a verdict is wholly or partly affirmed on review, interest on the judgment or on that portion of the judgment affirmed shall date back to and shall accrue from the date the verdict was rendered.
(b) Except as provided in (a) of this subsection, judgments founded on the tortious conduct of individuals or other entities, whether acting in their personal or representative capacities, shall bear interest from the date of entry at two percentage points above the prime rate, as published by the board of governors of the federal reserve system on the first business day of the calendar month immediately preceding the date of entry. In any case where a court is directed on review to enter judgment on a verdict or in any case where a judgment entered on a verdict is wholly or partly affirmed on review, interest on the judgment or on that portion of the judgment affirmed shall date back to and shall accrue from the date the verdict was rendered.
(4) Except as provided under subsection (1) of this section, judgments for unpaid private student loan debt, as defined in RCW 6.01.060, shall bear interest from the date of entry at two percentage points above the prime rate, as published by the board of governors of the federal reserve system on the first business day of the calendar month immediately preceding the date of entry.
(5) Except as provided under subsections (1), (2), (3), and (4) of this section, judgments shall bear interest from the date of entry at the maximum rate permitted under RCW 19.52.020 on the date of entry thereof. In any case where a court is directed on review to enter judgment on a verdict or in any case where a judgment entered on a verdict is wholly or partly affirmed on review, interest on the judgment or on that portion of the judgment affirmed shall date back to and shall accrue from the date the verdict was rendered. The method for determining an interest rate prescribed by this subsection is also the method for determining the "rate applicable to civil judgments" for purposes of RCW 10.82.090.

NOTES:

FindingsIntentShort title2018 c 199: See notes following RCW 67.08.100.
ApplicationInterest accrual2004 c 185: See note following RCW 4.56.115.
Application1983 c 147: "The 1983 amendments of RCW 4.56.110 and 4.56.115 apply only to judgments entered after July 24, 1983." [ 1983 c 147 § 3.]
Effective date1980 c 94: See note following RCW 4.84.250.



4.56.111
Interest on judgments—Rate.

The rate of interest required by RCW 4.56.110(3) (a) and (b) applies to the accrual of interest:
(1) As of the date of entry of judgment with respect to a judgment that is entered on or after June 10, 2010; and
(2) As of June 10, 2010, with respect to a judgment that was entered before June 10, 2010, and that is still accruing interest on June 10, 2010.



4.56.115
Interest on judgments against state, political subdivisions or municipal corporations—Torts.

Judgments founded on the tortious conduct of the state of Washington or of the political subdivisions, municipal corporations, and quasi municipal corporations of the state, whether acting in their governmental or proprietary capacities, shall bear interest from the date of entry at two percentage points above the equivalent coupon issue yield (as published by the board of governors of the federal reserve system) of the average bill rate for twenty-six week treasury bills as determined at the first bill market auction conducted during the calendar month immediately preceding the date of entry thereof. In any case where a court is directed on review to enter judgment on a verdict or in any case where a judgment entered on a verdict is wholly or partly affirmed on review, interest on the judgment or on that portion of the judgment affirmed shall date back to and shall accrue from the date the verdict was rendered.

NOTES:

ApplicationInterest accrual2004 c 185: "The rate of interest required by sections 1 and 2(3), chapter 185, Laws of 2004 applies to the accrual of interest:
(1) As of the date of entry of judgment with respect to a judgment that is entered on or after June 10, 2004;
(2) As of June 10, 2004, with respect to a judgment that was entered before June 10, 2004, and that is still accruing interest on June 10, 2004." [ 2004 c 185 § 3.]
Application1983 c 147: See note following RCW 4.56.110.



4.56.120
Judgment of dismissal or nonsuit, grounds, effect—Other judgments on merits.

An action in the superior court may be dismissed by the court and a judgment of nonsuit rendered in the following cases:
(1) Upon the motion of the plaintiff, (a) when the case is to be or is being tried before a jury, at any time before the court announces its decision in favor of the defendant upon a challenge to the legal sufficiency of the evidence, or before the jury retire to consider their verdict, (b) when the action, whether for legal or equitable relief, is to be or is being tried before the court without a jury, at any time before the court has announced its decision: PROVIDED, That no action shall be dismissed upon the motion of the plaintiff, if the defendant has interposed a setoff as a defense, or seeks affirmative relief growing out of the same transaction, or sets up a counterclaim, either legal or equitable, to the specific property or thing which is the subject matter of the action.
(2) Upon the motion of either party, upon the written consent of the other.
(3) When the plaintiff fails to appear at the time of trial and the defendant appears and asks for a dismissal.
(4) Upon its own motion, when, upon the trial and before the final submission of the case, the plaintiff abandons it.
(5) Upon its own motion, on the refusal or neglect of the plaintiff to make the necessary parties defendants, after having been ordered so to do by the court.
(6) Upon the motion of some of the defendants, when there are others whom the plaintiff fails to prosecute with diligence.
(7) Upon its own motion, for disobedience of the plaintiff to an order of the court concerning the proceedings in the action.
(8) Upon the motion of the defendant, when, upon the trial, the plaintiff fails to prove some material fact or facts necessary to sustain his or her action, as alleged in his or her complaint. When judgment of nonsuit is given, the action is dismissed, but such judgment shall not have the effect to bar another action for the same cause. In every case, other than those mentioned in this section, the judgment shall be rendered upon the merits and shall bar another action for the same cause.
[ 2011 c 336 § 110; 1929 c 89 § 1; RRS §§ 408, 409, 410. Formerly RCW 4.56.120, 4.56.130, and 4.56.140. Prior: Code 1881 §§ 286, 287, 288; 1877 p 58 §§ 290, 291, 292; 1869 p 69 §§ 288, 289, 290; 1854 p 171 §§ 223, 224.]

NOTES:

Rules of court: Cf. CR 41(a), (b).



4.56.150
Challenge to legal sufficiency of evidence—Judgment in bar or of nonsuit.

In all cases tried in the superior court with a jury, the defendant, at the close of the plaintiff's evidence, or either party, at the close of all the evidence, may challenge the legal sufficiency of the evidence to warrant a verdict in favor of the adverse party, and if the court shall decide as a matter of law the evidence does not warrant a verdict, it shall thereupon discharge the jury from further consideration of the case and enter a judgment in accordance with its decision, which judgment if it be in favor of the defendant shall be a bar to another action by the plaintiff for the same cause: PROVIDED, That in case the defendant challenge the legal sufficiency of the evidence at the close of plaintiff's case, and the court shall decide that it is insufficient merely for failure of proof of some material fact, or facts, and that there is reasonable ground to believe that such proof can be supplied in a subsequent action, the court may discharge the jury and enter a judgment of nonsuit as provided in RCW 4.56.120: AND PROVIDED, FURTHER, That nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the court to discharge the jury and determine disputed questions of fact.

NOTES:

Rules of court: Cf. CR 50(a).



4.56.190
Lien of judgment.

The real estate of any judgment debtor, and such as the judgment debtor may acquire, not exempt by law, shall be held and bound to satisfy any judgment of the district court of the United States rendered in this state and any judgment of the supreme court, court of appeals, superior court, or district court of this state, and every such judgment shall be a lien thereupon to commence as provided in RCW 4.56.200 and to run for a period of not to exceed ten years from the day on which such judgment was entered unless the ten-year period is extended in accordance with RCW 6.17.020(3), or unless the judgment results from a criminal sentence for a crime that was committed on or after July 1, 2000, in which case the lien will remain in effect until the judgment is fully satisfied. As used in this chapter, real estate shall not include the vendor's interest under a real estate contract for judgments rendered after August 23, 1983. If a judgment debtor owns real estate, subject to execution, jointly or in common with any other person, the judgment shall be a lien on the interest of the defendant only.
Personal property of the judgment debtor shall be held only from the time it is actually levied upon.

NOTES:

Finding2011 c 106: See note following RCW 10.82.090.
Application1987 c 442 § 1103: "The amendment of RCW 4.56.190 by this act applies only to judgments entered after July 26, 1987." [ 1987 c 442 § 1104.]
Intent1987 c 202: See note following RCW 2.04.190.
Application1980 c 105: See note following RCW 4.16.020.
Repeal and saving1929 c 60: "That chapter XXVIII (28), sections 320, 321, 322, and chapter XXIX (29), sections 323 and 324, and section 753 of the Code of Washington Territory of 1881; an act entitled 'An Act relating to the filing and recording of transcripts of judgments rendered in this state by the district or circuit courts of the United States', approved February 19, 1890, Laws of 1889/90, pages 97 to 98; section 5 of chapter XXXVIII (38) of the Laws of 1891, pages 77 to 78; chapter LXXXIV (84) of the Laws of 1891, pages 165 to 166; chapter XLII (42) of the Laws of 1893 pages 65 to 67, and chapter XXXIX (39) of the Laws of 1897, pages 52 to 53, chapter XI of the Laws of 1897, page 10, (sections 445, 446, 447, 450, 451, 452, 453, 454, 455, 456, 458, 459, 460, 461, 462 and 463 of Remington's Compiled Statutes; sections 8111, 8112, 8113, 8114, 8115, 8116, 8117, 8118, 8119, 8120, 8121, 8125, 8126, 8163, 8164 and 8165 of Pierce's Code) are hereby repealed: PROVIDED, That such repeal shall not be construed as affecting any rights acquired or the validity of any act done or proceeding had or pending under the provisions of any of said acts repealed." [ 1929 c 60 § 9.]
Entry of judgmentsSuperior courtDistrict courtSmall claims: RCW 6.01.020.
Execution of judgments: RCW 6.17.020.



4.56.200
Commencement of lien on real estate.

The lien of judgments upon the real estate of the judgment debtor shall commence as follows:
(1) Judgments of the district court of the United States rendered or filed in the county in which the real estate of the judgment debtor is situated, from the time of the entry or filing thereof;
(2) Judgments of the superior court for the county in which the real estate of the judgment debtor is situated, from the time of the filing by the county clerk upon the execution docket in accordance with RCW 4.64.030;
(3) Judgments of the district court of the United States rendered in any county in this state other than that in which the real estate of the judgment debtor to be affected is situated, judgments of the supreme court of this state, judgments of the court of appeals of this state, and judgments of the superior court for any county other than that in which the real estate of the judgment debtor to be affected is situated, from the time of the filing of a duly certified abstract of such judgment with the county clerk of the county in which the real estate of the judgment debtor to be affected is situated, as provided in this act;
(4) Judgments of a district court of this state rendered or filed as a foreign judgment in a superior court in the county in which the real estate of the judgment debtor is situated, from the time of the filing of a duly certified transcript of the docket of the district court with the county clerk of the county in which such judgment was rendered or filed, and upon such filing said judgment shall become to all intents and purposes a judgment of the superior court for said county; and
(5) Judgments of a district court of this state rendered or filed in a superior court in any other county in this state than that in which the real estate of the judgment debtor to be affected is situated, a transcript of the docket of which has been filed with the county clerk of the county where such judgment was rendered or filed, from the time of filing, with the county clerk of the county in which the real estate of the judgment debtor to be affected is situated, of a duly certified abstract of the record of said judgment in the office of the county clerk of the county in which the certified transcript of the docket of said judgment of said district court was originally filed.

NOTES:

Reviser's note: The words at the end of subsection (3) reading "as provided in this act" appeared in chapter 60, Laws of 1929 which is codified as RCW 4.56.090, 4.56.100, 4.56.190 through 4.56.210, 4.64.070, 4.64.090, 4.64.110, and 4.64.120.
Intent1987 c 202: See note following RCW 2.04.190.
Entry of verdict in execution docketEffectCessation of lien: RCW 4.64.020, 4.64.100.



4.56.210
Cessation of lien—Extension prohibited—Exception.

(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, after the expiration of ten years from the date of the entry of any judgment heretofore or hereafter rendered in this state, it shall cease to be a lien or charge against the estate or person of the judgment debtor. No suit, action or other proceeding shall ever be had on any judgment rendered in this state by which the lien shall be extended or continued in force for any greater or longer period than ten years.
(2) An underlying judgment or judgment lien entered after *the effective date of this act for accrued child support shall continue in force for ten years after the eighteenth birthday of the youngest child named in the order for whom support is ordered. All judgments entered after *the effective date of this act shall contain the birth date of the youngest child for whom support is ordered.
(3) A lien based upon an underlying judgment continues in force for an additional ten-year period if the period of execution for the underlying judgment is extended under RCW 6.17.020.
[ 1995 c 75 § 1; 1989 c 360 § 2; 1979 ex.s. c 236 § 1; 1929 c 60 § 7; RRS §§ 459, 460. Formerly RCW 4.56.210 and 4.56.220. Prior: 1897 c 39 §§ 1, 2.]

NOTES:

*Reviser's note: This act [1989 c 360] has three effective dates. Sections 9, 10, and 16 are effective May 12, 1989, section 39 is effective July 1, 1990, and the remainder of this act is effective July 23, 1989.
Entry of judgmentsSuperior courtDistrict courtSmall claims: RCW 6.01.020.



4.56.250
Claims for noneconomic damages—Limitation.

(1) As used in this section, the following terms have the meanings indicated unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(a) "Economic damages" means objectively verifiable monetary losses, including medical expenses, loss of earnings, burial costs, loss of use of property, cost of replacement or repair, cost of obtaining substitute domestic services, loss of employment, and loss of business or employment opportunities.
(b) "Noneconomic damages" means subjective, nonmonetary losses, including, but not limited to pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, disability or disfigurement incurred by the injured party, emotional distress, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium, injury to reputation and humiliation, and destruction of the parent-child relationship.
(c) "Bodily injury" means physical injury, sickness, or disease, including death.
(d) "Average annual wage" means the average annual wage in the state of Washington as determined under RCW 50.04.355.
(2) In no action seeking damages for personal injury or death may a claimant recover a judgment for noneconomic damages exceeding an amount determined by multiplying 0.43 by the average annual wage and by the life expectancy of the person incurring noneconomic damages, as the life expectancy is determined by the life expectancy tables adopted by the insurance commissioner. For purposes of determining the maximum amount allowable for noneconomic damages, a claimant's life expectancy shall not be less than fifteen years. The limitation contained in this subsection applies to all claims for noneconomic damages made by a claimant who incurred bodily injury. Claims for loss of consortium, loss of society and companionship, destruction of the parent-child relationship, and all other derivative claims asserted by persons who did not sustain bodily injury are to be included within the limitation on claims for noneconomic damages arising from the same bodily injury.
(3) If a case is tried to a jury, the jury shall not be informed of the limitation contained in subsection (2) of this section.

NOTES:

Reviser's note: As to the constitutionality of this section, see Sofie v. Fibreboard Corp., 112 Wn.2d 636, 771 P.2d 711 (1989).
PreambleReport to legislatureApplicabilitySeverability1986 c 305: See notes following RCW 4.16.160.



4.56.260
Award of future economic damages—Proposal for periodic payments—Security—Satisfaction of judgment.

(1) In an action based on fault seeking damages for personal injury or property damage in which a verdict or award for future economic damages of at least one hundred thousand dollars is made, the court or arbitrator shall, at the request of a party, enter a judgment which provides for the periodic payment in whole or in part of the future economic damages. With respect to the judgment, the court or arbitrator shall make a specific finding as to the dollar amount of periodic payments intended to compensate the judgment creditor for the future economic damages.
(2) Prior to entry of judgment, the court shall request each party to submit a proposal for periodic payment of future economic damages to compensate the claimant. Proposals shall include provisions for: The name of the recipient or recipients of the payments, the dollar amount of the payments, the interval between payments, the number of payments or the period of time over which the payments shall be made, modification for hardship or unforeseen circumstances, posting of adequate security, and any other factor the court deems relevant under the circumstances. After each party has submitted a proposal, the court shall select the proposal, with any changes the court deems proper, which in the discretion of the court and the interests of justice best provides for the future needs of the claimant and enter judgment accordingly.
(3) If the court enters a judgment for periodic payments and any security required by the judgment is not posted within thirty days, the court shall enter a judgment for the payment of future damages in a lump sum.
(4) If at any time following entry of judgment for periodic payments, a judgment debtor fails for any reason to make a payment in a timely fashion according to the terms of the judgment, the judgment creditor may petition the court for an order requiring payment by the judgment debtor of the outstanding payments in a lump sum. In calculating the amount of the lump sum judgment, the court shall total the remaining periodic payments due and owing to the judgment creditor converted to present value. The court may also require payment of interest on the outstanding judgment.
(5) Upon the death of the judgment creditor, the court which rendered the original judgment may, upon petition of any party in interest, modify the judgment to award and apportion the unpaid future damages. Money damages awarded for loss of future earnings shall not be reduced or payments terminated by reason of the death of the judgment creditor.
(6) Upon satisfaction of a periodic payment judgment, any obligation of the judgment debtor to make further payments shall cease and any security posted pursuant to this section shall revert to the judgment debtor.

NOTES:

PreambleReport to legislatureApplicabilitySeverability1986 c 305: See notes following RCW 4.16.160.