Washington Law Review

Article Title

Summary Judgment


Joann R. Locke


Washington procedure is noticeably defective in the lack of a device which will dispose quickly and easily of all those actions where no material issue of fact actually exists although issues are formally set up in the pleadings. The urgent need for some such device was shown recently in the case of Weyerhaeuser Sales Co. v. Holden. Plaintiff desired to end the case summarily, as he felt sure there was no defense to his action. However, his attempt to make existing procedure serve this purpose failed. All of defendant's answer except a cross-complaint had been stricken, and plaintiff had filed a reply to this cross-complaint setting up certain affirmative defenses. After the pleadings were closed, plaintiff filed a request, under Rules of Practice and Procedure, 21, for an admission of all allegations in four paragraphs of the reply. This being unanswered by defendant, plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings was granted by the trial court. The Washington Supreme Court reversed the case, holding that plaintiff's request for admission of facts was improper, as it is not the function of the admission to serve as a form of pleading by which the general averments of an adversary's pleading are admitted or denied, and issues for trial thereby raised.

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