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AGO 1954 No. 353 - December 02, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

JUSTICE COURT ‑- FEES (FILING) ‑- COSTS ‑- ALIAS NOTICE

No additional filing fee may be charged for an alias notice in justice court filed within fifteen days of the original notice.  A default judgment may be taken where the defendant fails to appear at the time set for trial in an alias notice where service was obtained as required by statute.

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                                                                December 2, 1954

Honorable Arnold R. Zempel
Prosecuting Attorney
Snohomish County
Everett, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 353


Attention:  !ttMr. Stuart C. French

            Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Sir:

            We received your letter of November 8, 1954, in which you ask the following questions:

            "(1) 'In commencing an action in Justice Court upon Complaint and Notice, where service upon the defendant cannot be had within the required statutory time, is plaintiff required to pay an additional fee for issuance of a second notice for the appearance of defendant upon the complaint filed or is the issuance of a second notice only supplementary proceedings?'

            "(2) 'In many of such cases there is issued what is called an Alias Notice setting a different date for appearance.  May a default judgment be entered against a defendant not appearing in answer to such Alias Notice?'"

                                                                     ANALYSIS

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]                                                            

            Your first question is based primarily upon RCW 3.16.070, which sets out the fees to be charged by the justices of the peace.  This section provides in part as follows:                               

            "The fees and compensation of justices of the peace shall be as follows, to-wit:

            "When each case is filed the sum of two dollars shall be paid by the plaintiff, which sum shall include the docketing of the cause, the issuing notice and summons, the trial of the cause and the entering of judgment."

            The second paragraph of this section provides that no further fee shall be required for any of the additional orders, bonds and writs specifically mentioned therein.  These exceptions, though not expressly including alias notices, infer that the first paragraph, quoted above, was meant to be all inclusive.  In other words, a fee of $2.00 shall be charged for the entire cause, and the filing fee for any amended complaints and additional summonses and notices shall all be included therein.  It is our opinion, therefore, that the $2.00 charge shall include any alias notices filed thereafter, and that no additional charge should be made for them.  The alias notice, however, may not extend the period of service beyond the fifteen-day period set by statute, nor may the date of trial be set further ahead than twenty days from the date of the filing of the original notice.  An additional notice extending the date beyond this period shall necessitate the filing of a new action, and an additional $2.00 filing fee shall be charged.

            In answer to your second question, it should be enough to say that an alias notice has the same effect as the original notice if served within five days  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] before the time set for trial.  Therefore, if the defendant, after having been personally served, fails to appear at the time set in the alias notice, a default judgment may be taken against him.  RCW 12.20.020.

            We hope this will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


EDWARD M. LANE
Assistant Attorney General

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