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AGLO 1982 No. 19 - July 30, 1982
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Ken Eikenberry | 1981-1992 | Attorney General of Washington

OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- COUNTY ‑- CLERK ‑- FEES ‑- JUDGMENTS ‑- IMPOSITION OF ADDITIONAL FILING FEE UPON COMMENCEMENT OF SUPPLEMENTAL PROCEEDINGS

A county clerk is not authorized to impose an additional filing fee, pursuant to RCW 36.18.020 when a judgment creditor, after filing the abstract of judgment (and paying the fee which is then required) commences supplemental proceedings.

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                                                                    July 30, 1982

Honorable Paul Klasen
Prosecuting Attorney
Grant County
P.O. Box 37
Ephrata, Washington 98823                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1982 No. 19

Dear Paul:

            By recent letter you requested our opinion as to ". . . whether the county clerk can request an additional filing fee [pursuant to RCW 36.18.020] when a judgment creditor, after filing the abstract of judgment, commences supplemental proceedings."

            We answer your question in the negative for the reasons set forth in our analysis.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            As you know, the fees which a county clerk is authorized to impose are all set forth in RCW 36.18.020.  We are, however, unable to find anything in that statute which would support the imposition of a fee in connection with the initiation of proceedings supplemental to execution of a previously obtained civil judgment.1/   RCW 36.18.020(3) does, as you have noted, authorized a fee in connection with the filing of an abstract of judgment for the purpose of such supplemental proceedings.  Specifically, that subsection provides as follows:

                         [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

"The party filing a transcript or abstract of judgment or verdict from a United States court held in this state, or from the superior court of another county or from a justice court in the county of issuance, shall pay at the time of filing, a fee of fifteen dollars."

            But, by very definition of the term,2/ those "supplemental" proceedings authorized by chapter 6.32 RCW do not represent the filing of ". . . the first or initial paper in any civil action, . . ." under subsection (1) of RCW 36.18.020,supra, which requires payment of a $70 fee by the party so filing.3/   Nor, at the other end of the spectrum, would this situation fall under subsection (6) of the statute which states:

            "For filing any paper, not related to or a part of any proceeding, civil or criminal, or any probate matter, required or permitted to be filed in his office for which no other charge is provided by law, the clerk shall collect two dollars."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            We therefore conclude that your question must be answered in the negative.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

KENNETH O. EIKENBERRY
Attorney General

PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/We assume, from your letter, that you have reference to those supplemental proceedings authorized by chapter 6.32 RCW.

2/The Washington Supreme Court has consistently held that supplemental proceedings are merely a continuation of the original or main action and are auxiliary thereto.   Field v. Greiner, 11 Wash. 8, 39 Pac. 259 (1895); Flood v. Libby, 38 Wash. 366, 80 Pac. 533 (1905);State ex rel. Canal Tire Co. v. Hall, 120 Wash. 449, 207 Pac. 685 (1922); State ex rel. McDowall v. Superior Court, 152 Wash. 323, 277 Pac. 850 (1929); Junkin v. Anderson, 12 Wn.2d 58, 120 P.2d 548 (1941); Arnold v. Nat. Union Marine Cooks, Etc., 42 Wn.2d 648, 257 P.2d 629 (1953).

3/We have considered the possibility of an analogy to the situation which exists in the case of a change of venue where the plaintiff, in effect, pays a second "initial" filing fee.   There, however, a specific statute dealing only with changes of venue comes into play and requires that result.  We have reference to RCW 4.12.090; and see also, CR 82(3)(d).

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