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Alexander v. Food Services of America, Inc. (no relationship to attorney John R. Alexander)

Case Conclusion Date: 12.27.1994

Practice Area: Personal Injury

Outcome: Plaintiff's case dismissed

Description: After child was severely injured after he was struck by automobile in school parking lot, child's father brought action against school district and motorist. Child's mother sought to join action but did not attend trial at which father obtained judgment. After mother brought action against school district, school district moved for summary judgment on both mother's action and mother's claim in connection with father's action. The Superior Court, Snohomish County, James Allendoerfer, J., granted motion, and mother appealed. The Court of Appeals, Pekelis, Acting C.J., held that trial court did not abuse discretion in dismissing mother's claim arising out of father's suit where mother was aware of trial on father's claim and willfully chose not to attend. We (the Court) are concerned that RCW 4.24.010 remains unclear to practitioners and the courts. However, here, we need not decide whether Alexander's improper joinder, could or should be excused or whether the defendants waived the issue by failing to raise it in a timely manner. Alexander failed to appear at the month long trial. The trial court cited this failure as an additional basis for dismissal. In its discretion a trial court may dismiss a case because of a plaintiff's failure to appear for trial. Wagner v. McDonald, 10 Wash.App. 213, 217, 516 P.2d 1051 (1973); see also, Snohomish Cy. v. Thorp Meats, 110 Wash.2d 163, 167, 750 P.2d 1251 (1988).

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