Motion for Change of Venue in Washington

What Is a Motion for Change of Venue?


Normally, “the policy of this state is that, if the parties agree to a venue for a suit, the trial court cannot allow the suit to be brought in any county other than the one agreed on by the parties.” (See Keystone Masonry v. Garco Constr (2006) 135 Wn. App. 927, 933.)

However, “a trial court should grant a motion for a change of venue when necessary to effectuate a defendant's right to a fair trial.” (See In re Pry, No. 83437-1-I, at *12 (Wash. Ct. App. Apr. 4, 2022).)

General Information for Complaints and Motions

“When the parties have agreed on a forum, the trial court must enforce the agreement unless the party objecting to the chosen forum can establish that enforcing it would be unreasonable and unjust.” (See Keystone Masonry v. Garco Constr (2006) 135 Wn. App. 927, 933.)

“To meet its heavy burden of proving unreasonable and unjust enforcement in order to change the venue, one must show either that:

  1. the venue agreement was obtained by fraud, undue influence, or unfair bargaining power or
  2. the chosen forum would be so seriously inconvenient as to deprive the party of a meaningful day in court.”

(See Bank of Am., N.A. v. Miller (2001) 108 Wn. App. 745, 748, 33 P.3d 9; Keystone Masonry v. Garco Constr (2006) 135 Wn. App. 927, 934.)

“If the objecting party does not prove the venue agreement is unreasonable and unjust, failure to enforce the agreement is reversible error.” (See id.)

Standard of Review and Burdens of Proof

"A court may change venue on its own motion and has inherent power to order a change where necessary for the proper administration of justice." (See Clampitt v. Thurston County (1983) 98 Wn.2d 638, 648 n. 7, 658 P.2d 641; In re Lewis (2006) 134 Wn. App. 896, 902.)

“When the defendant seeks to change the venue, the matter lies within the discretion of the trial court and is reviewable only for an abuse of that discretion.” (See Community Ass'n v. Kitsap County (1982) 33 Wn. App. 108, 121 n.8.)

Concerning proper venue, an "abuse of judicial discretion is not shown unless the discretion has been exercised upon grounds, or to an extent, clearly untenable or manifestly unreasonable." (See id.)

The Court’s Decisions

It is well settled that pursuant to RCW 4.12.030(1),(3); “the change of venue statute authorizes a court to change the place of trial on motion when it appears that the county designated in the complaint is not the proper county, or the convenience of witnesses or the ends of justice would be forwarded by the change.” (See Dougherty v. Dept. Labor Industries (2002) 112 Wn. App. 322, 331 n.3.)

It is also well settled that “in considering a motion to transfer venue, the court may consider the distances various witnesses would be required to travel, but may also consider the relative importance to be given to travel considering the efficiency of available transportation facilities.” (See Hickey v. City of Bellingham (1998) 90 Wn. App. 711, 719.)

Documents for Motion for Change of Venue in Washington

(LED SAUNTY, WASHINGTON ~ JAN 29 2010 SGA OTTASCOTT ‘ Superior Court of Washington ey County of King No O 8-2- SPtOEe-BW Seamne Meena . Stheywe WMeeertl - THE ABOVE-ENTITLED COURT, HAVING HEARD A MOTION _ >) SreProcur Ss Use FO CARN GE VEHME. {] Clerk's Action Required ITISHEREBY ORDERED __ Goaer Denes Renoeut's emote Fe Che eget Feu TA Atettte A or ON CEN Pe ee Fitts Couer MAES So Ktcince ON Mate To Venra€ 2 Covsoui = TH nh a APR Penewea Nene ac Date: __¢ pet L > Presented By:

Case Filed

Oct 31, 2008

Case Status

Completed 02/02/2011


King County, WA

Filed Date

Jan 29, 2010


Domestic Violence


11/13/2009 12:00 AM

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