RCW 46.96.150

Protest of new or relocated dealershipHearingArbitration.

(1) Within thirty days after receipt of the notice under RCW 46.96.140, or within thirty days after the end of an appeal procedure provided by the manufacturer, whichever is greater, a new motor vehicle dealer so notified or entitled to notice may file a petition with the department protesting the proposed establishment or relocation. The petition shall contain a short statement setting forth the reasons for the dealer's objection to the proposed establishment or relocation. Upon the filing of a protest and the receipt of the filing fee, the department shall promptly notify the manufacturer that a timely protest has been filed and shall request the appointment of an administrative law judge under chapter 34.12 RCW to conduct a hearing. The manufacturer shall not establish or relocate the new motor vehicle dealer until the administrative law judge has held a hearing and has determined that there is good cause for permitting the proposed establishment or relocation. When more than one protest is filed against the establishment or relocation of the same dealer, the administrative law judge shall consolidate the hearings to expedite disposition of the matter.
(2) If a manufacturer provides in the franchise agreement or by written statement distributed and provided to its dealers for arbitration under the Uniform Arbitration Act, chapter 7.04A RCW, as a mechanism for resolving disputes relating to the establishment of an additional new motor vehicle dealer or the relocation of a new motor vehicle dealer, then the provisions of this section and RCW 46.96.170 relating to hearings by an administrative law judge do not apply, and a dispute regarding the establishment of an additional new motor vehicle dealer or the relocation of an existing new motor vehicle dealer shall be determined in an arbitration proceeding conducted in accordance with the Uniform Arbitration Act, chapter 7.04A RCW. The thirty-day period for filing a protest under this section still applies except that the protesting dealer shall file his or her protest with the manufacturer within thirty days after receipt of the notice under RCW 46.96.140.
(3) The dispute shall be referred for arbitration to such arbitrator as may be agreed upon by the parties to the dispute. If the parties cannot agree upon a single arbitrator within thirty days from the date the protest is filed, the protesting dealer will select an arbitrator, the manufacturer will select an arbitrator, and the two arbitrators will then select a third. If a third arbitrator is not agreed upon within thirty days, any party may apply to the superior court, and the judge of the superior court having jurisdiction will appoint the third arbitrator. The protesting dealer will pay the arbitrator selected by him or her, and the manufacturer will pay the arbitrator it selected. The expense of the third arbitrator and all other expenses of arbitration will be shared equally by the parties. Attorneys' fees and fees paid to expert witnesses are not expenses of arbitration and will be paid by the person incurring them.
(4) Notwithstanding the terms of a franchise or written statement of the manufacturer and notwithstanding the terms of a waiver, the arbitration will take place in the state of Washington in the county where the protesting dealer has his or her principal place of business. RCW 46.96.160 applies to a determination made by the arbitrator or arbitrators in determining whether good cause exists for permitting the proposed establishment or relocation of a new motor vehicle dealer, and the manufacturer has the burden of proof to establish that good cause exists for permitting the proposed establishment or relocation. After a hearing has been held, the arbitrator or arbitrators shall render a decision as expeditiously as possible, but in any event not later than one hundred twenty days from the date the arbitrator or arbitrators are selected or appointed. The manufacturer shall not establish or relocate the new motor vehicle dealer until the arbitration hearing has been held and the arbitrator or arbitrators have determined that there is good cause for permitting the proposed establishment or relocation. The written decision of the arbitrator is binding upon the parties unless modified, corrected, or vacated under the Washington Arbitration Act. Any party may appeal the decision of the arbitrator under the Uniform Arbitration Act, chapter 7.04A RCW.
(5) If the franchise agreement or the manufacturer's written statement distributed and provided to its dealers does not provide for arbitration under the Uniform Arbitration Act as a mechanism for resolving disputes relating to the establishment of an additional new motor vehicle dealer or the relocation of a new motor vehicle dealer, then the hearing provisions of this section and RCW 46.96.170 apply. Nothing in this section is intended to preclude a new motor vehicle dealer from electing to use any other dispute resolution mechanism offered by a manufacturer.
[ 2010 c 8 § 9102; 2005 c 433 § 43; 1994 c 274 § 2.]

NOTES:

ApplicationCaptions not lawSavingsEffective date2005 c 433: See RCW 7.04A.290 through 7.04A.310 and 7.04A.900.