ADAM A. CHUKRI, Appellant,
JASON STALFORT and JANE DOE STALFORT, and their marital community, Respondents.
defendant has a claim against the plaintiff which arises out
of the same transaction or occurrence as the plaintiff's
claim, and is logically related thereto, the defendant's
claim is a compulsory counterclaim. Compulsory counterclaims
must be pleaded in the existing lawsuit or be forfeited.
Jason Stalfort sued Adam Chukri for damages incurred in a
motor vehicle collision. The lawsuit settled without Chukri
bringing any affirmative claims against Stalfort. Months
later, Chukri filed this lawsuit against Stalfort, seeking
damages arising out of the same collision. The trial court
correctly dismissed the action. We affirm.
August 29, 2013, Chukri and Stalfort were involved in a motor
vehicle collision. Both parties claimed that the other party
was at fault. Each party alleged that he suffered personal
injuries as a result of the incident.
January 2015, Stalfort filed a personal injury suit against
Chukri. Chukri's insurance company, Progressive Insurance
Company, provided legal representation to Chukri for his
defense against Stalfort's suit. Defense counsel sent Chukri
a letter informing him of his rights as an insured and
advised him to speak directly to his own attorney about any
questions or concerns that he might have. The letter
I am only handling the defense of the lawsuit that has been
brought against you. If you have a claim for damages against
other parties involved in this lawsuit, I cannot represent
you for such claims, but will cooperate fully with your
personal attorney. If you intend to pursue a claim (or make a
counterclaim or crossclaim), please contact your attorney
immediately since strict time limitations may apply to such
actions for damages. If you decide to pursue a claim, the
attorney that you choose to represent you will be at your own
addition, the letter included a copy of a standardized
"Statement of Insured Client's Rights, " which
also emphasized the importance of promptly retaining separate
counsel to file any counterclaims that the insured might have
against other parties to the lawsuit. The statement
explicitly requested, in bold typeface, that the insured ask
for an explanation from defense counsel if there was any
uncertainty about the insured's rights pursuant to the
insurance policy. Defense counsel also promised to cooperate
fully with any attorney that Chukri chose to hire.
did not contact a separate lawyer at that time, nor did he
assert any counterclaim against Stalfort.
counsel began settlement negotiations with Stalfort's
lawyers. In April 2015, defense counsel informed Chukri of a
tentative settlement. After the subsequent settlement of the
suit, Chukri received copies of Stalfort's signed release
of claims and the trial court's order dismissing the
lawsuit "with prejudice."
eight months after the settlement, Chukri's newly
retained lawyer filed a personal injury lawsuit against
Stalfort. Stalfort, defended by lawyers financed by his
insurance company, asserted that the settlement of the
previous suit precluded Chukri's current claim. Stalfort
filed a motion to dismiss, pursuant to CR 12(b)(6), asserting
that Chukri's claim was a compulsory counterclaim, under
CR 13(a), and was, thus, required to be pleaded in the prior
action. Chukri argued that CR 13 did not bar his claim
because the lawyers hired by Progressive controlled the
litigation in the previous suit and he was, hence, unable to
plead any counterclaims in that action. However, Chukri
admitted that he knew that he had the responsibility to file
any counterclaims himself or secure additional legal
representation to do so on his behalf. Chukri never offered
an explanation as to the reason for his untimely actions.
trial court dismissed Chukri's lawsuit, ruling that his
claims were barred by CR 13(a).
review de novo an order granting a motion to dismiss under CR
12(b)(6). Jackson v. Quality Loan Serv. Corp.. 186
Wn.App. 838, 843, 347 P.3d 487, review denied. 184
Wn.2d 1011 (2015). A dismissal for failing to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted is appropriate when the
plaintiff cannot prove "'any set of facts which
would justify recovery."' FutureSelect Portfolio
Mgmt.. Inc. v. Tremont Grp. Holdings. Inc.. 180 Wn.2d
954, 962, 331 P.3d 29 (2014) (internal quotation marks
omitted) (quoting Kinney v. Cook. 159 Wn.2d 837,
842, 154 P.3d ...