(a) When Presented.
A defendant shall serve an answer within the following periods:
(1) Within 20 days, exclusive of the day of service, after the service of the summons and complaint upon the defendant pursuant to rule 4;
(2) Within 60 days from the date of the first publication of the summons if the summons is served by publication in accordance with rule 4(d)(3);
(3) Within 60 days after the service of the summons upon the defendant if the summons is served upon the defendant personally out of the state in accordance with RCW 4.28.180 and 4.28.185 or on the Secretary of State as provided by RCW 46.64.040. (4) Within the period fixed by any other applicable statutes or rules. A party served with a pleading stating a cross claim against another party shall serve an answer thereto within 20 days after the service upon that other party. The plaintiff shall serve a reply to a counterclaim in the answer within 20 days after service of the answer or, if a reply is ordered by the court, within 20 days after service of the order, unless the order otherwise directs. The service of a motion permitted under this rule alters these periods of time as follows, unless a different time is fixed by order of the court. (A) If the court denies the motion or postpones its disposition until the trial on the merits, the responsive pleading shall be served within 10 days after notice of the courts action. (B) If the court grants a motion for a more definite statement, the responsive pleading shall be served within 10 days after the service of the more definite statement.
(b) How Presented.
Every defense, in law or fact, to a claim for relief in any pleading, whether a claim, counterclaim, cross claim, or third party claim, shall be asserted in the responsive pleading thereto if one is required, except that the following defenses may at the option of the pleader be made by motion:
(1) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter;
(2) lack of jurisdiction over the person;
(3) improper venue;
(4) insufficiency of process;
(5) insufficiency of service of process;
(6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted;
(7) failure to join a party under rule 19. A motion making any of these defenses shall be made before pleading if a further pleading is permitted. No defense or objection is waived by being joined with one or more other defenses or objections in a responsive pleading or motion. If a pleading sets forth a claim for relief to which the adverse party is not required to serve a responsive pleading, the pleader may assert at the trial any defense in law or fact to that claim for relief. If, on a motion asserting the defense numbered (6) to dismiss for failure of the pleading to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, matters outside the pleading are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in rule 56, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by rule 56.
(c) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.
After the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings. If, on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in rule 56, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by rule 56.
(d) Preliminary Hearings.
The defenses specifically enumerated (1)-(7) in section (b) of this rule, whether made in a pleading or by motion, and the motion for judgment mentioned in section (c) of this rule shall be heard and determined before trial on application of any party, unless the court orders that the hearing and determination thereof be deferred until the trial.
(e) Motion for More Definite Statement.
If a pleading to which a responsive pleading is permitted is so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading, or if more particularity in that pleading will further the efficient economical disposition of the action, the party may move for a more definite statement before interposing a responsive pleading. The motion shall point out the defects complained of and the details desired. If the motion is granted and the order of the court is not obeyed within 10 days after the notice of the order or within such other time as the court may fix, the court may strike the pleading to which the motion was directed or make such order as it deems just.
(f) Motion To Strike.
Upon motion made by a party before responding to a pleading or, if no responsive pleading is permitted by these rules, upon motion made by a party within 20 days after the service of the pleading upon the party or upon the courts own initiative at any time, the court may order stricken from any pleading any insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.
(g) Consolidation of Defenses in Motion.
A party who makes a motion under this rule may join with it any other motions herein provided for and then available to the party. If a party makes a motion under this rule but omits therefrom any defense or objection then available to the party which this rule permits to be raised by motion, the party shall not thereafter make a motion based on the defense or objection so omitted, except a motion as provided in subsection (h)(2) hereof on any of the grounds there stated.
(h) Waiver or Preservation of Certain Defenses.
(1) A defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person, improper venue, insufficiency of process, or insufficiency of service of process is waived; (A) if omitted from a motion in the circumstances described in section (g); or (B) if it is neither made by motion under this rule nor included in a responsive pleading or an amendment thereof permitted by rule 15(a) to be made as a matter of course.
(2) A defense of failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a defense of failure to join a party indispensable under rule 19, and an objection of failure to state a legal defense to a claim may be made in any pleading permitted or ordered under rule 7(a), or by motion for judgment on the pleadings, or at the trial on the merits.
(3) Whenever it appears by suggestion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action. (i) Nonparty at Fault. Whenever a defendant or a third party defendant intends to claim for purposes of RCW 4.22.070(1) that a nonparty is at fault, such claim is an affirmative defense which shall be affirmatively pleaded by the party making the claim. The identity of any nonparty claimed to be at fault, if known to the party making the claim, shall also be affirmatively pleaded.
[Adopted effective March 1, 1974; amended effective January 1, 1972; January 1, 1980; September 18, 1992; April 28, 2015.]