The court in which any action is pending may appoint a special master either to preside at depositions or to adjudicate discovery disputes, or both. Such appointment may be made, for good cause shown, upon the request of any party in pending litigation or upon the court's own motion.
The master shall be a lawyer admitted to practice in the state of Washington.
The compensation of the master shall be fixed by the court. Payment of the master's compensation shall be charged to such of the parties or paid out of such other available funds as the court shall direct, but in determining payment of compensation the court shall take into account the relative financial resources of the parties and such other factors as the court deems appropriate.
The order of reference to the master may specify the duties of the master. It may direct that the master preside at depositions and make rulings on issues arising at the depositions. It may direct the master to hear and report to the court on unresolved discovery disputes and to make recommendations as to the resolution of such disputes, as to the imposition of terms or sanctions to be assessed against any party, and as to which party or parties shall bear the costs of the master. If directed by the court, the master shall prepare a report upon the matters submitted to the master by the order of reference. A party may request that the report be sealed pursuant to rule 26(c). The report with the rulings and recommendations of the master shall be reviewed by the court and may be adopted or revised as the court deems just.