Martin v. Dematic (Majority)Annotate this Case
Donald Martin was killed by a machine at a paper plant. His widow Nina Martin tried to sue the company that installed the machine, but that company no longer existed. Martin had difficulty discerning which company was responsible for the installation company's liability because the merger and acquisition history of the installation company was complicated. Because of that complicated history, Martin sued the incorrect company and did not realize who the responsible party was until after the statute of limitations period expired. The issue this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court's review centered on whether Martin met the requirements of the rule that allowed such plaintiffs to add the correct defendant after the statute of limitations period expired, and whether her inability to identify the correct defendant was due to inexcusable neglect. The Court held that it was not: the record did not show that the proper defendant's identity was easily ascertainable by Martin during the limitations period. Accordingly, the Court reversed the Court of Appeals.