The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit looked to its sister circuits last week when considering whether a district court erred in dismissing a plaintiff’s malpractice claim for failing to file an arbitration declaration requirement under Washington state law.

Under state law, RCW 7.70A.020, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice suit must elect or decline to submit a claim to arbitration when a lawsuit is filed. If the plaintiff does not submit the dispute to arbitration, the plaintiff must file a declaration at the time of filing the action that they did not opt to submit the dispute to arbitration, according to the appellate court’s opinion filed on May 27.