Since the 1925 decision of Ashford v. Reese, Washington has had the distinction of being the only American jurisdiction totally, albeit implicitly, to reject the doctrine of equitable conversion. Ashford was overruled in 1977, in a remarkable opinion which simultaneously, and explicitly, rejected the doctrine of equitable conversion, thus maintaining Washington's unique status with respect to that doctrine. But the opinion failed to provide a substitute for either the rule of Ashford or the contrary doctrine of equitable conversion, both of which it emphatically abjured. The result is an unbroken line of Washington cases consistent with only one rule of law-the doctrine of equitable conversion. The effect of the opinion is thus de jure rejection and de facto adoption of equitable conversion. This article will analyze the process by which Washington has managed to achieve substantial conformity with the majority of American jurisdictions, while resolutely maintaining a unique stance.
George R. Nock, John A. Strait, and John W. Weaver, Equitable Conversion in Washington: The Doctrine That Dares Not Speak Its Name, 1 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 121 (1977).