Rule 3.815. Selection of the arbitrator
(a) Selection by stipulation
By stipulation, the parties may select any person to serve as arbitrator. If the parties select a person who is not on the court's arbitration panel to serve as the arbitrator, the stipulation will be effective only if:
(1)The selected person completes a written consent to serve and the oath required of panel arbitrators under these rules; and
(2)Both the consent and the oath are attached to the stipulation.
A stipulation may specify the maximum amount of the arbitrator's award. The stipulation to an arbitrator must be served and filed no later than 10 days after the case has been set for arbitration under rule 3.812.
(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007; adopted effective January 1, 2004.)
(b) Selection absent stipulation or local procedures
If the arbitrator has not been selected by stipulation and the court has not adopted local rules or procedures for the selection of the arbitrator as permitted under (c), the arbitrator will be selected as follows:
(1)Within 15 days after a case is set for arbitration under rule 3.812, the administrator must determine the number of clearly adverse sides in the case; in the absence of a cross-complaint bringing in a new party, the administrator may assume there are two sides. A dispute as to the number or identity of sides must be decided by the presiding judge in the same manner as disputes in determining sides entitled to peremptory challenges of jurors.
(2)The administrator must select at random a number of names equal to the number of sides, plus one, and send the list of randomly selected names to counsel for the parties.
(3)Each side has 10 days from the date on which the list was sent to file a rejection, in writing, of no more than one name on the list; if there are two or more parties on a side, they must join in the rejection of a single name.
(4)Promptly on the expiration of the 10-day period, the administrator must appoint, at random, one of the persons on the list whose name was not rejected, if more than one name remains.
(5)The administrator must assign the case to the arbitrator appointed and must give notice of the appointment to the arbitrator and to all parties.
(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2016; adopted as subd (a); previously amended and relettered as subd (b) effective January 1, 2004; previously amended effective July 1, 1979, January 1, 1982, January 1, 1984, and January 1, 2007.)
(c) Local selection procedures
Instead of the procedure in (b), a court that has an arbitration program may, by local rule or by procedures adopted by its ADR committee, establish any fair method of selecting an arbitrator that:
(1)Affords each side an opportunity to challenge at least one listed arbitrator peremptorily; and
(2)Ensures that an arbitrator is appointed within 30 days from the submission of a case to arbitration.
The local rule or procedure may require that all steps leading to the selection of the arbitrator take place during or immediately following the case management conference or review under the rules on case management in division 7 of this title at which the court determines the amount in controversy and the suitability of the case for arbitration.
(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2007; adopted effective January 1, 2004.)
(d) Procedure if first arbitrator declines to serve
If the first arbitrator selected declines to serve, the administrator must vacate the appointment of the arbitrator and may either:
(1)Return the case to the top of the arbitration hearing list, restore the arbitrator's name to the list of those available for selection to hear cases, and appoint a new arbitrator; or
(2)Certify the case to the court.
(Subd (d) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2004; adopted as subd (b); previously amended effective January 1, 1991, and January 1, 1994.)
(e) Procedure if second arbitrator declines to serve or hearing is not timely held
If the second arbitrator selected declines to serve or if the arbitrator does not complete the hearing within 90 days after the date of the assignment of the case to him or her, including any time due to continuances granted under rule 3.818, the administrator must certify the case to the court.
(Subd (e) amended effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (c); previously amended effective January 1, 1991; previously amended and relettered effective January 1, 2004.)
(f) Cases certified to court
If a case is certified to the court under either (d) or (e), the court must hold a case management conference. If the inability to hold an arbitration hearing is due to the neglect or lack of cooperation of a party who elected or stipulated to arbitration, the court may set the case for trial and may make any other appropriate orders. In all other circumstances, the court may reassign the case to arbitration or make any other appropriate orders to expedite disposition of the case.
(Subd (f) amended effective January 1, 2007; adopted as part of subd (c); previously amended and relettered as subd (f) effective January 1, 2004.)
Rule 3.815 amended effective January 1, 2016; adopted as rule 1605 effective July 1, 1976; previously amended effective July 1, 1979, January 1, 1982; January 1, 1984, January 1, 1991, January 1, 1994, and January 1, 2004; previously amended and renumbered as rule 3.815 effective January 1, 2007.