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Mandatory Arbitration Program

Cases Subject to Arbitration

The statutory scheme for mandatory arbitration is found in ORS 36.400 to 36.425. It applies to civil cases where the only relief claimed is for the recovery of money or damages and the amount claimed is less than $50,000.00, exclusive of attorney fees, costs and disbursements. Mandatory arbitration also applies to domestic relations suits in which the only contested issue is the division or other disposition of property between the parties.

You must indicate in the caption of your pleading if the case is not subject to mandatory arbitration.

The procedures for arbitration are set forth in the provisions of ORS 36.400 to 36.425, Chapter 13 of the Uniform Trial Court Rules and Chapter 13 of 22nd Judicial District’s Supplementary Local Rules.

Cases may be exempted from arbitration or removed from arbitration by a Crook or Jefferson County Judge if good cause exists for that exemption or removal. Under UTCR 13.070 a Motion for Exemption must be filed within 14 days after notification by the court that the case is being transferred to arbitration.

Other civil cases that exceed the jurisdiction limit may go to arbitration on the stipulation of the parties.

Who will be your arbitrator?

As soon as all parties have appeared in a case, the court will send the attorneys a Notice Assigning Case to Arbitration and attached Notice of Selection of Arbitrator Form which will provide a random list of three (3) proposed arbitrators. The parties may stipulate to an arbitrator from the list provided or another arbitrator of their choice.

If the parties do not stipulate to an arbitrator, each party may strike one unacceptable name and return the list to the court within 14 days. The clerk will then appoint an arbitrator from those remaining on the returned lists and notify the arbitrator and all parties.

Unless otherwise ordered or stipulated, an arbitrator must be a member of the Oregon State Bar, must have been a member of any bar for at least five years, or a retired or senior judge.

Setting the Hearing Date

It is the arbitrator's responsibility to set the date in accordance with the arbitration rules. The hearing should be held in a neutral location, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties and the hearing should not require more than a half day. A Notice of Arbitration Hearing Date will be sent to the parties with the original to the Arbitration Clerk for posting pursuant to ORS 36.420.

Pre-hearing Statement of Proof

Each party shall provide the arbitrator, at least 14 days prior to the hearing, with copies of pleadings and other documents contained in the court file which they deem relevant. Parties shall also provide a list of exhibits to be offered, witnesses to be called, and an estimate of length of hearing. The arbitrator may suggest that parties submit exhibits at the time pre-hearing statements of proof are submitted.

Motions

In arbitration eligible cases all motions, including Motion for Summary Judgment, must be filed with the court and a copy sent to the arbitrator. These motions will be determined by the Arbitrator.

The following are exceptions to this procedure: Resignation of Counsel, Motion to Set Aside, Motion for Change of Venue, Bankruptcy Stay.

Arbitration Compensation Guidelines

Arbitrators are compensated at:

  • $600 for the first four hours
  • $150 per hour for up to four additional hours.

If extraordinary conditions justify a different fee or if more than eight hours of arbitration services are required, and the parties concur, the fee or additional time may be adjusted accordingly. If the parties do not agree to the additional time or a different fee, the arbitrator must submit an affidavit, motion and proposed order to the Presiding Judge regarding the extraordinary conditions which require additional time or a different fee. 

If the plaintiff fails to pay the prescribed fee within fourteen (14) calendar days of assignment, the court may exercise its authority under UTCR 1.090 to strike the complaint which constitutes dismissal of the proceedings, absent relief prescribed by ORS 36.420(3).

If the defendant fails to pay the prescribed fee within fourteen (14) calendar days of assignment, the Court may exercise its authority under UTCR 1.090 to impose an appropriate sanction.

At the conclusion of the work, the arbitrator will provide the parties with an itemized statement of time spent and if appropriate, a pro rata refund to the parties.

A waiver/deferral of fees shall be governed by ORS 36.420

Arbitration Award: Pursuant to the directives of UTCR 13.210, the arbitrator will complete the Arbitration Award (add link to: 22nd JD Arbitration Award) and it will be filed with the court and served upon the parties as directed in UTCR 13.220.

Exhibits

All exhibits will be returned to the appropriate parties by the arbitrator.

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