CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE|
(a) The Legislature finds and declares that litigation involving small civil claims has become so costly and complex as to make more difficult the efficient resolution of such civil claims that courts are unable to efficiently resolve the increased number of cases filed each year, and that the resulting delays and expenses deny parties their right to a timely resolution of minor civil disputes. The Legislature further finds and declares that arbitration has proven to be an efficient and equitable method for resolving small claims, and that courts should encourage or require the use of arbitration for such actions whenever possible.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that:
(1) Arbitration hearings held pursuant to this chapter shall provide parties with a simplified and economical procedure for obtaining prompt and equitable esolution of their disputes.
(2) Arbitration hearings shall be as informal and private as possible and shall provide the parties themselves maximum opportunity to participate directly in the resolution of their disputes, and shall be held during nonjudicial hours whenever possible.
(3) Members of the State Bar selected to serve as arbitrators should have experience with cases of the type under dispute and are urged to volunteer their services without compensation whenever possible.
(a) In each superior court with 10 or more judges, or 18 or more judges in a county in which there is no municipal court, all at-issue civil actions pending on or filed after the operative date of this chapter, other than a limited civil case, shall be submitted to arbitration, by the presiding judge or the judge designated, under this chapter if the amount in controversy in the opinion of the court will not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for each plaintiff, which decision shall not be appealable.
(b) In each superior court with less than 10 judges, or fewer than 18 judges in a county in which there is no municipal court, the court may provide by local rule, when it determines that it is in the best interests of justice, that all at-issue civil actions pending on or filed after the operative date of this chapter, shall be submitted to arbitration by the presiding judge or the judge designated under this chapter if the amount in controversy in the opinion of the court will not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for each plaintiff, which decision shall not be appealable.
(c) Each municipal court, or superior court in a county in which there is no municipal court, may provide by local rule, when it is determined to be in the best interests of justice, that all at-issue limited civil cases pending on or filed after the operative date of this chapter, shall be submitted to arbitration by the presiding judge or the judge designated under this chapter. This section does not apply to any action in small claims court, or to any action maintained pursuant to Section 1781 of the Civil Code or Section 1161 of this code.
(d) In each court that has adopted judicial arbitration pursuant to subdivision (c), all limited civil cases pending on or after July 1, 1990, that involve a claim for money damages against a single defendant as a result of a motor vehicle collision, except those heard in the small claims division, shall be submitted to arbitration within 120 days of the filing of the defendant's answer to the complaint (except as may be extended by the court for good cause) before an arbitrator selected by the court, subject to disqualification for cause as specified in Sections 170.1 and 170.6.
The court may provide by local rule for the voluntary or mandatory use of case questionnaires, established under Section 93, in any proceeding subject to these provisions. Where local rules provide for the use of case questionnaires, the questionnaires shall be exchanged by the parties upon the defendant's answer and completed and returned within 60 days.
For the purposes of this subdivision, the term "single defendant" means (1) an individual defendant, whether a person or an entity, (2) two or more persons covered by the same insurance policy applicable to the motor vehicle collision, or (3) two or more persons residing in the same household when no insurance policy exists that is applicable to the motor vehicle collision. The naming of one or more cross-defendants, not a plaintiff, shall constitute a multiple-defendant case not subject to the provisions of this subdivision.
(e) No local rule of a superior court providing for judicial arbitration may dispense with the conference required pursuant to Section 1141.16.
(a) In each superior court in which arbitration may be had pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 1141.11, upon stipulation of the parties, any at-issue civil actions shall be
submitted to arbitration regardless of the amount in controversy.
(b) In all other superior and municipal courts, the Judicial Council shall provide by rule for a uniform system of arbitration of the following causes:
(i) Any cause upon stipulation of the parties.
(ii) Upon filing of an election by the plaintiff, any cause in which the plaintiff agrees that the arbitration award shall not exceed the amount in controversy as specified in Section 1141.11.
(c) Any election by a plaintiff shall be filed no sooner than the filing of the at-issue memorandum, and no later than 90 days before trial, or at a later time if permitted by the court.
This chapter shall not apply to any civil action which includes a prayer for equitable relief, except that if the prayer for equitable relief is frivolous or insubstantial, this chapter shall
Notwithstanding any other provision of law except the provisions of this chapter, the Judicial Council shall provide by rule for practice and procedure for all actions submitted to
arbitration under this chapter. The Judicial Council rules shall provide for and conform with the provisions of this chapter.
The Judicial Council rules shall provide exceptions for cause to arbitration pursuant to subdivision (a), (b), or (c) of Section 1141.11. In providing for such exceptions, the Judicial Council shall take into consideration whether the civil action might not be amenable to arbitration.
(a) The determination of the amount in controversy, under subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 1141.11 and Section 1141.12, shall be made by the court and the case submitted to arbitration at any conference at which all parties are present or represented by counsel. Such conference shall be held no later than three months after the at-issue memorandum is filed or no later than 90 days before trial, whichever occurs first. At that time the court shall make a determination whether any prayer for equitable relief is frivolous or insubstantial, which decision shall not be appealable. The date of such conference may be postponed upon motion of any party for good cause shown. No determination pursuant to this section shall be made if all parties stipulate in writing that the amount in controversy exceeds the amount specified in Section 1141.11.
(b) The determination and any stipulation of the amount in controversy shall be without prejudice to any finding on the value of the case by an arbitrator or in a subsequent trial de novo. The determination shall be based on the total amount of damages, and the judge shall not consider questions of liability or comparative negligence or other defenses.
(c) The case shall be submitted to arbitration at an earlier time upon the written request of all plaintiffs, subject to a motion by a defendant for good cause shown to delay the arbitration hearing.
(d) In cases submitted to arbitration pursuant to Section 1141.11 or subdivision (a) of Section 1141.12 or paragraph (i) of subdivision (b) of Section 1141.12, an arbitrator shall be assigned to hear a case within 30 days from the time of its submission to arbitration.
(a) Submission of an action to arbitration pursuant to this chapter shall not suspend the running of the time periods specified in Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 583.110) of Title 8 of Part 2, except as provided in this section.
(b) If an action is or remains submitted to arbitration pursuant to this chapter more than four years and six months after the plaintiff has filed the action, then the time beginning on the date four years and six months after the plaintiff has filed the action and ending on the date on which a request for a de novo trial is filed under Section 1141.20 shall not be included in computing the five-year period specified in Section 583.310.
(a) Arbitrators shall be retired judges, retired court commissioners who were licensed to practice law prior to their appointment as a commissioner, or members of the State Bar, and shall sit individually. A judge may also serve as an arbitrator without compensation. People who are not attorneys may serve as arbitrators upon the stipulation of all parties.
(b) The Judicial Council rules shall provide for the compensation, if any, of arbitrators, except that no compensation shall be paid prior to the filing of the award by the arbitrator, or prior to the settlement of the case by the parties. Compensation for arbitrators shall, unless waived in whole or in part, be one hundred fifty dollars ($150) per case, or one hundred fifty dollars ($150) per day, whichever is greater, except that the board of supervisors of a county or a city and county may set a higher level of compensation for that county or city and county.
(c) The board of governors of the State Bar shall provide by rule for the method of selection of arbitrators after consulting with administrative committees established pursuant to Rule 1603 of the Judicial Arbitration Rules for Civil Cases and with county bar associations in counties where there are no administrative committees. These rules shall provide for specialized panels and shall become operative upon approval of the Judicial Council.
(d) Any party may request the disqualification of the arbitrator selected for his or her case on the grounds and by the procedures specified in Section 170.1 or 170.6. A request for disqualification of an arbitrator on grounds specified in Section 170.6 shall be made within five days of the naming of the arbitrator. An arbitrator shall disqualify himself or herself, upon demand of any party to the arbitration made before the conclusion of the arbitration proceedings on any of the grounds specified in Section 170.1.
Arbitrators approved pursuant to this chapter shall have the powers necessary to perform duties pursuant to this chapter as prescribed by the Judicial Council.
In any arbitration proceeding under this chapter, no party may require the production of evidence specified in subdivision (a) of Section 3295 of the Civil Code at the arbitration, unless the court enters an order permitting pretrial discovery of that evidence pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 3295 of the Civil Code.
(a) An arbitration award shall be final unless a request for a de novo trial is filed within 30 days after the date the arbitrator files the award with the court.
(b) Any party may elect to have a de novo trial, by court or jury, both as to law and facts. Such trial shall be calendared, insofar as possible, so that the trial shall be given the same place on the active list as it had prior to arbitration, or shall receive civil priority on the next setting calendar.
(a) If the judgment upon the trial de novo is not more favorable in either the amount of damages awarded or the type of relief granted for the party electing the trial de novo than the arbitration award, the court shall order that party to pay the following nonrefundable costs and fees, unless the court finds in writing and upon motion that the imposition of such costs and fees would create such a substantial economic hardship as not to be in the interest of justice:
(i) To the county, the compensation actually paid to the arbitrator, less any amount paid pursuant to paragraph (iv).
(ii) To the other party or parties, all costs specified in Section 1033.5, and the party electing the trial de novo shall not recover his or her costs.
(iii) To the other party or parties, the reasonable costs of the services of expert witnesses, who are not regular employees of any party, actually incurred or reasonably necessary in the preparation or trial of the case.
(iv) To the other party or parties, the compensation paid by the other party or parties to the arbitrator, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1141.28.
Such costs and fees, other than the compensation of the arbitrator, shall include only those incurred from the time of election of the trial de novo.
(b) If the party electing the trial de novo has proceeded in the action in forma pauperis and has failed to obtain a more favorable judgment, the costs and fees under paragraphs (ii) and (iii) of subdivision (a) shall be imposed only as an offset against any damages awarded in favor of that party.
(c) If the party electing the trial de novo has proceeded in the action in forma pauperis and has failed to obtain a more favorable judgment, the costs under paragraph (i) of subdivision (a) shall be imposed only to the extent that there remains a sufficient amount in the judgment after the amount offset under subdivision (b) has been deducted from the judgment.
The Judicial Council rules shall specify the grounds upon which the arbitrator or the court, or both, may correct, modify or vacate an award.
The arbitration award shall be in writing, signed by the arbitrator and filed in the court in which the action is pending. If there is no request for a de novo trial and the award is not vacated, the award shall be entered in the judgment book in the amount of the award. Such award shall have the same force and effect as a judgment in any civil action or proceeding, except that it is not subject to appeal and it may not be attacked or set aside except as provided by Section 473, 1286.2, or Judicial Council rule.
In cases ordered to arbitration pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1141.16, absent a stipulation to the contrary, no discovery other than that permitted by Section 2034 is permissible after an arbitration award except by leave of court upon a showing of good cause.
Any reference to the arbitration proceedings or arbitration award during any subsequent trial shall constitute an irregularity in the proceedings of the trial for the purposes of
Nothing in this act shall prohibit an arbitration award in excess of the amount in controversy as specified in Section 1141.11. No party electing a trial de novo after such award shall be subject to the provisions of Section 1141.21 if the judgment upon the trial de novo is in excess of the amount in controversy as specified in Section 1141.11.
This chapter shall apply to any civil action otherwise within the scope of this chapter in which a party to the action is a public agency or public entity.
(a) All administrative costs of arbitration, including compensation of arbitrators, shall be paid for by the county in which the arbitration costs are incurred, except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b) and in Section 1141.21.
(b) The actual costs of compensation of arbitrators in any proceeding which would not otherwise be subject to the provisions of this chapter but in which arbitration is conducted pursuant to this chapter solely because of the stipulation of the parties, shall be paid for in equal shares by the parties. If the imposition of these costs would create such a substantial economic hardship for any party as not to be in the interest of justice, as determined by the arbitrator, that party's share of costs shall be paid for by the county in which the arbitration costs are incurred. The determination as to substantial economic hardship may be reviewed by the court.
The Judicial Council shall, by rule, require each superior and municipal court subject to the provisions of this chapter to file with it such data as will enable it to provide, on or beforeJanuary 1, 1984, a report to the Governor and the Legislature which shall serve as a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of this chapter, and which shall include recommendations for future action.
The Judicial Council, in consultation with the Department of Finance and the Auditor General, shall include in its study an estimate of the potential costs or savings, if any, should the program be continued beyond the life of the act.
This chapter shall not be construed in derogation of Title 9 (commencing with Section 1280) of Part 3, and, to that extent, this chapter and that title, other than Section 1280.1, are mutually exclusive and independent of each other.
The provisions of this chapter shall become operative July 1, 1979, except that the Judicial Council shall adopt the arbitration rules for practice and procedures on or before March 31, 1979.