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Arbitration Process
 
Civil Court > Arbitration Process

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James Marner 724-9055
       

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Arizona Statutes (ARS § 12-133) and Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure (ARCP 72-77) provide that in civil cases where the amount in controversy (excluding attorney's fees, interest, and costs) does not exceed a certain amount, the case must be referred to Compulsory Arbitration. In Pima County the jurisdictional limit is $50,000.00.

At the time a complaint is filed, the Plaintiff must file a separate statement with the Court indicating whether the case is subject to arbitration. The case is referred to arbitration when the Defendant files an answer to the Complaint. The parties can also agree to submit the case to arbitration. If there is a dispute whether the case should go to arbitration or not, the Court decides after hearing each side's arguments.

The law provides for arbitration as a method of getting smaller disputes resolved more quickly and, it is less costly than going to trial. However, a person's right to a trial by jury is preserved, since any party who is not satisfied with the result of the arbitration can appeal the case. On appeal, the case returns to the trial judge, and it proceeds to trial, either before a jury or the judge.

The arbitration process is as follows:

  1. The Court selects an arbitrator from a list of local attorneys to hear the case.
  2. Either side may strike the assigned arbitrator and another one will be selected.
  3. The arbitration hearing should be set between 60 and 120 days from the selection of the arbitrator.
  4. The arbitrator will conduct the hearing where each side will present their case.
  5. The arbitrator will render a decision and make an award within 10 days of the arbitration hearing.
  6. Any party who is not satisfied with the arbitration award may file a Notice of Appeal within 20 days of the final arbitration award.
  7. If a Notice of Appeal is filed, the case returns to the judge who will set the matter on his or her calendar for a new trial.
  8. If the party appealing the arbitration award does not obtain a result that is 23 percent better than the arbitration award, that party is subject to sanctions. The sanctions can include attorney's fees, taxable costs and reasonable expert witness fees.
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