(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.
1141.12. (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
(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
1141.13. 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 be applicable.
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.
1141.15. 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.
1141.16. (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.
1141.17. (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.
1141.18. (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.
1141.19. Arbitrators approved pursuant
to this chapter shall have the powers necessary to perform duties
pursuant to this chapter as prescribed by the Judicial Council.
1141.19.5. 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.
1141.20. (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
(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.
1141.21. (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.
1141.22. The Judicial Council rules
shall specify the grounds upon which the arbitrator or the court,
or both, may correct, modify or vacate an award.
1141.23. 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.
1141.24. 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.
1141.25. 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 Section 657.
1141.26. 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.
1141.27. 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.
1141.28. (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.
1141.29. 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 before January 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
1141.30. 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
1141.31. 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.