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ARBITRATION OF ACTIONS IN DISTRICT COURTS AND JUSTICE COURTS

 

NRS 38.250  Nonbinding arbitration of certain civil actions filed in district court required; nonbinding arbitration of certain civil actions filed in justice court authorized; effect of certain agreements by parties to use other alternative methods of resolving disputes.

1.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 38.310:

(a) All civil actions filed in district court for damages, if the cause of action arises in the State of Nevada and the amount in issue does not exceed $50,000 per plaintiff, exclusive of attorney’s fees, interest and court costs, must be submitted to nonbinding arbitration in accordance with the provisions of NRS 38.250 to 38.259, inclusive, unless the parties have agreed or are otherwise required to submit the action to an alternative method of resolving disputes established by the Supreme Court pursuant to NRS 38.258, including, without limitation, a settlement conference, mediation or a short trial.

(b) A civil action for damages filed in justice court may be submitted to binding arbitration or to an alternative method of resolving disputes, including, without limitation, a settlement conference or mediation, if the parties agree to the submission.

2.  An agreement entered into pursuant to this section must be:

(a) Entered into at the time of the dispute and not be a part of any previous agreement between the parties;

(b) In writing; and

(c) Entered into knowingly and voluntarily.

Ê An agreement entered into pursuant to this section that does not comply with the requirements set forth in this subsection is void.

3.  As used in this section, “short trial” means a trial that is conducted, with the consent of the parties to the action, in accordance with procedures designed to limit the length of the trial, including, without limitation, restrictions on the amount of discovery requested by each party, the use of a jury composed of not more than eight persons and a specified limit on the amount of time each party may use to present the party’s case.

(Added to NRS by 1991, 1343; A 1993, 556, 1024; 1995, 1419, 2537, 2538; 1999, 852, 1379; 2003, 851; 2005, 391)

NRS 38.253  Adoption of rules by Supreme Court; training; administration by district courts; fees; arbitrator deemed employee of court for certain purposes.

1.  The Supreme Court shall adopt rules to provide for the establishment of a program of arbitration pursuant to NRS 38.250.

2.  The Supreme Court, in association with the State Bar of Nevada or other organizations, shall provide training in arbitration for attorneys and nonattorneys.

3.  The district courts in each judicial district shall administer the program in their respective districts in accordance with the rules adopted by Supreme Court.

4.  The Supreme Court may:

(a) Charge each person who applies for training as an arbitrator an application fee.

(b) Charge a fee to cover the cost of the training programs.

5.  For the purposes of NRS 41.0305 to 41.039, inclusive, a person serving as an arbitrator shall be deemed an employee of the court while in the performance of the person’s duties under the program.

(Added to NRS by 1991, 1343; A 1993, 1024)

 

NRS 38.255  Guidelines for establishment of programs for arbitration; duty of Supreme Court to submit report concerning programs.

1.  The rules adopted by the Supreme Court pursuant to NRS 38.253 to provide guidelines for the establishment by a district court of a program must include provisions for a:

(a) Mandatory program for the arbitration of civil actions pursuant to NRS 38.250.

(b) Voluntary program for the arbitration of civil actions if the cause of action arises in the State of Nevada and the amount in issue exceeds $50,000 per plaintiff, exclusive of attorney’s fees, interest and court costs.

(c) Voluntary program for the use of binding arbitration in all civil actions.

2.  The rules must provide that the district court of any judicial district whose population is 100,000 or more:

(a) Shall establish programs pursuant to paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of subsection 1.

(b) May set fees and charge parties for arbitration if the amount in issue exceeds $50,000 per plaintiff, exclusive of attorney’s fees, interest and court costs.

Ê The rules may provide for similar programs for the other judicial districts.

3.  The rules must exclude the following from any program of mandatory arbitration:

(a) Actions in which the amount in issue, excluding attorney’s fees, interest and court costs, is more than $50,000 or less than the maximum jurisdictional amounts specified in NRS 4.370 and 73.010;

(b) Class actions;

(c) Actions in equity;

(d) Actions concerning the title to real estate;

(e) Probate actions;

(f) Appeals from courts of limited jurisdiction;

(g) Actions for declaratory relief;

(h) Actions involving divorce or problems of domestic relations;

(i) Actions brought for relief based on any extraordinary writs;

(j) Actions for the judicial review of an administrative decision;

(k) Actions in which the parties, pursuant to a written agreement executed before the accrual of the cause of action or pursuant to rules adopted by the Supreme Court, have submitted the controversy to arbitration or any other alternative method for resolving a dispute;

(l) Actions that present unusual circumstances that constitute good cause for removal from the program;

(m) Actions in which any of the parties is incarcerated; and

(n) Actions submitted to mediation pursuant to rules adopted by the Supreme Court.

4.  The rules must include:

(a) Provisions for the payment of fees to an arbitrator who is appointed to hear a case pursuant to the rules. The rules must provide that an arbitrator must be compensated at a rate of $100 per hour, to a maximum of $1,000 per case, unless otherwise authorized by the arbitration commissioner for good cause shown.

(b) Guidelines for the award of attorney’s fees and maximum limitations on the costs to the parties of the arbitration.

(c) Disincentives to appeal.

(d) Provisions for trial upon the exercise by either party of the party’s right to a trial anew after the arbitration.

5.  The Supreme Court shall, on or before February 1 of each odd-numbered year, submit a report to the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau for transmittal to the Chairs of the Assembly and Senate Standing Committees on Judiciary. The report must include, for the period since the previous such report, if any:

(a) A listing of the number of actions which were submitted to arbitration or other alternative methods of resolving disputes pursuant to NRS 38.250 or 38.258 and their manner of disposition;

(b) A statement of the amount of money collected in each judicial district pursuant to NRS 19.0315 and a summary of the manner in which the fees were expended; and

(c) Any recommendations for legislation or other information regarding the programs on arbitration deemed relevant by the Supreme Court.

(Added to NRS by 1983, 1232; A 1991, 1344; 1995, 2537; 2001, 542; 2005, 392)

 

NRS 38.258  Use of other alternative methods of resolving disputes; adoption of rules by Supreme Court.

1.  The Supreme Court may authorize the use of settlement conferences and other alternative methods of resolving disputes, including, without limitation, mediation and a short trial, that are available in the county in which a district court is located:

(a) In lieu of submitting an action to nonbinding arbitration pursuant to NRS 38.250; or

(b) During or following such nonbinding arbitration if the parties agree that the use of any such alternative methods of resolving disputes would assist in the resolution of the dispute.

2.  If the Supreme Court authorizes the use of an alternative method of resolving disputes pursuant to subsection 1, the Supreme Court shall adopt rules and procedures to govern the use of any such method.

3.  As used in this section, “short trial” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 38.250.

(Added to NRS by 1991, 1344; A 1999, 1380; 2005, 393)

 

NRS 38.259  Certain written findings concerning arbitration required; admissibility of such findings at trial anew before jury; instructions to jury.

1.  If an action is submitted to arbitration in accordance with the provisions of NRS 38.250 to 38.259, inclusive, the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators shall, in addition to any other written findings of fact or conclusions of law, make written findings in accordance with this subsection concerning each cause of action. The written findings must be in substantially the following form, with “panel of arbitrators” being substituted for “arbitrator” when appropriate:

 

Based upon the evidence presented at the arbitration hearing concerning the cause of action for ……………., the arbitrator finds in favor of …………….(name of the party) and …………….(“awards damages in the amount of $…………….” or “does not award any damages on that cause of action”).

 

2.  If an action is submitted to arbitration in accordance with the provisions of NRS 38.250 to 38.259, inclusive, and, after arbitration, a party requests a trial anew before a jury:

(a) The written findings made by the arbitrator or the panel of arbitrators pursuant to subsection 1 must be admitted at trial. The testimony of the arbitrator or arbitrators, whenever taken, must not be admitted at trial, and the arbitrator or arbitrators must not be deposed or called to testify concerning the arbitration. Any other evidence concerning the arbitration must not be admitted at trial, unless the admission of such evidence is required by the Constitution of this State or the Constitution of the United States.

(b) The court shall give the following instruction to the jury concerning the action, substituting “panel of arbitrators” for “arbitrator” when appropriate:

 

During the course of this trial, certain evidence was admitted concerning the findings of an arbitrator. On the cause of action for ……………., the arbitrator found in favor of …………….(name of the party) and …………….(“awarded damages in the amount of $…………….” or “did not award any damages on that cause of action”). The findings of the arbitrator may be given the same weight as other evidence or may be disregarded. However, you must not give those findings undue weight because they were made by an arbitrator, and you must not use the findings of the arbitrator as a substitute for your independent judgment. You must weigh all the evidence that was presented at trial and arrive at a conclusion based upon your own determination of the cause of action.

 

3.  The court shall give a separate instruction pursuant to paragraph (b) of subsection 2 for each such cause of action that is tried before a jury.

(Added to NRS by 1999, 851)

 

Jay Young is a Las Vegas, Nevada arbitrator and mediator with a successful neutrals practice.  His mediator, arbitrator, and ADR training include: 36 hour ADR certification in 1994.  40 hour mediator training.  Appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court as a Nevada Supreme Court Settlement Judge.  Appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court as an Arbitrator (2003-Present) in the 8th Judicial District Court (Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada).  Judge Pro Tem (2011-present).  Appointed Special Master to the Business Court, 8th Judicial District Court (Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada).  Arbitrator and Mediator for American Arbitration Association (Complex Commercial Litigation Arbitration and Mediation National Panel Member); Better Business Bureau Arbitrator.  Arbitrated and/or mediated over 250 disputes.  Training courses include:  Supreme Court of Nevada: “Impasse Prevention & Communication”;  Supreme Court of Nevada: “Implied Bias”; Supreme Court of Nevada: “Breaking Impasse”; Supreme Court of Nevada: “Ethics, Comprehensive Review”; AAA Arbitrator Subpoenas: Are They Worth the Paper They’re Printed On?, 2015; AAA Roundtable – Las Vegas, 2015; AAA Essential Mediation Skills for the New Mediator, 2015; AAA  Fundamentals of Effective Mediation Advocacy, 2015; AAA Confronting Arbitrability & Jurisdiction in Arbitration, 2015; AAA  Award Writing, 2014;  AAA Arbitration Fundamentals and Best Practices for New AAA Arbitrators, 2013; AAA “Arbitrator’s Role, Authority, and Responsibility”; AAA “Arbitrator’s Ethics, Practice Standards and Disclosures”; AAA “Preparing for and Conducting a Preliminary Hearing”; AAA: “Managing Issues Involving Self-Represented Parties”; AAA: “Managing Evidentiary Hearing Issues”; AAA: “Managing Panel Dynamics”; AAA: “Preparing for and Writing the Award”; AAA: “Managing Post-Hearing Issues”;  Better Business Bureau, Arbitrator Training, 2006;  “Succeeding In Mediation,” AAA, 2003; “Mediation and Arbitration Advocacy”; AAA, 2002, “Cutting Edge Negotiation Strategies for Lawyers”; Negotiation Strategy Institute, 2002; “Arbitrator Training,” Supreme Court of Nevada, State Bar of Nevada, 2000; “Arbitration 101”, Clark County Bar Association, 1994.

About the Author

Jay Young is a Las Vegas, Nevada attorney. His practice focuses on business law, business litigation, and acting as an Arbitrator and Mediator. Peers have named him an AV-Rated Lawyer, Best Lawyers, a Top 100 Super Lawyers in the Mountain States multiple years, and to the Legal Elite and Top Lawyers lists for many years. Mr. Young has been appointed a part time Judge, a Special Master to the Clark County, Nevada Business Court, as an arbitrator by the Nevada Supreme Court. He has been appointed as an arbitrator or mediator of well over 250 legal disputes from business disputes to personal injury matters. He has been named Best Lawyers for Arbitration. Mr. Young is a respected author of ten books, including A Litigator’s Guide to Federal Evidentiary Objections, A Litigator’s Guide to the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Federal Court Civil Litigation Checklist.
Mr. Young can be reached at 702.667.4868 or at jay@h2law.com.