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Arbitration is a process in which a neutral person, called an arbitrator, considers the facts and arguments presented by the parties and renders a decision. It is a well-established and widely-used method of resolving disputes. Although the arbitration process usually is governed by rules, it is less formal than traditional litigation. Disputes generally are resolved more quickly in arbitration than in litigation, and at less expense.
In the Second Judicial District Court, litigants involved in civil cases with a probable jury award value of $50,000 or less generally are required to participate in the Court Annexed Arbitration Program. Unless the parties agree otherwise, an award of the arbitrator cannot exceed $50,000 per plaintiff. Although the program is mandatory in these cases, the results of the arbitration are not binding. As long as a party participates in the arbitration process in good faith, and complies with the applicable rules, that party may reject the arbitrator’s decision and request a trial (referred to as a “trial de novo”).
Nevertheless, the arbitrator’s decision and reasoning will usually provide litigants with valuable insight into the merits of the case. Often, the litigants accept the arbitrator’s decision, which is then converted into an enforceable judgment. Other times, the parties settle their dispute after considering the arbitrator’s explanation, findings, and conclusions.
Parties in cases assigned to the Court Annexed Arbitration Program generally are responsible for their arbitrator’s costs and fees. The arbitrator’s costs may not exceed $250, and the arbitrator generally may not charge more than $100 per hour, up to a maximum of $1,000. The costs and fees of the arbitrator are shared equally by the parties.
Cases assigned to the Court Annexed Arbitration Program are governed by the Nevada Arbitration Rules (often abbreviated “NAR”). Those rules contain provisions addressing many aspects of the program, including:
• Exemption from the program
To the extent that an issue is not directly addressed by the Nevada Arbitration Rules, the arbitrator, the ADR Commissioner, and the Court have discretion to interpret and apply these rules to obtain a prompt and fair result.