AGRICULTURE AND HORTICULTURE
22-510. Seed Potato Arbitration. (1) Requirement of arbitration. When any buyer claims to have been damaged by the failure of seed potatoes to perform as represented, or when any buyer claims to have been damaged by the failure of any seed potato to produce or perform as represented by the required label to be attached to such seed as prescribed in rules, or by warranty, or as a result of negligence, the buyer shall submit the claim to arbitration as provided in this section.
(2) Notice of required arbitration. In addition to the certification tag required under section 22-502, Idaho Code, conspicuous language calling attention to the requirement for arbitration under this section shall be referenced or included on a notice of required arbitration tag, or otherwise attached to the seed bag or package. A notice in the following form, or equivalent language, shall be sufficient.
NOTICE OF REQUIRED ARBITRATION
Under the seed laws of certain states, arbitration is required as a precondition of maintaining certain legal actions, counterclaims or defenses against a seller of seed. The buyer must file a complaint, along with the filing fee, with the State Department of Agriculture within such time as to permit inspection of the crops and notify seller of complaint by certified mail.
Arbitration shall not be required unless this notice is attached to the seed bag or package.
(3) Establishment of arbitration panel. Any individual or organization recognized by the potato industry in Idaho may provide a nomination list of five (5) names to the director. From that list of nominations, the director shall comprise a list consisting of fifteen (15) names from which the arbitration panel may be established.
(a) Commencement. A buyer may invoke arbitration by filing a sworn complaint with the director together with a nonrefundable filing fee of one hundred dollars ($100). The buyer shall serve a copy of the complaint upon the seller by certified mail. Except in cases of seed which has not been planted, the complaint shall be filed within such time as to permit effective inspection of the plants under field conditions.
(b) Seller’s answer. Within twenty (20) days after receipt of a copy of the complaint, the seller shall file with the director an answer to the complaint and serve a copy of the answer upon the buyer by certified mail.
(c) Referral to arbitration panel. The complaint and answer shall be referred to a three (3) person arbitration panel. Each party shall select one (1) arbitrator from the arbitration panel established under the provisions of subsection (3) of this section. Those arbitrators shall select a third arbitrator from the director’s list of nominees. Upon request by the chairman, the department may provide administrative support to the arbitration panel.
(d) Findings and recommendations. The panel is empowered, upon review of the buyer’s complaint and the seller’s answer, to conduct an investigation and make findings and recommendations.
(e) Investigation. Upon referral of a complaint for investigation, the panel shall make a prompt and full investigation of the matters complained of and report its findings and recommendations to the director within sixty (60) days of such referral or such later date as parties may determine.
(f) Scope of report. The report of the panel shall include findings and recommendations as to costs, if any, for settlement of a complaint.
(g) Authority of panel. In the course of its investigation, the panel or any of its members may:
(i) Question the buyer and the seller and any other person having knowledge of the matter under investigation.
(ii) Grow to production a representative sample of the seed through the facilities of the director or a designated university.
(iii) Submit seed samples for testing by the state seed laboratory or other appropriate laboratory.
(iv) Hold informal meetings or hearings at such time and place as the chairman may direct upon reasonable notice to all parties.
(v) Assess the cost of conducting the investigation to the nonprevailing party of a given complaint.
(h) After the investigation and the report of the panel has been released, either party may request at their own expense, a final determination by an independent mediator. If the parties cannot come to an agreement through mediation, no record of the arbitration findings will be discussed or used in a court of law against either side.
[22-510, added 1996, ch. 214, sec. 3, p. 698.]