SMALL LAWSUIT RESOLUTION ACT
7-1503. Actions to which the Idaho civil evaluation option applies — Initiation of process — Option to mediate — Motions for removal from evaluation. (1) Civil actions in which the sole relief sought is a money judgment in which the parties agree that the total claims for all damages sought by a party do not exceed thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000) shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter. This chapter shall not apply to appeals from the magistrates division, disputes subject to arbitration under chapter 9, title 7, Idaho Code, proceedings in the small claims division of the district court, cases seeking a punitive damages award, or cases in which this chapter has been previously invoked.
(2) The provisions of this chapter may be initiated by any party by the filing of a notice with the court. The notice shall be filed at least one hundred fifty (150) days prior to a scheduled trial but, without the consent of all parties, may not be filed within forty-five (45) days following the service of a complaint. For actions pending in the magistrates division, however, notice shall be filed at least one hundred (100) days prior to a scheduled trial but, without consent of all the parties, may not be filed within thirty (30) days following the service of a complaint. The trial court shall retain jurisdiction over a case proceeding under this chapter and the case shall remain on the court’s active calendar.
(3) The parties shall confer after the filing of the notice to determine if they wish to undertake evaluation or mediation. If they agree to mediate, the parties may agree upon a mediator or utilize as mediator an individual selected pursuant to the evaluator selection provisions of this chapter. If a mediation has been conducted under this chapter, and the mediation has not resulted in the settlement of all claims, within fourteen (14) days following such mediation, the parties shall file a notice with the clerk of the court that a mediation has been completed, that all claims have not been settled and specifying the claims which remain.
(4) If the parties are not able to agree whether to undertake a mediation or an evaluation under this chapter, a party has seven (7) days after the filing of the notice of the initiation of the provisions of this chapter to file a motion seeking the court to order which form of alternative dispute resolution will be used. The moving party has a right to a hearing pursuant to the Idaho rules of civil procedure. In making its determination on the motion, the court shall consider, among other factors it deems relevant, the nature of the claim(s) and the defense(s), the prior experience, if any, of the parties or their counsel with mediation or evaluation, in this or other cases, the potential likelihood that the facts alleged in a claim, if proven, will lead to liability of one party to another, and the complexity of the case. If the court does not determine that mediation is a preferable means of alternative dispute resolution for the particular case, it shall order the parties to conduct an evaluation under the provisions of this chapter. However, if the court determines that neither mediation nor evaluation is appropriate in the case, it may order that the case proceed to trial in accordance with the Idaho rules of civil procedure.
(5) Any party may move the court for removal from the evaluation at any stage for good cause including, but not limited to, a substantial change in circumstances or a reasonable potential for the moving party to later seek amendment to its pleadings to allow that party to pursue punitive damages, making the evaluation option an inappropriate method to obtain resolution of the particular dispute.
[7-1503, added 2002, ch. 137, sec. 1, p. 381; am. 2003, ch. 29, sec. 1, p. 103; am. 2018, ch. 244, sec. 1, p. 567.]