SMALL LAWSUIT RESOLUTION ACT
7-1504. Selection of evaluator — Court administration of procedure — Rules, standards and procedures — Exemption from operation of the chapter. (1) All magistrate judges, district judges and appellate court judges and justices, whether classified as sitting, senior or retired, are authorized to act as civil litigation evaluators. The supreme court may establish by rule, procedures for the appointment and use, where available, of such judges as evaluators for the purposes of this chapter.
(2) The supreme court shall maintain a list of private civil litigation evaluators who are approved to serve in each district pursuant to this chapter and any rules adopted by the supreme court. Each county’s clerk of the court shall from time to time be provided by the supreme court a list of evaluators who are approved to serve in that county pursuant to this chapter and any rules adopted by the supreme court.
(3) Unless a sitting or senior judge is assigned by the supreme court or administrative judge as an evaluator, or unless the parties have agreed in advance to the selection of a particular evaluator, upon receipt of a notice of initiation of the provisions of this chapter, the clerk of the court shall provide each party to the case a list containing the names of the same five (5) randomly selected evaluators. If there are more than two (2) parties to the litigation, the clerk will provide ten (10) names.
(4) In every case each party may submit requests for replacement list(s) to the clerk within three (3) days of receipt of a list of evaluators. Upon receipt of such a request, the clerk of the court shall provide each party to the case a new list containing an appropriate number of names of randomly selected evaluators.
(5) Within seven (7) days of receipt of the list, it shall be the duty of the party that filed the notice initiating proceedings under this chapter to initiate contact with the other party or parties for the purpose of selecting an evaluator. Unless the parties agree on a particular evaluator or a different method of selection, selection of the evaluator will be by alternating strikes. The initiating party shall strike an evaluator’s name, the opposing party shall then strike an evaluator’s name with the parties alternating until only one (1) name is left. If there are more than two (2) parties, the strikes shall be made in the order the parties’ names appear on the case caption commencing with the initiating party. The initiating party shall file notice of the selected evaluator within ten (10) days of the receipt of the list.
(6) If there is any dispute or failure to cooperate with the selection procedures contained in this section, any party may file a motion with the court for assistance in selection of an evaluator. No hearing shall be required and the court shall rule on such motion expeditiously and take whatever steps are necessary to obtain the prompt selection of an evaluator. If the court finds that a party has requested a replacement list of evaluators unreasonably or determines it is otherwise appropriate, the court may appoint a sitting or retired judge or a private lawyer from the list of approved evaluators to serve as evaluator for the case.
(7) Upon application by any party made no sooner than fourteen (14) days after the filing of the notice of request for civil evaluation, the clerk shall assign by random lot any of the individuals identified on the list as the evaluator if no notice of selection or motion for assistance has been filed.
(8) Nothing shall preclude the parties stipulating to the appointment of any individual who agrees to serve as their evaluator under this statute. If the parties stipulate to the appointment of an evaluator different from one on the list provided by the clerk, they shall file a joint statement to that effect with the court.
(9) To the extent it deems necessary, the supreme court may prescribe rules to reduce the costs of evaluation under this chapter. It may also prescribe forms to be used in the evaluation process, and other rules, standards or procedures it deems appropriate to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.
(10) The supreme court may exempt all cases filed in the courts of any county from the operation of this chapter if, following application made by the administrative judge of the judicial district which includes that county, the supreme court determines the county does not have sufficient judicial or other resources to implement and effectuate the purposes of this chapter or for other good cause shown.
[7-1504, added 2002, ch. 137, sec. 1, p. 382; am. 2003, ch. 29, sec. 2, p. 104.]