1. Scope of Rules: The parties agree that the rules and procedures of Amicus Mediation & Arbitration Group (“AMICUS”) will govern the virtual arbitration proceeding and all activity in connection therewith.
  2. Agreement of Parties: The parties to a dispute shall be deemed to have made these rules a part of their arbitration agreement and shall be legally bound to comply with them. The parties have agreed that these rules and any amendment to them shall apply once the parties sign an arbitration agreement. Parties may modify any provision in writing, by mutual consent.
  3. Arbitration Clause: When a case is submitted because a contract or agreement contains a provision for arbitration, the initiating party should contact AMICUS and submit a copy of the contract or agreement. AMICUS will contact the opposing parties to commence the scheduling of the hearing.
  4. Non-Contractual Arbitration: A party to an existing dispute may initiate arbitration by contacting AMICUS and requesting that AMICUS contact all of the parties to gain their consent to resolve the dispute by arbitration.
  5. Representation: Any party in the action may be represented by counsel or other authorized persons.
  6. Selection of Arbitrators: The selection of arbitrator(s) shall proceed as follows:
    1. AMICUS will work with the parties to select an arbitrator mutually agreed upon to preside over the arbitration hearing. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, AMICUS will provide a short list of potential arbitrators. Each party will have the opportunity to strike one arbitrator from the list. AMICUS will assign an arbitrator from the remaining names on the list.
    2. If the agreement between the parties does not specify the number of arbitrators to be used, one (1) arbitrator will be used, unless the parties request to use a tri-panel of three (3) arbitrators. If a tri-panel arbitration is requested, each party will select one (1) arbitrator and the two selected arbitrators will then select the third, neutral arbitrator.
    3. If for any reason the arbitrator(s) selected by the parties is unwilling or unable to serve at the hearing, a new arbitrator shall be chosen in accordance with this rule, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.
  7. Qualifications of an Arbitrator: All arbitrators are acting as independent contractors and are not agents or employees of AMICUS. No person shall serve as an arbitrator if he/she has a financial or personal interest in the outcome of the arbitration. An arbitrator will disclose any facts likely to create a presumption of bias that might disqualify the arbitrator as neutral or impartial. If an arbitrator is disqualified, a new arbitrator will be selected pursuant to Section 6 of these rules. All parties and arbitrators agree that AMICUS is under no duty to conduct an investigation or inquiry as to potential conflicts of interest of arbitrators until after full disclosure is served on AMICUS by the arbitrator(s).
  8. Fees, Costs, and Expenses: Each party is responsible for payment of the agreed upon fees outlined in the AMICUS Arbitration Agreement. Payment of the initial fees is due at least three (3) days prior to the arbitration hearing. Failure to remit this pre-payment could result in cancellation of the arbitration hearing or a delay in the release of the arbitrator’s decision until the fees are paid. The expenses for witnesses and the costs associated thereof shall be paid by the party producing the same. If the parties settle or reach a disposition regarding a scheduled case at any time less than two (2) days prior to the scheduled hearing, including on the date of the hearing, all parties shall pay the full administrative fee to AMICUS as well as any applicable fees applied by the arbitrator.
  9. Discovery: The extent and limitations of discovery shall be decided by the arbitrator and conformity to the state or federal discovery rules is not required.
  10. Submission of Exhibits, Witness Lists, and Documents: The parties agree to submit all exhibits, fact and expert witness lists, and documents to be used in the arbitration hearing directly to the arbitrator with a copy to the opposing party or parties. All submissions must be postmarked (if sent by mail), delivered to a courier (if sent by messenger or overnight delivery) or transmitted electronically (if sent by facsimile) no later than the submission date listed in the arbitration agreement signed by all parties.
  11. Service of Notice: All parties agree that papers, notices, or any of documents to be filed in connection with the arbitration hearing, including instituting the arbitration hearing or notice of the entry of judgment of an arbitration award, shall be served by personal service or mail to the last known address of a party or the party’s attorney, and reasonably opportunity to be heard is granted to such party. Communication between all parties and AMICUS may also be transmitted via facsimile, telex, telegram, or other electronic means. Facsimile copies of signatures will be valid and enforceable as if they were original signatures.
  12. Postponements and Extensions: A scheduled hearing or conference may be cancelled or postponed if all parties mutually agree to the cancellation or postponement. If parties cannot mutually agree to postpone the arbitration, the arbitrator will be asked to decide if there is sufficient cause to postpone the arbitration. A postponement fee will be imposed on the party requesting a postponement of a scheduled hearing or conference. The parties may also agree to modify the deadline for the submission of the award. AMICUS or the arbitrator may also, for good cause, extend the period of time for making the award and AMICUS will notify all parties of any such extension and its reason.
  13. The Arbitration Hearing: Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the arbitration hearing shall proceed as follows:
    1. The date, time, and physical location of the arbitration proceeding and hearings shall be agreed to by all parties.
    2. Notwithstanding Section 15 of these rules, the hearing shall be private and parties who are not involved shall not be admitted.
    3. The arbitrator(s) shall afford each party a reasonable opportunity to present his or her case and shall act fairly and impartially throughout the course of the hearing. Subject to prior written agreement between the parties, the arbitrator(s) shall have complete discretion over the presentation of the case.
    4. The parties may offer any evidence believed to be relevant to the dispute, however, conformity to the legal rules of evidence is not necessary and the arbitrator(s) shall give the evidence such weight as the arbitrator(s) deems appropriate. Notwithstanding this rule, the arbitrator(s) shall not admit nor consider any of the following as evidence:
      1. Prior offers of settlement
      2. Statements or recommendations made by any person involved in the settlement of the dispute, such as prior mediators, except where admissible under applicable law
      3. Deposition testimony where the other parties did not have an opportunity to attend and cross-examine, although the arbitrator(s) is permitted to consider witness affidavits and give them such weight as the arbitrator(s) deems appropriate
      4. Evidence otherwise protected by a privilege or work product under applicable law
    5. The arbitrator(s) shall declare the hearing closed after determining that all relevant and material evidence has been presented.
  14. Oaths: The Arbitrator(s) may take an oath of office prior to the first hearing. In addition, the arbitrator(s) may require a witnesses or party to take an oath prior to testifying when required by law, at either party’s request, or at the discretion of the arbitrator(s)
  15. Attendance of Hearing: Any person having a direct interest in the arbitration is entitled to attend the hearing. The arbitrator(s) shall otherwise have the power to require the exclusion of any witness, other than a party or other essential person, during the testimony of any other witness. It shall be subject to the discretion of the arbitrator to determine the propriety of the attendance of any other person other than a party and its representatives.
  16. Arbitration in the Absence of Party or Counsel: The arbitrator(s) may proceed with the arbitration hearing and render a decision even if one party fails to appear where the absent party received notice of the hearing and failed to appear without agreeing to an adjournment. No party is permitted communicate with the arbitrator(s) ex parte regarding the merits or issues related to the arbitration without the express consent of all parties and AMICUS.
  17. Stenographic Record: A transcription or a stenographic record of the hearing may be made only if agreed to by the parties in advance of the hearing. The costs and arrangements of such record shall be borne by the party making the request, unless the parties agree to share the cost.
  18. Interpreters: Any party is permitted to have an interpreter present during the arbitration hearing and the party requiring the interpreter shall make all arrangements directly with said service provider and shall pay all costs associated with said services.
  19. Scope of Award: Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the decision of the arbitrator(s) shall be based on the principles of law and equity that would apply as if the case were being heard in a public judicial proceeding and the remedy granted may be any remedy that the arbitrator(s) deems just and equitable as within the scope of the parties’ agreement or contract, including specific performance of a contract.
  20. Award: Unless otherwise agreed by the parties or extraordinary circumstances prevent same, the award shall be made by the arbitrator or a majority of arbitrators on a panel no later than thirty (30) days after the date of the hearing is closed and concluded. The award shall consist of a written statement signed by the arbitrator regarding his or her decision to each claim and the relief, if any, for each claim. The arbitrator shall then provide the award to AMICUS who will mail notice of the award to each of the parties. The parties shall accept as legal delivery of the award a true copy in the mail addressed to each party or its attorney at his or her last known address. The parties agree that the award will be final and binding on all parties to the arbitration proceeding and that the arbitration award may be entered in any federal or state court of competent jurisdiction.
  21. Award Upon Settlement:If a settlement is be reached during the arbitration hearing, the arbitrator may, at the parties request, set forth the terms of the settlement agreement in an award.
  22. Voluntary Dismissal: Any action may be dismissed, without prejudice, before final adjudication by filing and executing a stipulation of dismissal by all parties. In the event of dismissal, the parties shall be responsible for the payment of any fees associated with the administration of the arbitration hearing and the arbitrator’s services, including any applicable costs, fees, and expenses pursuant to Section 8 of these rules
  23. Disclosure of Minimum and Maximum Award Limits (High/Low Parameters): Parties may stipulate to a high/low agreement, which may be attached to the arbitration contract. The parameters shall act as a minimum and maximum limit on the arbitrator’s award. If the award rendered is within the high/low range, the award as rendered will stand. If the award is less than the minimum limit, or low parameter, the minimum limit shall become the award amount. If the arbitrator’s award is higher than the maximum limit or high, the maximum limit shall become the award amount. The high/low agreement shall not be revealed to the arbitrator(s). In the event that the high/low agreement or its particular contents are disclosed to the arbitrator(s), the arbitrator(s) reserve the right to void the hearing and the party responsible for the disclosure shall bear the cost of the new hearing and any additional cancellation or rescheduling fees.
  24. Applications to Court: No party waives its right to arbitrate by commencing a judicial proceeding relating to the subject matter of the arbitration.
  25. Exclusions of Liability: Neither AMICUS, its employees, nor any arbitrator in a current or former hearing shall be a necessary party or witness in any subsequent judicial proceeding that substantially relates the subject matter of the current or former hearing. Nor shall AMICUS, its employees, or any arbitrator be liable to any party for negligence or an act or omission made in connection with any arbitration hearing.
  26. Interpretation and Application of Rules: The arbitrator(s) have discretion to interpret the meaning and application of these rules where it concerns the power and duties of the arbitrator(s). Where there is a panel of arbitrators, any interpretations shall be agreed upon my majority vote or the panel can refer the question or issue to AMICUS for a final decision. The interpretation of the meaning and application of all other rules shall be at the sole discretion of AMICUS.
  27. Waiver of Rules: Any party who proceeds with the arbitration hearing after knowing that a provision or requirement of these rules has been violated and fails to timely object in writing shall be deemed to have waived the violation and the right to object.