PERSONAL INJURY MATTERS
Effective: January 1, 2020
Rule 1: Rules of Arbitration
- The SSAM Rules of Arbitration shall be applied as they exist at the time the proceeding is submitted to SSAM.
- The Parties by written agreement may at any time amend, modify or annul any SSAM Rule of Arbitration. For example, the parties may agree in writing to any of the following:
- The Arbitration shall be submission only, with no witnesses or live testimony (see Rule 8)
- The Arbitration shall be before a panel of three Arbitrators instead of one requiring a majority vote.
- The Arbitration shall allow for an appeal to a SSAM neutral under SSAMs appellate procedure.
- The parties agree to NOT inform the Arbitrator of the high low limits, if any.
Rule 2: Communications
- The parties shall accept communications from SSAM by email.
- No party shall have ex parte communications with the Neutral.
Rule 3: Privacy and Confidentiality
All submissions, and the Arbitration hearing itself are confidential and shall not be disclosed except as required by law or related to the enforcement or challenge of the award.
Rule 4: Liability Exclusion
The Arbitrator and all SSAM employees, officers, agents and/or directors:
- Shall not be called as a witness, expert or otherwise to any legal proceeding that may arise from the Arbitration, or the enforcement or challenge to same, and are not necessary parties to any such proceeding.
- Shall not be liable to any party or person for any act or omission claimed to be connected or related to the Arbitration including related to the attempted/actual recusal of the Arbitrator.
- Will be indemnified by the parties for any loss, liability, or expense incurred from this provision or any claims from this provision or any costs associated with defending from any subpoenas that may be issued as a result of the arbitration.
Rule 5: Initiation
The process is initiated by the parties executing a SSAM Arbitration Stipulation (“AS”) which includes:
- The agreed upon Arbitrator
- Whether the issues are Liability, Damages or both
- The high and low parameters if a high/low arbitration is desired
- An acknowledgement that the Arbitrator’s decision is binding
- Other matters set forth in SSAM’s then current AS
PRE- HEARING PROCEDURE / RULES
Rule 6: Pre-Hearing Conference
Upon the parties’ request, the Arbitrator may hold a conference (phone, video conference or in person) to discuss:
- Outstanding discovery needed for the hearing, which the Arbitrator has discretion to rule upon
- Agreed upon facts or issues
- Limitation of the hearing to a single issue or specified issues, or limitation of the number of witnesses
- Any other issues the parties may wish to discuss
Rule 7: Discovery
In the absence of a pre-hearing under Rule 6 setting forth a discovery schedule, discovery is deemed completed upon the case being scheduled for arbitration.
Rule 8: Submission only Arbitration
- If the parties have jointly elected to proceed by submission only, then they shall agree on a submission date and on or before said date shall submit to all parties and SSAM scheduling department the complete submission.
- Upon receipt of this submission, each party shall have 5 business days to send a rebuttal submission to all parties and SSAM scheduling department.
Rule 9: Evidence
- At least 10 business days prior to the hearing, each party shall send to all other parties copies of all documents to be offered in evidence and a list of non-party witnesses expected to be presented at the time of the hearing. Any document not sent in accordance with this rule or any witness not so identified, except those required in rebuttal of any claim or defense, may be excluded at the time of hearing at the discretion of the arbitrator.
- If notice has been given pursuant to section (a) above, a party may offer in evidence, without further proof, the following:
- Bills, records and reports of hospitals, doctors, dentists, registered nurses, or other medical personnel;
- Bills for prescriptions and medically prescribed equipment;
- Written estimates for repair of or loss of property;
- Reports of time lost from work or lost compensation prepared by an employer;
- Executed reports, statements, affidavits or declarations of any witness, whose testimony would be admissible.
- However, the arbitrator may disregard any portion of the statement that would be inadmissible if the witness is testifying in person.
Rule 10: Pre-Hearing Memoranda
- The parties are at liberty to file pre-hearing memoranda with SSAM provided that copies are sent to all other parties.
- For cases with high/low parameters, Unless the parties have agreed in writing to disclose those parameters to the Arbitrator, such limits shall not be disclosed in any papers, submissions or oral statements to the Arbitrator.
Rule 11: Papers Filed
- All papers filed with SSAM and sent to other parties shall be deemed filed upon actual delivery to SSAM and other parties.
- The filing party shall be responsible to send copies of all papers filed with SSAM to all other parties within 24 hours of filing.
Rule 12: Adjournment/Cancellation
- Any party requesting an adjournment of a scheduled hearing or conference shall pay a fee for same in accordance with SSAM’s then existing fee schedule. If the postponement is sought by more than one party, the postponement fee shall be borne equally and proportionately by the parties seeking same. Any adjournment requested within 72 hours of the scheduled hearing can only be granted upon mutual consent of the parties in writing.
- In the event that a case stipulated to be arbitrated is settled or otherwise disposed of prior to the arbitration hearing, all parties shall be responsible to pay to SSAM a fee in accordance with SSAM’s fee schedule.
HEARING RULES / PROCEDURE
Rule 13: Evidence
A hearing may be conducted by the arbitrator in any manner, which permits a fair presentation of the case, by the parties. While the Arbitrator will generally be guided by the Federal Rules of Evidence, they shall have broad discretion to employ “relaxed” rules of evidence as they in their discretion deem appropriate to the circumstances.
Rule 14: Record
No stenographic record of the hearing will be made, unless requested in writing by a party, and agreed to by all parties. SSAM shall make the arrangements and shall notify the other parties of such arrangements in advance of the hearing. The requesting party or parties shall pay the cost of the record, and shall supply a copy to the arbitrator at the party’s sole expense.
Rule 15: Appearances/Attendance
- The arbitrator shall maintain the privacy of the proceedings. Only the parties and/or their attorneys shall be permitted to attend or participate in conference or hearings, unless all parties and the Arbitrator consent.
- Any party participating in a SSAM Arbitration has the option of being represented by any attorney of the bar of any state or federal court.
- Upon application, the arbitrator may exclude any non-party witness during the testimony of another witness. The arbitrator shall have all of the powers of a sitting Judge excluding the power to hold a party in contempt.
Rule 16: Non-Appearance
If a hearing is scheduled for a certain time and date and a party fails to appear, the Arbitrator has full and broad discretion to adjourn the matter or hold the Arbitration. If the matter is heard, the Arbitrator must still require the appearing party to present their case and thereafter may render a decision in favor of the appearing party.
Rule 17: High/Low Arbitrations
- The parties may agree in writing to disclose the high low parameters to the Arbitrator.
- In the absence of such agreement, if a Party reveals to the Arbitrator, by inadvertence or design, the parameters, the Arbitrator must inform the other side and unless the non-revealing party agrees to continue the arbitration process, the Arbitrator shall terminate the process, and the revealing party shall pay the fees for both parties. If the Arbitrator learns of the high low parameters in any other fashion, they shall inform the parties and proceed only upon the consent of all parties.
- If the Arbitrator’s award shall be lesser than the low parameter, the final award shall be corrected administratively by SSAM to reflect the low parameter. If the Arbitrator’s award shall be greater than the high parameter, the final award shall be corrected administratively by SSAM to reflect the high parameter.
Rule 18: Awards
- The arbitration award shall be rendered within a reasonable time and shall be in writing and signed by the Arbitrator.
- The parties may within 5 business days jointly request a reconsideration or review. Further either party may within 5 business days, unilaterally request review of a purely mathematical error. Absent any such requests and or at the conclusion of any such request, the award is final and binding.
- The parties consent to the arbitrator’s award being enforced in an appropriate court of public jurisdiction. The award is binding only upon the arbitration parties and the issues presented between them, and there is no res judicata or collateral estoppel effect upon other similar or related matters unless required by applicable law
- All ruling on substantive legal issues shall be based upon the principles of law in the state of the forum at the time of the arbitration.
- SSAM awards do not provide for prejudgment or post-judgement interest.
- A party who learns that any provision or requirement of these procedures has not been complied with or that the continued service of the Arbitrator is in question, must promptly object in writing. Failure to do so shall be deemed to be a waiver of the right to object, and the party shall be bound by the decision of the Arbitrator, unless the Arbitrator in their sole discretion determines that doing so would result in substantial injustice.
FEES / EXPENSES
Rule 19: Fees
Fees are due and payable within 10 days of the hearing and are considered a lien against the file. SSAM is authorized to hold back publication of a decision if any fees are outstanding.
Rule 20: Expenses
- All expenses of the proceeding, including required travel and other expenses of the arbitrator shall be borne equally by the parties, or unless an arbitrator in an award assesses such expense of any part thereof against any specified party or parties.
- The expense of witnesses for any party shall be paid by the party producing such witnesses.
- The cost for an interpreter for a witness who is a party to the action shall be borne by the party and the cost for an interpreter for a non-party witness shall be borne by the party producing said witness.