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H.B. 287

             1     

ARBITRATION FOR DOG BITES AMENDMENTS

             2     
2014 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: LaVar Christensen

             5     
Senate Sponsor: John L. Valentine

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill modifies Title 18, Chapter 1, Injuries by Dogs, by creating a provision for
             10      using arbitration in personal injury from a dog attack.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    authorizes a person injured from a dog attack to use arbitration to resolve a third
             14      party claim under certain requirements;
             15          .    provides procedures for resolving the third party claim through arbitration;
             16          .    limits an arbitration award to $50,000;
             17          .    prohibits a claim for punitive damages or any subsequent proceeding;
             18          .    provides that a court may award reasonable attorney fees if the court finds that a
             19      party's use of the de novo process was filed in bad faith;
             20          .    provides that if a defendant demands a trial de novo after an arbitration award, the
             21      verdict at the trial may not exceed $65,000;
             22          .    provides that if a plaintiff demands a trial de novo after an arbitration award, the
             23      verdict at the trial may not exceed $15,000 above any insurance policy limit; and
             24          .    provides that arbitration awards shall bear postjudgment interest.
             25      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             26          None
             27      Other Special Clauses:


             28          None
             29      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             30      ENACTS:
             31           18-1-4 , Utah Code Annotated 1953
             32     
             33      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             34          Section 1. Section 18-1-4 is enacted to read:
             35          18-1-4. Use of arbitration in personal injury from dog attack cases.
             36          (1) A person injured as a result of a dog attack may elect to submit all third party
             37      bodily injury claims to arbitration by filing a notice of the submission of the claim to binding
             38      arbitration in a district court if:
             39          (a) the claimant or the claimant's representative has:
             40          (i) previously and timely filed a complaint in a district court that includes a third party
             41      bodily injury claim; and
             42          (ii) filed a notice to submit the claim to arbitration within 14 days after the complaint
             43      has been answered; and
             44          (b) the notice required under Subsection (1)(a)(ii) is filed while the action under
             45      Subsection (1)(a)(i) is still pending.
             46          (2) (a) If a party submits a bodily injury claim to arbitration under Subsection (1), the
             47      party submitting the claim or the party's representative is limited to an arbitration award that
             48      may not exceed $50,000 in addition to any medical premise benefits and any claim for property
             49      damage.
             50          (b) A party who elects to proceed against a defendant under this section:
             51          (i) waives the right to obtain a judgment against the personal assets of the defendant;
             52      and
             53          (ii) is limited to recovery only against available limits of insurance coverage.
             54          (3) A claim for punitive damages may not be made in an arbitration proceeding under
             55      Subsection (1) or any subsequent proceeding, even if the claim is later resolved through a trial
             56      de novo under Subsection (11).
             57          (4) (a) A party who has elected arbitration under this section may rescind the party's
             58      election if the rescission is made within:


             59          (i) 90 days after the election to arbitrate; and
             60          (ii) no less than 30 days before any scheduled arbitration hearing.
             61          (b) A party seeking to rescind an election to arbitrate under this Subsection (4) shall:
             62          (i) file a notice of the rescission of the election to arbitrate with the district court in
             63      which the matter was filed; and
             64          (ii) send copies of the notice of the rescission of the election to arbitrate to all counsel
             65      of record to the action.
             66          (c) All discovery completed in anticipation of the arbitration hearing shall be available
             67      for use by the parties as allowed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and the Utah Rules of
             68      Evidence.
             69          (d) A party who has elected to arbitrate under this section and then rescinded the
             70      election to arbitrate under this Subsection (4) may not elect to arbitrate the claim under this
             71      section again.
             72          (5) (a) Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties or by order of the court, an arbitration
             73      process elected under this section is subject to Rule 26, Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.
             74          (b) Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court, discovery shall be
             75      completed within 150 days after the date arbitration is elected under this section or the date the
             76      answer is filed, whichever is longer.
             77          (6) (a) Unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the parties, a claim that is submitted to
             78      arbitration under this section shall be resolved by a single arbitrator.
             79          (b) Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court, all parties shall
             80      agree on the single arbitrator selected under Subsection (6)(a) within 90 days of the answer of
             81      the defendant.
             82          (c) If the parties are unable to agree on a single arbitrator as required under Subsection
             83      (6)(b), the parties shall select a panel of three arbitrators.
             84          (d) If the parties select a panel of three arbitrators under Subsection (6)(c):
             85          (i) each side shall select one arbitrator; and
             86          (ii) the arbitrators selected under Subsection (6)(d)(i) shall select one additional
             87      arbitrator to be included in the panel.
             88          (7) Unless otherwise agreed to in writing:
             89          (a) each party shall pay an equal share of the fees and costs of the arbitrator selected


             90      under Subsection (6)(a); and
             91          (b) if an arbitration panel is selected under Subsection (6)(d):
             92          (i) each party shall pay the fees and costs of the arbitrator selected by that party's side;
             93      and
             94          (ii) each party shall pay an equal share of the fees and costs of the arbitrator selected
             95      under Subsection (6)(d)(ii).
             96          (8) Except as otherwise provided in this section and unless otherwise agreed to in
             97      writing by the parties, an arbitration proceeding conducted under this section shall be governed
             98      by Title 78B, Chapter 11, Utah Uniform Arbitration Act.
             99          (9) (a) Subject to the provisions of this section, the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and
             100      the Utah Rules of Evidence apply to the arbitration proceeding.
             101          (b) The Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and the Utah Rules of Evidence shall be applied
             102      liberally with the intent of concluding the claim in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
             103          (c) Discovery shall be conducted in accordance with the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure
             104      and shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the district court in which the matter is filed.
             105          (d) Dispositive motions shall be filed, heard, and decided by the district court prior to
             106      the arbitration proceeding in accordance with the court's scheduling order.
             107          (10) A written decision by a single arbitrator or by a majority of the arbitration panel
             108      shall constitute a final decision.
             109          (11) An arbitration award issued under this section shall be the final resolution of all
             110      bodily injury claims between the parties and may be reduced to judgment by the court upon
             111      motion and notice unless:
             112          (a) either party, within 20 days after service of the arbitration award:
             113          (i) files a notice requesting a trial de novo in the district court; and
             114          (ii) serves the nonmoving party with a copy of the notice requesting a trial de novo
             115      under Subsection (11)(a)(i); or
             116          (b) the arbitration award has been satisfied.
             117          (12) (a) Upon filing a notice requesting a trial de novo under Subsection (11):
             118          (i) unless otherwise stipulated to by the parties or ordered by the court, an additional 90
             119      days shall be allowed for further discovery;
             120          (ii) the additional discovery time under Subsection (12)(a)(i) shall run from the notice


             121      of appeal; and
             122          (iii) the claim shall proceed through litigation pursuant to the Utah Rules of Civil
             123      Procedure and the Utah Rules of Evidence in the district court.
             124          (b) In accordance with the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, either party may request a
             125      jury trial with a request for trial de novo filed under Subsection (11).
             126          (13) (a) If the plaintiff, as the moving party in a trial de novo requested under
             127      Subsection (11), does not obtain a verdict that is at least $5,000 and is at least 30% greater than
             128      the arbitration award, the plaintiff is responsible for all of the nonmoving party's costs.
             129          (b) Except as provided in Subsection (13)(c), the costs under Subsection (13)(a) shall
             130      include:
             131          (i) any costs set forth in Rule 54(d), Utah Rules of Civil Procedure; and
             132          (ii) the costs of expert witnesses and depositions.
             133          (c) An award of costs under this Subsection (13) may not exceed $6,000.
             134          (14) (a) If a defendant, as the moving party in a trial de novo requested under
             135      Subsection (11), does not obtain a verdict that is at least 30% less than the arbitration award,
             136      the defendant is responsible for all of the nonmoving party's costs.
             137          (b) Except as provided in Subsection (14)(c), the costs under Subsection (14)(a) shall
             138      include:
             139          (i) any costs set forth in Rule 54(d), Utah Rules of Civil Procedure; and
             140          (ii) the costs of expert witnesses and depositions.
             141          (c) An award of costs under this Subsection (14) may not exceed $6,000.
             142          (15) For purposes of determining whether a party's verdict is greater or less than the
             143      arbitration award under Subsections (13) and (14), a court may not consider any recovery or
             144      other relief granted on a claim for damages if the claim for damages was not disclosed in:
             145          (a) writing prior to the arbitration proceeding; or
             146          (b) response to discovery contrary to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.
             147          (16) If a district court determines, upon a motion of the nonmoving party, that the
             148      moving party's use of the trial de novo process was filed in bad faith, as described in Section
             149      78B-5-825 , the district court may award reasonable attorney fees to the nonmoving party.
             150          (17) Nothing in this section is intended to affect or prevent any first party claim from
             151      later being brought under any first party insurance policy under which the injured person is a


             152      covered person.
             153          (18) (a) If a defendant requests a trial de novo under Subsection (11), the total verdict
             154      at trial may not exceed $15,000 above any available limits of insurance coverage and the total
             155      verdict may not exceed $65,000.
             156          (b) If a plaintiff requests a trial de novo under Subsection (11), the verdict at trial may
             157      not exceed $50,000.
             158          (19) All arbitration awards issued under this section shall bear postjudgment interest
             159      pursuant to Section 15-1-4 .




Legislative Review Note
    as of 11-18-13 10:07 AM


Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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