On March 6, 2006, the Joint Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee filed proposed
amendments to N.D.R.Ct. 8.8 – Alternative Dispute Resolution. The Supreme Court issued a Notice of Comment on April 12, 2006, that any person wishing to comment on the proposed amendments
could do so in writing before Friday, May 12, 2006. Written comments were received and referred to the Court. The Supreme Court issued a Notice of Hearing on June 5, 2006, and a hearing was held July 11, 2006, on the proposed amendments. The Court considered the matter, and
ORDERED, the proposed amendments to Rule 8.8, North Dakota Rules of Court, as further
amended by the Court, are ADOPTED effective October 1, 2006.
The Supreme Court of the State of North Dakota convened July 19, 2006, with the Honorable
Dale V. Sandstrom, the Honorable Mary Muehlen Maring, the Honorable Carol Ronning Kapsner,
the Honorable Daniel J. Crothers, Justices, directing the Clerk of the Supreme Court to enter the above order, with the Honorable Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice, voting no.
Penny Miller Clerk North Dakota Supreme Court
VandeWalle, voting no, EXPLANATION.
I would have preferred that the rule contain the provision recommended by the ADR Committee authorizing the district court to require or not require mediation and explain the reason for its order. As a lesser alternative, I suggested specifically authorizing the district court to meet with the parties to discuss their reasons for not participating in ADR. Without either of those provisions I am concerned there will be no more participation in an ADR process than there is under the current rule which is largely unused or ignored. However, it is apparent from most, but not all, of the comments the Court received on the proposed amendments that the Bar is not willing to accept any district court intervention in the ADR process except as may already be covered under Rule 16, N.D.R.Civ.P., and neither are my colleagues.
Nevertheless, the order makes improvements in the current rule which arguably may make the ADR process more readily understood and accepted by the parties and their attorneys.
Gerald W. VandeWalle
North Dakota Supreme Court