RULE 8.8 ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
(a) Parties to civil suits are encouraged to participate in alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") at an early stage of the case under N.D.R.Civ.P. 16(a)(6), and all parties in civil cases not excluded from application of this rule must discuss early ADR participation and the appropriate timing of such effort. After the filing of an answer, each party must within 60 days serve and file a statement with the district court (in the form shown in appendix F) detailing ADR participation that has occurred or is planned to occur. The statement must certify that the parties have discussed ADR participation with each other and that the parties' lawyers have discussed ADR with their clients. The statement must also set forth whether ADR will be court-sponsored under this rule or performed by a private neutral. If a party does not plan to participate in ADR, the statement must contain the reason for not participating. The statement may be incorporated into a joint informational statement under N.D.R.Ct. 8.3(a). Cases which are limited to review of an administrative decision on an existing record are excluded from this authorization, except upon specific designation by a judicial officer.
(b) Confidentiality. The court-sponsored ADR process is confidential and not open to the public. Disclosure of confidential ADR communications is prohibited, except as authorized by the court and agreed to by the parties.
(1) Statements made and documents produced in non-binding ADR processes which are not otherwise discoverable are not subject to discovery or other disclosure and are not admissible into evidence for any purpose at trial.
(2) The neutral conducting an ADR proceeding may not be called to testify in connection with any dispute relating to the ADR proceeding or its result except upon written agreement of the parties and the concurrence of the district court, or when otherwise required by law.
(3) Notes, records, and recollections of the neutral are confidential, which means that they shall not be disclosed to the parties, the public, or anyone other than the neutral unless all parties and the neutral agree to such disclosure or such disclosure is required by law or other applicable professional codes. No record shall be made without the agreement of both parties, except for a memorandum of issues that are resolved.
(c) The primary forms of ADR offered by the district court are mediative court-sponsored settlement conferences other than pretrial conferences under N.D.R.Civ.P. 16 and domestic relations mediation. Additionally, parties are encouraged to arrange and participate in ADR in the private market as an alternative to court-sponsored ADR.
(d) A sliding fee schedule based on participants' assets and income will be established by administrative order and applied to court-sponsored mediation services in all cases involving domestic relations.
(e) The trial judge will not serve as the settlement judge under this rule. The trial judge will not be informed of any positions taken by parties during ADR and will only be advised whether the case settled.
(f) Administration. Each district court will designate by order of appointment a judicial officer or employee for its district to serve as program administrator to implement, oversee, and evaluate the district's ADR program.
(g) Disqualification. A judicial officer or employee conducting an ADR proceeding may be disqualified for bias or prejudice or for a conflict of interest.
(1) Any party who believes a judicial officer or employee conducting an ADR proceeding has a conflict of interest must file a request for recusal at the earliest opportunity.
(2) Upon disqualification of a judicial officer or employee from conducting an ADR proceeding, the presiding judge will assign another judicial officer or employee to conduct further ADR proceedings.
(h) Availability. Court-sponsored ADR will depend on available resources.
Rule 8.8 was adopted, effective March 1, 2001. Rule 8.8 is an adaptation of United States District Court, District of North Dakota, Local Rule 16.2.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 28-29, 1999, pages 7-12; May 6-7, 1999, pages 7-11.
REPEALED: N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R. 28, effective March 1, 2001.
CROSS-REFERENCE: N.D.R.Ct. 8.9 (Roster of Alternative Dispute Resolution Neutrals).