RULE 8.8 ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
(a) Parties to civil suits are strongly 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 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 individual clients. The statement must also set forth whether ADR will be court-sponsored under this rule or performed by a private neutral under N.D.R.Ct. 8.9. 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) The primary form of ADR offered by the district court is mediation in court-sponsored settlement conferences held by judicial officers. Additionally, parties are encouraged to arrange and participate in ADR in the private market under N.D.R.Ct. 8.9 as an alternative to court-sponsored ADR.
(c) Confidentiality. The ADR process is confidential and not open to the public. All written and oral communication by the parties or their representatives in relation to court-sponsored ADR proceedings are deemed confidential. Disclosure of confidential ADR communications is prohibited, except as authorized by the court or agreed to by the parties.
(1) The trial judge will not ordinarily serve as the settlement judge, unless the parties jointly agree otherwise in an appropriate jury case. The trial judge will not be informed of any positions taken by parties during ADR and will only be advised whether the case settled.
(2) The judicial officer 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.
(d) Administration. Each district court will designate by order of appointment a judicial officer for its district to serve as program administrator to implement, oversee, and evaluate the district's ADR program.
(e) Disqualification. A judicial officer 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 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 from conducting an ADR proceeding, the presiding judge will assign another judicial officer to conduct further ADR proceedings.
Rule 8.8 was adopted, effective ________________________________________. 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 _______________.
CROSS-REFERENCE: N.D.R.Ct. 8.9 (Roster of Alternative Dispute Resolution Neutrals).