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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois
 

Court Rules - Particular Civil Proceedings - Mandatory Arbitration

III. PARTICULAR CIVIL PROCEEDINGS

ARTICLE 13: MANDATORY ARBITRATION

The mandatory arbitration program in the Circuit Court for the 18th Judicial Circuit, DuPage County, Illinois is governed by Supreme Court Rules 86-95 (not chaptered in ILCS) for the conduct of Mandatory Arbitration Proceedings. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 86(c), the Circuit Judges of the 18th Judicial Circuit adopt the following Local Rules effective January 23, 1989. Arbitration proceedings and small claims jury proceedings shall be governed by Supreme Court Rules and Article 13.

13.01 CIVIL ACTIONS SUBJECT TO MANDATORY ARBITRATION (S.Ct. Rule 86)

(a) Mandatory Arbitration proceedings are undertaken and conducted in the Circuit Court for the 18th Judicial Circuit, pursuant to Order of the Illinois Supreme Court of December 19, 1988 and written letter from the Illinois Supreme Court dated November 20, 1996.

(b) All civil actions will be subject to Mandatory Arbitration on all claims exclusive for money in an amount exceeding $10,000 but not exceeding the monetary limit authorized by the Supreme Court for the 18th Judicial Circuit, exclusive of interest and costs. These civil actions shall be assigned to the Arbitration Calendar of the Circuit Court of the 18th Judicial Circuit at the time of initial case filing with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, DuPage County, Illinois.

(c) Cases not originally assigned to the Arbitration Calendar may be ordered to arbitration on the motion of either party, by agreement of the parties or by order of court (amended eff. 07/09/2014) when it appears to the Court that no claim in the action has a value in excess of the monetary limit authorized by the Supreme Court for the 18th Judicial Circuit but is not within the monetary limits of Small Claims Court, irrespective of defenses. However, all small claims jury proceedings are subject to Mandatory Arbitration pursuant to 16.04 of these Rules.

(d) When a civil action not originally assigned to the Arbitration Calendar is subsequently assigned to the Arbitration Calendar, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 86(d), the Supervising Judge or the judge to whom the case is assigned shall promptly assign an arbitration hearing date. Except by agreement of counsel for all parties, and subject to approval by the court, the arbitration hearing date shall be not less than sixty (60) days nor more than one hundred eighty (180) days from the date of the assignment to the Arbitration Calendar. An extension may be granted upon good cause shown.

13.02 APPOINTMENT, QUALIFICATION AND COMPENSATION OF ARBITRATORS AND PROHIBITION FROM POST-HEARING CONTACT WITH ARBITRATORS (S.Ct. Rule 87)

(a) Applicants shall be eligible for appointment as arbitrators by filing an application form with the Arbitration Administrator certifying that the applicant:

(1) Has attended an approved mandatory arbitration training; and

(2) Has read and is informed of the rules of the Supreme Court and the Act relating to mandatory arbitration; and

(3) Is presently licensed to practice law in Illinois and is in good standing; and

(4) Has engaged in the practice of law in Illinois for a minimum of one year, or is a retired judge pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 87(b); and

(5) Resides in, practices in or maintain offices in the 18th Judicial Circuit, DuPage County, IL.

(b) Those attorneys who certify that they have engaged in trial practice in Illinois for a minimum of five years, who are retired judges pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 87(b), or have heard twenty arbitration cases may apply to serve as chairs. The Supervising Judge shall review applications.

(c) The Arbitration Administrator shall maintain a database of qualified arbitrators who shall be assigned to serve on a rotating basis. The Arbitration Administrator shall also maintain a list of those persons who have indicated on their applications a willingness to serve on an emergency basis. Emergency arbitrators shall also serve on a rotating basis.

(d) Each panel will consist of three arbitrators, one of which is chair-qualified. In cases where the ad damnum is in excess of $15,000, the Arbitration Administrator shall endeavor to provide two chair-qualified panelists. Where the ad damnum is in excess of $30,000, the Arbitration Administrator shall endeavor to provide to two chair-qualified panelists, one of which is chair-qualified in the area of that case designation. In certain circumstances the parties may stipulate using the prescribed form to a two-arbitrator panel. In no instance shall a hearing proceed with only one arbitrator.

(e) Only one member or associate of a firm, office, or association of attorneys shall be appointed to the panel. Upon assignment to a case, an arbitrator shall notify the Arbitration Administer of any conflict and withdraw from the case if any grounds for disqualification appear to exist pursuant to the Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct.

(f) The Arbitration Administrator shall notify the arbitrators of the day they are scheduled to serve as a panelist at least sixty (60) days prior to the hearing date. Those arbitrators who habitually cancel their dates may be deleted from the program.

(g) The Supervising Judge and the Arbitration Administrator may from time to time review the eligibility of each attorney to serve as arbitrators.

(h) Each arbitrator shall take an oath of office in conformity with the form provided in Supreme Court Rule 94 in advance of the hearing.

(i) Upon completion of each day's arbitration hearings, arbitrators shall file a voucher with the Arbitration Administrator for submission to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts for payment.

(j) An arbitrator may not be contacted, nor publicly comment, nor respond to questions regarding a particular arbitration case heard by that arbitrator during the pendency of that case.

13.02.1 DILIGENCE DATE

The Clerk of the Court shall issue a diligence date for each case classified "AR" for 9:00 a.m. seven months from the date of filing and shall notify the plaintiff of that date by affixing it on the complaint. The plaintiff must request the issuance of an alias summons and otherwise establish the exercise of diligence during the diligence period or the case may be dismissed pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 103(b). Except for good cause shown, no more than one diligence date will be given. Summons shall not issue for a return date beyond the diligence date set by a court except with leave of court. Any summons issued beyond that date without leave of court shall be considered a nullity. (amended eff. 9/9/09)

In the event plaintiff's counsel does not appear on a return date of an unserved summons issued with a future diligence date, the court shall take the matter off call. Plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel must appear on the return date of a served summons. Failure to do so may result in a dismissal for want of prosecution. (amended eff. 1/13/10)

13.03 SCHEDULING OF HEARINGS (S.Ct. Rule 88)

(a) On the effective date of these Rules, and on or before the first day of each July thereafter, the Arbitration Administrator will provide the Clerk of the Circuit Court a schedule of available arbitration hearing dates for the next calendar.

(b) Upon the filing of a civil action subject to Article 13, the Clerk of the Circuit Court shall set a return date for the summons not less than twenty-one (21) days nor more than forty (40) days after filing, returnable before the Supervising Judge or the judge to whom the case is assigned. The summons shall require that the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney and all defendants or their attorneys shall appear at the time and place indicated. The complaint and all summonses shall state in upper case letters on the upper right-hand corner: "THIS IS AN ARBITRATION CASE."

(c) The Court shall assign an arbitration hearing date on the earliest available date, after all parties have been required to appear or answer in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 88.

(d) Any party to a case may request advancement or postponement of a scheduled arbitration hearing date by filing a written motion with the Clerk of the Circuit Court requesting the change. The notice of hearing and motion shall be served upon counsel for all other parties, upon pro se parties as provided by Supreme Court Rule and Rules of the Circuit Court of the 18th Judicial Circuit, and upon the Arbitration Administrator. Neither the Administrator, the Arbitration staff, nor the arbitrators may grant a continuance even if by agreement.

The motion shall be set for hearing on the calendar of the Supervising Judge or the judge to whom the case is assigned or any other judge sitting in their place. The motion shall be verified, contain a concise statement of the reason for the change of hearing date, and be subject to Supreme Court Rule 137. The Supervising Judge or the judge to whom the case is assigned may grant such advancement or postponement upon good cause shown. If such advancement or postponement is granted, the party requesting the advancement or postponement shall immediately notify the Arbitration Administrator, by phone and fax, or personal service, or if time permits, mail of the new date and time.

(e) Consolidated cases shall be heard on the hearing date assigned to the latest case.

(f) Upon settlement of any case scheduled for an arbitration hearing, counsel for plaintiff shall immediately notify the Arbitration Administrator of such settlement by phone and fax, or personal service, or if time permits, mail.

(g) It is anticipated that the majority of cases to be heard by an arbitration panel will require a maximum of two hours for presentation and decision. Any party seeking a hearing in excess of two hours must obtain an Order of Court and tender that Order to the Arbitration Administrator at least ten days prior to the arbitration.

13.04 DISCOVERY (S.Ct. Rule 89)

(a) Discovery shall proceed as in all other civil actions.

(b) All parties shall comply with the provisions of Supreme Court Rule 222.  Within 60 days after the filing of a responsive pleading to the complaint, counter-claim, third party complaint, etc., the parties shall each make the initial disclosure required by S. CT. Rule 222 and file a notice of disclosure with the Clerk of the Court.  If a case is transferred to the Arbitration call by order of court, all parties shall comply with disclosure not later than 28 days after the date of transfer. Failure to make the disclosure statement, as provided by rule, or as the court allows may result in the imposition of sanctions as prescribed in Supreme Court Rule 219(c) and Rule 222(g). No disclosure statement shall be filed with the Clerk, except on order of the court.

13.05 CONDUCT OF THE HEARINGS (S.Ct. Rule 90)

(a) A stenographic record of the hearing may be made by any party at that party's expense. If a party has a stenographic record transcribed, notice thereof shall be given to all other parties and a copy shall be furnished to any party upon payment of a proportionate share of the total cost of making the stenographic record.

(b) Statements of witnesses shall set forth the name, address and telephone number of the witness.

(c) Costs shall be considered by the arbitration panel pursuant to law.

(d) Any party requiring the services of a language interpreter during the hearing shall be responsible for providing it. Any party requiring the services of an interpreter or other assistance for the deaf or hearing impaired shall notify the Arbitration Administrator of said need not less than seven (7) days prior to the hearing.

(e) Cases should be ready at the scheduled time. The Arbitration Administer may extend the time for good cause shown. If no notice is given to the Arbitration Administer, a party who does not answer ready within fifteen minutes of the time called will be found to be in default and the hearing will proceed ex parte. If a party calls the Arbitration Center and indicates they will be late, the case will be held for a reasonable time. Any time delay will be deducted from the presentation time of the party causing the delay.

13.06 DEFAULT OF A PARTY (S.Ct. Rule 91)

A defendant who fails to appear at the scheduled arbitration hearing may have an award entered against that defendant, upon which the Court may enter judgment. If a defendant appears and a plaintiff fails to appear, an award may be entered for the defendant and the court may enter judgment on the award.

Costs that may be assessed under Supreme Court Rule 91 if the judgment on the award is vacated or the complaint reinstated may include, but are not limited to, filing fees, attorney fees, witness fees, stenographic costs and any reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred by any party or witness for appearing at the arbitration hearing.

13.07 AWARD AND JUDGMENT ON AWARD (S.Ct. Rule 92)

The panel shall render its decision and enter an award on the same day of the hearing. The Chair shall present the award to the Arbitration Administrator who shall then file same with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. The Clerk of the Circuit Court shall serve a notice of the award upon all parties who have filed an appearance.

13.08 REJECTION OF AWARD (S.Ct. Rule 93 and Letter from the Illinois Supreme Court dated November 20, 1996)

Rejection of the award of the arbitrators shall be in strict compliance with Supreme Court Rule 93.

(a) In all cases where the arbitration award exceeds $30,000 the rejection fee shall be $500. The arbitration award shall be marked in such a manner as to make this clear to all attorneys and litigants.

(b) An arbitrator may not be contacted, nor publicly comment, nor respond to questions regarding a particular arbitration case heard by that arbitrator during the pendency of that cause.

13.09 FORM OF OATH, AWARD AND NOTICE OF ENTRY OF AWARD (S.Ct. Rule 94)

The Clerk of the Court and the Arbitration Administrator or Assistant Administrator of the ADR Center shall provide the forms called for in the rules in Article 13. 

13.10 FORM OF NOTICE OF REJECTION OF AWARD (S.Ct. Rule 95) (RESERVED)

13.11 ADMINISTRATION OF MANDATORY ARBITRATION

(a) The Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit shall appoint one or more Judges from the 18th Judicial Circuit to act as Supervising Judge for Arbitration, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Chief Judge.

(b) The Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit shall designate an Arbitration Center for arbitration hearings. 

13.12 DUTIES OF SUPERVISING JUDGE FOR ARBITRATION

a) Supervisory authority over questions arising in an arbitration proceeding, including the applicability of rules under Article 13.

b) Act as liaison between the Circuit Court and the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts.

c) Review applications for appointment or recertification as an arbitrator or chair arbitrator, complaints about an arbitrator or the arbitration process, and determine the initial and continued eligibility of arbitrators.

d) Promote the dissemination of information about the arbitration process, the results of arbitration, developing case law, and new practices and procedures in the area of Arbitration as well as to provide for the continuing education of the arbitrators and the bar.

e) Periodically meet with representatives of the DuPage Bar Association to discuss recommendations regarding the improvement of the Arbitration process. 

13.13 DESTRUCTION OF ARBITRATION HEARING EXHIBITS

Exhibits admitted into evidence may be retained by the panel until the entry of the award. It is the duty of the attorneys or parties to complete forms informing the Arbitration Administer that they are leaving such exhibits. Exhibits must be retrieved by the attorneys or parties from the Arbitration Administrator within seven (7) days after the entry of judgment. All exhibits not retrieved shall be destroyed.