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Order Promulgating Amendments To Rules of No-Fault Insurance Arbitration

Supreme Court of Minnesota

October 16, 2017

ORDER PROMULGATING AMENDMENTS TO THE RULES OF NO-FAULT INSURANCE ARBITRATION

          LORIE S. GILDEA CHIEF JUSTICE.

         The Minnesota Supreme Court No-Fault Standing Committee on the Rules of No-Fault Insurance Arbitration has recommended amendments to the Standards of Conduct for No-Fault Arbitrators. The court opened a public comment period on the proposed amendments to the Standards of Conduct. No comments were received.

         This court is responsible for promulgating rules to facilitate the use of arbitration for claims that fall under Minn. Stat. § 65B.52S (2016). The proposed amendments, which will include the Standards of Conduct as an appendix to the rules, will provide guidance for arbitrators and parties and promote a fair, neutral, and impartial panel of arbitrators.

         Based on the all the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Standards of Conduct for Minnesota No-Fault Arbitrators, as shown in the attachment to this order, are effective January 1, 2018. The standards shall be published as an appendix to the No-Fault, Comprehensive, or Collision Damage Automobile Insurance Arbitration Rules.

         MINNESOTA NO-FAULT, COMPREHENSIVE, OR COLLISION DAMAGE AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE ARBITRATION RULES

         APPENDIX

         Standards of Conduct Minnesota No-Fault Arbitrators

         Preamble

         No-Fault Arbitrators, like judges, have the power to decide cases. Therefore, arbitrators undertake serious responsibilities to the public, as well as to the parties. In order for the system to succeed, the public must have the utmost confidence in the arbitration process and the arbitrators who serve on the No-Fault Panel. To this end, these Standards of Conduct for Minnesota No-Fault Arbitrators have been established by the No-Fault Standing Committee. The purpose of these Standards is to provide guidance in order to promote a fair, neutral, and impartial panel of arbitrators.

         I. Integrity and Fairness

         An arbitrator shall at all times act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the arbitration process.

         A. An arbitrator has a responsibility not only to the parties but also to die process of arbitration itself, and must observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and fairness of the process will be preserved. Accordingly, an arbitrator should recognize a responsibility to the public, to the parties whose rights will be decided, and to all other participants in the proceedings.

         B. Arbitrators shall conduct themselves in a way that is fair to all parties and should not be swayed by outside pressure, public clamor, fear of criticism, or self-interest. Arbitrators shall avoid conduct and statements which give the appearance of partiality.

         C. An arbitrator shall conduct the arbitration process in a manner which advances the fair and efficient resolution of the matters submitted for decision. An arbitrator shall make all reasonable efforts to prevent delaying tactics, harassment of parties or other participants, or other abuse or disruption of the arbitration process.

         D. An arbitrator who withdraws prior the completion of the arbitration, whether upon the arbitrator's initiative or upon die request of one or more of die parties, shall take reasonable steps to protect die interests of die parties in die arbitration, including return or destruction of evidentiary materials and die protection of confidentiality.

         II. Disclosures

         An arbitrator shall make a full and complete disclosure of any interests or relationships pursuant to Rule 10.

         A. An arbitrator shall make all disclosures as required under Rule 10.

         B. The obligation to disclose interests or relationships described in paragraph A is a continuing duty which requires the arbitrator to disclose, as soon as practicable, at any stage of the arbitration, any such interests or relationships which may arise, or which are called to the arbitrator's attention, or discovered.

         C. Any doubts as to whether or not disclosure should be made shall be resolved in favor of disclosure.

         III. Communications

         An arbitrator shall avoid impropriety or even the appearance of impropriety in communicating with parties.

         A. An arbitrator shall not discuss a proceeding with any party or attorney in the absence of any other party or attorney.

         B. An arbitrator shall not have any direct communication other than what is prescribed in Rule 21.

         C. If a party or attorney attempts to communicate directly with the arbitrator, the arbitrator shall ...


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