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§ 3-2A-06C. Alternative dispute resolution

West's Annotated Code of MarylandCourts and Judicial Proceedings

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Courts and Judicial Proceedings
Title 3. Courts of General Jurisdiction--Jurisdiction/Special Causes of Action (Refs & Annos)
Subtitle 2a. Health Care Malpractice Claims (Refs & Annos)
MD Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-2A-06C
§ 3-2A-06C. Alternative dispute resolution
Definitions
(a)(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
(2) “Alternative dispute resolution” means mediation, neutral case evaluation, neutral fact-finding, or a settlement conference.
(3) “Mediation” has the meaning stated in Title 17 of the Maryland Rules.
(4) “Mediator” means an individual who conducts mediation.
(5) “Neutral case evaluation” has the meaning stated in Title 17 of the Maryland Rules.
(6) “Neutral fact-finding” has the meaning stated in Title 17 of the Maryland Rules.
(7) “Neutral provider” means an individual who conducts neutral case evaluation or neutral fact-finding.
(8) “Settlement conference” has the meaning stated in Title 17 of the Maryland Rules.
Application of section
(b)(1) This section does not apply if:
(i) All parties file with the court an agreement not to engage in alternative dispute resolution; and
(ii) The court finds that alternative dispute resolution under this section would not be productive.
(2) In determining whether alternative dispute resolution would not be productive under paragraph (1)(ii) of this subsection, the court may consider whether the parties have already engaged in alternative dispute resolution.
Rules relating to health care malpractice claims
(c) In addition to the qualifications and requirements of Title 17 of the Maryland Rules, the Court of Appeals may adopt rules requiring a mediator, neutral provider, or individual conducting a settlement conference to have experience with health care malpractice claims.
Order to engage in alternate dispute resolution
(d) Within 30 days of the later of the filing of the defendant's answer to the complaint or the defendant's certificate of a qualified expert under § 3-2A-04 of this subtitle, the court shall order the parties to engage in alternative dispute resolution at the earliest possible date.
Parties choice of mediator or individual to conduct settlement conference
(e)(1) Within 30 days of the later of the filing of the defendant's answer to the complaint or the defendant's certificate of a qualified expert under § 3-2A-04 of this subtitle, the parties may choose a mediator, neutral provider, or individual to conduct a settlement conference.
(2) If the parties choose a mediator, neutral provider, or individual to conduct a settlement conference, the parties shall notify the court of the name of the individual.
Court appointment of mediator or individual to conduct settlement conference
(f)(1) If the parties do not notify the court that they have chosen a mediator, neutral provider, or individual to conduct a settlement conference within the time required under subsection (e) of this section, the court shall assign a mediator, neutral provider, or individual to conduct a settlement conference to the claim within 30 days.
(2)(i) Within 15 days after the parties are notified of the identity of the mediator, neutral provider, or individual conducting a settlement conference, a party may object in writing to the selection, stating the reasons for the objection.
(ii) If the court sustains the objection, the court shall appoint a different mediator, neutral provider, or individual to conduct a settlement conference.
(3) A mediator, neutral provider, or individual conducting a settlement conference shall follow the “Maryland Standards of Practice for Mediators, Arbitrators, and Other ADR Practitioners” adopted by the Court of Appeals.
Initial conference
(g) The mediator, neutral provider, or individual conducting a settlement conference shall schedule an initial conference with the parties as soon as practicable.
Submission of outline of strengths and witnesses by parties
(h)(1) At least 15 days before the initial conference, the parties shall send to the mediator, neutral provider, or individual conducting a settlement conference a brief written outline of the strengths and weaknesses of the party's case.
(2) A party may not be required to provide to another party the written outline described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
Discovery
(i)(1) Alternative dispute resolution under this section may not operate to delay discovery in the action.
(2) If the mediator, neutral provider, or individual conducting a settlement conference finds that the parties need to engage in discovery for a limited period of time in order to facilitate the alternative dispute resolution, the mediator, neutral provider, or individual conducting a settlement conference may mediate the scope and schedule of discovery needed to proceed with the alternative dispute resolution, adjourn the initial conference, and reschedule an additional conference for a later date.
Employment of neutral expert
(j) A neutral expert may be employed in alternative dispute resolution under this section as provided in Title 17 of the Maryland Rules.
Confidentiality of written or oral communications
(k) In accordance with Maryland Rule 17-109, the outline described in subsection (h) of this section and any written or oral communication made in the course of a conference under this section:
(1) Are confidential;
(2) Do not constitute an admission; and
(3) Are not discoverable.
Attendance at conferences
(l) Unless excused by the mediator, neutral provider, or individual conducting a settlement conference, the parties and the claims representative for each defendant shall appear at all conferences held under this section.
Sanctions for failure to comply with section
(m) A party who fails to comply with the provisions of subsection (h), (k), or (l) of this section is subject to the sanctions provided in Maryland Rule 2-433.
Settlement of case
(n)(1) If a case is settled, the parties shall notify the court that the case has been settled.
(2) If the parties agree to settle some but not all of the issues in dispute, the mediator, neutral provider, or individual conducting a settlement conference shall file a written notice of partial settlement with the court.
(3) If the parties have not agreed to a settlement the mediator, neutral provider, or individual conducting a settlement conference shall file a written notice with the court that the case was not settled.
Costs of alternative dispute resolution
(o) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the costs of alternative dispute resolution shall be divided equally between the parties.
Immunity for individual conducting alternative dispute resolution
(p) An individual who conducts alternative dispute resolution shall have the immunity from suit described under § 5-615 of this article.

Credits

Added by Acts 2004, 1st Sp. Sess., c. 5, § 1, eff. Jan. 11, 2005.
MD Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-2A-06C, MD CTS & JUD PRO § 3-2A-06C
Current with all legislation from the 2021 Regular Session of the General Assembly. Some statute sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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