ADR Rules & Regulations...
I. Legal Authority
Colorado statutes, 9-1.5-101, et seq., establish a comprehensive scheme governing how owners of underground utilities and excavators are to avoid injuries and damages resulting from accidents from damage to underground facilities. The statutory scheme envisions the creation of an alternative dispute resolution process, as set forth more particularly at 9-1.5-104.3, to be administered by the Utility Notification Center of Colorado (“UNCC”). These Rules of Procedure (“Rules”) are established by UNCC, consistent with the foregoing statutory authority.
II. Exclusive Venue for the Resolution of Covered Disputes
|A.||Disputes Covered. The Rules provide an arbitration mechanism consistent with statutory authority which is the exclusive avenue for the resolution of disputes which fall within the following jurisdictional amounts and which are otherwise covered by this Rule involving entities signatory to an Arbitration Agreement. These provisions cover disputes arising from damages to underground facilities, including, but not limited to, any cost of damage incurred by the owner or operator or excavator as the result of any delay in the excavation project while the underground facility is restored, repaired, or replaced, exclusive of civil penalties that arise in Colorado and are related to Colorado facilities which are reasonably deemed to exceed $350.00, but are less than, or equal to, $5,000.00. Claims of this type involving entities or persons who are signatory to an agreement committing to arbitration of such claims or to a specific arbitration agreement covering a specific claim shall be subject to these Rules. These Rules do not apply and arbitration is not required where:|
|B.||Negotiation Required. Any party making a claim and seeking redress pursuant to these Rules must, as a condition precedent to arbitration or mediation, engage in a good faith consultation and negotiation process with the other party(ies) in an effort to resolve the claim or dispute.|
|C.||Notice of Violation. If any party covered by these Rules is sued by another signatory, and the party being sued feels that the claims fall within the above-stated jurisdictional amount, that party shall notify the claiming party in writing that the suit is in violation of the commitment to arbitrate. This written notification must be served within seven (7) days of the issue coming to the attention of the defendant. In the event the violation is not corrected within thirty (30) days, the party that filed a court claim in breach of these Rules shall be responsible to all other parties for their reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees expended in having such claim dismissed in court and brought within the purview of these Rules.|
III. Liability of UNCC
Directors, officers, staff, agents, and employees of UNCC and the arbitration panelists shall not be liable to any party for any negligence, act or omission concerning the processing, administration or hearing of any dispute conducted under these Rules.
IV. Effect of Decisions
Disputes and complaints processed under these Rules may be resolved either by arbitration or mediation, as more specifically set forth herein. Decisions in arbitration cases are binding only for the case submitted and are not considered precedent in any future instance or situation. Arbitration decisions are enforceable as arbitration awards as otherwise provided by law. Where the parties utilize a process of mediation to resolve the dispute, the mediation resolution will constitute a binding agreement between the parties, enforceable as a contract between the parties. Any mediation decision will not serve as a precedent in any other dispute, whether in arbitration or mediation. but may be used as evidence as the law may allow.
V. Panel of Arbitrators
UNCC will establish a panel of arbitrators, comprised of employees of utility owners, excavators, the UNCC or closely related companies within the industry. Potential arbitrators will be nominated by excavators and utility owners in accordance with the forms and procedures established by UNCC. The selection of arbitrators will be made by UNCC based on its determination of those best suited to serve as an arbitrator by training, experience and temperament. In any event, UNCC shall be the final determiner of qualifications for panel members.
|A.||Arbitrators for specific disputes will be selected by UNCC from among the panel of qualified arbitrators. No individual may serve as an arbitrator in a dispute involving the company or entity which employs that individual.|
|B.||UNCC will not compensate arbitrators for their services. It is expected that the arbitrator’s employer will treat his/her UNCC arbitration services as part of his/her regular job duties. UNCC may provide support to the arbitrators for the arbitration, including, for example, lunches, secretarial support, copying and the like.|
VI. Claims, Responses and Counterclaims
|A.||Claims. Claims are initiated by a claimant filing a claim on a form provided by UNCC and which shall be accompanied by a filing fee set by UNCC from time to time. The claim form shall include at least the following items of information:|
|B.||Responses. Within thirty (30) days of service of the claim, a respondent shall submit a response with a filing fee of not more than $350.00 to be determined by UNCC, which contains the following information:|
|C.||Counterclaims. Counterclaims may be filed by any respondent who is named in a claim by the filing of a counterclaim against the claimant, following the information and procedural format as specified in section VI.A., above. Counterclaims submitted shall be accompanied with a filing fee as set from time to time by UNCC., within thirty (30) days of service of the claim.|
Once UNCC has received a claim and a response (and counterclaim(s)), if applicable, the matter will be deemed ready for hearing and a hearing will be set in an expeditious manner.
|A.||Hearing Administration and Notice. Hearings will be administered by UNCC. UNCC will set the hearing date and notify the parties in writing by mail, fax, or email, at least fourteen (14) days prior to the hearing of the date and time of the hearing, including the anticipated duration of the hearing, and location. UNCC will select three (3) arbitrators from the pan|
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