By: Harris, Jack H.B. No. 595
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-1 AN ACT
1-2 relating to alternative dispute resolution.
1-3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-4 SECTION 1. Subchapter A, Chapter 154, Civil Practice and
1-5 Remedies Code, is amended by adding Section 154.004 to read as
1-7 Sec. 154.004. RULES FOR IMPLEMENTATION. The chief justice
1-8 of the supreme court shall adopt rules governing implementation of
1-9 alternative dispute resolution. The rules shall govern:
1-10 (1) procedures for limited discovery;
1-11 (2) standards for determining whether a case should be
1-12 referred to alternative dispute resolution, considering any
1-13 relevant factors including whether:
1-14 (A) factual issues predominate over legal issues
1-15 in the action; and
1-16 (B) the action involves complex or novel legal
1-17 issues requiring judicial action; and
1-18 (3) any other appropriate matter.
1-19 SECTION 2. Section 154.021, Civil Practice and Remedies
1-20 Code, is amended to read as follows:
1-21 Sec. 154.021. REFERRAL OF PENDING DISPUTES FOR ALTERNATIVE
1-22 DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURE. (a) A court may<
, on its own motion
1-23 or the motion of a party,> refer a pending dispute for resolution
1-24 by an alternative dispute resolution procedure including:
2-1 (1) an alternative dispute resolution system
2-2 established under Chapter 152 < 26, Acts of the 68th Legislature,
2-3 Regular Session, 1983 (Article 2372aa, Vernon's Texas Civil
2-5 (2) a dispute resolution organization; or
2-6 (3) a nonjudicial and informally conducted forum for
2-7 the voluntary settlement of citizens' disputes through the
2-8 intervention of an impartial third party, including those
2-9 alternative dispute resolution procedures described under this
2-11 (b) Not later than the earlier of the 120th day after the
2-12 date on which citation is served or the 30th day before the date
2-13 set for trial, the < The> court shall confer with the parties in a
2-14 pending dispute to review < in the determination of the most
2-15 appropriate> alternative dispute resolution procedures that may be
2-16 used to resolve the claims in controversy < procedure>.
2-17 SECTION 3. Section 154.022(c), Civil Practice and Remedies
2-18 Code, is amended to read as follows:
2-19 (c) If < the court finds that there is a reasonable basis
2-20 for> an objection is filed under Subsection (b), the court may not
2-21 refer the dispute under Section 154.021.
2-22 SECTION 4. Subchapter B, Chapter 154, Civil Practice and
2-23 Remedies Code, is amended by adding Section 154.0235 to read as
2-25 Sec. 154.0235. OUTCOME DETERMINATIVE MEDIATION. (a)
2-26 Outcome determinative mediation is a proceeding in which a single
2-27 mediator or a panel of three mediators selected under the direction
3-1 of the court determines the outcome of the action.
3-2 (b) Not later than the 30th day after the date a
3-3 determination is made by the mediator or mediators, each party
3-4 shall give notice as to whether it accepts or rejects the
3-6 (c) The court shall order a claimant who rejects the
3-7 determination and who does not obtain a final judgment that is at
3-8 least 10 percent greater than the amount awarded under the
3-9 determination to pay the attorney's fees and costs incurred by the
3-10 defendant after the date of the rejection of the determination.
3-11 (d) The court shall order a defendant who rejects the
3-12 determination and who does not obtain a final judgment that is at
3-13 least 10 percent less than the amount awarded under the
3-14 determination to pay the attorney's fees and costs incurred by the
3-15 claimant after the date of the rejection of the determination.
3-16 (e) For purposes of this section:
3-17 (1) "Claimant" means a party, including a plaintiff,
3-18 counterclaimant, cross-claimant, or third-party claimant, seeking
3-19 recovery of monetary damages; and
3-20 (2) "Defendant" means a party, including a
3-21 counterdefendant, cross-defendant, or third-party defendant, from
3-22 whom a claimant seeks damages.
3-23 SECTION 5. Subchapter B, Chapter 154, Civil Practice and
3-24 Remedies Code, is amended by adding Section 154.028 to read as
3-26 Sec. 154.028. EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION. Early neutral
3-27 evaluation is a procedure in which an impartial third party
4-1 evaluates the merit and value of claims of the party and advises
4-2 all parties of the evaluation.
4-3 SECTION 6. Section 154.051(b), Civil Practice and Remedies
4-4 Code, is amended to read as follows:
4-5 (b) The court shall < may> appoint a third party who is
4-6 agreed on by the parties without regard to whether < if> the person
4-7 qualifies for appointment under this subchapter.
4-8 SECTION 7. Section 154.054, Civil Practice and Remedies
4-9 Code, is amended by adding Subsection (c) to read as follows:
4-10 (c) The court may use a volunteer impartial third party in
4-11 dispute resolution under this chapter.
4-12 SECTION 8. (a) This Act takes effect September 1, 1993.
4-13 (b) The chief justice of the supreme court shall adopt rules
4-14 in accordance with Section 154.004, Civil Practice and Remedies
4-15 Code, not later than March 1, 1994.
4-16 (c) This Act applies to use of alternative dispute
4-17 resolution procedures in an action commenced on or after March 1,
4-18 1994. Use of alternative dispute resolution procedures in an
4-19 action commenced before March 1, 1994, is governed by the law as it
4-20 existed immediately before the effective date of this Act, and that
4-21 law is continued in effect for that purpose.
4-22 SECTION 9. The importance of this legislation and the
4-23 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
4-24 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
4-25 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
4-26 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.