CST Rules of Arbitration

ARBITRATION RULES

AR–1- Scope

(a) Unless the parties mutually agree to invoke other rules, CONFLICT SOLUTIONS OF TEXAS (“CST”) rules apply to all arbitrations administered by CST.

(b) Provisions in the parties’ written arbitration agreement supersede CST Rules.

(c) Subject to the parties’ arbitration agreement and broad discretion exercised by the arbitrator(s), parties may rely on the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure during discovery.

(d) Subject to the parties’ arbitration agreement, and broad discretion exercised by the arbitrator(s), the Arbitrator(s) will conduct proceedings consistent with the Texas General Arbitration Act or the Federal Arbitration Act.

(e) Parties may utilize CST arbitration services without a pre-dispute written arbitration agreement.

(f) CST will administer arbitration under any rules and procedures adopted by the parties.

(g) CST may amend these Rules without notice to any party, however, CST Rules in effect on the date a party files an initial Intake Registration Form, will apply to that arbitration.

AR-2-CST Arbitrators and Mediators

Parties and their attorneys may review curriculum vitae and fee schedules on the CST website at www.csoftx.com.  If parties do not agree on arbitrator(s), CST will invoke the procedure outlined in AR-5.

AR-3-Filing and Serving Notice

(a) Parties may serve or file Intake Registration Forms, Pleadings, Motions and all discovery matters, via U.S. mail, fax, email or third party delivery service.

(b) Parties and their counsel shall send originals or copies of all communications pertaining to arbitration proceedings to CST offices located at 6223 IH 10 West, San Antonio, Texas 78201. The CST fax number is 210-247-9426. The CST email address for secure filing of written communications and documents: info@csoftx.com. Parties who file any documents at CST offices shall simultaneously send copies to the other party or parties, and their counsel.

AR-4-Commencing Arbitration

(a) Voluntary Arbitration

(1) Parties may submit their dispute for resolution by CST arbitrator(s) without a pre-dispute arbitration agreement.  CST will furnish a form agreement prior to commencement for initiation of voluntary arbitration.

(b) Mandatory Arbitration

(1) If arbitration is required under a pre-dispute agreement or court order, the initiating party may file an Intake Registration Form at CST offices.  The initiating party should attach copies of any pre-dispute agreement and court orders, which pertain to the requested arbitration. The initiating party should succinctly describe the facts, legal issues, amount in dispute, and any non-monetary relief requested.

(2) The responding party must file an Intake Registration Form within ten (10) days following receipt of the initiating party’s Intake Registration Form. The responding party should provide a complete description of all relevant facts, legal defenses and any cross-claim or counterclaim, the amount involved, and remedies requested. The initiating party may file a reply to any counter-claims or cross-claims within seven (7) days from the date of receipt of such counter and cross claims. If a responding party fails to file an Intake Registration Form, CST or the designated arbitrator may deem that such party has denied the claim.

(3) Subject to arbitrator discretion, parties may increase or decrease the amount of a claim or counterclaim, and amend or add to the types of relief requested. Parties and the arbitrator(s) will establish deadlines for amendments to pleadings during the Initial Conference. 

AR-5-Appointment of Arbitrator(s)

(a) Unless otherwise mandated in an arbitration agreement, CST will invoke the following procedures for appointment of arbitrator(s):

(1) If parties mutually agree on an arbitrator or arbitrators, each party should forward written confirmation of that choice to a CST case manager. After the parties notify CST regarding the identity of their designated arbitrator(s), the CST case manager will contact the panelist(s) and arrange for disclosures as prescribed in AR-10.

(2) Within five (5) days after appointment, the designated panelist(s) will forward disclosures to CST, and CST will transmit such disclosures to parties and their counsel.

(3) Within seven (7) days following receipt of disclosures, parties and their attorneys must exercise due diligence and determine whether they have any good faith reason to object based on potential conflicts of interest or evident partiality. Failure to exercise due diligence may result in waiver of the right to object based on facts or circumstances that a party or attorney could have discovered in the exercise of such due diligence.  Parties must base any objection on good faith concerns about potential conflicts of interest and evident partiality.  Parties and their counsel must sign a Disclosure Acknowledgement form in verification of their due diligence.

(4) If a party files an objection following receipt of disclosures, CST will repeat the process for appointment of a mutually agreed arbitrator(s).

(b) If within 7 days after the date required for filing the last response, as provided in AR-4 (a) (2), the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator or arbitrators, CST will initiate the following procedure:

(1) A CST case manager will simultaneously transmit an identical list of five (5) CST panelists if parties agree to a single arbitrator, and ten (10) panelists if parties agree to a tripartite panel. Parties selecting one arbitrator may strike two names from the list.  Parties selecting a tripartite panel may strike three (3) names name from their list. After making strikes, parties should assign number one (1) to their most preferred panelist, and number the remaining panelists in order of preference.

(2) Parties must return their strike-list to the case manager within seven (7) days from the date received. If a party, attorney or designated representative fails to return the strike-list within the time specified under these rules, CST will deem all panelists on the list acceptable to that party.

(3) Upon receipt of the parties’ strike-lists, CST will appoint the arbitrator(s) based on numerical rank assigned by the parties.  If more than two parties are participating in the arbitration, CST will consider numerical order of preference, alignment of parties and adversity of interests, when appointing the arbitrator.

(4) Within five (5) days after appointment, the arbitrator(s) will disclose   information regarding their personal and professional background, and any business or social relationships. CST will transmit such disclosures to parties and their counsel. Within seven (7) days following receipt of disclosures, parties and their attorneys must either object to an appointed arbitrator or affirm that they are unaware of a good-faith reason to object by completing a CST Disclosure Acknowledgement form.  Failure to exercise due diligence to determine whether there is a good-faith reason to object may result in waiver of the right to object based on facts or circumstances that a party or attorney could have discovered in the exercise of such due diligence.

(5) If a party timely files an objection following receipt of disclosures, CST will convene a three-member executive committee to rule on the objection.  If the committee sustains the objection, CST will repeat the above described arbitrator selection procedures.

(6) If a party objects to an arbitrator because of alleged misconduct or evident partiality during arbitration proceedings, CST will convene a three-member executive panel to determine an appropriate remedy, consistent with the parties’ arbitration agreement and applicable law. If a CST executive committee sustains the objection, CST will repeat the above arbitrator selection procedures.

(7) If parties agree to designate non-neutral arbitrators to serve on a three-member panel, such designation is not subject to the above selection procedures. If parties do not otherwise agree regarding procedures for selection of a third (neutral) arbitrator, CST will administer selection procedures prescribed in AR-5 (b) 1-5.

AR-6-Arbitrator Disclosures

Arbitrators shall provide written disclosures consistent with applicable statutes and common law principals. Arbitrators have a continuing duty of disclosure during arbitration proceedings. CST has instituted policies that encourage and facilitate full disclosure prescribed by statute and law. CST does not monitor or control content of disclosures.

AR-7-Communication with Arbitrator(s)

Parties and their representatives shall not, directly or indirectly, engage in ex parte communications with the arbitrator(s) on any matter concerning the arbitration. CST case managers are available to answer questions pertaining to procedures and scheduling.

AR-8-Multiple Arbitrators-Selection of Panel Chief

(a) If the appointed arbitrators report to CST that selection of a panel chief by majority vote is not possible, CST will designate the panel chief. Unless the parties otherwise require all panel members to participate in every decision, the panel chief will conduct all non-dispositive hearings, including but not limited to hearings regarding discovery disputes. Alternatively, the panel chief may designate a panelist to conduct such hearings.

(b) A party waives a request for multiple arbitrators to hear non-dispositive matters by failing to notify CST within three days prior to a scheduled hearing.

AR-9-Jurisdiction

(a) Arbitrator(s) shall determine all matters affecting jurisdiction, including the existence, scope, or enforceability of the arbitration agreement, and whether any claim or counterclaim is subject to the parties’ arbitration agreement.

(b) A party waives the right to object to the arbitrator’s jurisdiction over persons, parties, and any issue submitted for arbitration, by failing to file an objection on or before the last day for filing a responding party’s Intake Registration Form as prescribed in AR-4 (b) (2).  Arbitrator(s) must rule on all jurisdiction issues no later than the date of the Initial Conference.

AR-10- Authority of Arbitrators

(a) Arbitrator(s) have authority and discretion to issue any orders necessary for enforcement of CST rules, and other applicable rules and statutes.

(b) Arbitrator(s) have broad discretion to condition any exchange or production of confidential documents and information on appropriate orders to preserve confidentiality.

(c) Arbitrators may impose limitations on discovery.

(d) Arbitrator(s) may draw adverse inferences, exclude evidence and make special allocation of costs, if parties or attorneys willfully refuse to comply with discovery orders.

(e) Arbitrators shall not enter a default award as a discovery sanction; however, if a party fails to comply with these rules or other applicable law, arbitrator(s) have discretion to assess an appropriate sanction, after notice and opportunity for the party or attorney to respond.

AR-11-Removal of Arbitrator

(a) Parties may file a written objection to an arbitrator’s continued service based on arbitrator misconduct. The objecting party should describe all facts and circumstances and produce any documents or tangible items supporting removal of the arbitrator. Parties opposing removal of the arbitrator must file a response within seven (7) days after receipt of the objection.

(b) CST will convene a three-member executive panel to rule on the validity of any objection. The decision of CST’s three-member panel shall be final.

AR-12-Filling Vacancies

If any appointed arbitrator is removed by CST or otherwise unable to fulfill his or her duties, such vacancy shall be filled through the selection procedure prescribed in AR-5. If parties have selected multiple arbitrators, the reconstituted panel shall determine whether it is necessary to repeat all or any part of prior proceedings.

AR-13-Location of Arbitration

If not prescribed in the parties’ arbitration agreement, arbitrator(s) will consult with parties and counsel, and designate venue for hearings, including the Final Hearing.

AR-14-Arbitration Fees

(a) CST does not charge administration fees separate from the arbitrator’s hourly fee. However, CST requires the Initiating Party to deposit $250. CST will refund all or any unused portion of the deposit if the Initiating Party withdraws or discontinues arbitration.

(b) During the Initial Conference, parties, attorneys and the arbitrator(s) will achieve agreement regarding projected costs of arbitration.  Parties will also agree on deadlines for interim deposit of funds sufficient to cover the arbitrator’s monthly invoices.

(c) Parties will deposit funds into a CST trust account, and CST will provide a monthly accounting of all deposits and expenditures.

(d) CST reserves the right to suspend arbitration proceedings if parties fail or refuse to deposit funds sufficient to cover estimated costs of arbitration.  CST will refund all unused sums on deposit.

AR-15-Mediation

(a) At any time prior to issuance of an award, parties, in consultation with the arbitrator(s), may determine that mediation would be beneficial and cost-effective. The arbitrator(s) will suspend all prescribed deadlines, pending completion of the mediation.

(b) Parties may select a mediator from panelists on the CST website.

AR-16-Discovery

(a) Parties shall exchange written discovery requests prior to the Initial Conference.

(b) Parties seeking expedited disposition should exchange all uncontested written discovery before the Initial Conference.

(c) Parties claiming privilege or otherwise objecting to discovery requests should be prepared to discuss the merits of claimed privileges and any contested items of discovery during the Initial Conference.

(d) Subject to the parties’ arbitration agreement, the arbitrator will guided by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the Texas Rules of Evidence, the Texas General Arbitration Act or, if applicable, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Arbitration Act, when issuing subpoenas and ruling on related discovery matters.

AR-17-Initial Conference

The CST case manager will schedule the Initial Conference as soon as practicable. Subject to arbitrator discretion, ATTENDANCE BY ALL PARTIES AND THEIR ATTORNEYS IS MANDATORY. In selected cases, the Arbitrator may conduct the Initial Conference via teleconference.

Agenda

(a) Ruling(s) on challenges to the arbitrator’s jurisdiction, enforceability of the arbitration agreement and/or arbitrability of claims, cross-claims or counterclaims.

(b) Execute commencement letter.  Parties to sign a written agreement governing CST arbitration.

(c) Status of uncontested discovery responses; discussion regarding disputed facts and applicable law.

(d) Entry of an Arbitration Control Order establishing the following dates and deadlines:

(1) Amendment of claims, cross-claims, and counterclaims

(2) Rulings on contested discovery requests; establish discovery parameters including electronic information and data

(3) Filing of contested facts and law relating to each theory of recovery or defense asserted

(4) Identification of witnesses and persons with knowledge of relevant facts:

(i) Name, current address and telephone numbers

(ii) A brief statement of anticipated witness testimony

(iii) Copies of reports authored by expert witnesses and their curriculum vitae

(5) Filing on motions pertaining to discovery or summary disposition of legal issues

(6) Ruling on motions pertaining to discovery or summary disposition of legal issues

(7) Completion of all discovery

(8) Mediation

(9) Exchange of exhibits

(10) Final hearing

(11) Agreed estimate and deposit of arbitration fees and expenses (See AR-14)

AR-18-Interim Measures

(a) Arbitrator(s) have discretion to issue injunctive relief or take interim measures for protection of parties and their real or personal property.

(b) Parties do not waive their right to arbitration by submitting a request for interim measures to judicial authority.

AR-19- Protocols for Expedited Dispositions

(a) The Arbitrator will attempt resolution of contested discovery matters during the Initial Conference.

(b) The Arbitrator will aggressively pursue agreement of parties to expedite discovery and presentation of evidence.  Arbitrators have broad discretion to establish limits on the number of witnesses including experts and fashion expedited procedures for of presentment oral testimony.

(c) Any party requesting consideration of voluminous documentary evidence may be required to file a written summary and describe the salient portions of the documents. Within fourteen (14) days following receipt of the summary, any party may submit a responsive summary. Respondents should identify any alleged misstatements or misinterpretations in the summary submitted by an opponent.

(d) If a party intentionally misstates the content of records when submitting an original or responsive summary of voluminous documents, the arbitrator may consider such conduct when determining credibility of advocates, parties and witnesses.

(e) Any party requesting consideration of voluminous deposition testimony shall submit a summary, and attach salient portions.

(f) Any party may submit a responsive summary. Parties filing responsive summaries should refrain from argument and focus on contested facts.

(g) If a party intentionally misstates verbiage in the deposition when submitting an original or responsive summary, the arbitrator may consider such conduct in determining credibility of advocates, parties and witnesses.

AR-20-Waiver of Rules

A party waives the right to object by continuing to participate in arbitration proceedings without making a timely verbal or written objection regarding the arbitrator’s failure or refusal to comply with these Rules.

AR-21-Stenographic or Electronic Record

Any party desiring a record of any proceeding shall advise the arbitrator and all parties no later than ten (10) days prior to a scheduled hearing. Subject to the parties’ arbitration agreement and the arbitrator’s discretion to assess costs, any party requesting a record will be responsible for court reporter fees and expenses.

AR-22-Confidentiality

(a) Arbitration proceedings are confidential unless all parties agree or the law requires arbitration in a public forum. However, the arbitrator(s) may disclose case filings, dispositions, and other case information filed with CST if required by court order or applicable law.

AR-23-Interpreters

Any party requiring an interpreter for presentation of evidence shall make all arrangements directly with the interpreter. Subject to provisions in the parties’ arbitration agreement, the party requiring an interpreter shall be responsible for all related costs.  The arbitrator(s) may exercise discretion to assess or allocate arbitration expenses in the award.

AR-24-Proceedings When Parties Refuse to Participate

Unless otherwise governed by the parties’ arbitration agreement, arbitrators have discretion to proceed with arbitration when, after notice and opportunity to be heard, a party fails to appear and participate. The arbitrator(s) shall require the party who appears to submit evidence sufficient for the arbitrator(s) to decide the case on the merits. Arbitrators shall not issue an award based solely on default or failure of a party to participate in the arbitration.

AR-25-Inspection or Investigation

If the arbitrator(s) concludes that inspection or investigation of premises, personal property or other evidence is essential for resolution of a dispute, CST will advise all parties, and coordinate a date when all parties or their representatives may be present for such inspection. Parties and their attorneys are entitled to be present during the inspection or investigation. If one or all parties are not present at the inspection or investigation, the arbitrator shall make an oral or written report and afford parties the opportunity to comment.

AR-26-Conduct of Proceedings

(a) Subject to Arbitrator’s approval, parties may mutually agree to waive an oral hearing.

(b) The Arbitrator may issue subpoenas and require witnesses to testify under oath. The Arbitrator shall determine admissibility, relevance and materiality of evidence, and may limit testimony and exclude irrelevant or cumulative evidence.

(c) Subject to provisions in the parties’ arbitration agreement, the arbitrator(s) have discretion to determine the manner and degree of compliance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Texas Rules of Evidence or any rules previously selected by the parties.

AR-27-Closing of Hearing

The arbitrator shall inquire whether parties have presented all relevant evidence supporting their claim or defense. Upon receiving negative replies or if satisfied that the record is complete, the arbitrator may declare the hearing closed.

AR-28-Reopening of Final Hearing

The arbitrator(s) may reopen the final hearing at any time before issuance of the award. If reopening the final hearing prevents timely rendering of an award required under the parties’ arbitration agreement, the arbitrator shall not reopen the final hearing unless parties agree regarding an extension of time. If arbitrator(s) reopen the final hearing, arbitrator(s) must issue the amended award, if any, no more than 30 days from the date the reopened hearing is closed.

AR-29-Extensions of Time

Subject to the arbitrator’s discretion, parties may agree to modify any deadline prescribed in these rules or the Arbitration Control Order. CST or the arbitrator may extend any deadline prescribed under these rules, except the time required for rendering the award.

AR-30-Multiple Panelists’ Award

A majority of appointed arbitrators may render an award.  If the majority renders a reasoned award, the dissenting arbitrator shall issue a reasoned dissent.

AR-31-Time for Issuance of Award

The arbitrator(s) shall promptly issue the award.  Unless otherwise agreed by the parties or specified by law, no later than 30 days from the date of the final hearing, or, if oral presentations were waived, 30 days from the date the arbitrator closes the evidence.

AR-32-Form of Award

Any award shall be in writing and signed by the arbitrator(s). The arbitrator(s) must issue a reasoned award upon request by one party.  If all parties agree, the arbitrator(s) shall issue an award without narrative reasoning or findings of fact and conclusions of law.

AR-33-Scope of Award

(a) The arbitrator(s) has discretion to grant monetary, legal and equitable relief on all matters covered by the parties’ arbitration agreement and submitted to arbitration for disposition by of the parties.

(b) Subject to relevant provisions in the parties’ arbitration agreement, arbitrators may include the following in the award:

(1) Interest at such rate and from such date as the arbitrator(s) may deem appropriate; and

(2) If timely and properly requested and authorized under applicable law, reasonable attorneys’ fees.

AR-34-Modification of the Award

Subject to applicable statutes and law, any party may request modification or correction of any clerical, typographical, or computational errors in the arbitrator’s award. The party requesting a modification must file a motion within 10 days after the arbitrator(s) issue(s) the award.  The opposing party may file a response within 5 days. The arbitrator shall rule within 10 days after receipt of the original request for modification.

AR-35-Release of Records

Upon written request, CST will furnish copies of records from arbitration proceedings that CST determines not to be privileged or confidential. The requesting party will be required to reimburse CST for reasonable costs incurred to reproduce and deliver the records.

AR-36-Legal Proceedings

(a) Parties to arbitration who initiate or participate in any judicial proceeding related to the subject of the arbitration do not waive their right to demand and participate in arbitration.

(b) Parties to arbitration under these rules agree that any court of competent jurisdiction may enter judgment upon the award.

(c) Parties and their attorneys acknowledge that appointed arbitrator(s) have qualified immunity from liability in connection with all arbitration proceedings. Parties further acknowledge and agree to release the appointed arbitrator(s) and CST from liability for any act or omission other than failure to provide an accurate accounting of all fees and expenses paid to CST.

(d) No appointed arbitrator shall voluntarily provide testimony in any legal proceeding arising out of the arbitration.

 

DOCUMENTS ONLY SUBMISSIONS

If the amount in dispute does not exceed $50,000, exclusive of interest and attorney’s fees, parties may elect to arbitrate their dispute by written submission of documents to a single arbitrator.  Parties may review panelists’ profiles on the CST website to select a flat-fee “DOCUMENTS ONLY” panelist. The following procedures are applicable to a DOCUMENTS ONLY submissions:

(1) Parties file Intake Registration Forms and attach all documents for the Arbitrator’s consideration.

(2) Selection of an arbitrator (AR-5).

(3) Telephone conference with a Case Manager to establish the deadline for submission of all evidence and argument.

(4) The Arbitrator shall render an award within fourteen (14) days after the deadline for submission of all evidence and argument. If a reasoned award is requested or required, the Arbitrator shall have an additional fourteen (14) days to issue an award.

(5) If requested by one of the parties, the Arbitrator shall issue a reasoned award.* The Arbitrator will resolve any dispute regarding allocation of additional fees for issuance of a reasoned award.

(6) Following issuance of the award, parties are subject to all applicable CST rules and procedures.

(7) If the parties agree to in-person submission after a previous agreement to proceed under a “Documents Only” submission, the Arbitrator shall provide an in-person Final Hearing. All CST rules will be applicable, including the requirement of deposits to cover the Arbitrator’s hourly fees.

FEE SCHEDULE: DOCUMENTS ONLY SUBMISSIONS

Amount Disputed Excluding Arbitrator’s Fee Interest, Attorney’s Fees and Costs Arbitrator’s Fee
1. Less than $5,000 $750
2. $5,000 to $10,000 $1,500
3. $20,000 to $30,000 $3,000
4. $30,000 to $40,000 $4,500
5. $40,000 to $50,000 $6,000
*The above fee schedule is based on issuance of an award without narrative. If parties require a reasoned award, the arbitrator may charge additional hourly fees to draft and issue the award. Parties are required to remit the above sums when filing Intake Registration Forms.