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AB-2656 Arbitration: private arbitration companies.(2001-2002)

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AB2656:v93#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 2656
CHAPTER 1158

An act to add Section 1281.96 to the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to arbitration.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  September 30, 2002. Approved by Governor  September 30, 2002. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2656, Corbett. Arbitration: private arbitration companies.
Existing law regulates arbitration conducted pursuant to an arbitration agreement, as specified.
This bill would require a private arbitration company involved in consumer arbitration cases to make certain information regarding those cases available to the public, as specified, and would provide that no private arbitration company shall have any liability for collecting, publishing, or distributing the information.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1281.96 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

1281.96.
 (a) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), any private arbitration company that administers or is otherwise involved in, a consumer arbitration, shall collect, publish at least quarterly, and make available to the public in a computer-searchable format, which shall be accessible at the Internet Web site of the private arbitration company, if any, and on paper upon request, all of the following information regarding each consumer arbitration within the preceding five years:
(1) The name of the nonconsumer party, if the nonconsumer party is a corporation or other business entity.
(2) The type of dispute involved, including goods, banking, insurance, health care, employment, and, if it involves employment, the amount of the employee’s annual wage divided into the following ranges: less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000), inclusive, and over two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000).
(3) Whether the consumer or nonconsumer party was the prevailing party.
(4) On how many occasions, if any, the nonconsumer party has previously been a party in an arbitration or mediation administered by the private arbitration company.
(5) Whether the consumer party was represented by an attorney.
(6) The date the private arbitration company received the demand for arbitration, the date the arbitrator was appointed, and the date of disposition by the arbitrator or private arbitration company.
(7) The type of disposition of the dispute, if known, including withdrawal, abandonment, settlement, award after hearing, award without hearing, default, or dismissal without hearing.
(8) The amount of the claim, the amount of the award, and any other relief granted, if any.
(9) The name of the arbitrator, his or her total fee for the case, and the percentage of the arbitrator’s fee allocated to each party.
(b) (1) If the information required by subdivision (a) is provided by the private arbitration company in a computer-searchable format at the company’s Internet Web site and may be downloaded without any fee, the company may charge the actual cost of copying to any person who requests the information on paper. If the information required by subdivision (a) is not accessible by the Internet, the company shall provide that information without charge to any person who requests the information on paper.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a private arbitration company that receives funding pursuant to Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 465) of Division 1 of the Business and Professions Code, and that administers or conducts fewer than 50 consumer arbitrations per year may collect and publish the information required by subdivision (a) semiannually, provide the information only on paper, and charge the actual cost of copying.
(c) This section shall apply to any consumer arbitration commenced on or after January 1, 2003.
(d) No private arbitration company shall have any liability for collecting, publishing, or distributing the information required by this section.