The King County Superior Court Clerk's Office has circulated proposed amendments to LMAR 3.2 and 6.2. The change to 3.2 strikes the provision for award of attorney's fees (except as sanctions for failing to obey an order), but leaves in the reference to MAR 3.2 for determining the authority of an arbitrator. MAR 3.2(8) allows arbitrators to award attorney's fees.
The change to LMAR 6.2 strikes the procedure for awarding attorney fees after determination of the prevailing party.
There is no commentary. I presume the change is to remove the procedure, but leave arbitrators with authority to award attorney's fees. However, the change to LMAR 3.2 without comment leaves the intent ambiguous. This proposed change was not run by the KCBA ADR Section. Does anyone know how this came about and what the intent is?
Note: Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org must be delivered by April 30, 2012. The changes will be effective September 1, 2012. For the full text, go to www.kingcounty.gov/courts/Clerk/Rules.aspx and search for the LMAR changes.
Mel, thanks for pointing this out. I'll mention it to everyone I know who does MAR arbitrations.
If some consensus develops around this, any concern about whether it effects arbitration best practice, one way or the other, let's consider moving for KCBA and/or WSBA ADR Sections to take an official position on it. For WSBA ADR, first review would be through the Legislative Committee; Executive Committee would then need to act at its regular meeting April 20. Keep me posted if I'm not tracking.
Just a thought - first steps first!
Mystery solved: We finally received the comments:
LMAR 3.2 deletes (c) which is duplicated in the State rule.
LMAR 6.2 deletes (c) which is duplicative and contradicts MAR 7.1.
This means no substantive change was intended.
Proposed LMAR 3.2 will be revised to direct parties to MAR 3.2. See attached letter from Judge Armstrong for the King County Local Rules Committee.