Part Ten, Section 47 — Manner of Invoking Arbitration
(a) Any person authorized by the provisions of Part Ten, Section 44 of this Manual may request arbitration by the Board. A request for arbitration shall be in writing (Form #A-1 or #A-2, Request and Agreement to Arbitrate, Part Thirteen, or any other appropriate form permitted by law), must be signed by the complainant, must indicate the nature of the dispute and the amount in dispute, and must be accompanied by the required deposit of $____________.* Requests for arbitration must be filed within one hundred eighty (180) days after the closing of the transaction, if any, or within one hundred eighty (180) days after the facts constituting the arbitrable matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence, whichever is later. Boards may provide mediation even if arbitration has not been requested provided the mediation is requested within one hundred eighty (180) days after the closing of the transaction, if any, or within one hundred eighty (180) days after the facts constituting the arbitrable matter could have been known in the exercise of reasonable diligence, whichever is later. (Revised 11/00) Suspension of filing deadlines: If the Board’s informal dispute resolution processes (e.g., ombudsmen, mediation, etc.) are invoked or initiated by a complainant (or potential complainant) with respect to an otherwise potentially arbitrable matter that becomes the subject of a subsequent arbitration request, the one hundred eighty (180) day filing deadline shall be suspended beginning with the date of the complainant’s (or potential complainant’s) request for informal dispute resolution service or assistance and shall resume when the informal dispute resolution procedures are concluded or terminated. Questions about when informal dispute resolution began or ended will be determined by the Board President or the President’s designee. (Adopted 11/00)
(b) The Secretary shall promptly refer the request for arbitration to the Chairperson of the Grievance Committee for determination by the Committee within ____ days as to whether the matter is subject to arbitration. (Revised 11/98)
The function of the Grievance Committee is to make only such preliminary review and evaluation of the request for arbitration as is required to determine (1) whether the matter is properly arbitrable; (2) whether arbitration is mandatory or voluntary based upon the requirements of Part Ten, Section 44 of this Manual; and (3) whether the proper parties are named in the request for arbitration. The Grievance Committee does not hold hearings and does not determine entitlement to awards.
The Grievance Committee may request the party(ies) named as respondent(s) in the request for arbitration to provide the Grievance Committee with a written response to the request for arbitration within ____ days. (See Form #A-5, Grievance Committee Request for Information [Arbitration Request] and Form #A-6, Response to Grievance Committee Request for Information, Part Thirteen of this Manual.) If no response is filed within the time allotted, the Grievance Committee shall make its determination as to whether an arbitration hearing should be scheduled based upon the information set forth in the request for arbitration. (Revised 11/98)
(c) If the Grievance Committee finds the matter properly subject to arbitration, the Chairperson shall refer it back to the Secretary with instructions to arrange a hearing, notifying the parties of the Grievance Committee’s decision, informing the parties as to whether the arbitration is mandatory or voluntary (and, if voluntary, of the date certain by which the respondent is requested to inform the Board of his decision) and informing the parties of their ability to challenge the classification (see Section 45[d], Board’s Right to Decline Arbitration). The Secretary shall notify the respondent within five (5) days of receipt of the Grievance Committee’s instructions by mailing a copy of the request for arbitration, the Notice to Respondent (Arbitration) (Form #A-3), and two (2) forms for response (Form #A-4, Response and Agreement to Arbitrate, Part Thirteen), with directions to complete and return the written response and deposit amount of $_____* within fifteen (15) days from the date of mailing to respondent. The Secretary shall concurrently mail to each of the parties a list of names of members of the Professional Standards Committee (see Part Seven, Section 27, (a) through (f), Qualification for Tribunal; Part Thirteen, Form #A-7, Notice of Right to Challenge Tribunal Members; and Form #A-8, Challenge to Qualifications by Parties to Panel Members). Within fifteen (15) days from the date the names are mailed to the parties, the Professional Standards Committee Chairperson shall appoint from the names not successfully challenged by either party three (3) or more arbitrators who will hear the dispute. The Chairperson shall also select one of the panel members to serve as Chairperson of the Hearing Panel. Any Hearing Panel must have an odd number of members. At least two (2) shall be REALTORS®, and in the event a REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® or REALTOR® other than a principal has invoked the arbitration through the REALTOR® principal, or is affiliated with the respondent, and has a vested interest in the outcome of the proceeding, one (1) of the arbitrators must be a REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® or REALTOR® other than a principal. It shall be a membership duty of anyone so appointed to serve as an arbitrator unless disqualified. The Professional Standards Committee Chairperson shall select the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel, who shall possess the powers of the neutral arbitrator within the meaning of the ______ arbitration statutes.** A party will be deemed to have waived all objections to any person whose name he does not challenge. If challenge to members of the Professional Standards Committee results in an insufficient number of members to constitute a panel, the President may appoint other qualified Board Members to serve as panel members. No arbitration may proceed without three (3) or more arbitrators not disqualified pursuant to Part Seven, Section 27, Qualification for Tribunal. (Revised 11/98)
When Grievance Committees refer ethics complaints and arbitration requests for hearing, hearing panel chairs can determine if questions about
(1) whether ethics complaints and arbitration requests are timely filed,
(2) whether arbitrable issues exist,
(3) whether arbitration requests are too legally complex to be fairly arbitrated, and
(4) other administrative issues
will be addressed through a pre-hearing meeting of the hearing panel or at the outset of the hearing prior to testimony relating to the ethics complaint or arbitration request commencing. If these matters rise during a hearing, the hearing panel will address them at that time.
Dismissals of ethics complaints and arbitration requests by hearing panels can be appealed to the Board of Directors on the same bases as dismissals by the Grievance Committee.
Any proceeding convened to resolve such issues must include all of the procedural due process safeguards required for ethics and arbitration hearings. (Revised 11/12)
If the Grievance Committee dismisses the request as being unworthy of further consideration, the decision may be appealed to the Board of Directors within twenty (20) days from the date of the Board’s notification of the Grievance Committee’s decision using Form #A-20, Appeal of Grievance Committee Dismissal or Classification of Arbitration Request; however, no additional information may be added or attached to the form.*** Only those materials which were presented to the Grievance Committee when the committee made its decision will be presented to the Board of Directors and considered with the appeal, and the complainant and respondent do not have the right to appear at the hearing before the Directors. In the case of a dismissed arbitration request, the deposit shall be returned to the complainant. If the Directors determine that the arbitration request was improperly dismissed they shall refer it to the Professional Standards Committee for hearing. If the Directors determine that the request was improperly classified, they shall reclassify it appropriately. Upon determination of the Directors that the arbitration request should be referred for hearing, the Secretary shall at that time provide a copy of the response to the complainant if one had been submitted for review by the Grievance Committee. (Revised 11/98)
(d) Boards are required to offer mediation as a preliminary, voluntary alternative to arbitration. Where mediation is offered prior to review of an arbitration request by the Grievance Committee and one or more of the parties declines or the mediation attempt is unsuccessful, the parties will not again be offered mediation. If a party requests a second opportunity to mediate, a second mediation can be scheduled at the discretion of the Association. (See Appendix VI to Part Ten, Mediation as a Service of Member Boards.) (Revised 11/03)
(e) Dismissal of an arbitration request by a Board of REALTORS® does not prohibit REALTORS® from exercising other remedies, including litigation, that may be available to them. (Adopted 5/99)
*This fee should not be so high as to deter parties from arbitration. This amount shall not exceed $500. Where a party(ies) from the same firm is involved in more than one related request for arbitration, and the claims will be consolidated and resolved in a single hearing, no more than one deposit or filing fee may be required of that party(ies). When a REALTOR® requests arbitration to determine which of multiple respondents is entitled to disputed funds, or where a party makes no claim to the disputed funds, that party may not be assessed an arbitration filing fee. (Revised 11/96)
**As an alternative, the Board may, as a matter of Board procedure, elect to have the Board President appoint the Chairperson of each Hearing Panel.
***Any member of a Grievance Committee who is a member of the Board of Directors shall not sit as a Director during any appeal from a decision of the Grievance Committee, nor shall such individual participate in any vote of the Directors with respect to such matters.