Motions & Hearings

Arbitration Hearing Dates

Arbitration hearing dates are assigned at the time of filing the complaint or, if a case is transferred into the arbitration program, at a status date by the Supervising Judge of the Arbitration Program. If the hearing date is given at the time the case is filed, the time frame for these dates are as follows: if the case is seeking less than $15,000, then the Circuit Clerk's Office assigns a date not less than 120 days from the date the case is filed. If the damages sought are over $15,000 but less than $50,000, then the date assigned is not less than 180 days from the date the complaint is filed.

To view a list of arbitration hearings dates, visit the Court Calendars page.

Prior to the Arbitration Hearing

Before an arbitration hearing can proceed, all parties must be served with a summons. The summons contains a return date. All parties must appear in Court on the return date. If any defendant wants to contest the claims made by the Plaintiff the Defendant must file an appearance and an answer. For the appearance, a form is available in the Office of the Circuit Clerk and someone in the Clerk's Office will indicate the appropriate filing fee. For the answer, there is a form available in the Office of the Circuit Clerk. To complete an answer, the defendant must answer each allegation of the complaint, in writing. For example, if there are 6 paragraphs in the complaint, the answer must contain either an admission or denial (and reasons why that allegation is denied) of each paragraph contained in the complaint.

Motion Practice

All motions are to be heard by the Presiding Judge of Probate and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) prior to the arbitration hearing date. Presently uncontested motions are at the Main Courthouse, Courtroom 207 on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. or on Fridays at 9 a.m. or Courtroom 201 on Monday at 1:30 p.m. Contested motions are set by the court. The location, time and presiding judge are subject to change.

The Arbitration Hearing

At the arbitration hearing, the parties present evidence on the issues in dispute which are those allegations in the complaint which the defendant has denied in the answer. The arbitrators hear all the facts, evidence, and law and render a written decision outside the presence of the parties. The arbitrators do not get involved in trying to settle the case, or helping the parties work out a payment plan in order to settle a case- that is up to the parties to do prior to the arbitration hearing.