The Supreme Court first authorized the pilot program nearly six months ago and, in an order filed Tuesday, extended the pilot program for the next year.
These trials — which can be an option for any civil litigants — are held before a court-authorized judge and can involve a jury that is obtained and compensated by the parties. Litigants pay for all expenses in the pilot program.
Litigants long have had the option of resolving disputes completely outside the court system through binding arbitration before a private judge or panel of judges who usually are attorneys. The Alternate Trial Program, which requires that lawsuits first be filed with the district court in the appropriate jurisdiction, offers additional options and safeguards.
Unlike traditional arbitrations, alternate trials may be decided by juries. Supreme Court rules require that the judges be former district court judges, supreme court justices or attorneys trained as judges for the judiciary’s Short Trial program.
Additionally, participants in alternate trials have the right to appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court, just like cases decided through the traditional court system.
“For years, the Nevada Supreme Court has advocated alternate dispute resolution through court-authorized arbitrations, settlement conferences or short trials,” Chief Justice Ron Parraguirre said. “The Alternate Trial Program provides litigants with simply another tool to help resolve their disputes.”
The Alternate Trial Program applies to all categories of civil cases.
Under the alternate trial rules:
• All litigants must agree to the format and the cost sharing.
• Alternate trials will be held in mock courtrooms at local law firms or at other facilities agreed to by the parties.
• Recruitment of jurors, if they are requested, is the responsibility of the alternate
• All relevant documents are filed with the district court clerk and are public record. Litigants pay the normal filing fee to file the court documents.
• Alternate trials are open to the public.