Review of Court Decisions - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 33, No. 3
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
UM—ACCIDENT CLAIMS RULES §8—SIZE OF ARBITRATION PANEL—AMENDED CLAIM—DEPOSITIONS
The arbitrator's decision not to allow an increase in the size of the arbitration panel from one to three persons, under the facts of this case, was clearly within the scope of his authority. Respondent filed a demand for arbitration claiming $18,500 in damages for facial and back injuries. The parties stipulated that $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage was available. A day before the hearing respondent received a report from his physician which mentioned, for the first time, a condition called "post traumatic neurosis." The report was sent to appellant's attorney's office. At the hearing the arbitrator granted respondent's attorney oral motion to amend the claim to $100,000 for permanent psychological injury. Appellant was granted two weeks leave to obtain an adverse medical examination. After receipt of the adverse medical report appellant formally objected to the amendment in a letter to the AAA. It claimed that the AAA rules provided for a panel of three arbitrators in all claims over $25,000, that the time allowed for the adverse medical report was restrictive to the prejudice of Allstate; and that no evidence of permanent injury was presented. Subsequently, on November 16, 1976, the arbitrator awarded respondent $80,978.87. Section 8 of the Accident Claims Rules provides for a three man panel where the claim is in excess of the minimum available in a jurisdiction. At the lime of the accident Minnesota required a policy limit of $10,000. The court concluded that if appellant wanted a three man panel it should have made the request prior to the initial hearing date. The arbitrator, reasoned the court, could reasonably have found that appellant had waived its right to a three-arbitrator panel. Appellant was not prejudiced by the amendment and the arbitrator allowed adequate time to secure an adverse medical examination. The district court did not err in confirming the award.
Haekenkamp v. Allstate Ins. Co., 265 N.W.2d 821 (Minn. 1978).