Late last month, the Supreme Court of Utah released their opinion regarding a personal injury suit that involved a car accident. A woman was driving in Logan, Utah when she crashed into another vehicle. The man and his wife brought a suit against the woman, alleging loss of consortium in addition to a traditional negligence claim.
When they filed their lawsuit, the couple requested arbitration under a specific judicial code. This choice had a rewards cap and barred certain types of recovery, such as punitive damages. However, they likely opted into this because of the efficiency of arbitration. It should be completed within 150 days of its election. In order to opt out of arbitration, a rescission should be made within 90 days of the election and no less than 30 days from the hearing. The couple did not file this notice, yet they moved to change their election and avoid arbitration because they became privy to certain important information and wanted to add a defendant.
The defendant opposed this motion and instead wanted to compel arbitration. The lower court denied the defendant's motion. The court went on to explain that, although the motion would circumvent the election terms, it was appropriate because of pertinent information that was discovered after the fact. In the released opinion, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court's finding in part and affirmed in part. The Court found that the couple needed to comply with the arbitration deadlines, but it allowed them to add the additional party without mandatory arbitration.