Chapter 2.104
DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROGRAM

Sections:

2.104.010    Pierce County Dispute Resolution Center Program Authorized.

2.104.020    Authorization of Contracting for Program Operator.

2.104.030    Services to be Provided Without Charge or for Fee Based Upon Ability to Pay.

2.104.040    Dispute Resolution Agreements Required.

2.104.050    Confidentiality of Center's Files.

2.104.060    District Court Filing Fee Surcharges.

2.104.070    Collection of Surcharges.

2.104.080    Fund Established.

2.104.090    Reporting.

Cross-reference: Chapter 7.75 RCW

2.104.010 Pierce County Dispute Resolution Center Program Authorized.

There is established a Dispute Resolution Center Program to provide mediation services for the citizens of Pierce County, as authorized by Chapter 7.75 RCW. Disputes eligible for consideration must be appropriate for resolution through voluntary conciliation or mediation and not those more appropriately referred to legal counsel or other community service agencies or programs. The Pierce County Council must approve a Dispute Resolution Center plan, satisfying the requirements of RCW 7.75.020(2)(a-h), and this Chapter, prior to any dispute resolution center being created. (Ord. 93-4 § 1 (part), 1993)

2.104.020 Authorization of Contracting for Program Operator.

The Pierce County Executive may contract with another municipality or a nonprofit corporation that meets the requirements of Chapter 7.75 RCW and this Chapter to operate a Pierce County Dispute Resolution Center. Any such contract shall be submitted to the Council for its approval. Prior to proposing such a contract for the operation of the Dispute Resolution Center, the other municipality or nonprofit corporation shall have received approval by the Council of a Plan that meets the requirements of RCW 7.75.020. (Ord. 93-4 § 1 (part), 1993)

2.104.030 Services to be Provided Without Charge or for Fee Based Upon Ability to Pay.

A Dispute Resolution Center established under this Program shall provide dispute resolution services either without charge to the participants or for a fee which is based upon the applicant's ability to pay. (Ord. 93-4 § 1 (part), 1993)

2.104.040 Dispute Resolution Agreements Required.

A.    In conducting a dispute resolution process, a Center established under this Chapter shall require:

1.    That the disputing parties enter into a written agreement which expresses the method by which they shall attempt to resolve the issues in dispute; and

2.    That at the conclusion of the dispute resolution process, the parties enter into a written agreement which sets forth the settlement of the issues and the future responsibilities, if any, of each party.

B.    A written agreement entered into with the assistance of the Center at the conclusion of the dispute resolution process is admissible as evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding.

C.    Any person who voluntarily enters into a dispute resolution process at a Center established under this Program may revoke his or her consent, withdraw from dispute resolution, and seek judicial or administrative redress prior to reaching a written resolution agreement. The withdrawal shall be in writing. No legal penalty sanction or restraint may be imposed upon the person because of withdrawal from dispute resolution.

(Ord. 93-4 § 1 (part), 1993)

2.104.050 Confidentiality of Center's Files.

All memoranda, work notes or products, or case files of a Center established under this Chapter shall not be considered public records as defined in Chapter 42.17 RCW and are confidential and privileged and are not subject to disclosure in any judicial or administrative proceeding unless the court or administrative tribunal determines that the materials were submitted by a participant to the center for the purpose of avoiding discovery of the material in a subsequent proceeding. Any communication relating to the subject matter of the resolution made during the resolution process by any participant, mediator, or any other person is a privileged communication and is not subject to disclosure in any judicial or administrative proceeding unless all parties to the communication waive the privilege. The foregoing privilege and limitation on evidentiary use does not apply to any communication of a threat that injury or damage may be inflicted on any person on the property of a party to the dispute, to the extent the communication may be relevant evidence in a criminal matter. (Ord. 93-4 § 1 (part), 1993)

2.104.060 District Court Filing Fee Surcharges.

A surcharge of $10.00 is hereby imposed upon the filing fee for civil actions in district courts established by RCW 3.62.060. A surcharge of $15.00 is hereby imposed upon the filing fee for small claims in district courts established by RCW 12.40.020. (Ord. 93-4 § 1 (part), 1993)

2.104.070 Collection of Surcharges.

The surcharges imposed by PCC 2.104.060 shall be collected by the Clerk of the Court when a civil or small claims filing occurs. Surcharges so collected shall be remitted to the Finance Department for deposit into the Dispute Resolution Center Fund to be used solely for Dispute Resolution Centers established under this Program. (Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 93-4 § 1 (part), 1993)

2.104.080 Fund Established.

There is hereby created within the General Fund a Dispute Resolution Center Fund to be used solely for funding Dispute Resolution Centers established pursuant to this Chapter. (Ord. 93-4 § 1 (part), 1993)

2.104.090 Reporting.

Any Dispute Resolution Center established pursuant to Chapter 7.75 RCW and this Chapter, shall report annually on or before February 15 to the Pierce County Council. The annual report shall include, but not be limited to: (1) the data and information provided to the state administrator for the courts as required by RCW 7.75.020(3); and (2) any information necessary or requested to provide a basis for evaluating client satisfaction, the performance of the Center and quality of the program. (Ord. 93-4 § 1 (part), 1993)