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Rule 17
Authority and Duties of the Evaluator

(a)  The evaluator shall at all times be authorized to control the conference and the procedures to be followed.

(b)  Duties.  The evaluator shall set up the evaluation conference and shall define and describe the following to the parties:

(1)  The early neutral evaluation process, including the difference between early neutral evaluation and other forms of conflict resolution;

(2)  The duties and responsibilities of the evaluator and the parties; and

(3)  The cost of the early neutral evaluation conference.

(c)  Evaluator Not to be Called as a Witness. The evaluator shall not be compelled by subpoena or otherwise to divulge any records or to testify in regard to the early neutral evaluation in any adversary proceeding or judicial forum. All records, reports and other documents received by the evaluator while serving in that capacity shall be confidential.

(d)  Duty of Impartiality/Disclosure.  The evaluator has a duty to be impartial and to disclose any circumstance likely to affect impartiality or independence, including any bias, prejudice, or financial or personal interest in the result of the evaluation or any past or present relationship with the parties or their representatives.

(e)  Reporting Results of the Early Neutral Evaluation. Within ten days of conclusion of the early neutral evaluation, as set forth in Rule 7(f), the evaluator shall file with the clerk of court proof of ADR on a form approved by the Supreme Court or its designee. South Carolina Court Administration or the South Carolina Commission on Alternate Dispute Resolution may require the evaluator to provide additional statistical data for evaluation of the program.

(f)  Immunity. The evaluator shall have immunity from liability to the same extent afforded judicial officers of this State.

Added by Order dated April 30, 2012.