When a responding party asserts the exclusion of “Not Signatory to Forum,” it is intended to indicate that the responding party itself is not signatory to the forum. This exclusion is not applicable to assert that there is another potential tortfeasor that is not signatory to the forum.
Rule 1-4 addresses the scenario in which a responding party believes another party(ies) bears a degree of negligence for the filing company’s damages. In this instance, the responder’s options depend upon whether the other party(ies) is signatory to the forum. If signatory, the responder can bring the party(ies) into the case by adding the party(ies) to the case. If the party(ies) is not signatory to the forum, the responder can argue the negligence of the other party(ies) in its contentions. When the filer reads the response, it can amend its application (OLF) or withdraw the filing (TRS). If the filer allows the case to move forward when the negligence of a non-signatory was argued, it agrees to accept the award, if any, against any responding company as final resolution of its claim.
As the arbitrator, it is important to understand that the exclusion of “Not Signatory to Forum” should only be upheld if the responding party itself is not signatory to a particular forum.