Parties to contractual arbitration possess a limited right to discovery in California. See California Code of Civil Procedure §1282.2(a)(2) (where amount in controversy exceeds $50,000, parties may demand an exchange of witness lists and copies of the documents to be presented at the hearing). The full range of discovery devices contained in California’s Civil Discovery Act are only available under two specific sets of circumstances: (1) where the arbitration agreement expressly provides for incorporation of §1283.05 of the California Code of Civil Procedure; or (2) where the dispute involves a tort claim for personal injury. More limited party discovery also may be permitted by contract (e.g., “the parties to this contract may conduct x number of depositions and propound y and z forms of discovery”), pursuant to the rules of the arbitration organization handling the matter (e.g., AAA or JAMS), or where statutory claims are involved.
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