ORCP 65 – REFEREES
A In general.
A(1) Appointment. A court in which an action is pending may appoint a referee who shall have such qualifications as the court deems appropriate.
A(2) Compensation. The fees to be allowed to a referee shall be fixed by the court and shall be charged upon the parties or paid out of any fund or subject matter of the action which is in the custody and control of the court, as the court may direct.
A(3) Delinquent fees. The referee shall not retain the referee’s report as security for compensation. If a party ordered to pay the fee allowed by the court does not pay it after notice and within the time prescribed by the court, the referee is entitled to a writ of execution against the delinquent party.
B(1) Reference by agreement. The court may make a reference upon the written consent of the parties. In any case triable by right to a jury, consent to reference for decision upon issues of fact shall be a waiver of right to jury trial.
B(2) Reference without agreement. Reference may be made in actions to be tried without a jury upon motion by any party or upon the court’s own initiative. In absence of agreement of the parties, a reference shall be made only upon a showing that some exceptional condition requires it.
C(1) Order of reference. The order of reference to a referee may specify or limit the referee’s powers and may direct the referee to report only upon particular issues, or to do or perform particular acts, or to receive and report evidence only. The order may fix the time and place for beginning and closing the hearings and for the filing of the referee’s report.
C(2) Power under order of reference. Subject to the specifications and limitations stated in the order, the referee has and shall exercise the power to regulate all proceedings in every hearing before the referee and to do all acts and take all measures necessary or proper for the efficient performance of duties under the order. The referee may require the production of evidence upon all matters embraced in the reference, including the production of all books, papers, vouchers, documents, and writings applicable thereto. Unless otherwise directed by the order of reference, the referee may rule upon the admissibility of evidence. The referee has the authority to put witnesses on oath and may personally examine such witnesses upon oath.
C(3) Record. When a party so requests, the referee shall make a record of the evidence offered and excluded in the same manner and subject to the same limitations as a court sitting without a jury.
D(1)(a) When a reference is made, the clerk or person performing the duties of that office shall forthwith furnish the referee with a copy of the order of reference. Upon receipt thereof, unless the order of reference otherwise provides, the referee shall forthwith set a time and place for the first meeting of the parties or their attorneys to be held within 20 days after the date of the order of reference and shall notify the parties or their attorneys of the meeting date.
D(1)(b) It is the duty of the referee to proceed with all reasonable diligence. Any party, after notice to the parties and the referee, may apply to the court for an order requiring the referee to speed the proceedings and to make the report.
D(1)(c) If a party fails to appear at the time and place appointed, the referee may proceed ex parte or may adjourn the proceedings to a future day, giving notice to the absent party of the adjournment.
D(2) Witnesses. The parties may procure the attendance of witnesses before the referee by the issuance and service of subpoenas as provided in Rule 55. If, without adequate excuse, a witness fails to appear or give evidence, that witness may be punished as for a contempt by the court and be subjected to the consequences, penalties, and remedies provided in Rule 55 G.
D(3) Accounts. When matters of accounting are in issue, the referee may prescribe the form in which the accounts shall be submitted and in any proper case may require or receive in evidence a statement by a certified public accountant who is called as a witness. Upon objection of a party to any of the items thus submitted or upon a showing that the form of statement is insufficient, the referee may require a different form of statement to be furnished or the accounts or specific items thereof to be proved by oral examination of the accounting parties or in such other manner as the referee directs.
E(1) Contents. The referee shall without delay prepare a report upon the matters submitted by the order of reference and, if required to make findings of fact and conclusions of law, the referee shall set them forth in the report.
E(2) Filing. Unless otherwise directed by the order of reference, the referee shall file the report with the clerk of the court or person performing the duties of that office and shall file a transcript of the proceedings and of the evidence and the original exhibits with the report. The referee shall forthwith mail a copy of the report to all parties.
E(3)(a) Unless the parties stipulate to the contrary, the referee’s findings of fact shall have the same effect as a jury verdict. Within 10 days after being served with notice of the filing of the report, any party may serve written objections thereto upon the other parties. Application to the court for action upon the report and upon objections to the report shall be by motion. The court after hearing may affirm or set aside the report, in whole or in part.
E(3)(b) In any case, the parties may stipulate that a referee’s findings of fact shall be binding or shall be binding unless clearly erroneous.