[§514B-163]  Trial de novo and appeal.  (a)  The submission of any dispute to an arbitration under section 514B-162 shall in no way limit or abridge the right of any party to a trial de novo.

     (b)  Written demand for a trial de novo by any party desiring a trial de novo shall be made upon the other parties within ten days after service of the arbitration award upon all parties and the trial de novo shall be filed in circuit court within thirty days of the written demand.  Failure to meet these deadlines shall preclude a party from demanding a trial de novo.

     (c)  The award of arbitration shall not be made known to the trier of fact at a trial de novo.

     (d)  In any trial de novo demanded under this section, if the party demanding a trial de novo does not prevail at trial, the party demanding the trial de novo shall be charged with all reasonable costs, expenses, and attorneys' fees of the trial.  When there is more than one party on one or both sides of an action, or more than one issue in dispute, the court shall allocate its award of costs, expenses, and attorneys' fees among the prevailing parties and tax such fees against those nonprevailing parties who demanded a trial de novo in accordance with the principles of equity. [L 2004, c 164, pt of §2; am L 2005, c 93, §7]