[§672B-5] Review by panel required; notice; presentation of claims; request for a more definite statement of the claim. (a) Effective January 1, 2008, any person or the person's representative claiming that a tort has been committed by a design professional shall submit a statement of the claim to the design claim conciliation panel before a suit based on the claim may be commenced in any court of this State. Claims shall be submitted to the design claim conciliation panel in writing. The claimant shall set forth facts upon which the claim is based and shall include the names of all parties against whom the claim is or may be made who are then known to the claimant.
(b) Within five business days thereafter the panel shall give notice of the claim and the statement of the claim, by certified mail, to all design professionals and others who are or may be parties to the claim and shall furnish copies of written claims to these persons. The notice shall set forth a date, not more than twenty days after mailing the notice, within which any design professional against whom a claim is made shall file a written response to the claim, and a date and time, not less than fourteen days following the last date for filing a response, for a hearing of the panel. The notice shall describe the nature and purpose of the panel's proceedings and shall designate the place of the meeting. The times originally set forth in the notice may be enlarged by the chairperson, on due notice to all parties, for good cause.
(c) If the statement of the claim in the notice is so vague or ambiguous that any party receiving notice of the claim cannot reasonably be required to frame a written response, the party may submit a written request to the chairperson for a more definite statement before filing the written response. Copies of the request shall be provided to the panel, the claimant, and other affected parties. The request, which shall be ex parte and stay the proceedings of the panel until notice of the chairperson’s decision is given to the panel and all parties, shall specify the defects complained of and the details desired. The chairperson may deny, grant, or modify the request at the chairperson’s own discretion, without the necessity of a hearing, although the chairperson may reach a decision after consulting with the panel or the claimant. The chairperson shall provide notice of the decision to the panel, the claimant, and other affected parties. If the request is granted and the claimant fails to provide a more definite statement of the claim within five days after notice of the decision, the panel may make an order as it deems just. This subsection shall not be used as a tactic to delay the proceedings. [L 2007, c 207, pt of §2]