Thomas and Josephine Porreco (plaintiffs) entered a contract with Red Top RV Center (Red Top) (defendant) to purchase a motor home. The motor home turned out to be defective, and the Porrecos sued Red Top and Citicorp Acceptance Co., Inc. (Citicorp) (defendant) seeking rescission, restitution, and money damages. The lawsuit was filed on April 12, 1983. In January 1988, during a settlement conference, the parties signed a stipulation agreeing to submit the matter to arbitration. The stipulation referenced the Judicial Arbitration Act. The stipulation also agreed to apply the California Rules of Court and the local rules of the Solano County Superior Court. Finally, the stipulation waived the parties’ right to a de novo or an entirely new hearing after the filing of the arbitrator’s award. On April 22, 1988, Citicorp filed a motion to dismiss the court action based on the Porrecos’ failure to bring the case to trial within five years of filing the lawsuit. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, and the Porrecos appealed.