We mainly practice in Southwest Florida, and our courts typically require parties to participate in mediation or some type of alternative dispute resolution in every case. Mediation is one of these processes that is commonly utilized. Mediation involves having a neutral third party who serves as the mediator. It’s highly confidential under Florida law, and allows the parties to attempt to reach a resolution amongst themselves and have some control over the outcome.
However, there are certain cases that are ordered by our courts to go to non-binding arbitration. Non-binding arbitration involves each party proffering their position to an arbitrator (or a panel of arbitrators). The arbitrator(s) is/are a party(ies) selected by either the court or the parties to serve as the arbitrator. After the conclusion of the non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator rules on the issues and enters a decision. If a party does not like the result from the non-binding arbitration, the parties have the ability to file for a trial de novo within the time period specified under Florida law. The filing of a trial de novo then allows the case to proceed to trial before the court (or a jury, if a jury trial was selected). However, there are certain things that must be considered before filing for a trial de novo. For example, if a plaintiff files for a trial de novo and subsequently obtains a judgment that is at least 25% less than the arbitration award, the plaintiff could be liable for the defendant’s attorney’s fees and reasonable costs incurred from the date of the arbitration through the date of trial. Likewise, if a defendant files for a trial de novo and subsequently a judgment is entered against the defendant which is at least 25% more than the arbitration award, then the defendant could be liable for the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and reasonable costs incurred from the date of the arbitration through the date of trial. If a party does not timely file for a trial de novo, the arbitration decision becomes final. Note, the arbitration decision is not made known to the judge who presides over the case unless no request for a trial de novo is timely filed.
Ways of Resolving a Dispute
It’s very dependent on the facts, but in all cases, not just landlord-tenant, if a party can resolve a dispute pre-litigation, it’s always recommended, as this will prevent the client from incurring legal fees and costs through the litigation process. Typically, if you’re dealing with a default under a lease, whether it’s by a tenant or by a landlord, there are certain notices (whether required by Florida Statute or under the lease) that must be provided prior to you filing a lawsuit, and it is imperative that you comply with these requirements.
Importance of Seeking Legal Assistance
I always think, especially in the landlord-tenant context, that consulting a lawyer at the outset is important because you want to make sure that you’re following the requirements of the lease and Florida law. There are certain requirements, especially in the residential context under Florida law, that you need to make sure you follow, or you could jeopardize your claim.
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