Florida Dispute Resolution Center
THE RESOLUTION REPORT ONLINE
April 2006 - Volume 22, Number 2
from the Director
sprung in Tallahassee and along with it the 2006 Legislative Session
has begun. There is lots of activity on the ADR front this year.
Because things happen so quickly during Session, what I write
today will be out of date by the time you read this.
Thus, I am providing you with the House and Senate Bill Numbers
with links to the House and Senate web pages. This way you will
be able to see the latest version and the current status on each
bill you are interested in.
In previous issues of the newsletter, I reported that the Supreme
Court Committee on ADR Rules and Policy Committee had recommended
that Chapter 44 be amended to align mediation terminology with
the Supreme Court’s Unified Family Court concept. The bills
which were filed to effectuate these changes are:
7019 started as PCB (proposed committee bill) by the Civil
Justice Committee and Chairman, Representative Mahon and Senate
companion bill SB
2188 filed by Senator Campbell. As of today, the bills are
both moving but are not identical. We will be working to correct
that. The effective date for the bills would be July 1, 2006 were
they to be enacted.
Another set of bills were filed which would effect the arbitration
sections of Chapter 44, Florida Statutes (44.103 and 44.104):
2498 filed by Senator Aronberg would revise the provisions
in court-ordered nonbinding arbitration relating to the presentation
of testimony and evidence and the award of the costs of a trial
de novo following arbitration against the party requesting the
trial when the trial judgment differs from the arbitration award.
549 and SB
1482 Relating to Mobile Home Park Lot Tenancies both contain
provisions authorizing the court to order arbitration although
the language is not the same. Other ADR bills:
391 (filed by Representative Domino) and SB
2530 (filed by Senator Posey) relate to community associations
and includes amendments to Chapter 720, Florida Statutes. Section
720.311 is entitled Dispute Resolution and currently contains
provisions for arbitration and mediation. The proposed amendments
would clarify and strengthen the provisions for presuit mediation.
The bill also deletes the provisions relating to “department
mediators” and instead refers to mediators or arbitrators
who are “certified as circuit civil mediator[s] …
by the Florida Supreme Court.”
Another Senate bill, SB
546, filed by Senator Fassano, would repeal section 720.311
in its entirety and amend the jurisdiction of the county courts
to create original jurisdiction for Homeowner Association disputes
with the county courts. HB
837 filed by Representative Hays and SB
1598 filed by Senator Baker authorizes insurers to issue life
insurance policies containing a mandatory binding arbitration
provision (not under chapter 44, Florida Statutes). HB
1227 filed by Garcia and SB
2570 contain technical amendments to the dispute resolution
provisions relating to mediation and arbitration of Community
Association disputes under the Department of Business and Professional
Regulation, Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Home
1441 filed by Representative Ambler would establish a pilot
program in the 6th and 13th circuits for the purpose of resolving
deed restriction and covenant disputes in deed-restricted communities.
At the current time there is no Senate companion.
In other news, Judge Shawn Briese, chair of the Florida Supreme
Court Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy
presented the Committee’s petition to amend the Rules for
Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators on February 8(05-998).
You can watch the Oral
Argument or read the transcript. The Supreme Court has not
yet issued its opinion. Opinions are released on Thursdays at
11 am and you can check on-line to see the Opinions.
We will, of course, post it prominently on our website too.
Finally, it is with great sadness that I report the passing of
two exceptional mediators and colleagues. Douglas Lawless who
served as a member of the Mediator Qualifications Board in the
Southern Division and was always quick with a smile lost a lengthy
battle with leukemia. G. Tiny Geiger, participated in one of the
first mediation training programs conducted by the Florida Supreme
Court and thus, was one of the first mediators I met. Far from
tiny in stature, Tiny was one of a kind. There is no doubt that
the Florida mediation community is better for Doug and Tiny’s
contributions and they will be missed by us all. Because of the
great joy that both Doug and Tiny exuded every day, I know they
would not want me to end this on a sad note. So, let me end instead
by reminding everyone that 2006 is a big year in Florida. It is
the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Dispute Resolution
Center. I hope you will join our celebration in August at the
annual DRC Conference. Brochures and registration material will
be sent to the address we have on file and will also be available
on line at www.flcourts.org.
I look forward to seeing you at the conference! Sharon