Rule 1.800  Exclusions from Arbitration

A civil action shall be ordered to arbitration or arbitration in conjunction with mediation upon stipulation of the parties.  A civil action may be ordered to arbitration or arbitration in conjunction with mediation upon motion of any party or by the court, if the judge determines the action to be of such a nature that arbitration could be of benefit to the litigants or the court.  Under no circumstances may the following categories of actions be referred to arbitration:

(1)    Bond estreatures.

(2)    Habeas corpus or other extraordinary writs.

(3)    Bond validations.

(4)    Civil or criminal contempt.

(5)    Such other matters as may be specified by order of the chief judge in the circuit.

 

Rule 1.810  Selection and Compensation of Arbitrators

(a)    Selection.  The chief judge of the circuit or a designee shall maintain a list of qualified persons who have agreed to serve as arbitrators.  Cases assigned to arbitration shall be assigned to an arbitrator or to a panel of three arbitrators.  The court shall determine the number of arbitrators and designate them within 15 days after service of the order of referral in the absence of an agreement by the parties.  In the case of a panel, one of the arbitrators shall be appointed as the chief arbitrator.  Where there is only one arbitrator, that person shall be the chief arbitrator.

(b)    Compensation.  The chief judge of each judicial circuit shall establish the compensation of arbitrators subject to the limitations in section 44.103(2), Florida Statutes.

 

Rule 1.820  Hearing Procedures for Non-Binding Arbitration

(a)    Authority of the Chief Arbitrator.  The chief arbitrator shall have authority to commence and adjourn the arbitration hearing and carry out other such duties as are prescribed by section 44.103, Florida Statutes.  The chief arbitrator shall not have authority to hold any person in contempt or to in any way impose sanctions against any person.

(b)    Conduct of the Arbitration Hearing.

(1)       The chief judge of each judicial circuit shall set procedures for determining the time and place of the arbitration hearing and may establish other procedures for the expeditious and orderly operation of the arbitration hearing to the extent such procedures are not in conflict with any rules of court.

(2)       Hearing procedures shall be included in the notice of arbitration hearing sent to the parties and arbitration panel.

(3)       Individual parties or authorized representatives of corporate parties shall attend the arbitration hearing unless excused in advance by the chief arbitrator for good cause shown.

(c)     Rules of Evidence.  The hearing shall be conducted informally.  Presentation of testimony shall be kept to a minimum, and matters shall be presented to the arbitrator(s) primarily through the statements and arguments of counsel.

(d)    Orders.  The chief arbitrator may issue instructions as are necessary for the expeditious and orderly conduct of the hearing.  The chief arbitrator’s instructions are not appealable.  Upon notice to all parties the chief arbitrator may apply to the presiding judge for orders directing compliance with such instructions.  Instructions enforced by a court order are appealable as are other orders of the court.

(e)    Default of a Party.  When a party fails to appear at a hearing, the chief arbitrator may proceed with the hearing and the arbitration panel shall render a decision based upon the facts and circumstances as presented by the parties present.

(f)     Record and Transcript.  Any party may have a record and transcript made of the arbitration hearing at that party’s expense.

(g)    Completion of the Arbitration Process.

(1)    Arbitration shall be completed within 30 days of the first arbitration hearing unless extended by order of the court on motion of the chief arbitrator or of a party.  No extension of time shall be for a period exceeding 60 days from the date of the first arbitration hearing.

(2)    Upon the completion of the arbitration process, the arbitrator(s) shall render a decision.  In the case of the panel, a decision shall be final upon a majority vote of the panel.

(3)    Within 10 days of the final adjournment of the arbitration hearing, the arbitrator(s) shall notify the parties, in writing, of their decision.  The arbitration decision may set forth the issues in controversy and the arbitrator(’s)(s’) conclusions and findings of fact and law. The arbitrator(’s)(s’) decision and the originals of any transcripts shall be sealed and filed with the clerk at the time the parties are notified of the decision.

(h)    Time for Filing Motion for Trial.  Any party may file a motion for trial.  If a motion for trial is filed by any party, any party having a third-party claim at issue at the time of arbitration may file a motion for trial within 10 days of service of the first motion for trial.  If a motion for trial is not made within 20 days of service on the parties of the decision, the decision shall be referred to the presiding judge, who shall enter such orders and judgments as may be required to carry out the terms of the decision as provided by section 44.103(5), Florida Statutes.

 

Rule 1.830  Voluntary Binding Arbitration

(a)    Absence of Party Agreement.

(1)       Compensation.  In the absence of an agreement by the parties as to compensation of the arbitrator(s), the court shall determine the amount of compensation subject to the provisions of section 44.104(3), Florida Statutes.

(2)       Hearing Procedures.  Subject to these rules and section 44.104, Florida Statutes, the parties may, by written agreement before the hearing, establish the hearing procedures for voluntary binding arbitration.  In the absence of such agreement, the court shall establish the hearing procedures.

(b)    Record and Transcript.  A record and transcript may be made of the arbitration hearing if requested by any party or at the direction of the chief arbitrator.  The record and transcript may be used in subsequent legal proceedings subject to the Florida Rules of Evidence.

(c)     Arbitration Decision and Appeal.

(1)    The arbitrator(s) shall serve the parties with notice of the decision and file the decision with the court within 10 days of the final adjournment of the arbitration hearing.

(2)    A voluntary binding arbitration decision may be appealed within 30 days after service of the decision on the parties.  Appeal is limited to the grounds specified in section 44.104(10), Florida Statutes.

(3)       If no appeal is filed within the time period set out in subdivision (2) of this rule, the decision shall be referred to the presiding judge who shall enter such orders and judgments as required to carry out the terms of the decision as provided under section 44.104(11), Florida Statutes.