North Palm Beach Mediator and Arbitrator Works Throughout the State of Florida to Get Your Matter Resolved
Before a case is allowed to proceed to trial in Florida, it is usually required to be mediated. This came about because in 1987 the legislature revised the laws allowing civil trial judges the authority to refer civil cases to mediation or arbitration, The statute has undergone several revisions and requires training standards, certification qualifications, ethical standards and continuing education requirements for mediators.
What Is Mediation?
Very simply, it is a process where the adverse parties conference with each other, either virtually or in person, and are able to discuss their issues with each other through a mediator. Nothing that is said in a mediation can be used for any purpose and the entire conference is confidential. The purpose of a mediator is simply to try to facilitate a meeting of the minds and a resolution of the case. The mediator does not make any decisions or rulings and does not advocate for one side or another but rather simply assists the parties in trying to resolve the case. Again, the mediator does not make decisions and only the parties can voluntarily agree to resolve their issues or not. Mediation success rates in Florida usually fall upwards of 80%. It can be important to the parties to be able to resolve disputes without having to go through the expense and uncertainty of actually trying the case and letting six jurors, who are strangers to the parties, and may have no specialized knowledge of the issues, decide matters for them. It empowers the litigants to resolve the case by their own agreement. If the case does not settle, the confidentiality provisions of Florida Statute 44.401-44.406, apply and, not even the judge presiding on the case, will know or hear of what was ever said during the course of mediation by either party, with very few exceptions.
Avoiding Lawsuits Through Mediation
Some cases do not resolve at mediation. Because the parties opened a dialog however many cases resolve afterwards. Mr. Romaguera is committed to helping resolve cases both during and after mediation and all the way to trial.
Mediation, however, can be useful even before a lawsuit is filed. It can allow parties, either an individual or a business entity, to a dispute to try and resolve or narrow their issues before a lawsuit is filed and avoid the need to incur substantial fees and costs in the process. Again, confidentiality and the fact one party can’t use anything that is said during the mediation against another party makes this process very helpful.
Mediators, such as Mr. Romaguera, have had to undergo training and education to obtain certification by the Florida Supreme Court to allow them to serve as mediators. That and Mr. Romaguera’s 30+ years of experience in litigating cases throughout the state of Florida on both the plaintiff and the defense side make him an ideal candidate to try and help you resolve your case. Because Mr. Romaguera is fluent in both Spanish and English, he can help bridge the possible language gap and effectively communicate with the parties; if need be, he can even conduct the entire mediation in Spanish for the benefit of the parties.
WHAT IS NON-BINDING ARBITRATION?
More courts in Florida are ordering non-binding arbitration pursuant to Florida Statute Section 44.103 as a way to try and resolve cases using the Alternate Dispute Resolution available under the law. Arbitration differs from mediation in that the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators actually renders a decision for one party or the other. In other words, they render a decision on the case which might establish liability and damages. If a party, usually the losing one, seeks a trial de novo and the case proceeds to an actual trial, the party seeking the trial de novo “may be assessed costs, including arbitration costs, court costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, and other reasonable costs, such as investigation, expenses, and expenses for expert or other testimony which were incurred after the arbitration hearing and continuing through the trial of the case...”
Thus, if a plaintiff files for a trial de novo and obtains a judgment at trial which is less than 25% than the arbitration award, the above expenses may be assessed against that plaintiff by the trial court. Conversely, if a defendant has filed for a trial de novo, and at trial has a judgment entered against it which is at least 25% more than the arbitration award, that defendant may incur an award of the above expenses against it.
This program is obviously meant to encourage the parties to resolve their cases short of going to trial. Some courts also require a mediation following the arbitration. Either way, the Alternative Dispute Resolution seeks to empower the parties to resolve their own disputes, and to lighten the trial load on the various jurisdictions. In the wake of the pandemic, and with the backlogged caseload, it is not surprising more and more trial judges and jurisdictions are using the benefits of Section 44.103 of the Florida Statutes.
WHAT IS BINDING ARBITRATION?
Some contracts call for binding arbitration. A binding arbitration situation is similar to a non binding arbitration in that both are an attempt to stay out of court, and any conflicts are submitted to the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. The difference between non binding and binding arbitration is the binding arbitration process is contractually based. Also, with the exception of some issues, most binding arbitrations are not appealable. Binding arbitration involves a process whereby a neutral third person or panel considers the facts and arguments presented by the parties, and renders a decision to which the plaintiff and defendant are then bound. The arbitrator has the final say in the decision on the matter.
WHO ARE THE ARBITRATORS?
Arbitrators are generally members of The Florida Bar, unless the parties agree otherwise. They must have integrity, impartiality, and competence. They should be trained in a program approved by the Supreme Court of Florida. An arbitrator cannot accept any engagement, perform any services or undertake any act which would compromise the arbitrator’s integrity. Thus, you can be certain that whatever the outcome, the decision will be based on an arbitrator’s complete impartiality, equality and fairness.