Alternative dispute resolution, like arbitration, is a great way to resolve business conflict and save money. In Florida, arbitration is a preferred method of dispute resolution. Arbitration can save businesses time and money in resolving disputes. However, not every case is easy to resolve through arbitration. In fact, you may even need to ask the Florida courts to enforce an arbitrator’s award.
Don’t let a low-cost process like arbitration leave you with high bills when it comes to enforcing your award. At BrewerLong, we help clients throughout the arbitration process, from drafting arbitration clauses to handling complex arbitration to assisting clients with how to file an arbitration award with the Florida circuit court.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration, as we mentioned, is a type of alternative dispute resolution, or a way to resolve business conflicts outside the courtroom. A neutral third party, called an “arbitrator,” assumes the role of the judge in the arbitration proceedings. Sometimes, multiple arbitrators—called an arbitration panel—act as judges. Typically, the arbitration agreement will dictate how many arbitrators are permitted. At the end of the arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator, or the arbitration panel, makes a final decision in the case. Depending on whether the arbitration is binding or non-binding, the parties may be able to appeal the decision.
Arbitration can be binding or non-binding. Binding arbitration means that the arbitrator or arbitration panel’s decision is considered final and has the same weight as a judge’s decision. Non-binding arbitration means that the parties have agreed to submit to the arbitration process, but they have not given the arbitrator or the panel the same power as a judge.
Need help understanding an arbitration clause’s meaning? Talk to our experienced Florida arbitration attorneys. We represent employers and businesses in arbitration in Florida and can help you interpret your contract. We have helped hundreds of Florida businesses make the best decisions about arbitration and how to move forward in dealing with a dispute.
What Is the Arbitration Process in Florida?
In Florida, even without an arbitration clause or agreement in place, the parties involved in a dispute can voluntarily agree to participate in binding arbitration. Once the parties select an arbitrator and commence a hearing, they can turn to the Florida courts to enforce the arbitration award. An experienced Florida arbitration attorney can help you understand how to file an arbitration award with the Florida circuit court to ensure that your award is enforced to the full extent of the law.
In the event that you were involved in non-binding arbitration, you can petition the Florida circuit court for a trial de novo, or a new trial, within 20 days after the award was finalized. That is a strict deadline. If you fail to file your petition within the timeframe, the circuit judge may simply enforce the arbitrator’s decision.
These are complex concepts, and our BrewerLong team can help break them down for you before you even sign an arbitration agreement. Speak with one of our experienced arbitration attorneys today. Whether you need to enforce an award or you’re unhappy with the results of non-binding arbitration, we can help answer the question, Can you file an arbitration in the Florida circuit court?
Enforcing a Florida Arbitration Award
Once your arbitrator has finalized their judgment, your lawyer should petition the Florida circuit court to enforce the award. As the courts have previously noted, “After the entry of an arbitration award, a party to the arbitration may move in circuit court for an order confirming the award.” Timmons v. Lake City Golf (2020). In Florida, unless the court has some reason to modify or vacate the award under the Florida arbitration statute, the circuit court must enforce the arbitrator’s award.
It is rare for a court to modify or vacate an arbitration award. However, some reasons that the court might modify or vacate the award include:
- There is a miscalculation of figures in the award;
- There is an evident mistake as to person, thing, or property referred to in the award;
- There was misconduct, partiality, or corruption on the part of the arbitrator;
- The arbitrator refused to postpone the hearing despite sufficient cause so as to create prejudice against the rights of one party;
- The arbitrator exceeded the statutory powers;
- There was improper notice to a party; and
- There was no agreement to arbitrate.
Be sure to contact an attorney before entering your arbitration award with the Florida circuit court. Your BrewerLong lawyer can help ensure this petition is filed correctly and your arbitration award is enforced the way you deserve.
How BrewerLong Can Help
At BrewerLong, we exist to advocate for and guide our clients through even the most complex business disputes. For over 14 years, we’ve provided competent and affordable legal counsel to our business clients. Clients appreciate that we’re personable and focus our practice on business. Call us today or contact us online.
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