Florida Senate - 2020                                    SB 1448
       By Senator Torres
       15-01612-20                                           20201448__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to fees; amending s. 720.311, F.S.;
    3         requiring that certain fees relating to nonbinding
    4         arbitration be paid to the Department of Business and
    5         Professional Regulation; requiring the prevailing
    6         party in nonbinding arbitration to recover certain
    7         costs and fees; providing a contingent effective date.
    9  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   11         Section 1. Paragraph (c) of subsection (2) of section
   12  720.311, Florida Statutes, as amended by SB ___, 2020 Regular
   13  Session, is amended to read:
   14         720.311 Dispute resolution.—
   15         (2)
   16         (c)1. If presuit mediation as described in paragraph (a) is
   17  not successful in resolving all issues between the parties, the
   18  parties shall enter into mandatory nonbinding arbitration under
   19  the procedures set forth in s. 718.1255 and rules adopted by the
   20  division, with the arbitration proceeding to be conducted by a
   21  department arbitrator or by a private arbitrator certified by
   22  the department. Any party to the dispute may petition the
   23  division for nonbinding arbitration. This paragraph does not
   24  apply to disputes regarding use of or changes to the parcel or
   25  the common areas and other covenant enforcement disputes. This
   26  paragraph does not prohibit the parties from proceeding in a
   27  trial de novo unless the parties agreed that the arbitration is
   28  binding. A judicial proceeding must be initiated within 30 days
   29  after the entry of the final decision of the arbitrator. If a
   30  judicial proceeding is initiated, the final decision of the
   31  arbitrator is admissible into evidence at the trial de novo.
   32         2.The petition for nonbinding arbitration must be
   33  accompanied by a filing fee in the amount of $200. Filing fees
   34  collected under this subparagraph must be used to defray the
   35  costs and expenses incurred by the department in conducting the
   36  proceeding. If the filing fee does not cover all of the costs
   37  and expenses incurred, the department shall charge each party an
   38  amount adequate to cover its costs and expenses at the
   39  conclusion of the proceeding. The fees paid to the department
   40  are a recoverable cost in the arbitration proceeding, and the
   41  prevailing party shall recover its reasonable costs and attorney
   42  fees in addition to the fees the party paid to the department.
   43         Section 2. This act shall take effect on the same date that
   44  SB ___ or similar legislation takes effect, if such legislation
   45  is adopted in the same legislative session or an extension
   46  thereof and becomes a law.