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. 8 9 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 10 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.