Thursday, December 15, 2005

Florida Supreme Court Adopts Amendments to Small Claims Rules Referencing Mediation!

The Florida Supreme Court adopted Amendments to the Florida Small Claims Rules in its opinion SC05-146, released today with an effective date of January 1, 2006.

The Court adopted new Form 7.321, Notice to Appear for Pretrial Conference/Mediation, as proposed by the ADR Rules and Policy Committee, and agreed to by the Small Claims Rules Committee. This Form provides “[t]he case will not be tried at the Pretrial Conference, but may be mediated at that time. Do not bring witnesses. You must appear in person or by attorney. Whoever appears for a party must have full authority to settle for all amounts from zero to the amount of the claim without further consultation. Failure to comply may result in the imposition of sanctions, including costs, attorney fees, entry of judgment, or dismissal.” The Notice to Appear also contains an explanation of mediation and confidentiality of mediation communications.

The Court also adopted Form 7.350, Corporate Authorization To Allow Employee To Represent Corporation At Any Stage Of Lawsuit, and this includes mediation.

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