Monday, May 15, 2006

Florida Supreme Court Amends Small Claims Rules – Revised Opinion

The Florida Supreme Court revised its opinion In Re: Amendments to the Florida Small Claims Rules, Case No. 05-146 [Fla. 2005]. It declined to adopt proposed revisions to Rule 7.090, Appearance; Defensive Pleadings; Trial Date, regarding mediation to occur at the pretrial conference. The proposed rule would mandate that each party or their counsel have full authority to settle. Of greatest concern to the Court was that it would allow sanctions for failure to comply, including costs, attorneys’ fees, entry of judgment, or dismissal. Among the concerns about this proposal was the impact it would have upon a party who must send counsel to such conferences on short notice without an adequate opportunity to fully prepare for settlement negotiations.

The Court, recognizing the importance of this effort at encouraging a mediated settlement, referred this proposed amendment back to the Small Claims Rules Committee for further consideration.

However, the Court did adopt a new form, Form 7.350 Corporate Authorization To Allow Employee To Represent Corporation At Any Stage Of Lawsuit. Guess what that includes?!? If you guessed mediation, you were right – congratulations!

To email me, click Perry S. Itkin.