What is Private Adjudication in Florida?

EPGD Law Private Adjudication

What does it mean to have a case Adjudicated?

Private adjudication provides the parties in a civil lawsuit two alternatives to court: (1) voluntary trial resolution (VTR) or (2) voluntary binding arbitration. The alternatives are provided in all civil suits aside from those where under constitutional issues or cases, which have indispensable third parties who do not agree to this procedure. These alternatives grant the parties of a lawsuit a path that avoids the traditional court litigation route, while maintaining similar rules for procedure and evidence that make it an adaptable substitute for dispute settlement. Private adjudication can be a more efficient route for dispute settlement because the parties would not have to wait on the occupied court systems, or busy judges for hearings, and interlocutory orders.

Voluntary trial resolution permits parties to retain a private lawyer to serve as the Trial Resolution Judge in a Florida dispute. Under voluntary binding arbitration, most of the arbitrators may determine any question and render a final decision. Under VTR, a trial resolution judge renders a final decision which may be enforced by filing a petition for final judgment in the circuit court in which the voluntary trial took place. A case submitted to VTR and Arbitration are both subject to the Florida rules of civil procedure and evidence and concludes in either a bench or jury trial.

What are the Differences Between Voluntary Trial Resolution and Arbitration?

In arbitration, the dispute will be heard by a certified, neutral arbitrator or tribunal of neutral arbitrators. These arbitrators will hear evidence from all parties involved in a relatively informal hearing that is unlike a tradition court hearing. They will then make a binding decision to resolve the case. This resolution may be more expensive. However, the speediness of the process may make this more attractive to parties with some types of disputes.

There are more differences between VTR and arbitration when it comes to the availability of a trial by jury and the appeals process. Florida statute suggest trials are only available for VTR.

When it comes to appeals, any party may appeal a final judgment in a VTR, but a finding of fact in VTR is not subject to appeal. An appeal of a voluntary binding arbitration decision must be taken to a circuit court, and the statute outlines the specific issues of arbitration that may be appealed.

How does the Procedure Differ Pre-suit from a case Where a Lawsuit has Already been Filed?

An application for VTR or arbitration can be filed with the court prior to or after a suit has been filed. The main difference in pre-suit procedure would be the existence of a prior agreement between the parties that would consent to VTR or arbitration and set out rules of appointment. The court will appoint a trial resolution judge or arbitrator upon the parties’ application only if the parties have not previously entered into an agreement that specifies a method of appointment for a trial resolution judge or arbitrator(s).

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Oscar Gomez

Oscar A. Gomez is a Partner and Chair of the Litigation Practice Group at EPGD Business Law. His practice focuses on Business Litigation, including but not limited to Business & Partnership Disputes.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

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