Arbitration Of Disputes in Florida
Have you heard of arbitration of disputes in Florida? Would you give up your right to appear before a Judge in a public courtroom? Do you think being in front of a private arbitration panel is better? Well, we have written about Powers of Attorney and arbitration before. Now, we will consider a March 2021 3rd DCA case on arbitration. It is not a will or trust case, but it is worth reading. Why? Because it considers the issue of making third parties “go” to arbitration, who prefer to be in federal or state court. In this 3rd DCA case, a motion to compel arbitration was denied at the trial level. Another issue which trial courts deal with, with a pending motion to compel arbitration, is whether a stay should be entered. Finally, this legal commentary has some authority below regarding arbitration of will and trust disputes in Florida.
Florida Arbitration Law
Florida has its own Arbitration Code, Chapter 632. To read a March 10, 2021 3rd District Court of Appeal opinion on arbitration, CLICK HERE. The case of City of Miami v. Ortiz repeated a number of bedrock legal principles regarding arbitration in Florida. But what makes this recent Florida arbitration opinion interesting is that it discusses one of the “hot topics” of arbitration. Can you compel a non-signatory to arbitration? Let’s put that another way. Can you make someone who is suing you go to arbitration even when they don’t want arbitration, and they never signed any arbitration agreement? “This is a cutting edge issue” says John Pankauski, who is in the middle of arbitration proceedings right now. In fact, Pankauski has been involved in high dollar trust and business disputes before the AAA and also JAMS.
Arbitration Florida Will + Trust Disputes
So, the truth is that the Florida Probate Code has a specific statute on arbitration. Florida Statute. 731.401 deals with arbitration of Florida will and trust matters. Now, you have to read the will or the trust, to see if it has an arbitration provision. “The next step” says probate + estate litigation attorney John Pankauski “is to determine if your matter is covered by the arbitration provision.” Some will and trust matters are specifically carved out. You can’t compel someone to go to arbitration of the validity of a Florida will or trust. If you want to read other cases about arbitration for will and trust disputes, consider reading Gibbons v. Anderson, a April 3, 2019 Arkansas case. Here is the link to the online docket, including the opinion, which is also found at 2019 Ark. App. 193, 575 S.W. 144 : CLICK HERE. Also, check out Rachal v. Reitz. That case is a 2013 case from the Supreme Court of Texas.