(1) Either party may petition the division to appoint a mediator and initiate mediation proceedings.
(2) The division upon petition shall appoint a qualified mediator to conduct mediation proceedings unless the parties timely notify the division in writing that they have selected a mediator. A person appointed by the division shall be a qualified mediator from a list of circuit court mediators in each judicial circuit who has met training and educational requirements established by the Supreme Court. If such mediators are not available, the division may select a mediator from the list maintained by the Florida Growth Management Conflict Resolution Consortium. The division shall promulgate rules of procedure to govern such proceedings in accordance with the rules of practice and procedure adopted by the Supreme Court. The division shall also establish, by rule, the fee to be charged by a mediator which shall not exceed the fee authorized by the circuit court.
(3) A mediator appointed by the division or selected by the parties shall comply with the rules adopted by the division. The mediator shall also notify the division in writing within 10 days after the conclusion of the mediation, that the mediation has been concluded.
(4) Upon receiving a petition to mediate a dispute, the division shall, within 20 days, notify the parties that a mediator has been appointed by the division. The parties may accept the mediator appointed by the division or, within 30 days, select a mediator to mediate the dispute. The parties shall each pay a $250 filing fee to the mediator appointed by the division or selected by the parties, within 30 days after the division notifies the parties of the appointment of the mediator. The $250 filing fee shall be used by the mediator to defray the hourly rate charged for mediation of the dispute. Any portion of the filing fee not used shall be refunded to the parties.
(5) The parties may agree to select their own mediator, and such mediation shall be governed by the rules of procedure established by the division. The parties, by agreement, may waive mediation, or the petitioning party may withdraw the petition prior to mediation. Upon the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator shall notify the division that the mediation has been concluded.
(6) No resolution arising from a mediation proceeding as provided for in s. 723.037 or this section shall be deemed final agency action. Any party, however, may initiate an action in the circuit court to enforce a resolution or agreement arising from a mediation proceeding which has been reduced to writing. The court shall consider such resolution or agreement to be a contract for the purpose of providing a remedy to the complaining party.
(7) Mediation pursuant to this section is an informal and nonadversarial process. Either party may submit to the opposing party at least 10 days prior to mediation a written request for information.
(8) Each party involved in the mediation proceeding has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent any person present at the proceeding from disclosing, communications made during such proceeding, whether or not the dispute was successfully resolved. This subsection shall not be construed to prevent or inhibit the discovery or admissibility of any information which is otherwise subject to discovery or admission under applicable law or rules of court. There is no privilege as to communications made in furtherance of the commission of a crime or fraud or as part of a plan to commit a crime or a fraud. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed so as to permit an individual to obtain immunity from prosecution for criminal conduct.
(9) A mediator appointed pursuant to this section shall have judicial immunity in the same manner and to the same extent as a judge.