(1) After mediation of a dispute pursuant to s. 723.038 has failed to provide a resolution of the dispute, either party may file an action in the circuit court.
(2) The court may refer the action to nonbinding arbitration pursuant to s. 44.103 and the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. The court shall order the hearing to be held informally with presentation of testimony kept to a minimum and matters presented to the arbitrators primarily through the statements and arguments of counsel. The court shall assess the parties equally to pay the compensation awarded to the arbitrators if neither party requests a trial de novo. If a party has filed for a trial de novo, the party shall be assessed the arbitration costs, court costs, and other reasonable costs of the opposing party, including attorney’s fees, investigation expenses, and expenses for expert or other testimony or evidence incurred after the arbitration hearing if the judgment upon the trial de novo is not more favorable than the arbitration decision. If subsequent to arbitration a party files for a trial de novo, the arbitration decision may be made known to the judge only after he or she has entered his or her order on the merits.
History.—s. 12, ch. 90-198; s. 10, ch. 92-148; s. 61, ch. 95-211; s. 919, ch. 97-102; s. 3, ch. 97-291.