Section 282.5007, Florida Statutes 2009
282.5007 Alternative dispute resolution procedures.--
(1) VOLUNTARY BINDING ARBITRATION.--
(a) Any party to a dispute under this act for which there is no prior arbitration agreement may, before a lawsuit has been filed, make an offer to the other party to submit the dispute to voluntary binding arbitration under s. 44.104. An offer made under this paragraph must set out the maximum amount of damages that may be imposed pursuant to arbitration.
(b) If at trial the court finds that an offer was made under paragraph (a) and was rejected, the court shall award attorney's fees and costs in accordance with this paragraph.
1. If the offer was made by the plaintiff and rejected by the defendant, and if the defendant is ultimately found to be liable for damages in an amount equal to or exceeding that specified in the plaintiff's highest offer, the defendant must pay the plaintiff's costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
2. If the offer was made by the defendant and rejected by the plaintiff, and if the plaintiff is not ultimately awarded damages in an amount exceeding that specified in the defendant's highest offer, the plaintiff must pay the defendant's costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
(a) The court may submit a claim for damages under this act to mediation pursuant to s. 44.102.
(b) A party may serve its last best offer made in mediation upon another party as an offer of judgment under s. 768.79, and may make use of all the rights and remedies provided by this section.
(c) The court shall have discretion to require that the costs of mediation be shared equally by the parties.
History.--s. 7, ch. 99-230; s. 35, ch. 2000-152.