Wednesday, January 15, 2020

ADR Section Member Survey Due 1/23

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section of The Florida Bar wants to maximize its services and resources for members. As such, I was tasked along with our Executive Council to create a survey in order to take the pulse of our almost one thousand member section a decade into its existence. For those who already belong to the section, you should have received an email from our chair containing the individualized invitation link to take the survey. Please complete this information by January 23, 2020. If you are not a member of the ADR Section, but belong to the Florida Bar, please consider joining now or upon your bar dues renewal this summer. The ADR Section provides a forum for lawyers interested in alternative dispute resolution and for discussion and exchange of ideas leading to an improvement of individual ADR skills and abilities. The ADR Section keeps its Florida Bar membership informed and updated regarding legislation, rules and policies in connection with mediation, arbitration and other ADR processes. We also provide quality continuing legal education programs (CLE/CME). The ADR Section also acts as an advocate for attorney mediators in dealing with the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) and Florida Supreme Court rule changes proposed by the ADR Rules & Policy committee of the court. See more here-- and

Friday, January 10, 2020

Judge Blocks CA Arb Ban

Today, there's a hearing on a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the State of California where a federal district judge is blocking implementation of the state’s new ban on arbitration of cases involving sexual harassment. The court will hear a request by the California Chamber of Commerce and other business groups for a preliminary injunction. This is a big test that will have national impact. The ban was signed into law in October 2019. It prohibits California employers from requiring employees to waive any right to or opt out of any legal forum or procedure established by the California Fair Employment or Labor Code. The new law applies to contracts for employment entered into, modified or extended on or after January 1, 2020-- the effective date of the new law. If an employer violates the act by forcing arbitration, they would commit a misdemeanor. The National Retail Federation filed suit in federal court seeking to prevent the law from going into effect by arguing the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and recent U.S. Supreme Court cases created a federal policy of using arbitration as a legitimate alternative to court litigation. Further, the FAA preempts state law to the contrary. A final ruling regarding primacy of the FAA over state law will serve as a bellwether on employer use of arbitration and may thwart other states from passing similar laws. See more here-- and UPDATE: Following oral argument during which recent SCOTUS cases involving the FAA such as Epic Systems and Kindred Nursing were cited, the court requested supplemental briefing regarding the state's suggestion that the court lacks jurisdiction. The TRO will remain in effect until January 31, 2020.