Wednesday, June 3, 2020

ADR Rules & Policy Petition: Comments Due 7/31!

The ADR Rules & Policy Committee of The Supreme Court of Florida has petitioned the court for the passage of amendments that would require all mediators who mediate actions filed and pending in any Florida court be subject to Parts II, Standards of Professional Conduct (ethical standards), and III, Discipline (disciplinary process), of the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, regardless of whether or not a court order of referral has been issued. The Committee also recommends the addition of corresponding language to Rules 10.200 and 10.700, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators. The amendments are designed to remedy two shortcomings in the existing rules. First, mediators who are not certified are currently not subject to the rules if they mediate a filed court action before an order of referral is issued. Second, although it is the Committee’s opinion that uncertified mediators selected by the parties, but not appointed by a specific court order after review by the presiding judge as required by the procedural rules, are subject to the ethical standards and disciplinary process, the Committee believes there is a dispute regarding whether a general order of referral suffices to constitute a court appointment. This petition is designed to remedy those issues. The amendments submitted in this petition originated in 2017 as a Committee proposal that would have required all mediators of state court trial and appellate cases be Florida Supreme Court certified, with appointment restricted to their subject matter areas of mediator certification (mandatory certification was also supported by a majority of the Executive Council of The Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of The Florida Bar). Comments must be filed by July 31, 2020, after an extension was granted. See more here--

Monday, June 1, 2020

New Admin Order: Orange-Osceola Courts Opening

Please take note this morning that everyone entering the courthouses in Orlando and Kissimmee will be required to wear a mask and undergo a health screening with a temperature check before entering the building. Masks shall be worn in all public areas of the court facility, including courtrooms or hearing rooms, unless the Judge or Judicial officer authorizes its removal. Per the Administrative Order by Chief Judge Myers, all persons will be checked for their body temperature using an infrared or other non-contact temperature device before entrance to a court facility. Any person who registers a body temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater shall not be permitted to enter the court facility. In the event an individual refuses to undergo a health screening or temperature check, or refuses to wear a mask for entrance to the court facility, the security personnel or other person performing the health/temperature checks shall attempt to obtain and record the same information described above. Once the information is obtained, the information shall be provided to the appropriate Judge, Judicial Officer, Clerk, or other court facility occupant so that alternate arrangements can be made for the person, such as a remote appearance, rescheduling a hearing, or other measures, as necessary. In regard to civil proceedings, according to last week's judicial town hall meeting, remote hearings are still a priority and dispute resolution via electronic means is still encouraged during COVID-19. UPDATE: Court returned to Phase 1 restrictions due to spiking Coronavirus numbers June 23, 2020. See full order here-