Vitesse, Inc. v. Mapl Associates LLC
4th DCA 3/22/23, Judge Klingensmith
In this case, the parties went to nonbinding arbitration and then, for some reason, had a second nonbinding arbitration. Unpleased with the result, Vitesse filed a request for a trial de novo under section 44.103(5) and Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.820(h). The rule allows 20 days to file the request for a trial de novo, and if a party fails to file it, the judge must enforce the award.
The point of the statute and rule is to require consideration of whether to accept or reject the arbitration and notify the other side of the decision. Nothing in rule 1.820 requires strict compliance regarding the form of the notice. The only mandatory requirement is the time limit. Here, the party sent the notice within 20 days, and it unambiguously expressed the intent to reject the arbitration and go to trial.
There was some sort of scrivener’s error in the notice, but it did not affect the party’s ability to understand that the party wanted to proceed to trial.