Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions for County Court Mediation

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Frequently Asked Questions for County Court Mediation

QContact Information 
County Court Mediation
Dade County Courthouse, Room 1701
73 West Flagler Street
Miami, Florida 33130
Phone: (305) 349-7337
Fax: (305) 349-7339
QWhat to Expect?
All County Court cases need an order from the judge to be referred to our in-house County Court Mediation Division. The referral process depends on the type of case filed, as follows: Landlord/Tenant cases - claims of nonpayment of rent, evictions and other disputes between landlords and their tenants : If you receive an “Order of Referral to County Court Mediation and Order for Trial (Landlord/Tenant)”,you must comply with all the conditions of this order. This includes attending a mediation conference that will be scheduled on the same day as your trial date. You will first attend your court-ordered mediation conference. If your case does not settle during mediation, you must then go directly to the judge’s office (chambers) and your case will be heard in court.

Small Claims cases - claims of $5,000 or less: Small Claims cases are set for Pre-Trial Hearing and may be referred to mediation on the same day. You will first attend your Pre-Trial Hearing. If your case does not settle during Pre-Trial, onsite mediators are available to conduct mediation session with all parties to assist in resolving the case. If an agreement cannot be reached, you will be sent to the judge’s office to get a trial date.
Residential Landlord/Tenant cases: are mediated just prior to trial, on the same date as their trial date
Other County Civil cases - claims of $5001 - $15,000 and Commercial Landlord / Tenant Cases:
• During a court hearing, if the judge feels that mediation is needed to help resolve the disputes in your case; or,
• If one or both parties, or their attorneys, request an Order of Referral to County Court Mediation and the judge agrees that this is appropriate. If you cannot resolve your disputes through mediation, your case will be set on the judge’s calendar for trial.
QWhere do I go for my County Court Mediation conference?
AMost County Court Mediation sessions are conducted in: 

The Dade County Courthouse
73 West Flagler Street Room, 1701
Miami, Florida 33130

If your case is being handled at one of our six District Courts, your conference will most likely be held there. Please read the Order of Referral carefully for location and other specific information, and contact County Court Mediation at (305) 349-7337 if you have any questions.

QHow much does County Court Mediation cost and how do I pay?

Landlord Tenant disputes and Small Claims cases are free of charge. Other County Civil cases: $120 for a one-hour mediation session, to be paid equally 50% by Plaintiff(s) and 50% by Defendant(s). Payment must be made at the Clerk’s Office seven days before your scheduled mediation conference. If the mediation is longer than the one-hour session, the balance will be paid at the conclusion of your conference. If you cannot afford to pay these mediation fees and qualify for indigent status, the Court may waive payment for your court-ordered mediation conference. To qualify for non-payment of mediation fees, each party must obtain a Affidavit of Indigency from the Clerk's Office. The Mediation Division will hen ne notified that no payment is required.

QMay I hire a private mediator?
Yes. If you wish to hire a private mediator, you must file a written stipulation (agreement), signed by all parties, with the Clerk’s Office within 10 days of your Order of Referral to County Court Mediation. Copies of this and all other pleadings relating to mediation must be served upon the Mediation Division. Your Order of Referral provides detailed information on the proper procedures.
QHow long will County Court Mediation take?
Almost all County Court matters are resolved within a one-hour mediation session. However, your conference will continue until the matter is settled, adjourned or the mediator declares an “impasse” if it is determined that no agreement can be reached.
QWho must be present at the conference?
It is required that the conference be attended by plaintiffs, defendants and trial counsel, if any, and defendants or representatives of insurance carriers, if this applies in your case. Absence of any of these parties may only be approved by court order before the date of the conference.
QWhat if an interpreter is needed during County Court Mediation?
When an interpreter is needed in County Court Mediation, the judge decides whether the Court or the parties will pay for this service. A free interpreter may be assigned only if the judge determines that the parties are indigent and cannot afford the fee. Otherwise, you must bring a certified interpreter with you. Family members or friends are not allowed to interpret during mediation.
QWhat if I need to reschedule or cancel my mediation conference?
No change or cancellation of your scheduled conference date is allowed without prior approval of the County Court Mediation Division or the judge. If rescheduling or cancellation is granted less than 72 hours before the conference (except for weekends and court holidays) parties must pay the mediation fee, unless the Court orders otherwise under exceptional circumstances.
QWhat happens if I fail to appear at mediation?
If you fail to appear at the mediation conference, your case will be referred to the judge for further action.
QWhat if I settle my case before the mediation conference?
Our mediators’ valuable time is scheduled to accommodate your case and assist you in resolving your disputes without going to trial. Please contact County Court Mediation at (305) 349-7337 as soon as possible to advise that your case has settled and the conference is no longer necessary.
QIs County Court Mediation confidential?
Yes. Mediation is privileged and confidential, with certain exceptions noted inChapter44 of the Florida Statutes. Court reporters are not allowed to attend. If your case does not settle during mediation, the mediator only reports to the judge that mediation was unsuccessful without further comment on your case.
QPersons with Disabilities
If you need assistance to participate in a court proceeding, program or service, please contact the ADA Coordinator, at:

(305) 349-7175 (Voice mail)
(305) 349-7174 (TDD)
(305) 349-7355 (Fax)
(800) 955-8770 (Florida Relay Service)
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