The Collins Center for Public Policy in Tallahassee, Florida, has been at the forefront of Florida’s move to implement a system of managed mediation for foreclosure cases.
The Collins Center has previously created model managed mediation programs to assist the Florida Court System in meeting the demands of high volume cases which deal with similar subject matter. Collins created the Hurrican Mediation Program for the Department of Financial Services. In 2004 and 2005, eight major hurricanes struck Florida resulting in 2.5 million property insurance claims. Less than 2% of the claims were disputed, creating a need for an efficient system to handle the disputes. The Collins Center Hurricane Mediation teams handled 25,000 mediation requests with successful settlements in 86% of their cases. Additional information on the Collins site <link here>
The Collins Center for Public Policy currently operates managed mediation programs for foreclosure cases in three areas of the state having developed both personnel and large case load management infrastructure to include facilities, equipment and computer technologies for case tracking and scheduling. Collins operates mediation centers in the following Judicial Circuits:
1st Judicial Circuit (including Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties) with a center located at 236 West Garden Street #4, Pensacola, FL 32502
11th Judicial Circuit (Including Dade Couty) with a center located at University Park Plaza, 3544 South University, Davie, FL 33328
19th Judicial Circuit (Including Martin, St Lucie, Okeechobee and Indian River Counties) with a center located at 10521 SW Village Center #104, Port St Lucie, FL 34987
Other circuits, some with other program managers, will be coming on line in the coming months pursuant to the Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order. Similar programs are operating with success in Ohio. I will try to report in the Active Rain Mediation for Realtors Group on new county or circuit availability of this program as new programs are rolled out.
The Florida program is targetted at residential homestead properties. At this time, the program does not address investor owned properties or foreclosure cases filed before the initiation of the programs. Cases which do not fall under the programs may still request mediation at the discretion of the presiding judge in the case.
Alternate Dispute Resolution processes like mediation are also available for a wide variety of disputes without court order or managed mediation program. Prior to filing any law suit, the parties to the dispute may seek the assistance of a mediator to assist in settling the dispute. The Florida Supreme Court has established training and educational qualifications for Certified mediators in a variety of case categories. While certified mediators may not be necessary in non-court ordered mediations, the certification system of the Court provides consistent qualifications and training for mediators throughout the state. Lists of certified mediators filtered by category and county or circuit are available on line at <the Florida State Courts site>. Under the General Public > Self-help > Mediator search tab, you may select your criteria for your search.
Additional information about Mediation in Florida at MidFloridaMediation.com