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The Florida Statutes

The 2022 Florida Statutes

Title XXVI
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Chapter 337
CONTRACTING; ACQUISITION, DISPOSAL, AND USE OF PROPERTY
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F.S. 337.185
337.185 State Arbitration Board.
(1) To facilitate the prompt resolution of claims arising out of or in connection with a construction or maintenance contract with the department, the Legislature establishes the State Arbitration Board, referred to in this section as the “board.”
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Claim” means the aggregate of all outstanding written requests for additional monetary compensation, time, or other adjustments to the contract, the entitlement or impact of which is disputed by the department and could not be resolved by negotiation between the department and the contractor.
(b) “Contractor” means a person or firm having a contract for rendering services to the department relating to the construction or maintenance of a transportation facility.
(c) “Final acceptance” means that the contractor has completely performed the work provided for under the contract, the department or its agent has determined that the contractor has satisfactorily completed the work provided for under the contract, and the department or its agent has submitted written notice of final acceptance to the contractor.
(3) Every claim in an amount of up to $250,000 per contract that could not be resolved by negotiation between the department and the contractor must be arbitrated by the board. An award issued by the board pursuant to this section is final and enforceable by a court of law.
(4) The contractor may submit a claim greater than $250,000 up to $1 million per contract or, upon agreement of the parties, up to $2 million per contract to be arbitrated by the board. An award issued by the board pursuant to this subsection is final if a request for a trial de novo is not filed within the time provided by Rule 1.830, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. At the trial de novo, the court may not admit evidence that there has been an arbitration proceeding, the nature or amount of the award, or any other matter concerning the conduct of the arbitration proceeding, except that testimony given at an arbitration hearing may be used for any purpose otherwise permitted by the Florida Evidence Code. If a request for trial de novo is not filed within the time provided, the award issued by the board is final and enforceable by a court of law.
(5) An arbitration request may not be made to the board before final acceptance but must be made to the board within 820 days after final acceptance.
(6) The board shall schedule a hearing within 45 days after an arbitration request and, if possible, shall conduct the hearing within 90 days after the request. The board may administer oaths and conduct the proceedings as provided by the rules of the court. The hearing shall be conducted informally. Presentation of testimony and evidence shall be kept to a minimum, and matters shall be presented to the arbitrators primarily through the statements and arguments of counsel. The board shall address the scope of discovery, presentation of testimony, and evidence at a preliminary hearing by considering the size, subject matter, and complexity of the dispute. Any party to the arbitration may petition the board, for good cause shown, to issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records, documents, and other evidence at the arbitration and may petition the board for orders compelling such attendance and production at the arbitration. Subpoenas shall be served and are enforceable in the manner provided by law.
(7) The board must issue an award within 45 days after the conclusion of the arbitration hearing. If all three members of the board do not agree, the award agreed to by the majority shall constitute the award of the board.
(8) The board shall be composed of three members. The first member shall be appointed by the Secretary of Transportation, and the second member shall be elected by those construction or maintenance companies that are under contract with the department. The third member shall be chosen by agreement of the first and second members. If the first or second member has a conflict of interest regarding affiliation with one of the parties to an arbitration hearing, the appointing entity shall appoint an alternate member for that hearing. If the third member has such a conflict of interest, the first and second members shall select an alternate member. Each member shall serve a 4-year term. The board shall elect a chair for each term, who shall be the administrator of the board and custodian of its records.
(9) The presence of all board members is required to conduct a meeting in person or via videoconferencing.
(10) The members of the board shall receive compensation for the performance of their duties from deposits made by the parties based on an estimate of compensation by the board, except that an employee of the department may not receive compensation from the board. All deposits will be held in escrow by the chair in advance of the hearing. Each member eligible for compensation shall be compensated at $200 per hour, up to a maximum of $1,500 per day. A member shall be reimbursed for the actual cost of his or her travel expenses. The board may allocate funds annually for clerical and other administrative services.
(11) To cover the cost of administration and initial compensation of the board, the party requesting arbitration shall pay a filing fee to the board, according to a schedule established by the board, of:
(a) Up to $500 for a claim that is $25,000 or less.
(b) Up to $1,000 for a claim that is more than $25,000 but is $50,000 or less.
(c) Up to $1,500 for a claim that is more than $50,000 but is $100,000 or less.
(d) Up to $2,000 for a claim that is more than $100,000 but is $200,000 or less.
(e) Up to $3,000 for a claim that is more than $200,000 but is $300,000 or less.
(f) Up to $4,000 for a claim that is more than $300,000 but is $400,000 or less.
(g) Up to $5,000 for a claim that is more than $400,000.

The board may apportion the filing fees and the cost of recording and preparing a transcript of the hearing among the parties in its award.

History.s. 1, ch. 69-351; ss. 23, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 70-186; s. 56, ch. 78-95; s. 3, ch. 80-346; s. 170, ch. 84-309; s. 19, ch. 85-180; s. 11, ch. 87-100; s. 14, ch. 90-502; s. 123, ch. 92-152; s. 49, ch. 93-164; s. 498, ch. 95-148; s. 2, ch. 99-345; s. 22, ch. 99-385; s. 13, ch. 2002-20; s. 9, ch. 2009-85; s. 5, ch. 2019-153; s. 11, ch. 2021-188.
Note.Former s. 337.32.