The Supreme Court of Florida examined a case certified by a lower court as an issue of great public importance held that Florida’s statute of limitations applies to an arbitration proceeding because it is within the statutory term “civil action or proceeding” under section 95.011 of Florida statutes. This case involved a mandatory provision for clients of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. to arbitrate all disputes arising from their investments. A group of investors claimed that the statute only applies to judicial actions, not contractual arbitration clauses, and thus claims could be brought against Raymond James beyond the statutory deadlines. The Supreme Court reversed the 2nd District Court of Appeals, reasoning that the statutory terms “action” or “proceeding” was intended by the Florida legislature to include an adjudication by an arbitrator since the parties are engaged in a legal process to resolve a dispute. Additionally, the Court stated that if the legislature had intended to limit proceedings to only judicial actions, it would have so declared. The statute did not include that limitation, so the Court refused to add that limitation. See the Supreme Court opinion, Case No. SC11-2513 (May 16, 2013).
Contributor: Roger M. Groves, Professor of Law, Director of Business Law Program