My question involves small claims court in the state of: Florida
I just returned home from having my arse whupped in Small Claims pre trial mediation.
My case was Rock Solid legally, but the arbitrator played on emotional issues (defendant claimed to be broke; they all do). Arbitrator tried 3 times to get me to drop the case based on emotional pleas. But when i said I wanted a deferral so I could first speak with an attorney, she broke down and offered me a final judgement agreement, that the defendant took.
One issue that I had to give on was the painting of the house interior. I came to court with numerous pictures of grafitti on all the kids bedroooms and many nail holes in the walls of every bedroom. Of course I had to repaint, and use Killz or equal. But the mediator said that was automatically disallowed because the 3 YEARS That The Tenant had stayed (actually they broke the 3 year lease that they had requested by not paying after 2 years and 10 month). In other words, she said no judge would rule for painting, no matter how bad the walls, if the rent had gone on for 3 years. She stated that after 3 years painting was a foregone conclusion, so I could not claim that.
I never heard of this before, but I conceded, since the point of mediation is to negotiate. So I lost $1200 of my claim. A small price to pay for the total back rents and other damages, but I had never heard of this before.
1) Is there some kind of 3 year rule where regardless of the damage to the walls you can not claim painting (she said normal wear and tear, I haven't painted my own homes walls in 10 years and they look fine), or was she bluffing? If there is a 3 year rule should I require repainting after every 2 years if they want to stay?
The mediator tried to get me to drop the claim (to zero) 3 times for emotional reasons (broke, poor, can't pay, won't hold up in court, judge won't like, etc.) but I stood pat based on legal reasons, and she gave up after 3 hours and gave me a judgement agreement that the defendant signed based on mediators advice that defendant would lose in court based on the facts of the case. What a hassle. If I had not been reading these forums I may have given up.
2) Is the mediator supposed to be one sided (for the defendant claiming to be poor, while I have proof she has a $1200 retirement income and $600 SS check that she does not admit to, that I showed proof to the mediator, who said "I don't think defendant would lie to me, I know body language...").
I would hesitate to ever mediate again, not unbiased as I expected.