Judge Leesfield is not only and experienced former Trial Judge but has conducted, as a “Private Judge” lengthy complex cases with full discovery and numerous disputes that would have taken years to wind their way through the courts concluding them in just a few months. Unlike now sitting Circuit Court Judges facing an overwhelming case load with little time to address each case, Leesfield, as a private judge, can give full focus on your case. She has all of the experience and none of the other pressures now facing our busy courts.
Private Judging is much like Arbitrating, with a few important differences. Here is the comparison between Private Judging and Arbitrating:
Florida Statute Section 44.104 allows the parties to a civil dispute two alternatives to the courthouse. The parties can agree to have their case referred for “voluntary trial resolution” by a private judge, or they can elect to refer the matter to binding arbitration before one or more arbitrators. In either case, the parties reserve their rights to have their dispute governed by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and the Rules of Evidence (unless there is an arbitration clause already existing which expresses a different set of rules) The neutrals in both types of proceedings may issue oaths, subpoenas, and orders compelling witness appearances. Arbitration is well known; however, Private Judging is less known. In this arena, a private judge is formally appointed by court order (or written agreement by the parties). Private Judging has all the “bells and whistles” of a regular bench trial, reserving the right to appeal, as if the parties had appeared before a sitting circuit court judge. When the trial is over, either party may file a petition for a final judgment in circuit court. Once a judgement has been issued, any party may appeal to the appropriate appellate court. That issue is often important to your client, and the absence of the full right to appeal is frequently the reason a client does not chose arbitration, and might choose Private Judging as a much more efficient alternative.