FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA., May 17, 2013 – In an opinion released yesterday afternoon, the Florida Supreme Court held that statutes of limitation do apply in arbitrations. In Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. v. Barbara J. Phillips, etc. et al, the Court held that arbitrations are “actions,” and that statutes of limitation apply regardless of whether they are specifically mentioned in the arbitration agreement. This decision will likely have far-reaching effects well beyond the securities industry.
“This case was an effort to strip away a valid and significant legal defense in the context of arbitration,” said attorney Alex J. Sabo, of Bressler Amery & Ross, P.C. "By this decision, the Florida Supreme Court rebuffed that insupportable effort and tacitly reaffirmed the requirement that arbitrators follow the law in resolving disputes."
Mr. Sabo co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of the Florida Securities Dealers Association, Inc., the oldest and largest state securities association in the U.S. Many cases that arose out of the economic downturn may now be untimely because of statutes of limitation.
Not only will this decision apply to securities cases, but to all arbitrations. And while the Court’s decision may not be binding upon courts in other states, it is certainly considered to have great significance.
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