Appealing Motor Vehicle Warranty Arbitration Results In a Trial De Novo

In Chrysler Corporation v. Pitsirelos, 721 So. 2d 710 (Fla. 1998), this Court examined section 681.1095(4), Florida Statutes (1989), part of Florida's Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act, which requires parties in motor vehicle warranty disputes to submit to arbitration before filing an action in circuit court. Section 681.1095(13), Florida Statutes (1989), provided for a trial de novo in the circuit court for a party who appealed the arbitration award. 721 So. 2d at 713. We determined that the entitlement of either party to a trial de novo in the circuit court after completion of the mandatory arbitration respected the parties' access to courts. Id. We noted, however, that a statutory requirement that the arbitration board's decision be presumed correct in the trial de novo would raise serious concerns as to whether such a statute would violate access to courts because it would diminish the right to have the ultimate decision in a case made by a court. Id. at 714.