NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING
MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL
Case No. 2D07-4971
Opinion filed October 15, 2008.
Appeal from nonfinal order of the Circuit
Court for Hillsborough County; Charles Ed
Charles M. Schropp and Charles P.
Schropp of Schropp Law Firm, P.A.,
Tampa, for Appellant.
John H. Pelzer and Robin F. Hazel of
Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster &
Russell, P.A., Fort Lauderdale, for
Lawrence Strominger appeals a nonfinal order compelling arbitration of his
claim against AmSouth Bank. We conclude that the trial court erred in compelling
arbitration because AmSouth Bank waived arbitration when this claim was pending as a
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small claim in county court and, at least under the circumstances of this case, nothing
associated with the amendment of the claim and transfer of the case to circuit court
entitled AmSouth Bank to a second opportunity to demand arbitration.
On February 2, 2004, Mr. Strominger filed a pro se statement of claim in
the small claims division of the Hillsborough County Court seeking $5000 from AmSouth
Bank for "excessive check charges, inadequate notification of holds on checks, incorrect
address information and incorrect credit reporting." This court's record does not contain
all of the filings from the county court, but it reflects that the claim was mediated without
success and set for trial on two occasions. On both occasions the case was continued.
In July 2004, an attorney appeared in the lawsuit on behalf of Mr.
Strominger and filed an amended statement of claim. The amended claim alleged a
violation of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, sections 559.55-559.785,
Florida Statutes (2003), and specifically alleged that AmSouth Bank provided false and