Monday, May 23, 2005

“Don’t Settle!”

Here’s a bit of a twist. Clients want to settle. Lawyers advise “Don’t settle”! Clients were happy with the settlement offer. Lawyers were not and gained an additional $1.4 million more in settlement. Sounds good, right? Clients then sued lawyers for malpractice. What?!? According to this article in The Recorder the clients allege that the lawyers inflicted emotional distress on them by prolonging the litigation and subjecting them to depositions and court appearances.

Florida’s Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, Rule 10.410, Balanced Process, provides:

A mediator shall conduct mediation sessions in an even-handed, balanced manner. A mediator shall promote mutual respect among the mediation participants throughout the mediation process and encourage the participants to conduct themselves in a collaborative, non-coercive, and non-adversarial manner.

Hmmm!!!! What’s our responsibility to the participants in the above scenario? How would you address the situation if you were the mediator? Would you continue to mediate, adjourn, or terminate? Anything else?

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