Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Is Duct Tape In Your Mediator’s Toolbox?

Have you ever been in a mediation where one of the mediation participants was verbally attacking another mediation participant [or even you the mediator]? Among the techniques we learn in mediation training is what to do in those instances. Take a look at the First District Court of Appeal Order to Show Cause in Thomas v. Patton, et al., 2006 Fla. App. LEXIS 15403 [Fla. 1st DCA 2006] to see how the judges addressed that type of conduct and how unimpressive it was to the appellate court.

This defamation suit was based on how the defendants reported the circumstances surrounding a guardianship. The trial court entered summary judgment in the defendants’ favor and the plaintiff appealed. The appellate court affirmed the summary judgment and sanctioned the appellant’s attorneys for the language they used in their initial and reply briefs.

Before you read the order [oops, too late!], try to figure out how the following terms were used:

Fraud on the court
Twilight Zone Doctors
Internet freaks
Internet screwballs
Internet lynch mob
Elevating porno queens to the level of supreme court judges
Star Chamber proceeding
Poison pen letter

The court held that the arguments presented on appeal were, on their merits, frivolous, and awarded the appellees attorney’s fees for the appeal under F.S. 57.105.

By the way, just in case you are interested you can watch a video of the oral argument here.

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