Here’s a summary of MEAC Opinion 2005-007 which addresses the scheduling of a mediation conference, rescheduling a mediation conference, and party nonappearance:
1. If a party is requesting that the mediation be rescheduled for “good cause,” the mediation should be rescheduled to a mutually convenient time consistent with Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, Rule 10.330(a). If the party is objecting to attending mediation, the mediator cannot compel attendance, however, the party should be advised that pursuant to Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, Rule 12.741(b)(2), the party may be subject to sanctions by the court for “nonappearance.”
2. A report to the court regarding nonappearance should not include any reason for the nonappearance.
3. A date for mediation may be set without the advance agreement of all parties, but then any party would be permitted to request that it be rescheduled.
4. A mediator may report non-appearance at a mediation if the mediator gave the non-appearing party due notice of the date and time for the mediation session and good cause was not shown for rescheduling.
Although the question raised in this Opinion was in the context of a family mediation, the lessons are applicable in other mediations. For example, take a look at Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 1.720.
This is a very interesting and informative Opinion and is well worth reading!
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