Friday, April 06, 2007

“The Other Side Is Paying For Mediation – Not Me!”

Never happened to you – right?!? What can you properly report to the court? MEAC Opinion 2006-008 advises that “The mediator may report the fact of nonpayment of mediation fees to the court.”

In MEAC Opinion 95-001, MEAC advised that “a mediator . . . is entitled to compensation at the time the services are rendered in accordance with the agreement of the parties or the Court order appointing the mediator.” In the same Opinion, MEAC said that if a mediator is not paid, “the mediator may seek payment in any lawful manner” which includes the “filing of a separate lawsuit or the filing of a motion with the presiding judge seeking payment of the mediator’s fee.”

What about confidentiality, you wonder [you did wonder about that, right?!?]. Well, according to MEAC there is no statutory confidentiality restriction on reporting that the fees were not paid since the mediator would not be relying on a “mediation communication” as defined in F.S. 44.403(1) – that is to say, the mediator would not [repeat, would not] report to the Court that the party stated s/he would not pay.

How about that?!?

By the way MEAC Opinion 2006-008 also advises that “a mediator may report to the court that a party or counsel has failed to attend a mediation if this conclusion is based on observation by the mediator and is not dependent on a “mediation communication.”

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