Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Seriously – We Need Your Help With This!

The Florida Supreme Court’s Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy is considering some options to address the issue created by the adoption of Florida’s “Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act”, sections 44.401- 44.406, of Chapter 44, Florida Statutes, in relation to the reporting of a failure of a party to appear pursuant to court rules (See Rule 1.720(b), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure; Rule 8.290(l), Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure [PDF only]; and Rule 12.741, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure).

The problem: Party representatives are showing up at court-ordered mediations without the authority to settle the case as required by the Florida Rules of Procedure (and Mediation Referral Orders entered by the presiding judge). Procedures to sanction or deter this behavior are frustrated by the “Florida Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act,” which prohibits both the mediator and mediation participants from revealing mediation communications. The fact that a party has appeared at the mediation without adequate authority cannot come to the attention of the court. Take a look at MEAC 2006-003.

Here’s where you can help: The ADR Rules and Policy Committee have come up with two possible alternatives to address this issue and would like your comments. Please follow this link to view two proposals and please provide your input.

To email me, click Perry S. Itkin.