Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5th DCA sanctions for failure to appear at appellate mediation

Under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.720, an appellate court may impose sanctions for failure to appear without good cause. Neither the individual appellant nor a representative of the corporate appellant attended the mediation ordered in this matter. The insurance company representative and attorney were the only ones who appeared. The 5th DCA stated the law is clear: absent being excused by the court, a party must appear at mediation and a representative of the insurance company cannot take the party’s place (citing Carbino v. Ward, 801 So. 2d 1028 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001)). The court further explained the fact that Carbino involved a trial mediation, rather than an appellate mediation was of no relevance because the language in the applicable rule of civil procedure is identical; Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.720(b). Thus, the appellants were ordered to pay sanctions within 30 days, including all fees charged by the mediator in connection with the appellate mediation and appellee’s reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees incurred in preparing for and attending the appellate mediation, as well as for filing the motion for sanctions. See decision