Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oral Argument Scheduled on Appellate Mediation Rule Change

Recently, I proposed changes to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure to conform with amendments previously passed and adopted by the Supreme Court of Florida in Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.720, governing Mediation Procedures. Pursuant to Rule of Judicial Administration 2.140, an oral argument has been scheduled before the court for June 5, 2014. Comments were due by April 1st. I became certified as an appellate mediator in 2011, having been grandfathered in for mediating Florida appellate cases since 2001, before there was a statewide certification. I was trained then by a federal mediator from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for the Fifth District Court of Appeal's pilot program. Mediation works in about a third of cases on appeal. There are real results that can benefit parties who have already tried their dispute. The amendments to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.720 are designed to mirror those that have been in effect for mediation of trial court level cases since 2011. Mediated settlement conferences pursuant to this rule are meant to be conducted when the participants actually engaged in the settlement negotiations have full authority to settle the case without further consultation. The proposed amendments bring the same requirements to appellate mediation. See the new rule subdivision language and full three-year cycle report of the Appellate Rules Standing Committee here: