Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oral Argument on Appellate Mediation Rule Changes

Oral argument occurred this morning on my 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. In my experience, attendance at appellate mediation is an important component of whether such cases resolve before briefing and the formalities of the rules can help the parties to anticipate with whom they'll be negotiating and the extent of authority they possess. Many times, trial and appellate counsel appear together, but it is the client that must decide whether to settle at this stage. I became certified as an appellate mediator in 2011, having been grandfathered in for mediating Florida appellate cases since 2001, before there even 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. This is expected to be adopted as part of the regular cycle change. See court documents here--