Friday, November 21, 2014

NFL Concussion Settlement Questioned

This week, a hearing took place to consider the deal covering thousands of former players that settled with the National Football League (NFL) over concussion-related suits last summer. The league is reportedly paying $765 million for medical benefits and injury compensation to retired players, as well as funding medical exams, research and litigation expenses. The settlement has been characterized as avoiding litigating literally thousands of complex individual claims over many years and providing immediate relief and support. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners reportedly wanted to "do the right thing" for former players with neurological conditions who believe their problems stem from on-field concussions. The lawsuits accused the league of hiding known risks of concussions for decades to return players to games and protect its image. For the lawyers who negotiated the proposed settlement of the NFL's massive concussion litigation, the agreement was groundbreaking. For the lawyers whose clients objected to the settlement, it fails to compensate players suffering from the "industrial disease of football," and it allows the league to escape any determination of whether the league concealed the effects of head injuries from its players. Now a judge must decide whether the agreement is fair, adequate and reasonable, following a lengthy hearing and request for written briefs before a decision. Defending the deal, NFL and the players' attorneys insisted they wanted to help suffering players now, emphasizing difficulty in litigating causation between blows to the head and brain damage known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in these football concussion cases. See full story here-- and settlement info here--

Thursday, November 13, 2014

ADR Rules and Policy Proposes Amendments, New Rules

In a major development, The Supreme Court of Florida's Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy is proposing amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules, Family Law Rules, and brand-new Florida Rules for Court-Appointed Alternative Dispute Resolution Neutrals Regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes for which No Other Supreme Court Rules or Standards for Professional Conduct Exist. According to The Florida Bar News, the Court is inviting all interested persons to comment on the proposed amendments, which appear online at-- All comments must be filed on or before December 15, 2014, with a certificate of service verifying that a copy has been served on Committee Chair, Hon. William D. Palmer, Fifth District Court of Appeal, 300 South Beach Street, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114 or, and on staff to the Committee, Susan C. Marvin, Dispute Resolution Center, Florida Supreme Court Building, 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399 or, as well as a separate request for oral argument if commenters wish to participate in oral argument, which may be scheduled on this case. The Committee Chair has until January 5, 2015, to file a response to any comments filed with the Court. If filed by an attorney in good standing with The Florida Bar, the comment must be electronically filed in accordance with In re Electronic Filing in the Supreme Court of Florida via the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC13-7 (Feb. 18, 2013). See more information here--

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Florida Appellate Mediation Procedures Amended

Changes I proposed to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP) were adopted by the Supreme Court of Florida last week to conform with amendments previously passed and adopted in Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.720, governing Mediation Procedures. Pursuant to Rule of Judicial Administration 2.140, an oral argument took place last summer and my rule amendment will be effective January 1, 2015. The new language in Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.720 is designed to mirror what has 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. I became certified as an appellate mediator in 2011, having been grandfathered in for mediating Florida appellate cases since 2001, before there was even 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. See full opinion resulting from FRAP rules committee regular-cycle report here--

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Orlando Mediator Lawrence Kolin Joins Upchurch Watson White & Max

Just a moment of personal privilege-- I'm pleased to announce moving my dispute resolution practice to Upchurch Watson White & Max, a nationally leading mediation firm known for facilitating reasonable agreements to resolve complex civil litigation. As a UWWM neutral panelist in Florida in exclusive practice in Alternative Dispute Resolution, I'll continue to offer my wide-ranging experience in settling disputes, including serving as a Mediator, Arbitrator, E-Neutral and Special Master. In this role, I'll keep writing on implementing innovative methods of ADR to resolve cases, such as Early Neutral Evaluation of lawsuits. You can also get the latest trends on this, my officially ABA listed "Blawg." For more complete information and to schedule, see-- (800) 863-1462 For the press release regarding my joining this prestigious group of dispute resolvers, see--