Orlando Mediator Lawrence Kolin explores current issues in Alternative Dispute Resolution, including mediation and arbitration of complex cases by neutrals resulting in settlement of state and federal litigation and appeals. This blog covers a wide variety of topics-- local, national, and international-- and includes the latest on technology and Online Dispute Resolution affecting sophisticated lawyers and parties to lawsuits.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Orlando Mediator's 400th Post! Standard of Review for Settlements De Novo
A District Court of Appeal (DCA) in Florida has concluded the standard of review of a trial court’s decision under section 44.405(4)(a)5. of the Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act, regarding whether a confidentiality or privilege attaches to a mediation communication “[o]ffered for the limited purpose of establishing or refuting legally recognized grounds for voiding or reforming a settlement agreement reached during a mediation,” is de novo. In the recent decision of Brickell Financial Services - Motor Club, Inc. v. Road Transportation, LLC, on remand the trial court was instructed by the Fourth DCA to weigh the settlement accounting, along with the parties’ mediation communications, and any other admissible evidence, in determining whether a meeting of the minds occurred regarding the dollar amount to which the term “Settlement Sum” referred and, if so, what that amount was. They cited a prior decision in DR Lakes Inc. v. Brandsmart U.S.A. of West Palm Beach, Inc., 819 So. 2d 971 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002), which pre-dated the legislature’s enactment of section 44.405 in 2004, but interpreted section 44.405’s predecessor, section 44.102(3), Florida Statutes (2001). That was after initially stating “all mediation communications shall be confidential,” the legislature created an exception in section 44.405(4)(a)5. for any mediation communication “[o]ffered for the limited purpose of establishing or refuting legally recognized grounds for voiding or reforming a settlement agreement reached during a mediation.” The Fourth DCA reminded parties and the trial court that a party seeking to enforce a settlement agreement bears the burden of showing the opposing party assented to the terms of the agreement. See more here-- https://bit.ly/3eyYP5I
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