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The questions often arise: Who actually attends the mediation? Are they required to attend in-person? What authority is required? Unless otherwise permitted by court order or stipulated by the parties, a party is deemed to appear at the mediation conference if the following persons are physically present:
1. The party or its representative having full authority to settle without further consultation
2. The party’s counsel of record, if any
3. A representative of the insurance carrier for any insured party who’s not the carrier’s outside counsel and who has full authority to settle up to the amount of the plaintiff’s last demand or policy limits, whichever is less, without further consultation
4. In the case of a public entity, the representative must have full authority to negotiate on behalf of the entity and to recommend settlement to the appropriate decision-making body of the entity. (Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.720)
In the event someone attends the mediation conference without “full authority” to settle during the mediation, the opposing party has two options:
1. Terminate the mediation and seek sanctions for failure to comply with the mediation rule and/or the court’s order or;
2. Waive the violation and proceed to a final mediation agreement. See Western Waste v. Achord 632 So.2d 680 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1994).
The mediators at Settle Florida are skilled at sifting through the facts, emotions and individual interests of the parties involved to understand the issues. Our mediators offer innovative solutions while maintaining an unbiased, neutral perspective.