Mediation: Can I be sanctioned?
Court-ordered mediation is generally covered by Section 1.720-1.750, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. The parties (or their representatives) with full authority to settle, a representative from an insurance carrier with full authority to settle and the party’s counsel of record are required to appear unless other appropriate agreements are otherwise obtained. So, mediation has been ordered, a mediator has been selected and a time and date have been agreed to by the parties; how can I be sanctioned?
Pursuant to rule 1.720 (b), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the parties, their representatives and/or the insurance carrier must appear at mediation with full settlement authority. Under rule 1.720 (e), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, a Certification of Authority must be filed with the court and served on all parties identifying all representatives and confirming that the persons identified have the required authority. Although there is little case law on this point, it would appear that failing to appear with full settlement authority or failing to file the Certification of Authority could be the basis for sanctions.
Under rule 1.730 (c), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, in the event of a breach or failure to perform under a settlement agreement, the court may impose sanctions which include costs, attorney’s fees or other appropriate remedies. Typically, these types of sanctions are incorporated into the mediated settlement agreement.
Is important to know the rules going into and coming out of mediation. Consult with your attorney before and after mediation to ensure that you are in compliance, know your rights and responsibilities and be prepared.