Jack and Jill, both residents of Orlando, FL, were involved in an incident in which both parties got hurt. Jack and Jill ended up suing each other in Florida state court. After a several months of motion practice, Jill has comes to our office to request mediation under which she and Jack could be helped to reach a settlement.
DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUES
The advantages of early in-suit mediation are similar to those of pre-suit mediation. Early in-suit mediation can serve as a type of “inexpensive discovery” for both parties and help the parties to focus on “necessary” discovery to facilitate early resolution at minimal cost. Completion of basic discovery is usually helpful, but not necessary. Keep in mind the "interests" of defense counsel. Evaluate what you think the other side will need to settle your case and provide them with all the necessary information.
The courts can order the parties to mediation. This usually occurs pre-suit but under Florida law can be facilitated while the parties are in litigation, however there are time constrictions to this process:
1. Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.700 et sec. and the 7/1/94 revisions - "... full authority to settle up to the plaintiff's last demand or policy limits, whichever is less, without further consultation" 1.720 (b)
2. When an action is referred to mediation by court order, the time periods for responding to an offer of settlement pursuant to s. 45.061, or to an offer or demand for judgment pursuant to s. 768.79, respectively, shall be tolled until: An impasse has been declared by the mediator; or the mediator has reported to the court that no agreement was reached.
3. U.S. District Court-Southern District-Local Rules 16.2- Court Annexed Mediation - "...with full authority to negotiate a settlement". and, the Form "Order of Referral to Mediation" "...with full authority to enter into a full and...