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Sanctions Awarded for Failure to Appear at Appellate Mediation

Posted: December 3, 2010 Filed under: Case Law, Uncategorized

In Mash v. Lugo, No. 5D10-2256 (Fla. 5th DCA Dec. 3, 2010), Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal reaffirmed the understanding that a party’s actual presence at mediation is often critical to the success of mediation. In Mash, the parties did not appear because they claimed they lacked authority to bind their insurance company to any settlement and that the insurer’s attorney had full settlement authority. That was not good enough, said the court. Citing Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.720(a)(3), the court noted, “By its express terms, subsection (a)(3) excludes an insurer’s outside counsel from being considered the insurance carrier’s representative.”

The Court ordered the absent parties to pay “all fees charged by the mediator in connection with this appellate mediation” and the the reasonable attorney’s fees to opposing counsel in connection with “preparing for and attending the appellate mediation and filing the motion for sanctions.”

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