In re Amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.720 Mediation Procedures

Following the recommendation of the Florida Bar Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy, the Florida Supreme Court has amended Rule 1.720 to strengthen the requirement that the party attending mediation have actual authority to settle the lawsuit.

The new Rule 1.720:

–  Provides a more detailed description of what it means for a party representative to have “full authority” to settle.  The party representative must be “the final decision maker” and have the “legal capacity to execute a binding settlement agreement.”

– Requires each party to file with the court, ten days in advance of mediation, written notice of the party representative(s) appearing at the scheduled mediation and confirming those representatives have full authority.

– Provides that sanctions shall be imposed for failure to appear at mediation.  Failure to properly identify the party representative, or sending a different party representative to mediation than designated, shall create a “rebuttable presumption” that the violating party has “failed to appear” at mediation.

The amended rule goes into effect beginning January 1, 20112.

In re Amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.720, Case No. 10-2329 (Fla. Nov. 3, 2011).