What really happens in a business lawsuit in Florida – Part 6: Mediation
In our examination of the three basic component parts of a business lawsuit in Florida we have analyzed the first two phases and now proceed to the third phase, which is the conclusion of the dispute in some form or another.
To review, some of the ways that a lawsuit can conclude are direct settlement, settlement through mediation, or procedural methods like summary judgment that can actually occur in the first two phases of the lawsuit. But, a trial either in front of a judge or a jury occurs primarily in this third phase. There are the one-off situations where a case can be split in half or bifurcated and part of it tried earlier before additional discovery might be conducted or variants of trials like summary trials employed, but generally the trial occurs in the third and final phase.
As to direct settlement, nothing prevents a party in a lawsuit from settling their dispute or from suggesting a settlement to the other side at any time. Business lawsuits are fundamentally business disputes and are thus capable of being resolved by business people in a business-like fashion. Sometimes, however, it takes one side or the other some time to come to that realization or they do not get to that point and the dispute is decided by a judge or jury. But, whether or when to suggest a settlement is a tactical decision that should be made in concert with your attorney as there are implications to the overall dispute. Likewise, certain provisions should be addressed and accommodated in any settlement agreement, which is where having an experienced attorney representing you becomes of tremendous benefit.
Mediation is a private meeting between the parties either by their agreement or by court order with a mediator they choose. Florida was the pioneer in this area of alternative dispute resolution in the early 1990s and now has some very accomplished and skilled mediators. Mediation can actually occur as many times as the parties desire by their agreement, but it usually must occur at least one time before a judge will allow a case to proceed to trial. You and your lawyer should perform due diligence on any mediator that will assist you in solving the dispute to be sure you choose the right person for the job. Through the scores of mediations in which David Steinfeld has represented client, he has worked with many seasoned mediators and can guide you or your business in selecting appropriate mediators for your situation.