Mediation is the core component of the CairnsADR private alternative dispute resolution practice. Scott is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator and is listed as a mediator by the Middle District of Florida for matters in federal court. He handles matters in Jacksonville and throughout north Florida, from Daytona to Orlando, Tampa and Tallahassee. Sometimes he is selected a mediator by the court and sometimes by the parties.
Mediation is a voluntary process that uses a neutral person like Scott to help the parties reach a settlement. The mediator is not a judge or jury and does not make decisions in the case, but simply helps the parties negotiate. If the parties choose, an additional role of a mediator may be to evaluate the issues in dispute. Scott has considerable experience in employment litigation and commercial litigation and can assist in evaluating the strength and weaknesses of the case. He has appeared before most of the federal court judges and many state court judges in Jacksonville and can offer guidance about their approach to handling the case.
Some of the advantages of mediation are confidentiality, flexibility, speed of resolution, and reduced costs. But most importantly mediation allows the parties to craft a resolution, rather than putting the decision in the hands of a judge or jury.
Mediation can proceed in a number of ways. Usually mediations start with a joint session in which the mediator describes how the process works, explains the mediator’s role and establishes the ground rules for the session. The lawyers for the parties then make opening statements, although sometimes this is waived. The mediator then separates the parties and meets with each alone, shuttling back and forth. If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator helps reduce the settlement to a written agreement. Even when a mediation session does not result in a settlement agreement, the prospect of settlement often remains viable. The mediator will follow-up to keep the parties discussing settlement, frequently reaching a resolution of the dispute.and their attorneys focused on finding a solution.
Selection of a Mediator
A number of factors should be considered in selecting a professional mediator:
- Neutrality and integrity
- Inter-personal skills
- Certification by the Florida Supreme Court
- Certification by the Federal Court
- Subject matter expertise, if the parties desire evaluation of the issues.
Generally, everything that takes place within the mediation process is confidential. There are only a few exceptions to this principle. This encourages a full exchange of facts, views and feelings. However, the settlement agreement itself is not confidential unless so negotiated.