On November 3, 2011, the Florida Supreme Court adopted the amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.720 pertaining to the appearance of a party or a party’s representative at a mediation conference. Florida Court Order 0020, which amends the rule, will take effect on January 1, 2012. The amendments make the standard for who is permitted to appear at a mediation more strict.
No longer will representatives be able to be sent to the bargaining table unless they have full authority to consider all settlement offers and authorize a deal on the spot without further consultation. These amendments are said to have an impact on banks and insurance companies that often send representatives that do not have authority to settle the case and actually get in the way of settling the case.