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Amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.720 – Mediation Procedures

Author:  Robert Anderson, a litigation associate at the Florida Law Alliance member firm of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.

New rules governing mediation went into effect on January 1, 2012. These amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.720 will impose additional requirements on insurance companies and their representatives attending mediation.

The amendments to subsections (b) and (c) of Rule 1.720 require that the representative attending the mediation have the authority to enter into a binding settlement agreement up to the policy limits or the plaintiff’s last demand, whichever is less. The adjuster must be able to do so without having to further consult with a supervisor. Also, under Rule 1.720(e), the parties must now serve a “certificate of authority” on the other parties. The certificate of authority must identify the party representative who will be attending mediation will the full authority to settle. A notice of serving the certificate of authority must be filed with the court at least ten days prior to mediation.

These changes to the rules governing mediation may have little practical impact on how cases are mediated and settled, but a failure to comply with the rules can be costly. A failure to appear at mediation with a representative with the full authority described in the Rule is sanctionable in the form of mediation costs and attorney’s fees, and a failure to file the certificate of authority creates the rebuttable presumption that the representative failed to appear at mediation.

If you have any questions regarding this rule change please contact a member of the Tort and Insurance Practices Department of Henderson Franklin Starnes & Holt, P.A.  Robert can be reached at 239.344.1100 or via email at