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Fifth DCA expands its Appellate Mediation Program

first_imgFifth DCA expands its Appellate Mediation Program The Fifth District Court of Appeal will expand its Appellate Mediation Program to all the circuits within the district.The Appellate Mediation Program was first organized by the court as a pilot program for final civil appeals (no prisoner- related or pro se appeals) originating from the Ninth Judicial Circuit. It was planned to run for one year beginning July 1, 2001 and then be expanded or discontinued after an evaluation of results and recommendations by a the court-appointed task force of Ninth Judicial Circuit lawyers and mediators.“The results achieved in terms of resolving appeals completely were not as good as had been hoped, but they were sufficiently promising to support the Task Force’s recommendation the program be continued an additional year, and expanded to include all of the circuits in the Fifth DCA,” according to Meredith G. Vincent, the mediation coordinator. “From the larger pool of cases afforded by the whole district, it will be possible to obtain more cases suitable for appellate mediation.”In late June, Chief Judge Emerson R. Thompson, Jr., entered an administrative order expanding the pilot program to the whole district and extending it through July 1, 2003.The court will continue to work with the original task force of lawyers and mediators for advice on ways to improve the program. The task force includes John Reed, John Upchurch, Charlie Abbot, Ken Mann, Virginia Townes, Barbara Eagan, Julia Frey, Kimberly Ashby, Elizabeth Wheeler, Marcia Lippincott, Warren Lindsey, Richard Lord, Denis Durkin, and Jon Rosenberg.The court also welcomes contact from lawyers and mediators from other circuits who want to serve on a district-wide task force during the coming year. The interested may contact: Meredith Vincent, Mediation Coordinator, Fifth District Court of Appeal, 300 S. Beach St., Daytona Beach 32114.The Appellate Mediation Program in the Fifth DCA is different from other appellate mediation programs instituted in Florida appellate courts and most other appellate mediation programs. Selection of cases appropriate for mediation is made by one of two judges on the court who are certified in mediation. They are chosen based on the kind of final judgment being appealed and the responses of attorneys to questionnaires sent by the clerk, when a case is deemed eligible for mediation.Once a case is selected for mediation, appellate mediation is mandatory within a limited time span. The intent is not to greatly delay the course of the appeal if mediation fails, and to help save costs and expenses to the parties of record, such as preparation and brief writing, if it is successful.The parties are free to select their own mediator from a list of mediators who are certified by the Supreme Court in civil, family, or dependency mediation and who have taken the appellate mediation training session sponsored by the court. Mediators who qualify must also agree to accept referrals from the court for parties who cannot agree on a mediator, at a $200-per-hour rate, and agree to accept two pro bono cases for a limited time per case, for parties unable to afford the mediation process. As the program has been operating so far, the court has not yet been forced to appoint a mediator, Vincent noted.Since the program is being expanded to the whole district, the court is establishing an additional training session for mediators who wish to qualify to handle mediation for the program. Mediators who attended the last training session need not attend to qualify. The training session will be conducted by the judges of the court, staff lawyers for the court, and qualified mediators, and will present an organized program of learning directly related to the practice of mediation at the appellate level.The training session will be held September 20 at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the Captain Willie Miller Instructional Center, 600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach. The training session will commence at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:30 p.m. The $100 registration fee will include lunch and training materials.The registration form may be downloaded from the court’s Web site at www.5dca.org. The registration form then must be sent to Meredith Vincent, Mediation Coordinator, Fifth District Court of Appeal Mediation, 300 S. Beach St., Daytona Beach 32114, with a check payable to Fifth District Court of Appeal Mediation Account no later than September 6. Seating will be limited to 50. Fifth DCA expands its Appellate Mediation Programcenter_img August 15, 2002 Regular Newslast_img read more

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