As previously discussed, Mediation is an avenue of possible resolution in a civil case, regardless of the amount in controversy. But what happens if you go to mediation and it doesn’t settle? Can the other side use anything you said in mediation against you in a later proceeding or a trial?
Thankfully, the answer is no.
Florida Statutes §44.105(1) provides that all mediation communications shall be confidential. §44.405(2) provide that mediation communications cannot be testified to in subsequent proceedings. Therefore, anything that is said between the parties, any oral agreements to settle or offers made is not admissible against the party who made them at a later proceeding or trial. Violation of this statute could subject the violator to sanctions by the court that can include costs, attorney fees and having to pay mediator fees.
The purpose of mediation is not only to settle the dispute between the parties but provide a forum where the parties can speak candidly about their position, either with the mediator or the other side. Without the cloak of confidentiality surrounding the mediation, parties would be less likely to “speak freely” and the likelihood of reaching a settlement would dramatically decrease.
As always, please consult with your attorney regarding the mediation process .