Many question the practicality and usefulness of appellate mediation as an alternative dispute resolution tool. Presumably, in any given case on appeal, settlement negotiations proved unsuccessful before trial, and one party has already received a favorable ruling in the case. However, the appellate mediation process can save the parties and courts considerable time and resources. Although it may appear futile to mediate a case when a clear winner and loser have already been declared, it is important to note that a party’s victory may be short lived so long as a case remains pending on appeal.
Unlike other forms of mediation, appellate mediation allows the mediator more leeway in terms of offering opinions and input to the parties regarding their case; it is a specialized form of mediation, which is why there are fewer than 575 certified appellate court mediators in the state of Florida. At Rochen Mediation, we use appellate mediation to bring parties together, to educate them regarding the appellate process, and to offer them insight as to how various issues will be addressed on appeal. We educate the parties regarding the limited scope of the appellate court’s jurisdiction and standard of review, and explain to the parties that the appellate courts do not take additional evidence or retry the case on the merits. This helps to ensure that the parties do not maintain unrealistic expectations. We also explore the potential to resolve an entire dispute when there are only limited issues on appeal, thus saving time and money associated with prolonged litigation. This is of particular importance because appellate courts are not permitted to address collateral issues that are not the focus of the appeal.