The Missouri Court of Appeals has issued a decision that is instructive as to what can happen when an agreement reached in a court-ordered mediation is not reduced to writing before everyone leaves the mediation. The decision also highlights the potential tension between an emphasis on good faith participation and confidentiality, although it never discusses good faith.
Missouri’s Supreme Court Rules 17.01(d) and 17.06(c) specifically require that agreements be memorialized. In this situation, one party left the mediation, saying they would return to finalize the agreement, but did not do so for an hour, at which point the other party and the mediator ended the mediation. During the ensuing week, there were follow-up efforts to finalize the agreement, but the party who had left the mediation quibbled with various drafts of the agreement.
The Appellate Court, reversing the trial court, found that the plain language of Supreme Court Rule 17.06 (c), (more…)