by Fran L. Tetunic
Mediation,1 firmly rooted as a vital component of Florida’s court system, is the present, not the wave of the future. The Florida Legislature and judiciary have created “one of the most comprehensive court-connected mediation programs in the country.”2 Over 18,000 people have completed a Supreme Court of Florida certified mediation training program, and over 5,000 people are certified by the Supreme Court of Florida as county, family, circuit, or dependency mediators.3 All 20 judicial circuits routinely refer cases to mediation.4 Additional cases go to mediation by agreement of the parties or as a requirement prior to filing suit.5
Significant changes in mediation law and ethical rules have taken place over the last four years. In 2004, the Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act (act) came into effect,6 and in 2006, the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-appointed Mediators (Mediator Rules) were amended to be consistent with the act.7 Also in 2006, the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar were amended to include third-party neutrals in the rule regarding conflict of interest and to add a rule specific to third-party neutrals.8 Additionally, the Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee (MEAC), a standing committee of the Supreme Court of Florida, continues to respond to written ethical questions posed by mediators subject to the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-appointed Mediators.9 MEAC has issued over 100 advisory opinions,10 which, while not law, serve as guidance on which mediators may rely in good faith when grappling with ethical dilemmas.11
The significant body of mediation law, rules, and advisory opinions offers lawyers the requisite information to serve their clients by understanding the mediation process, knowing how to prepare their clients for mediation, and knowing when and how to mediate. Attorneys need to be mindful of the complexity of mediation confidentiality, the civil remedies for breach of mediation confidentiality,12 and the potential for a court to overturn or reform a mediated agreement based on mediator misconduct.13 This article identifies and debunks the top 10 mediation myths and urban legends to assist lawyers in better representing their clients in mediation-related matters.
1) Everything in Mediation Is Confidential
Confidentiality, while a hallmark of mediation, is not absolute. The Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act, enacted in July 2004, provides for the confidentiality of mediation communications.14 “‘Mediation [c]ommunication’ means an oral or written statement, or nonverbal conduct intended to make an assertion, by or to a mediation participant made during the course of a mediation, or prior to mediation if made in furtherance of a mediation.”15 The definition specifically excludes ”[t]he commission of a crime during a mediation.”16
All mediation communication is confidential except as delineated in the act,17 which mandates disclosure in only one regard. Mediation participants are obligated to make mandatory reports of abuse and neglect of children and vulnerable adults “solely for the purpose of making the mandatory report to the entity requiring the report.”18 The permissive disclosure of “reporting, proving, or disproving professional malpractice [or misconduct] occurring during mediation” is similarly limited “for the purpose of the professional malpractice proceeding” or “internal use of the body conducting the investigation.”19
Mediation parties may waive confidentiality for any mediation communication20 directly by agreement or indirectly by “disclos[ing] or mak[ing] a representation about a privileged mediation communication . . . to the extent necessary for the other party to respond to the disclosure or representation.”21 The disclosed mediation communication “remains confidential and is not discoverable or admissible for any other purposes, unless otherwise permitted” by the act.22 In contrast, mediation parties must expressly agree, consistent with the law, that a mediated agreement is confidential, for the act does not provide for “confidentiality or privilege attached to a signed agreement reached during a mediation.”23
The act provides two additional significant exceptions to confidentiality for mediation communications: those “willfully used to plan a crime, commit or attempt to commit a crime, conceal ongoing criminal activity, or threaten violence”24 and those intended “for the limited purpose of establishing or refuting legally recognized grounds for voiding or reforming a settlement agreement reached during a mediation.”25 Despite confidentiality, information disclosed during mediation “that is otherwise admissible or subject to discovery does not become inadmissible or protected from discovery.”26
The act’s scope is broad — both automatic and voluntary. It applies to any mediation “[r]equired by statute, court rule, agency rule or order, oral or written case-specific court order, or court administrative order.”27 Additionally, mediation parties may expressly agree to be governed by the act,28 and will be governed by the act if the mediator is “certified by the Supreme Court of Florida, unless the parties expressly agree not to be bound.”29 Mediation parties may also agree to opt out of certain portions of the act regarding confidentiality, privilege, and civil remedies.30
Understanding mediation confidentiality and applying the law has become increasingly important under the Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act, which provides serious civil remedies for breach including “equitable relief, compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, mediator’s fees, and costs.”31 Further, mediators are bound to follow the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-appointed Mediators, obligating them to “maintain the confidentiality of all information revealed during mediation except where disclosure is required or permitted by law or is agreed to by all parties.”32 Accordingly, mediation participants seeking to avoid civil actions and mediators seeking to avoid grievances need to consider not only the statutory exceptions to confidentiality, but their obligation to maintain confidentiality given only one required disclosure based on statutory mandatory reporting.
2) Confidentiality Prevents a Lawyer-mediator from Reporting Attorney Misconduct During Mediation
A lawyer-mediator is not prevented by mediation confidentiality from reporting attorney misconduct during mediation. Mediators governed by concurrent ethical standards follow all applicable standards to the extent they are consistent.33 When codes of conduct are inconsistent, the mediator rules prevail when the person is mediating.34 The Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators obligate mediators to “maintain confidentiality of all information revealed during mediation except where disclosure is required or permitted by law or is agreed to by all parties.”35
In contrast, the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar obligate lawyers to report another lawyer who they know “has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.”36 The two ethical standards are consistent, allowing the lawyer-mediator to follow both, for the law permits this disclosure. The act provides an exception to confidentiality “for any mediation communication: offered to report, prove, or disprove professional misconduct occurring during the mediation, solely for the internal use of the body conducting the investigation of the conduct.”37 This information “remains confidential and is not discoverable or admissible for any other purpose, unless otherwise permitted” by another statutory exception.38
3) A Lawyer-mediator Must Advise Mediation Parties to Seek the Advice of Counsel
A lawyer-mediator need not advise mediation parties to seek the advice of counsel. Mediators (lawyers and nonlawyers) must advise a mediation party of the right to seek counsel when the mediator “believes a party does not understand or appreciate how an agreement may adversely affect legal rights or obligations.”39 The mediator has a duty “to advise the parties of the importance of understanding [the legal ramifications or consequences of a proposed agreement] and giving [the parties] the opportunity to seek such advice if they desire.”40
Consistently, the applicable Rule Regulating The Florida Bar advises lawyers serving as mediators to “inform unrepresented parties that the lawyer is not representing them.”41 “When the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that a party does not understand the lawyer’s role in the matter, the lawyer shall explain the difference between the lawyer’s role as a third-party neutral and a lawyer’s role as one who represents a client.”42 The extent of the disclosure “will depend on the particular parties involved and the subject matter of the proceeding, as well as the particular features of the dispute-resolution process selected.”43
Inconsistent advice was previously found in a Florida Bar Advisory Opinion,44 issued before the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar were amended to include third-party neutrals.45 Since this opinion was withdrawn in September 2007, attorney-mediators have consistent ethical directives when mediating for parties who appear without counsel.
4) If All Parties Waive Any Conflict of Interest Disclosed by the Mediator, the Meditor May Mediate
A mediator is prohibited from mediating “a matter that presents a clear . . . conflict of interest.”46 Clear “conflicts occur when circumstances or relationships involving the mediator cannot be reasonably regarded as allowing the mediator to maintain impartiality.”47 “Impartiality means freedom from favoritism or bias in word, action, or appearance, and includes a commitment to assist all parties, as opposed to any one individual.”48 Examples of clear conflicts identified by the Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee include a father serving as mediator for a case his daughter-lawyer is handling,49 and a lawyer-mediator mediating a case for a third-party administrator with whom he has a legal relationship.50
“A conflict of interest which clearly impairs a mediator’s impartiality is not resolved by mere disclosure to, or waiver by, the parties.”51 “If a conflict of interest clearly impairs a mediator’s impartiality, the mediator shall withdraw,” even if all parties expressly agreed to the mediator continuing.52
An attorney who acted as an advocate for a party or parties may not ethically mediate for the same parties and same subject matter involved in the initial matter, regardless of waivers from the parties.53 Similarly, lawyer-mediators may, at times, be prohibited from representing a client based on the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-appointed Mediators rather than the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. The applicable Bar rule provides “a lawyer shall not represent anyone in connection with a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a . . . mediator, or other third-party neutral, unless all parties to the proceeding give informed consent confirmed in writing.”54 In contrast, the MEAC has advised that it is inappropriate for a mediator to represent a party regarding any matter arising from the subject mediation.55 The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar acknowledge the lawyer-mediator’s dual obligations: “A Florida Bar member who is a certified mediator is governed by the applicable law and rules relating to certified mediators.”56
5) The Mediation Is Not Over Until the Mediator Declares Impasse57
The parties’ right of self-determination includes their deciding to end the mediation. “Decisions made during a mediation are to be made by the parties.”58 “A mediator is responsible for assisting the parties in reaching informed and voluntary decisions while protecting their right of self-determination.”59 Just as parties are not required to settle,60 they are not required to stay at mediation until excused by the mediator.
A mediator is required to “adjourn the mediation upon agreement of the parties.”61 Mediation, by definition, gives decision-making authority to the parties.62 The MEAC has advised that “a mediator should adjourn or terminate a mediation if ‘any party is . . . unwilling to participate meaningfully in the process.’”63 Specifically, if a party requests an impasse, the mediator should declare an impasse,64 and if a party objects to the mediator, the mediator should not continue to mediate.65
Rules of procedure require the mediator to “report the lack of an agreement to the court without comment or recommendation.”66 In lieu of reporting no agreement, the parties may choose to adjourn or reschedule the mediation for another time, with other parties or with a different mediator.
6) The Mediator Holds the Privilege to Refuse to Disclose Confidential Mediation Communications
The parties alone, and not the mediator, hold the “privilege to refuse to testify and to prevent any other person from testifying in a subsequent proceeding regarding mediation communications.”67 While not the holder of the privilege, the mediator is ethically required to “maintain the confidentiality of all information revealed during mediation except where disclosure is required or permitted by law or is agreed to by all parties.”68 The Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee has advised mediators who are subpoenaed to “either file a motion for a protective order, or notify the judge . . . that the mediator is statutorily required to maintain confidentiality of mediation proceedings.”69 However, should the parties waive, there would be no privilege for the mediator to assert.
7) The Mediator May Predict an Outcome at Trial if Requested by All the Parties
A mediator is prohibited from offering “a personal or professional opinion as to how the court in which the case has been filed will resolve the dispute.”70 However, “a mediator may point out possible outcomes of the case and discuss the merits of a claim or defense.”71 While maintaining impartiality and protecting party self-determination, “a mediator may provide information that the mediator is qualified by training or experience to provide,” 72 yet remains prohibited from offering “a personal or professional opinion intended to coerce the parties, or unduly influence the parties, decide the dispute, or direct a resolution of any issue.”73
8) The Mediator Has the Obiligation to Write the Mediated Agreement
Mediators are responsible for seeing that mediated agreements are reduced to writing, but are not responsible for personally writing the agreements.74 The mediator has the obligation to “cause the terms of any mediated agreement reached to be memorialized appropriately, and discuss with the parties and counsel the process for formalization and implementation of the agreement.”75 Rules of procedure require that mediated agreements be reduced to writing.76 While mediators have an obligation to ensure compliance with these rules, they are not required to personally write the agreements.77
9) Mediators Report to the Court When Parties Fail to Mediate in Good Faith
Mediators are ethically prohibited from reporting to the court that parties failed to mediate in good faith.78 The Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee advises mediators not to accept a case where the judge’s referring order states that the mediator will report the conduct of a party who failed to mediate in good faith, as the mediator is prohibited from doing so.79 Additionally, rules of procedure specifically direct mediators to report the absence of a mediated agreement without either comment or recommendation.80 Rules of procedure, as well as court orders, advise who must appear at mediation and require the parties to appear with the requisite authority to settle.81 Mediators may report a party’s failure to appear when the party’s appearance was required, yet the party failed to appear physically.82
While parties may be required to attend mediation, they are in no way required to settle or even make a settlement offer. Applying a general good faith obligation to mediation is foreign to the process in both theory and practice. By definition, the parties are the decision makers and exercise self-determination.83 Even court-ordered mediation, although mandatory in requiring appearance at mediation, is voluntary in allowing parties to determine the extent of their involvement and whether they settle at mediation. “There is no requirement that a party even make an offer at mediation, let alone offer what the opposition wants to settle.”84 “[M]ediation is not designed to force a settlement in any case, especially those cases where the lines are so clearly and solidly drawn that parties, in absolute good faith, simply take diametrically opposed positions that ultimately require a court-imposed resolution after a trial on the merits.”85
Requiring or allowing mediators to report absence of good faith in mediation would run afoul of the Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act and the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators. The act gives parties “a privilege to refuse to testify and to prevent any other person from testifying in a subsequent proceeding regarding mediation communications.”86 The rules require mediators to maintain the confidentiality of mediation communications unless required or permitted by law or agreed to by all the parties. Mediation communications remain confidential absent a specific statutory exception.87 No exception exists for reporting failure to mediate in good faith; without a statutory basis allowing communication, mediators are precluded from disclosing communications purporting to show absence of good faith.
10) Mediator Misconduct, Like Legal Malpractice, Does Not Serve as a Basis for Setting Aside a Mediated Agreement
“Mediator misconduct can be the basis for a trial court refusing to enforce a mediated agreement reached at court-ordered mediation.”88 Mediator misconduct is an exception to the general rule that coercion and duress by a third party will not suffice to invalidate an agreement between the contracting parties.89 “During a court-ordered mediation, the mediator is no ordinary third party, but is, for all intent and purposes an agent of the court carrying out an official court-ordered function.”90 Therefore, “the court may invoke its inherent power to maintain the integrity of the judicial system and its processes by invalidating a court-ordered mediation settlement obtained through violation and abuse of the judicially-prescribed mediation procedures.”91
The use of mediation has grown significantly in the Florida Court System, which has used mediation to resolve disputes for over two decades.92 “Currently, we have [nine] CDS [Citizen Dispute Settlement Centers], 49 county mediation programs (serving all 20 circuits), 45 family mediation programs, 13 circuit civil mediation programs, 40 dependency mediation programs ... and one appellate mediation program.”93 Interestingly, “the largest growth has been in the private sector resolution of court-ordered cases and the resolution of cases through mediation which would otherwise become civil suits.”94 Attorneys should keep abreast of mediation developments to best advise their clients whether or when to mediate, to prepare their clients for mediation, and to choose and work with mediators to best meet their clients’ interests and needs. As mediation is a private process, public discussion helps to deter misunderstandings. By understanding the most common mediation myths and urban legends, attorneys can meaningfully evaluate how best to utilize mediation in their practice.
1 Fla. Stat. §44.1011(2). ‘“Mediation’ means a process whereby a neutral third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal and nonadversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decision making authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.”
2 Florida Supreme Courts, Alternative Dispute Resolution, available at www.flcourts.org/gen_public/adr/index.shtml (hereinafter Alternative Dispute Resolution).
5 See Fla. Stat. §720.311.
6 Act effective July 1, 2004, Ch.2004-291, §4, 2004 Fla. Laws 1770, 1772 (codified at Fla. Stat. §§44.401- 406).
7 In re Petition of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy Committee on Amendments to Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, 931 So. 2d 877 (Fla 2006) (per curiam) (amending Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators).
8 In re Amendments To The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, 933 So. 2d 417 (Fla. 2006) (per curiam) (creating 4-2.4, Lawyer Serving as Third-party Neutral, and amending 4-1.12 to add Mediator or Other Third-party Neutral).
9 Mediators address their questions to Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee, c/o Florida Dispute Resolution Center, Supreme Court Building, Tallahassee, FL 32399.
10 Florida Supreme Courts, Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee (MEAC) Opinions, available at www.flcourts.org/gen_public/adr/conftrng.shtml.
11 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.- Apptd. Mediators 10.900(f).
12 Fla. Stat. §44.406.
13 Vitakis-Valchine v. Valchine, 793 So. 2d 1094 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 2001).
14 Fla. Stat. §§44.401.401-44.406.
15 Fla. Stat. §44.403(1).
17 Fla. Stat. §44.405(1).
18 Fla. Stat. §44.405(4)(a)(3).
19 Fla. Stat. §§44.405(4)(a)(4) and (6).
20 Fla. Stat. §44.405(4)(a)(1).
21 Fla. Stat. §44.405(6).
22 Fla. Stat. §44.405(4)(b).
23 Fla. Stat. §44.405(4)(a).
24 Fla. Stat. §44.405(4)(a)(2).
25 Fla. Stat. §44.405(4)(a)(5).
26 Fla. Stat. §44.405(5).
27 Fla. Stat. §44.402(1)(a).
28 Fla. Stat. §44.402(1)(b).
29 Fla. Stat. §44.402(1)(c).
30 Fla. Stat. §44.402(2).
31 Fla. Stat. §44.406(1).
32 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.360(a).
33 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.650.
35 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.360(a).
36 R. Regulating Fla. Bar 4-8.3.
37 Fla. Stat.§44.405(4)(a)(6).
38 Fla. Stat. §44.405(4)(b).
39 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.370(b).
40 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.370(b) comm. notes.
41 R. Regulating Fla. Bar 4-2.4(b).
43 R. Regulating Fla. Bar 4-2.4(b) comm. notes.
44 Florida Bar Ethics Opinion 86-8, withdrawn in 2007, stated that the lawyer-mediator should “explain the risks of proceeding without counsel and advise the parties to consult counsel during the course of the mediation and before signing any settlement agreement that he might prepare for them.” Fla. Bar Prof’l Ethics Comm., Op. 86-8 (Oct.15, 1986). See Fla. Bar Prof’l Ethics Comm., Op. 07-2 (Sept. 7, 2007).
45 R. Regulating Fla. Bar 4-1.12; R. Regulating Fla. Bar 4-2.4.
46 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.340(a).
47 Id., Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.340(a) comm. notes.
48 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.330(a).
49 Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 2004-008 (Feb. 1, 2005).
50 Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 2005-006 (Jan. 18, 2006)
51 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.340 comm. notes. See also Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 2005-006 (Jan. 18, 2006).
52 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.340(c).
53 Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 2003-006 (Sept. 16, 2003).
54 R. Regulating Fla. Bar 4-1.12(a).
55 Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 1994-003 (Jan. 19, 1995). See also Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 1994-002 (Jan. 19, 1995); Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 2001-011 (Apr. 4, 2002).
56 R. Regulating Fla. Bar 4-2.4 comm. notes.
57 The term “impasse” is commonly used to signify that the parties did not reach agreement. The Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators do not use this term. The rules discuss terminating or adjourning mediation.
58 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.310(a).
60 See notes 81-83 and accompanying text.
61 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.420(b)(1).
62 See Fla. Stat.§ 44.1011(2).
63 Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 2001-004(b) (May 2, 2001), citing Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.420(b)(3).
65 Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 2000-005 (August 31,2000).
66 Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.730(a). See also Fla. R. Juv. P. 8.290(o)(2); Fla. Fam. L. R. P. 12.740(f)(3).
67 Fla. Stat. §44.405(2).
68 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.360(a).
69 Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 1999-012(b) (May 11, 2000).
70 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.370(c).
72 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.370(a).
73 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.370(c).
74 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.420 comm. notes.
75 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.420(c).
76 Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.420 comm. Notes, citing Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.730(b), Fla. R. Juv. P. 8.290(o), and Fla. Fam. L. R. P. 12.740(f).
77 Id. See also Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 2003-010 (Feb. 13, 2004).
78 Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 2001-004(c) (May 2,2001).
79 Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Op., 2004-006 (Jan. 17, 2005).
80 Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.730(a); Fla. R. Juv. P. 8.290(o)(2); Fla. Fam. L. R. P. 12.740(f)(3).
81 See Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.720(b); Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.750(e); Fla. R. Juv. P. 8.290(l); Fla. Fam. L. R. P. 12.740(d). See also rule survey in which “[t]he Supreme Court of Florida Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy is seeking input on revisions to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure (to address the appearance/confidentiality dilemma),” available at www.flcourts.org/gen_public/adr/index.shtml.
82 Mediator Ethics Advisory Comm. Ops., 2006-008 (March 29, 2007); 2007-001 (March 29, 2007).
83 Fla. Stat. §44.1011(2); Fla. R. Cert. & Ct.-Apptd. Mediators 10.310.
84 Avril v. Civilmar, 605 So. 2d 988, 989 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1992).
85 Semiconductors, Inc. v. Golasa, 525 So.2d 519 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1988), dissent.
86 Fla. Stat. §44.405(2).
87 Fla. Stat. §44.405(1).
88 Vitakis-Valchine v. Valchine, 793 So. 2d 1094, 1095 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 2001).
89 Id. at 1096, 1099.
90 Id. at 1099.
91 Id. The appellate court remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether the mediator substantially violated the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, and if so, whether that misconduct led to the mediated agreement in the case. Id. at 1100.
92 Florida Supreme Courts, Alternative Dispute Resolution at note a2, available at www.flcourts.org/gen_public/adr/index.shtm.
Fran L. Tetunic is an associate professor of law at the Shepard Broad Law Center, Nova Southeastern University where she teaches mediation theory and practice and directs the alternative dispute resolution clinic. Ms. Tetunic chairs the Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee, a standing committee of the Florida Supreme Court.
This column is submitted on behalf of the Public Interest Law Section, Lisa Kane DeVitto, chair.