Head's up insurance carriers and their counsel!
Noting the benefits of appellate mediation and the desirability of participants attending in person, a California appellate court warned insurers in Campagnone v. Enjoyable Pools & Spas that even the potential of coverage requires a representative with full settlement authority to attend court-ordered appellate mediations in person, unless excused in writing by the mediator. Further, the court warned parties and counsel that they may also face sanctions if they fail to notify insurers with potential coverage about appellate mediations. The court noted that California’s strict mediation confidentiality provisions prevent mediators from disclosing whether anyone fails to attend, but that an aggrieved party may do so in seeking sanctions from the court. The court withheld sanctions in this case only because no previous opinion had spelled out these requirements, even though the insurer was only liable for amounts in excess of $3 million and the judgment in the trial court was $2.4 million.
Campagnone v. Enjoyable Pools & Spas, No. C055050 (Cal. App.3d Dist., May 30, 2008)
Thanks to Keith Seat Mediation Newsletter for the case.
And thanks to arbitrator and mediator extraordinaire Deborah Rothman for passing this along to me. (speaking of gender politics, Deborah graduated with the first class of women to be admitted to Yale University)