Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mediation Confidentiality

May a former client suing his attorney for legal malpractice rely on information contained in a brief filed in mediation of the claim? No under California law, according to a decision  of a division of the California Court of Appeal. The case involved a personal injury claim that arose from an airplane crash. The former client contended that the attorneys had breached their fiduciary duties by making an unauthorized settlement demand in a mediation brief. The court looked to the broad policy of confidentiality in mediation and acknowledged that its ruling may make proof of malpractice impossible. The submissions, but not oral communications, are protected from use in the malpractice litigation. (Mike Frisch)

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