ILNews

DTCI: Mediation confidentiality

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

kyrouacBy Scott M. Kyrouac

The Indiana Supreme Court in Dennis Jack Horner v. Marcia (Horner) Carter, 34S02-1210-DR-582, corrected the Indiana Court of Appeals opinion that the confidentiality of mediation can be broken.

In this case, the husband Dennis Horner wanted to provide testimony about what he said at the mediation as evidence that a mistake had been made in drafting the final settlement agreement. The trial court excluded testimony about the confidential discussions. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of relief but indicated that the trial court’s exclusion of the husband’s testimony was in error.

Attorneys and mediators support the decision that what is said in mediation is confidential. The Indiana Supreme Court noted the Court of Appeals had based its decision on the Uniform Mediation Act drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. UMA would permit disclosure and discovery of conduct and statements made during mediation in certain circumstances. However, Indiana has not adopted the UMA rules. Instead, Indiana adheres to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Rule 2.11, which holds that evidence of conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations or mediation is inadmissible except when offered for a purpose other than to prove liability for or invalidity of the claim or its amount. Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote:

“Indiana judicial policy strongly urges the amicable resolution of disputes and thus embraces a robust policy of confidentiality of conduct and statements made during negotiation and mediation. The benefits of compromise settlement agreements outweigh the risks that such policy may on occasion impede access to otherwise admissible evidence on an issue.”

As both a mediator and as an attorney, this author welcomes the Supreme Court’s clarification and continued protection of the confidential nature of mediation.•

Mr. Kyrouac is the current Indiana Representative to DRI and is a former president of the association. He is a partner in Wilkinson Goeller Modesitt Wilkinson & Drummy in Terre Haute. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

ADVERTISEMENT