Indiana Supreme Court Upholds the Confidentiality of Statements Made in Mediation

Mediation as a confidential means of dispute resolution was recently called into question by an Indiana Court of Appeals case which held that statements one party had made in mediation could be used in Court as evidence to explain and challenge an alleged mistake in the parties’ final settlement agreement. The Indiana Supreme Court has just issued a ruling in Horner v. Carter, 34S02-1210-DR-582, upholding the long-standing rule that statements made in mediation negotiations are in fact confidential and not admissible in Court.

Mediation is a popular, modern method of alternative dispute resolution. When litigants settle at mediation, a written agreement is prepared and signed and then filed with and made the order of the Court. Mediation is beneficial because it allows litigants the opportunity to engage in private settlement negotiations exploring the possibilities of settlement without concern that the settlement negotiations will be relayed to the Court if they fail to agree. Other benefits of mediation include that litigants get to play leading roles in determining the resolutions of their cases instead of having someone else decide the outcome and the time and expense of trial preparation is saved.

Kahn, Dees, Donovan and Kahn, LLP has four registered Indiana mediators for general civil cases, family law, and mortgage foreclosures: Jeffrey Ahlers, Mark Samila, Steve Lavallo and Maria Worthington.

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