Margaret Huff Mediation
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ADR Resources: News/Reports

ADR News and Reports, a selection of ADR news and reports of interest to Tennessee attorneys, mediators and arbitrators by Marnie Huff

On October 3, 2018, the Tennessee Supreme Court ordered significant amendments to Rule 31 governing Tennessee mediators, adopted Rule 31A, and posted certain forms on the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Court's website. The Court filed an Appendix detailing the changes. Most provisions go into effect on November 1, 2018.

Amended Rule 31, Section 7 provides: "Confidential and Inadmissible Evidence. Evidence of conduct, information disclosed, or any statement made in the course of a Rule 31 Mediation is confidential to the extent agreed by the parties or provided by other law or rule of this State. Such evidence shall be inadmissible to the same extent as conduct or statements are inadmissible under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 408. No Rule 31 Mediator may be compelled to testify by deposition or otherwise regarding such conduct, information, or statements. A written mediated agreement signed by the parties is admissible to enforce the understanding of the parties."

Amended Rule 31, Section 10(b)(3) provides that a Rule 31 Mediator shall: "[r]efrain from giving legal advice, while serving as a Rule 31 Mediator" to the parties. Also, "while a Rule 31 Mediator should not offer a firm opinion as to how the Court . . . will resolve the case, a Rule 31 Mediator may point out possible outcomes of the case and may indicate a personal view of the persuasiveness of a particular claim or defense." 

Resolving differing views on the extent a mediator may serve as a scribe, and removing the words "terms" and "settlement," Amended Rule 31, Section 10(c)(5) provides that "[d]uring and following Rule 31 Mediations, Rule 31 Mediators shall: . . . (5) Assist the parties in memorializing the agreement of the parties at the end of the mediation. Rule 31 Mediators may assist the parties in filling out the Parenting Plan Forms maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts pursuant to T.C.A. 36-6-404, the Marital Dissolution Agreement as approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court under Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 52 and any other forms approved under Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 52 for use by self-represented parties in memorializing their agreement." 

The Court amended provisions on case evaluation, judicial settlement conference, mini-trial, non-binding arbitration, and summary jury trial and moved those provision to a separate Rule 31A.

Rule 31, Section 7 now provides:
Confidential and Inadmissible Evidence
Evidence of conduct, information disclosed, or any statement made in the course of a Rule 31 Mediation is confidential to the extent agreed by the parties or provided by other law or rule of this State. Such evidence shall be inadmissible to the same extent as conduct or statements are inadmissible under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 408. No Rule 31 Mediator may be compelled to testify by deposition or
otherwise regarding such conduct, information, or statements. A written mediated agreement signed by the parties is admissible to enforce the understanding of the parties.


Rule 31, Section 10(b)(3) continues to provide that a Rule 31 Mediator shall: "Refrain from giving legal advice, while serving as a Rule 31 Mediator" to the parties. Also, "while a Rule 31 Mediator should not offer a firm opinion as to how the Court . . . will resolve the case, a Rule 31
Mediator may point out possible outcomes of the case and may indicate a personal view of the persuasiveness of a particular claim or defense."


Resolving differing views on the extent a mediator may serve as a scribe, and removing the words "terms" and "settlement" Rule 31, Section 10(b) provides that "[d]uring and following Rule 31 Mediations, Rule 31 Mediators shall: . . . (5) Assist the parties in memorializing the agreement of the parties at the end of the mediation. Rule 31 Mediators may assist
the parties in filling out the Parenting Plan Forms maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts pursuant to T.C.A. 36-6-404, the Marital Dissolution Agreement as
approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court under Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 52 and any other forms approved under Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 52 for use by self-represented parties in
memorializing their agreement.




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