Our philosophy at Johnson, Newlon & DeCort is to bring the best of both worlds to our clients when it comes to providing legal services, combining the benefit of big law firm experience with a commitment to hands-on, personalized service. As part of our dedication to serving your best interests, we often recommend mediation as a viable alternative to commercial litigation. Although we are at heart a business and commercial litigation law firm, we know from experience how mediation can serve as a more cost-effective, quicker, and less acrimonious way to resolve disputes. Learn more about the firm’s mediation practice below and call our office for strategic and effective help resolving your business dispute in Tampa or throughout Florida statewide.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential dispute resolution process facilitated by a neutral third-party mediator. Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator doesn’t make decisions but instead assists both parties in negotiating a mutually acceptable settlement. Typically employed in commercial disputes, employment matters, or contractual disagreements, mediation can serve the needs of clients effectively and amicably.
The Mediation Process in a Nutshell
Before mediation begins, both parties usually meet separately with the mediator to outline the issues at hand. Preparatory documents may be submitted for review. Next, all parties convene in a neutral setting. The mediator outlines the ground rules, ensuring that the process remains respectful and constructive. Each party is given the opportunity to present its side of the dispute. The mediator may ask clarifying questions but remains impartial throughout.
Typically, and as needed, the mediator meets privately with each party to discuss issues in depth. This allows for more candid conversation and helps the mediator understand the underlying interests. Based on these private discussions, the mediator helps the parties find common ground and negotiate terms they can both agree to. If a mutually beneficial resolution is reached, a settlement agreement is drafted, and once signed, it becomes legally binding. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the parties can still proceed toward trial or further settlement talks down the road, often with the outstanding issues narrowed or clarified.
Why Choose Mediation?
Cost-Effectiveness. Legal fees and costs can escalate quickly during litigation. Mediation, on the other hand, is generally less expensive, reducing the financial burden on your business.
Time-Efficiency. Litigation can extend over months or even years. Mediation can often be completed in a day or a matter of days, depending on the complexity of the issues and the depth of the dispute, allowing you to spend less time in the weeds of a business dispute and more time focused on running your business.
Confidentiality. Court proceedings are public records, but mediation remains confidential, protecting your business’s sensitive information.
Flexibility and Control. In litigation, the outcome is out of your hands once you go to court. Mediation allows you more control over the resolution, enabling a tailor-fit solution to your specific needs.
Preserving Business Relationships. The adversarial nature of litigation can permanently damage or destroy business relationships. Mediation encourages a collaborative approach, often preserving or even strengthening relationships. Depending on the parties involved in the dispute, this feature of mediation can be the most beneficial aspect of the process overall.
Mediation Is required by Most Courts. Our mediators often assist parties resolve disputes in pre-suit mediations. Mediation has been such a successful settlement tool that most courts require parties to schedule and attend mediation as part of the overall scheduling for a matter in litigation. Even if your case does not go to mediation before a lawsuit is filed, it is almost certain that your case will be referred to mediation by the court.
Meet Our Mediators
Johnson, Newlon & DeCort has two highly trained and experienced mediators with decades of legal experience between them. Both are certified by the Florida Supreme Court to mediate civil cases statewide. Supreme Court certification requires many hours of mediation training and mentorship, education and actual mediation experience, along with background screening to ensure good moral character and continuing mediator education required to maintain an active certification.
Our mediators are not only highly qualified and experienced mediators, but their expertise lies in the areas most frequented by our clients, namely business and commercial litigation.
Following is a brief background look at the certified mediators of Johnson, Newlon & DeCort:
Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator, John E. “Sean” Johnson
Sean Johnson is a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit civil mediator. He is also on the list of approved mediators for the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. Sean has had experience as a civil litigator since 1986 and has tried cases in many different areas, most of which focused on business disputes, such as trade secrets, intellectual property, contracts, securities, fraud, fiduciary duty, whistleblower, and other employment law matters. He brings this extensive and varied trial experience to the mediation to help parties manage their disputes through the self-determination that mediation offers, and which isn’t available to parties at trial.
Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator, Stephen Tabano
Steve Tabano has over 10 years of experience as a circuit civil mediator and brings his over 30 years of legal experience to the table at each session. He can provide these services at sites preferable to the parties or at the Johnson, Newlon & DeCort offices if the parties are looking for a neutral site. Steve’s background makes him a natural for eminent domain and related cases, as well as other types of cases with valuation issues such as ad valorem tax disputes. He has also mediated other real property matters such as boundary disputes and ways of necessity. Steve reserves dates each month for mediations and is flexible in trying to find a date that works for all parties and their counsel.
Contact Johnson, Newlon & DeCort to Resolve Your Florida Business Dispute
Mediation offers the possibility of a less contentious, more economical, and quicker path to dispute resolution than traditional litigation. At Johnson, Newlon & DeCort, our Tampa-based attorneys bring extensive commercial litigation experience to guide you expertly through this process. With a focus on responsive, personal service, we aim to provide you with the best solutions aligned with your business needs. When you’re dealing with a business or commercial dispute in Florida, mediation could be your key to a satisfactory resolution. Contact us today to discuss whether mediation is the right option for you.