SW Legal studies in Business

Agreeing to Mediation Does Not Affect Time Limits on Pursuit of Trial Option
Description Plaintiff filed suit in 1991, but then agreed to mediation. After years of no mediation or anything happening, the case was deemed by the court to have been abandoned. Having agreed to mediation did not stop the running of the clock on the need to pursue the case or drop it within three years.
Topic Alternate Dispute Resolution
Key Words Mediation; Abandonment
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Gallagher, a doctor, sued several doctors in 1991 for negligent conduct. The defendants asserted that this involved a potential medical malpractice claim that required a medical review panel to be convened, which involves mediation of the issue. That was not done. In 1996, Gallagher moved for a trial on the merits. The trial court denied the motion because the malpractice panel had not been convened. Again, not much had happened, other than some correspondence regarding the proposed mediation. In 2000 the defendants moved to dismiss the case based on abandonment. Gallagher appealed, contending he had not abandoned the case.
Decision Affirmed. Agreeing to mediation does not abandon the right to litigation. However, the parties willingness to participate in mediation did not interrupt the three-year period in which a case must be pursued or is deemed abandoned by the plaintiff. There was nothing on the record to indicate that Gallagher pressed for the mediation, so the clock ran on his time to pursue his case in court, which has been lost.
Citation Gallagher v. Cook, 775 So.2d 79 (Ct. App., La., 2000)

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