February 12th, 2013
We know that very few cases actually end up making it to trial. Some reports put the number of cases that settle or that are dismissed before trial around 97 percent. Many of those that settle likely settled as a result of court-ordered mediation. As fiduciaries find themselves increasingly the target of litigation, here’s a word of caution out of Florida about the scope of releases in settlement agreements and an admonition about knowing exactly what it is you’ve agreed to.
The trustee of the Julian Marie Breslow Revocable Trust and Pompano Masonry Corporation participated in a court-ordered mediation with Joseph Anastasi, they reached a settlement, and they executed a mediation agreement. As part of that settlement, the Breslow Trust and Pompano agreed that their release of claims against Anastasi extended to Anastasi’s wife and children.
After the settlement was finalized, the trustee of the Breslow Trust refused to sign the release of claims. What was the trustee’s reason? (more…)