A successful mediation usually results in a list of the material terms of a settlement, with the formal papers to be drafted at a later date. Any such list should not only include the fact that the plaintiff will provide a release, but also whether the release will be general or limited to certain specific claims.
In CSX Transportation v. Hamilton, 2012 WL 3137399 (Ct.App. Ky. 2012), a settlement was reached in mediation, but a post-mediation dispute arose as to the scope of the release. The plaintiff took the position he was only obligated to release claims asserted in the litigation, whereas the defendant sought a release that included claims based on future injuries. The court sided with the limited release sought by the plaintiff because the mediation agreement specified “a full and final release of all claims against CSX arising out of this litigation.” The “arising out of” language in the mediation document could, actually, support a broader reading than the one adopted by the court. This, however, only highlights the importance of defining the nature of the release agreed to in a mediation.
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