Article Image
Willingboro Mall, LTD v. 240-242 Franklin Avenue, LLC

Tuesday, September, 17, 2013

In the recent case of Willingboro Mall, LTD v. 240-242 Franklin Avenue, LLC,  the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an opinion with respect to settlement agreements and whether or not a settlement agreement reached at mediation is required to be reduced to writing and signed at the time agreement is reached.  The opinion discussed whether the plaintiff waived the privilege that protects the mediation process from any communications made during the course of mediation.

Addressing only the requirements for a written settlement agreement to be signed at the time of the conclusion of the mediation, it was held that certainly while public policy favors the settlement of disputes and the Court encourages that signed settlement agreements be entered by all parties at the conclusion of the mediation.  The Court however indicated that recognizing that at the conclusion of the mediation the parties may not be in a position to sign off on a final agreement but it is my strong recommendation that at least a hand written document be entered into by the parties covering all open points at the time of the conclusion of the mediation and later reduced to a formal mediation settlement agreement.

Justice Albin acknowledged that R.1:40-4(i) which requires mediation agreements to be written does not specifically require signatures but opined that the requirement was stated clearly elsewhere in the mediator’s tool box, issued by the Judiciary in November, 2011 and further in the State Mediation Act which allows use of a signed agreement to provide mediation settlement.  Justice Albin further indicated that an e mail exchange in which the parties agree to particular provisions or a tape recording in which they state what constitutes their agreement might be sufficient.


Norman J. Peer
Freehold, NJ.