In Minknowitz v. Israeli, it was held that the change of the process to mediation will not invalidate the settlement agreements previously executed.
Before Judges Messano, Lihotz and Ostrer. Opinion by Judge Lihotz, J.A.D.
Issue 1: Can an arbitrator resume the role of an arbitrator after mediating disputes between the parties?
Holding 1: No. Under the Uniform Mediation Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:23C-1 to -13, an arbitrator may not assume the role of mediator and thereafter resume the role of arbitrator absent an agreement of the parties.
Issue 2: Can parties who contract to proceed in binding arbitration change the process to mediation resulting in an enforceable settlement agreement?
Holding 2: Yes. The change of the process to mediation will not invalidate the settlement agreements previously executed.
Issue 3: Did the arbitrator and Family Part err in denying the wife’s request for documents following the initial partial settlement agreement?
Holding 3: Yes. Although the arbitrator was correct in determining that discovery would not be reopened, the arbitrator improperly precluded the wife from obtaining documents to which she was entitled under the arbitration agreement.
David Wildstein practices family law with the New Jersey law firm of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer