Mother May I -- Who Decides In the Event of Ambuguity Regarding a Mediated Settlement Agreement
An agreement to submit to binding arbitration is indeed BINDING.
Mediated Settlement Agreement - Ambiguity?Let's presume that you were ordered into mediation.
Let's further presume that mediation was successful, and at the end of the day, you walked away with a SIGNED MSA or Mediated Settlement Agreement.
Let's further presume that the MSA included language that the parties "shall" submit to binding arbitration with the mediator regarding drafting disputes, issues regarding interpretation of the MSA, and issues regarding the intent of the parties to the MSA.
Let's presume that you may not be keen on returning to the mediator regarding proposed language for a final order, and rather than returning to the mediator, you have your attorney file a motion with the Court requesting that the Court rule on a certain point relating to whether the MSA is somehow ambiguous.
Failure to Raise Ambiguity is Not DeterminativeWhether a contract is ambiguous or not is a question of law. A signed MSA IS A CONTRACT. If a phrase is open to more than one interpretation, it is ambiguous. If the parties agree to return to the mediator to have the mediator arbitrate any and all issues as to ambiguity, they must do so. They cannot choose forums. The trial court would lack jurisdiction to rule on the ambiguity in such circumstances.