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Summary of Mediation Process and Settlement Agreement


On June 12, 2023, the Court ordered the Defendants and Plaintiffs to engage in mediation in an attempt to settle the issues and disagreements which initiated this lawsuit.  (Link to Court Order for Mediation) The mediator selected by and agreed to by both parties was William Vines, an attorney from the firm of Butler, Vines, and Babb, located in Knoxville, Tennessee.


The mediation was scheduled for June 29, 2023, at the office of Butler, Vines, and Babb. At the outset all representatives for the Defendants and Plaintiffs entered into a Confidentiality Agreement which stipulated that the discussions during the course of the day be held in confidence. (Link to Confidentiality Agreement)


Mediation began at 9:00 AM, and the party’s reached agreement to the terms outlined in a hand-written document after midnight.  The parties were told that the hand-written agreement would ultimately be converted to a more formal agreement with all the customary assurances, indemnities, and releases. At the request of the Defendants, it was agreed that the settlement remain confidential and under seal until such time as approved by the Court. 


It is customary that a mediation agreement is submitted jointly to the court by the Plaintiffs and Defendants.  After efforts to secure a joint submission were unsuccessful, on October 2nd, 2023, the Plaintiff’s filed a motion requesting that the court approve the Mediation Settlement Agreement. (Link to Plaintiff’s Motion to Approve Mediation Settlement Agreement, with hang-written agreement attached)

At the request of the Defendants, the Plaintiff’s included in their motion a request to keep the document under seal.  A hearing was scheduled for November 3, 2023, to review and discuss the motion.  


Subsequent to the filing, Judge Boniface requested that counsel for both parties submit a memorandum on the reasons to keep the Mediation Settlement Agreement under seal. Plaintiffs responded to the request on October 30, 2023. (Link to Memorandum of Plaintiffs Regarding Mediation Settlement Agreement). The Defendant’s counsel did not provide a memorandum.


On October 31, 2023, Judge Boniface, reviewed the agreement with counsel for the Defendants and Plaintiffs.  She indicated that she did not believe that a hearing was necessary; and therefore, cancelled the hearing scheduled for November 3, 2023, and approved the Mediation Settlement Agreement. The Judge further explained to counsel why the Mediation Settlement Agreement would not remain under seal. Her subsequent court order formalizes court approval and explains why the Mediation Settlement Agreement may not be kept under seal. (Link to Court Order for the approval of the Mediation Settlement Agreement)


To review the agreement, follow the link above entitled “Plaintiff’s Motion to Approve Mediation Settlement Agreement”. The agreement follows the motion, beginning on page 5. The Mediation Settlement Agreement is summarized below.


  1. The Plaintiffs and Defendants reached agreement, but it is still subject to approval by the newly elected Board of Directors of the Deerfield Resort Homeowners Association. 

  2. Defendants agree to convey selected common areas/amenities to Homeowners Association subject to acceptance by the newly elected Board. The swimming pool with provisions for parking, playground, volleyball court, tennis courts, guard station with modified (wider entrance) to enable more lanes for visitor check-in, mailboxes, roads, airstrip, and permissive use authorization for Deer Hill peninsula. (Note: all platted common areas are not included in this agreement and currently remain in the ownership of the Defendants.)     

  3. All parties agree to pay unpaid security and maintenance fees for the years 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023 within 30 days of final approval. 

  4. Defendants agree to pay $160,000 in legal fees to Plaintiffs.  

  5. All other financial disputes brought forth by both parties regarding financial transactions and expenditures will be submitted to the newly elected Board for review and determination. Should the Board decline to make any judgement on the financial issues, those issues will revert to mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, the issue(s) will go before a judicial settlement conference. 

  6. Mediation costs will be split 50/50 by the Defendants and Plaintiffs. 

  7. The parties shall keep terms of agreement confidential until approved by the court. 

  8. Both parties agree to sign a mutual release. 

  9. Both parties agree the terms in this agreement are binding even if the parties fail to reach agreement on other issues. 

  10. Both parties agree that until the agreement is presented to the court, there shall be a stay of discovery with the exception of 2021, 2022, and 2023 bank statements for Deerfield Resort to be provided by the Defendants.  

  11. If agreement is approved by court, Defendants shall pay clerk’s costs. 

  12. Paula and Marc LeJeune agree to limit access to and from their private property north of Deerfield Resort (behind the airstrip) to themselves, successors, assigns, or guest of their single residential property. 

  13. The agreement may be signed in counterparts.

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