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The mediator

A settlement would come as a shock to all but court-appointed mediator David Strawn, whose success rate is more than 90 percent.

Strawn presides at the top of a U-shaped table seating 25 people, and side tables seat another 50 people, making it the largest mediation group he has supervised since his first cases in the 1960s.

"The issues are unique. There's never been a case like this," said Strawn, who is accustomed to mediations attended by only five people. "The industry has been very successful in defending individual claims."

The 60-year-old former circuit court judge, a Florida pioneer in the field of mediation, said he smoked as a youth but quit at 27.

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