Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services

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July 27, 2015 No Comments

At Miles Mediation, we believe in creating a culture around family. When you walk in our doors, we want you to feel welcomed like you’re family and make yourself at home. So come on in, and get to know us better…

Why did you want to go into law?

My Dad and I used to watch every episode of Perry Mason and The Paper Chase when I was growing up. To me those programs embodied the nobility and importance of the legal profession, and played a big part in my decision to go into law. My dad was also a lawyer, and in many ways I wanted to follow in his footsteps, both athletically and professionally, so those were my biggest influences.

What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a professional athlete of some kind. Again, my Dad was a big influence. He played professional baseball and semi-pro basketball. My grandfather also played professional baseball. But he never pushed me into any one sport so I played them all growing up. In the end I wasn’t good enough to be a professional in any of them, and that is when I made my final decision to go into law. I wanted to be a trial lawyer because it was the part of the legal profession that most closely reminded me of sports.

Where did you grow up?

Many would claim I have not grown up yet. I was born in Miami, Florida and lived there until I was 15, at which time I moved to Atlanta and went to Tucker High School.

What does “family” mean to you?

Family means everything. It is unconditional love and support. Whether you have daily contact or very sporadic contact with other members of your family, they are always there for you and you are always there for them.

Why do you love your job?
I love my job as a mediator because I get a level of satisfaction bringing parties together to resolve cases that I do not get as a litigator. Even though you will hear people say that a good settlement means nobody leaves happy, I have found for the most part that a good settlement leaves everyone satisfied. In litigation, after a trial, generally one side is happy and the other is not, even though both sides may have fought hard and fair to win, and both sides felt they should have won.

What is your favorite food?

That one is too hard to answer because I love food (and it shows). I love a perfectly cooked steak, a great pasta dish, most any type of seafood, Peking duck, Chik-fil-a, and the cookies at Miles.

What would you say your spirit animal is?

I have never been asked this one before. Probably a cat. I’m social when I want to be, independent when I want to be, finicky for sure, like to give and receive affection, and occasionally hack up a hairball.

What is your favorite sport?

When I was young anything, but now my favorite sport to play is golf, followed by tennis, softball and rollerblading. My favorite sport to attend is hockey, though I don’t get to do that anymore since we no longer have a hockey team. I have season tickets to UGA football and the Braves.

How do you unwind?

Golf is at the top of the list. I would play every day if I could. To me, nothing relaxes me or gets my mind off things better than a round of golf with friends or strangers. Next choice is the beach, any beach, but my favorite is Kiawah Island. Great place to relax and unwind. Other things I like to do to unwind include a nice dinner out, movies, working out, and on occasion getting together with some friends for trivia.

What is your favorite thing about Atlanta?

Atlanta is great for the things I love to do. I love to golf, and Atlanta has a lot of great places to play. I love to eat, and Atlanta has tons of great restaurants. I love sports, and Atlanta is a great place to play or watch sports. Even though I wasn’t asked, what is my least favorite thing about Atlanta? Definitely the pollen in the Spring.

To find out more about Glenn or to book him for your next mediation, click here:

July 9, 2015 No Comments

By Burke Johnson

What you want
Baby, I got it
What you need
You know I got it
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect. . . .

Here now are a few pointers on the topic of respect in the context of personal injury mediation.

Plaintiff’s counsel: Respect the adjuster

Occasionally I find that plaintiffs’ lawyers do not respect the insurance claim professionals who attend mediations. Sometimes, the adjuster may be relatively new. More often, however, the adjuster is a seasoned professional; someone for whom this is not “the first rodeo,” as a senior adjuster I encountered early in my career would always say.

The claim representatives who attend mediations are educated. They have been through training programs with the insurance companies that employ them. They have received many hours of ongoing continuing education and training. Plaintiffs’ attorneys need to understand and respect the level of knowledge these adjusters bring to the table.

Adjusters also handle incredibly heavy caseloads. They do their best to be knowledgeable about the case when they arrive at mediation. However, if they do not seem to have a firm grasp on the details of the case, plaintiff’s counsel should respectfully point out where they have misapprehended the facts.

Plaintiff’s lawyers also should know that rarely, if ever, does the claim representative at mediation “shoot from the hip” with regard to case evaluation and negotiation. As I have written before, settlement authority in cases is established well before the mediation. Typically, and depending on the size of the claim, claims are reviewed at several levels before settlement authority is established. Plaintiffs’ lawyers should respect the amount of work and analysis that goes into evaluating a claim, even if they do not agree with the value assigned to the case.

Defense Counsel: Respect the plaintiff

While some cases truly may be frivolous, most are not. In the majority of personal injury cases I mediate, a person truly has been hurt. Even if the defense team does not believe the defendant is liable; that the defendant’s actions caused the injury; or that the injury is a serious as the plaintiff contends, the defense team must show respect for the plaintiff. For that person, the injury they sustained is very real.

For many plaintiffs, the feeling of lack of respect begins soon after the incident that gives rise to the claim. To the insurance company, the claim investigation is just business. To the plaintiff, it is very personal. They do not understand why so much inquiry needs to be made or why the initial investigation takes so long.

If the claim does not settle without hiring a lawyer and then filing suit, plaintiffs often think the insurance company is just trying to wear them down. They do not understand the discovery process. They see no reason for the defense lawyer to dig into their background and obtain high-school records and records from a doctor they saw for a sore throat ten years before. They do not understand the months of discovery and delays in getting their cases to court.

Having conducted hundreds of mediations as either a lawyer or mediator, I have witnessed many times a defense lawyer or insurance claim representative sitting in the opening session of a mediation looking through files, checking phones, and appearing generally disinterested during the presentation of the plaintiff’s case. This shows a lack of respect for the plaintiff and for plaintiff’s counsel. As I always say in my opening remarks, there is a big difference between just hearing what someone is saying and in actually listening to that person. During the plaintiff’s opening statement, the defense lawyer and claim representative should put away the phones, put away the files, and actively listen to what the plaintiff has to say. This conveys sincere respect for the plaintiff.

Finally, many cases I mediate involve plaintiffs who are, for lack of a better term, underprivileged. They may be poor; uneducated; an immigrant; or some other individual that society sometimes sleights. They believe that if nowhere else, if they go to court, they will gain some respect. Because mediation is now the “New Day In Court,” plaintiffs need to feel the same degree of respect during the mediation that they believe they would get in the courtroom.

To Learn More about Team Nutter Mediator Burke Johnson or to book him for your next mediation, please visit his booking page on our website under Team Nutter.

July 7, 2015 No Comments

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