Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services

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February 29, 2016 No Comments

Team Leader Joe Murphey has been named a 2016 ADR Champions “Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal. He is the only mediator in Georgia to receive such distinction this year.

Joe was recognized for his outstanding career as a full-time mediator, as well as his meaningful contribution to the ADR industry. He is one of the most sought after mediators in the Southeast, having mediated more than 2,000 cases.

“It is no surprise to me that Joe has been honored in this manner,” said Miles founder John Miles. “He is the most skilled mediator I’ve observed, and this is why he’s the most requested mediator in the state. However, as the owner of Miles, I’ve been most impressed by Joe’s ability to recruit, train and mentor new mediators. He manages the largest and most profitable team in the company.”

Joe Murphey is a founding member of the Georgia Academy of Mediators and Arbitrators, as well as the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, associations recognizing the top 5% of neutral attorneys in the state, and nation. He was a civil litigator with Crim & Bassler, LLP for nearly 20 years before devoting his practice to mediation. He joined Miles in 2007 and became a Team Leader in 2009, and since that time, he has been an integral part of the company’s success.

According to Joe, his personal and professional philosophy is that “making a human connection with the parties must precede settlement of the case. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. I’ve laughed with folks, cried with them, and prayed with them, at mediation. You must be willing to do whatever it takes to connect.”

Read the Entire Special Report

To view the full list of honorees, check out National Law Journal’s special report “ADR Champions Trailblazers”—on newsstands Feb. 29.

See Joe’s profile in the special report HERE.

February 23, 2016 No Comments

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Miles Team Leaders Available on the Georgia Coast

Effective immediately, John Miles and Team Leaders Susan Forsling and Joe Murphey are available for mediations and arbitrations in Savannah, Brunswick and all other Coastal Georgia areas. Patricia Stone is also available in these locations.

Our Coastal Georgia mediation team will come to you until our location is available in the next few weeks. And, in the interim, you can still expect a gourmet lunch during your mediation or arbitration.

To book John Miles, Patricia Stone, Susan Forsling, or Joe Murphey, click here.

February 17, 2016 No Comments
Team Leader Wayne Wilson

Miles is pleased to announce that mediator Wayne Wilson, Esq. has been elevated to Team Leader.

Wayne has mediated and arbitrated cases in Georgia for over 10 years and has over 25 years of experience as a trial lawyer.

“Wayne has been my most loyal mediator,” says John Miles. “He has been with Miles the longest and while I have been happy for all the past mediators who have become Team Leaders, I’m particularly pleased for Wayne. He has worked hard and has earned this honor. Wayne will make a great Team Leader not only because of his skill as a mediator but because he is so dedicated to his craft.” Miles continues, “He truly cares about everyone he mediates for. Those mediators who join his team will benefit from his experience. I look forward to watching Team Wilson grow and flourish.”

If you’ve been to Miles at any point, you have certainly seen Wayne’s welcoming face. And if you’ve mediated with him, you recognize his tireless commitment to resolve every case successfully.

“Before I was a mediator, Wayne Wilson was my first choice as a mediator,” says Team Leader Joe Murphey. “He connects with everyone in the room, builds trust, and bridges the gaps like no one else in the business. I owe my success as a mediator in very large part to the influence and inspiration of Wayne.”

Wayne has mediated on Team Murphey for the past few years, lending his experience and knowledge to his fellow team members. Known for his tenacity and trusted mediation skills, Wayne will build his team and continue mediating and arbitrating in areas of Personal Injury/Wrongful Death claims; Property Claims; Premises Liability; Subrogation/Indemnification; Insurance-Property/Casualty (Commercial Lines/Personal Lines); Business Disputes; Transportation; Product Liability; Vehicular Accidents; Insurance Coverage issues; and Contract and Business disputes.

“I am very proud and honored to join Joe Murphey, David Nutter, Greg Parent and Susan Forsling as Team Leader at Miles Mediation,” says Wayne. “I want to thank John Miles for this opportunity and hope to continue to serve our clients in the matter they deserve, along with the best group of dedicated mediators in Georgia.”

Team Le

Miles Team Leaders (left to right), David Nutter, Susan Forsling, Wayne Wilson, Greg Parent and Joe Murphey

To book Wayne or to learn more about him visit his bio , or view his mediator video on our Miles channel.

February 12, 2016 No Comments

Family Law Tips: Dividing Personal Property
by Chris Annunziata

image of family law mediator Chris Annunziata

The Rollins Case Study

I would venture to guess most family lawyers are familiar with the Glen and Danielle Rollins divorce saga. It is a cautionary tale about what can happen when two spiteful people with deep pockets get divorced and decide to fight over, of all things, doorknobs.

The Rollins reached an apparent settlement of their divorce in 2013, in which Danielle Rollins received essentially a $15 million cash settlement and Glen Rollins got the couple’s recently renovated $7 million Buckhead mansion. Despite the apparent agreement, Danielle must not have been too happy that Glen was awarded the mansion that she spent the time and over $4 million to renovate and decorate.

As reported, she took several items that had been awarded to Glen Rollins. According to Glen and court documents, Danielle also significantly vandalized the property, put “deep scratches on a marble vanity, ripped curtains, ruined a carpet and damaged antique crystal sconces.” He also claims she took 100 doorknobs “worth tens of thousands of dollars,” and replaced them with doorknobs from Home Depot. After months of continued litigation, motions for contempt and hearings, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Lane ordered Danielle to pay Glen more than $500,000 in compensation, contempt damages and attorney’s fees.

Now, I would wager that most of your clients don’t have so much personal property that they can fight it out over $300,000 in doorknobs, curtains, and patio furniture. That doesn’t mean, however, that clients won’t fight tooth and nail over their personal property or vandalize each other’s property out of spite. I once spent three hours in the Paulding County courthouse helping a couple painstakingly and equitably divide more than 30 firearms. Even when the parties both say, “Oh, no worries, we can divide the personal stuff,” there is no guarantee a fresh dispute won’t arise.

Tried-and-True Methods for Dividing Personal Property

Most clients also don’t have the disposable income to pay both you and a mediator to divide up their property. So what can you do when the clients can’t decide who gets the washer and who gets the dryer? Over the years, I’ve come across several creative methods you can suggest to help the parties reach a resolution on their own.

The “Shotgun” Approach

Giving credit where it is due, I learned of this method from Charles Medlin of Bovis, Kyle, Burch & Medlin. Charles called it the “shotgun” method but I’ve also seen it described as the “spinning shotgun.”

First, the parties agree to a list of the disputed assets and then decide which party “chooses” first. A round of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” works. The parties don’t simply choose items from the list like the NFL draft. The party that goes first gets to choose an item of property off the list and also gets to assign a dollar value. The other party then has the option to “buy” the item or “sell” the item to the other side at that price. The item and its value are then placed on the appropriate side of a ledger sheet. This process continues with the roles alternating for each successive item of property.

At the end, the total value of items on each side of the ledger is calculated and any difference in value can be equalized with other property. The threat that one party will eventually have to “pay” for overvaluing the property should mitigate the risk of one party setting inappropriate values.

The Blind Bid method

In a blind bid approach, each party creates a list of the disputed property and then places a “sealed” bid for each piece of property. The highest bidder “wins” that piece of property, which is then placed on the appropriate side of a ledger sheet. Once the bidding concludes, the value of the items on each side of the ledger is totaled up and any difference in value can be equalized with other property. Much like the shotgun approach, if one spouse intentionally overbids for the property they may have to “pay” for it elsewhere.

The “Last Cookie” Method

Another method is derived from the age-old solution to the problem of two children fighting over the last cookie. One spouse is instructed to draw up two lists of assets. The other spouse then gets to choose which list of property he or she wants. Because the spouse who drafts the list doesn’t control what he or she gets, they have an incentive to produce two lists which they would feel equally comfortable receiving.

While nothing is fool-proof, keeping both parties involved in the process should help increase post-divorce satisfaction resulting in both sides feeling as if they received a fair distribution of the personal property.

Parting Thoughts

Of course, if the parties want to mediate or arbitrate, I’m available to help you. For those of you who haven’t mediated with me at Miles, I invite you to come by and check it out. Everything at Miles Mediation is geared toward making your mediation as productive as possible. We provide all the amenities you could want – a convenient, comfortable, confidential space; catered lunch and snacks; audio-visual aids, WiFi and teleconferencing for the out-of-state party – so you can focus on the task at hand: settling your case.

February 9, 2016 No Comments

Why did you want to pursue a career in law? Was there a specific event or individual who impacted your decision? 

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 12.56.04 PMI wanted to make a difference and help people.  I hoped to do something meaningful, and the law allows for creativity. I shadowed a couple of lawyers in high school, and worked for a law firm during the summers in college.  I also worked for an attorney for a year between college and law school.  I enjoyed learning different aspects of the law, and thought a Juris Doctor degree would be valuable for any type of career.  I wanted to be a prosecutor to help victims, and I enjoyed doing jury trials in Superior Court.  I occasionally went to Juvenile Court and realized that Juvenile Courts offered the best avenue to help families and children.  I enjoy serving as a Juvenile Court Judge because of the creativity to create programs and services to help our youth and improve families.  This is one of the many reasons I enjoy mediation – it allows for creativity in problem solving and resolves disputes in a more positive way.

Why is mediation important? 

The confidential mediation process saves time waiting on cases to go to trial.  It saves money for individual parties as well as the court system, and helps cut down on the backlog of court cases. It prevents the continued stress of going through a trial in court, which can be traumatic for adults as well as children.  Also, the parties have more control when they make their own decisions regarding settlement.

What are some of the most common misconceptions about mediation?

One of the most common misconceptions is that mediation fails if no settlement is reached.  This is not true.  A primary goal is certainly to settle the case.  However, there are other goals during mediation that have significant value.  One goal is to narrow the issues of dispute. Mediation helps identify which issues remain in disagreement and clarifies the priorities of the parties. This helps the attorneys focus on the real issues. Mediation also provides information to the parties. Cases sometimes settle weeks after mediation because of something learned at the mediation.

Where Did You Grow Up?

Wilmington, NC

How did you end up in Savannah?

My husband is from Savannah and was already working here when I graduated from law school.  We were married two weeks after graduation in 1995, and I have lived in Savannah since then.

What does family mean to you?

Everything.  I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband who is also my closest friend, three fantastic children, a loving mother, two amazing sisters and a step-father and step-brother I have loved for 25 years. Our family is very close.

What are your top five personal values?

Faith. Family. Honesty. Commitment. Compassion.


What’s your favorite book?

This is a tough one because I am an avid reader. I usually read several books a week. Lately, I would say Greg Iles’ novel, The Quiet Game, but I also love the Game of Thrones book series by George Martin, Stieg Larson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo series, and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?

I would like for every child to feel safe and loved.

How do you unwind?

Reading and spending time with my husband, Ty, and our three children: Parker, Anna and Ben.

What would you sing at karaoke night?

Last Dance by Donna Summer

Who do you consider the most influential person in your life and why? 

My mother, Linda F. Robinson.  She is the strongest, most loving person I know.  She instilled values and a sense of independence in me and my two sisters.  She taught us to always do our very best and encouraged us to work toward our goals. My father died when I was 20 years old, and my mother stepped up to run his business, Parker’s Collision Center. She taught us to rely on our faith, family and friends.

What is your favorite thing about Coastal Georgia?

Not the gnats!  I enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of the water, and the wildlife on the marshes is beautiful.  Having lived in Wilmington, another coastal town, I like having access to the beaches and rivers along the coast. Spending time with my family on the water is a favorite activity as well.