Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services

ATLANTA OFFICE:
6 Concourse Pkwy., Suite 1950

Atlanta, GA 30328
(678) 320-9118

SAVANNAH OFFICE:
17 Park of Commerce Blvd.
Suite 301

Savannah, GA 31405
(912) 417-2879
All Fax: (404) 389-0831

January 30, 2017 No Comments
Wendy Williamson, Esq.

by Wendy Williamson, Esq.

No matter the hats your wear, the shoes you stand in, the faces you look into or the space you occupy, you will encounter disputes, difficult conversations, and angry people. When you hit these rough patches, you can either suffer loss and frustration or you can embrace those people and moments as opportunities. I love teaching mediators and managers the practice of mediation and conflict resolution because I know that I am teaching an invaluable life and work skill which is vitally important to progress along modern life’s journey. If you are in the business of managing or resolving disputes, the communication and negotiation skills practiced in mediation training will become your most important and productive tools. Please join me in Civil Mediator Training to begin your challenging and rewarding practice of mediation.

Click here for more information about the training program, or call 678-320-9118 or 912-417-2879.


 

Wendy Williamson, Esq. is a mediator and instructor with Miles in Savannah and Atlanta.  She has over 20 years of mediation experience and is widely considered one of the top mediation trainers in Georgia.  To schedule a mediation with Wendy, please call 678-320-9118 or visit her online calendar.

January 30, 2017 No Comments

We’ve recently added a new Civil Mediation Training program at Miles.

The 28-hour civil mediation training course is a practical, comprehensive, hands-on immersion in mediation and the art of managing conflict. The training is available to anyone seeking to learn to resolve conflict, bring closure and build relationships, including professionals in law, psychology, education, social work, human resources, religious entities, and non-profit and corporate management. Upon completion of the training course and the 12-hour practicum, participants will be eligible to register as a mediator.

The training program is led by award-winning mediator and trainer, Wendy Williamson, Esq. Wendy has 30+ years of experience conducting civil and domestic mediations and has trained hundreds of attorneys and professionals in her capacity as a certified mediation trainer.

“I love teaching mediators and managers the practice of mediation and conflict resolution because I know that I am teaching an invaluable life and work skill,” said Ms. Williamson. “If you are in the business of managing or resolving disputes, the communication and negotiation skills practiced in mediation training will become your most important and productive tools.”

The monthly training program will be offered Miles’ locations in Savannah and Atlanta. Tuition is $1050 for the 28-hour course and $350 for the mediation practicum—which is required to register as a certified mediator with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution.

“We are excited to announce that the number one mediation firm now offers mediation training courses in Savannah and Atlanta,” said John Miles, founder of Miles Mediation.  “This course is perfect for attorneys, executives or anyone interested in dispute resolution.”

For more information about the training program, call 678-320-9118 or 912-417-2879, or visit: http://milesmediation.com/general-civil-mediation-training/

January 29, 2017 No Comments

Jennifer Grippa will present on effective mediation strategies at The Seminar Group’s upcoming Insurance in the Construction Industry conference on March 23 & 24, 2017. Lynn Roberson will also be in attendance, as another representative of Team Forsling. 

The conference will cover topics from Case Law Updates to current complex issues such as Duty to Defend, Duty to Settle, Additional Insured Endorsements, and OCIPs, CCIPs, WRAPs and Non-Traditional Insurance. It will also address ethical considerations; such as The Cumis Doctrine, Single Versus Multiple Occurrences Under a CGL Insurance Policy, Builders Risk Insurance v. Commercial General Liability Insurance.

The Insurance in the Construction Industry conference is ideal for attorneys and insurance professionals; attendees will receive the following CLE credit:

GA CLE: 9.5 Hours, including 1.0 Ethics
GA Insurance: 12.0 Property Hours
IRMI: 7.0 Reaccreditation Credits
For more information on the conference, click here.

Jennifer Grippa, Esq. is a mediator and arbitrator with Miles in Atlanta.  She has over 15 years of litigation experience, specializing in construction law. To schedule a mediation or arbitration with Jennifer, please call 678-320-9118 or visit her online calendar.

January 19, 2017 No Comments

Today John Miles continued his tradition of serving as a faculty member at the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association’s (GDLA) annual Trial & Mediation Academy.

The GDLA Trial & Mediation Academy is designed for defense lawyers “seeking to become more accomplished and successful at trial or in mediation.”

John is extremely passionate about helping attorneys learn more about successfully trying cases at mediation.

To request John as a speaker at your next event, please email mdickson@milesmediation.com


John Miles is the founder of Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services. To schedule a mediation or arbitration with John, please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.

 

January 17, 2017 No Comments

by David Nutter, Esq.

One of the great privileges of a mediator is that every day you have a front row seat to a miraculous phenomenon. Process has within itself the power of peace. As warring parties turn their attention to a potential resolution and away from the source of the strife, dramatic changes begin to happen: to the parties, to the other participants, and to their perceptions of the problem itself. The change is as dramatic as water to a parched plant. The trained eye sees it immediately.

What’s the secret? The power is contained within the process itself. The effective mediator is the captain of the vessel, but the process itself is the river that runs to resolution. Why? The answer lies within the human heart. By nature, we are all conflicted creatures. One part craves to be victor in the midst of life’s conflicts; the other part yearns for resolution and peace. The active embrace of a process of negotiation has the potential to unlock the power of peace in each of our hearts. If we step into the process with an open heart to a reasonable resolution, the process itself will unveil the pathway to peace.

I wonder if the same pathway to peace is available to us today as a nation? Certainly! It all depends on our hearts. The reality is that at any given moment, I always think I am right about whatever I think should be done regarding the various issues of public policy facing our land. But after fifty-five years of living on the planet, I have discovered (sometimes quite painfully) that I am not always right. Our governmental processes are designed for us to come together in conversation to work together towards unity. Indeed, historians tell us that the word “parliament” derives from the French word “parler,” which means to speak. Thus, in its ideal, our congress and president and courts are to be a community of conversation leading to consensus. This governmental process is available in the United States and a few other places in the world. Everywhere else is under the dictatorship of some dogma or another.

Now, any student of real history (as compared to the patriotic or unpatriotic fictions we are usually fed in school) is aware that the ideal is never reached perfectly, and in some stages of our history, not at all. But it is our process that always contains within itself the possibility of peace; and thus, it is the process itself—not the particular players or policies of any given moment—that must be preserved. The process is paramount.

I fear that we are in danger today of forgetting that. If you do not like the outcome of the latest election, then there will be another one in two years. Our two-hundred and forty years of practice teaches us that, under changing labels, liberals and conservatives, progressives and pragmatists, centralizers and de-centralizers, moralists and immoralists, have been winning and losing elections and wielding and losing power throughout. And the truth is that they are all sometimes and partially right and sometimes wrong. Most real truth contains some paradox. If we travel too far down a particular trail of truth, we one day wake up in a wilderness of error. But our process, our community of conversation, always provides the needed correction.

Only once in our history did we turn away from our wonderful process and instead choose to exalt our competing dogmas. The results were deadly and devastating. The Civil War is fun to read about but it was an utter disaster to the people who lived and died through it. We have a great governmental process, which I believe is a gift from God to us. May we embrace it and engage one another with mutual respect, turning away from what divides us, and seeking solutions that we all can accept. The policy results won’t ever be perfect, but in the process, we will find again the power of peace.

 


Team Leader David Nutter has successfully mediated and arbitrated over 1,500 cases since joining Miles. His team specializes in complex business disputes, employment, corporate and partnership litigation and dissolutions, and banking and finance. To schedule a mediation or arbitration with Mr. Nutter please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.

 

January 12, 2017 No Comments

by John K. Miles, Jr.

I remember little about some cases, and I’ve completely forgotten others. For my clients, however, the day the jury returned its verdict was among the most significant in their lives. A loss for me was disappointing; for the plaintiff it was devastating. I was arguing a position, but the position didn’t belong to me. I was not the one who was damaged. I did not look into the jurors’ eyes and share my story. My clients did.

The client’s story contained many painful and emotional facts significant to her. From my point of view, an adverse trial result was a loss for the client. From the client’s point of view, the jurors heard what she had to say and didn’t agree with her.

Some years ago I tried a case for an elderly woman who broke her shoulder when she tripped and fell in a store. As is true in many premises liability cases, the issue was liability, not damages. The defendant never questioned the extent of my client’s injury or the effect it had on her. I remember how embarrassed she was to testify about the effects of the shoulder injury. As is true of her generation, she did not like discussing personal matters in public. On the stand she recounted to the jury how she could no longer unclasp her bra from the back.

Liability was the issue for the jury as well. In this case a raised floor tile caused the fall. The jury believed everything my client said about the incident. They never doubted her injury or the reasonableness of her damages. They had to determine whether the store had superior knowledge of the condition that caused the fall.

Given the facts that no one else had tripped on the tile and the nature of the defect was minor, the jury decided in favor of the store. Frankly, it was the correct decision. Because the defendant never made a settlement offer, we were forced to try the case. It was a long shot, but we took it. We put up a good case, but we lost.

While the result was discouraging, it was—from my perspective—expected. The same could not be said for my client. After the judge read the verdict, she looked at the jury and said, “How could you?”

I was surprised and somewhat embarrassed by my client’s outburst. I assumed her conduct was due to disappointment over the loss, coupled with the realization that she didn’t receive money for all her time and trouble. Walking her to her car, I came to realize that it was about more than that. She wept as she explained that what hurt the most was that the jury hadn’t believed her. I could not convince her that the verdict was no reflection on her credibility. I failed to realize that my client was expressing sorrow over her sense of rejection. She had revealed something painful and personal, and she lost. She made herself vulnerable, and she had been rejected.

In Everybody’s All-American, Dennis Quaid plays a former LSU football player who longs for his days of gridiron glory. As a star athlete, he had basked in the cheers from the crowd. The cheering ceased when he graduated. He found it difficult to replace what he felt when a stadium full of adoring fans chanted his name.

The day comes when LSU decides to honor his championship team. He is lined up on the field with his former teammates. One by one the announcer calls their names, but the crowd is not cheering. Quaid’s character looks around in alarm at the fans who, rather than cheering, are engrossed in conversation or making their way to the concession stands. The audience can see the disappointment on his face as he waits for his name to be called. When his name is called, the crowd erupts in cheers. He breaks into a huge smile as he acknowledges his fans. As the camera pans away, we see that the cheers are not for Quaid. The current LSU team has taken the field. Upon realizing what has happened, he is devastated.

For some, the thought of rejection is unbearable. Just as for Quaid, plaintiffs can’t imagine having a jury find against them. They refuse to invest so much of themselves in a process that could result in failure.

It goes without saying that I enjoy movies. Occasionally, I even rent a romantic comedy. The story is predictable. Boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy gets girl. The climactic scene of the movie involves the boy (imagine Hugh Grant) rushing across town to stop his beloved from marrying the wrong man. He always arrives just in the nick of time. The girl has realized she can’t go through with a marriage to a man she doesn’t love. Boy and girl live happily ever after or until the sequel.

While we typically root for true love, many of us are reluctant to risk rejection. If we become vulnerable, we lose control. We risk being hurt. We choose to guard our heart rather than risk pain. What is true for the one in love is also true for plaintiffs. Both have a choice. They can bear their souls and risk rejection, or they can play it safe. Hollywood storylines aside, most of us prefer to play it safe, particularly with things that really matter to us. Mediation offers an easier choice for the plaintiff motivated by fear.

Properly conducted mediations allows the plaintiff an opportunity to be heard, to fully express himself in a safe environment without fear of rejection. The defendant is obviously not required to agree with the plaintiff. However, by listening respectfully to the plaintiff and by participating in the negotiating process, the defendant helps eliminate any fear of rejection that the plaintiff might have.

The mediation process alleviates the fear motivators: public speaking, formidable environment, compromising evidence, rejection. Because it is based on compromise, mediation does not allow the plaintiff to get all she wants. She is nevertheless affirmed. She has a hearing and obtains a result that validates the significance of what happened to her.

Click here to read “The Fear Motivator” (Part 1)

*This excerpt is taken from John Miles’s book, “A New Day in Court.” 


 

John Miles is the founder of Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services. To schedule a mediation or arbitration with him,  please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.

 

January 10, 2017 No Comments
The Fear Motivator by Mediator John Miles

by John K. Miles, Jr.

 

“At the beginning of every act of faith, 
there is often a seed of fear.”

—Max Lucado

“We were harassed at every turn—
conflicts on the outside, fears within.”

—2 Corinthians 7:5

Persons motivated by fear typically resolve their case rather than proceed with litigation. The fear of what might happen is greater than any benefit they may achieve at trial.

For some, the fear is of public speaking. Not too long ago I heard about the finding that most people fear public speaking more than they fear dying. One could assume that of those in attendance at a funeral, most would rather be the deceased than give the eulogy. Those of us who make our living in court find it hard to identify with this fear. While we may have some anxiety before we begin a jury trial or argue a motion before a judge, we have no fear that would prevent us from going forward. Most plaintiffs do not earn their living from the legal system. For them, the natural fear of speaking publicly is compounded by the formality of the legal process.

Courthouses and courtrooms can be intimidating. Attorneys can recall how they felt when they entered the courtroom to argue their first case. Also, the method of communication in court is unnatural for people who are not accustomed to it. Before one can testify, a person is placed under oath. Most plaintiffs want to tell their story in their own way. The system requires that they first answer questions from their attorney and then from opposing counsel. Plaintiffs talk about painful and personal issues before an audience of complete strangers. Given the fears of public speaking, intimidation, embarrassment, and rejection, it is not surprising that most plaintiffs are fearful of trial.

For some, the natural fear of trial is coupled with fear of what the litigation process might reveal. Not too long ago I mediated a case that both attorneys agreed had significant value. Nonetheless, the plaintiff showed no interest in pursuing the case. Against her attorney’s advice, she accepted a low settlement offer. Following the mediation, I learned that the plaintiff was having an affair. She was afraid that if the case went to trial, her secret life would be exposed.

On another occasion, I was mediating a sexual harassment case. The defendant denied that he had done anything inappropriate. During the course of the mediation, the plaintiff attorney requested that I ask the defendant if the defendant’s wife knew about the plaintiff’s allegations. The defendant stated that his wife knew everything and that she was in complete support. The plaintiff’s case did not seem that strong to me, yet the plaintiff refused to reduce her demand. At the end of the day, the plaintiff attorney sent me into the defendant’s room with their final offer and a notice for the deposition of the defendant’s wife. The defendant responded by saying he would be happy to make his wife available for deposition and that he would see the plaintiff in court. The case did not go to court. It settled the next day for the plaintiff’s last demand. I don’t know what the defendant told his wife.

I suspect, however, that it is not the fear of public speaking or revelation of an unsavory secret that drives many to settle their case rather than risk trial. I believe that most people who are primarily motivated by fear are afraid of rejection. Those of us who try cases for a living love what we do. We are at home in the arena of a trial. We work hard for our clients, and we want to win. A fierce, competitive spirit is at the heart of every litigator. I imagine that the anxiety we experience while we await the jury’s decision is similar to what football players experience as they watch a kicker attempt a game-winning field goal. The livelihoods of the litigator and the football player depend on the outcome of the game. We need to win more cases than we lose. And in the end, there will always be another chance to do battle.

The plaintiffs, on the other hand, view the game from a different perspective. This case is their only chance. What the jury decides will have a dramatic and lasting impact on their lives. These two ways of looking at the same situation remind me of a story I heard about the difference between a chicken and a pig when it comes to their role in breakfast. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.

Click here to read The Fear Motivator (Part 2)

*This excerpt is taken from John Miles’s book, “A New Day in Court.”


John Miles is the founder of Miles Mediation & Arbitration. To schedule a mediation or arbitration with him,  please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.

January 5, 2017 No Comments

by David Nutter, Esq.

One of the common misperceptions about peacemaking is that it is born out of weakness. Actually, for lasting and effective peacemaking, the opposite is true. Only from the solid ground of strength can we build a lasting structure of peace.

The history of nations provides many examples. President Theodore Roosevelt was viewed by his critics as a jingoistic war-monger. But a review of his actual record reveals that his tenure as President produced a period of great peace: the only real conflict being the one in the Philippines that he inherited from President McKinley. His presidency ended with The Great White Fleet of the U.S. Navy sailing completely around the world signaling security through strength.

Similarly, Winston Churchill was decried throughout the 1930’s as a warmonger as he repeatedly warned the British and French governments that they needed to deal with the growing Hitler menace from the ground of preparedness and strength. Indeed, Churchill believed to his dying day that WWII could have been averted if the United States had embraced its own international duties, along with the British and French, in the years following WWI.

The same seeming paradox applies in other peacemaking arenas including litigation. It is the one fully prepared to try their case who will obtain an effective peace. Lack of preparation and resolve results in capitulation, not peacemaking. Some battles will need to be fought, and some cases will need to be tried. Those known to be willing to fervently fight are the ones most likely to obtain an effective peace. To be sure, motives matter. If one is determined to always fight for fighting’s sake, and views every peace as a capitulation, there will never be peace. But if one is prepared to fight while preferring an honorable peace, more often than not a reasonable resolution will be at hand.


Team Leader David Nutter has successfully mediated and arbitrated over 1,500 cases since joining Miles. His team specializes in complex business disputes, employment, corporate and partnership litigation and dissolutions, and banking and finance. To schedule a mediation or arbitration with Mr. Nutter please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.

January 3, 2017 No Comments

Congratulations to Jennifer Grippa for being named in Georgia Trend‘s 2016 “Legal Elite” for her expertise in Real Estate and Construction Law.  Georgia Trend’s annual “Legal Elite” issue honors attorneys selected by members of the Georgia Bar as the most effective in 14 different practice areas. Thousands of Georgia attorneys responded to the survey and voted for attorneys they deemed the best in Georgia.

To view the PDF version of the article click here. 

As a member of Team Forsling, Jennifer leads our construction mediation group and also handles complex business litigation and personal injury cases. She is highly regarded in the construction law field for her both her extensive litigation background and her effectiveness in resolving difficult mediation cases.

 


 

Jennifer Grippa Esq. is a mediator and arbitrator with Miles in Atlanta.  She has over 15 years of litigation experience, specializing in construction law. To schedule a mediation or arbitration with Jennifer, please call 678-320-9118 or visit her online calendar.