Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services

(678) 320-9118

(912) 417-2879


June 29, 2017 No Comments
Mediator Wayne Wilson

by Wayne Wilson, Esq.


Miles Mediation & Arbitration has handled a wide array of premises liability cases.  And with good reason.  A premises liability case is probably more suited for the mediation process than any other personal injury claim.  Mediation is all about the elimination of risk for all parties concerned.  And there can be no doubt that premises cases carry the greatest risks for plaintiffs and defendants alike.

Whether the property involved is a personal residence, a commercial property or public property the liability issues of negligence, knowledge, comparative/contributory negligence, assumption of risk, apportionment, etc. almost always come into play. Ordinarily, it is the property owner who is the defendant in a premises liability case.  However, both commercial and residential property owners often lease all or part of their property to tenants, who may have responsibility, by the terms of a lease or otherwise, for property maintenance.  Contractors working on, or who have worked on, the property involved may have responsibility for premises accidents. Management companies are often additional parties, as well as vendors making deliveries of products to stores. All of these entities face exposure for creating or allowing conditions to exist that might result in potential liability for the parties as well.

Add to the equation the likelihood that you have a “target/deep-pocket defendant” that might be loved, or loathed, by the general public, and the concept of “risk” creates dark shadows of uncertainty.

As an attorney or claims specialist, you deal with the many issues present in a premises liability case on a daily basis. These matters become somewhat common place as just part of your daily routine. You have the luxury of “time” to sit down, study, discuss, and work through the issues in order to arrive at a proper decision. But what of a lay person on a jury being asked to deal with all of these legal and factual issues in the heat of battle, commonly known as a jury trial? It is no wonder that perhaps no other type of case involves more jury verdict uncertainty, for plaintiffs, defendants and insurers alike, than premises liability matters.

Does anyone really want to place the decision regarding responsibility in these confusing situations in the hands of 12 strangers?  If the answer to that question is “No”, then the mediation process wherein the parties with the greatest knowledge, interest, exposure, and fear have total control over the decision-making process is by far the best and most viable alternative for resolving the dispute in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

So why mediate the premises liability case at Miles Mediation?



The panel at Mile has mediators with many years of experience in dealing with premises liability mattrs, both as litigators and mediators. As litigators, we have had the “privilege” of great successes and “not-so great” defeats at the hands of juries. We have won cases we should have lost, and lost cases we should have won. And we have experience in matters (having either litigated cases of this nature and/or mediated such cases) including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Slip/Trip & Fall – defective surfaces or foreign objects
  • Defective stairways/steps/pavement
  • Parking lots (uneven/pot holes/signage) premises liability case
  • Deck collapses
  • Inadequate warning
  • Snow and ice
  • Swimming pools
  • Elevators/Escalators
  • Store displays/falling objects
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Inadequate hand-rails
  • Inadequate Security – nightclubs, bars, etc.
  • False arrest/imprisonment/malicious prosecution cases
  • Construction accidents
  • Physical assault, including sexual assault.
  • Hotel/Motels
  • Restaurants
  • Churches
  • Major shopping malls, and stores w/in the mall
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools
  • Public property (streets, sidewalks, government buildings, etc.)
  • Private residences


For many parties, an important advantage of mediation is the private resolution of their dispute.  This is often the case where the reputation of the parties involved, whether a business which wants to protect its good name, or a plaintiff who might prefer to keep his or her name private due to the personal nature of an event.  A related concern of some parties may be avoiding a reported decision where an adverse precedent would encourage the filing of additional cases against the defendant or create “bad law” for a plaintiff’s position.

Convenience- Eliminate Unecessary Time and Expense

The trial of a case is never at the convenience of the parties.  It is at the convenience of the judge.  Mediation provides the parties with the element of control.  The time, manner and method of the process is within the control of the parties. This is a factor that can be very important for a plaintiff who is unfamiliar with the litigation process and sees it as his enemy rather than his friend. It is difficult having to deal with the personal issues involving the event – it can be even more onerous having to deal with the world of litigation in which he now finds himself. 

For the Plaintiff – “Why has it taken me three years to get the case to trial?” For the Defendant – “I have a business to run.” For a witness – “This is not my fight. I don’t have time for this.” For everyone – “The costs are ridiculous.  The only people who win in this game are the attorneys, and I don’t like attorneys.”

Eliminate Uncetainty and Risk

The elimination of uncertainty/risk is the most important factor in mediating a premises liability case.  No other type of case involves more jury verdict uncertainty for plaintiffs, defendants, and insurers, than premises liability matters.  It is only at Mediation that the parties can study their relative positions as to liability and damages through a lens of compromise and eliminate any uncertainty and risk of an unfavorable jury verdict.

Team Leader Wayne Wilson, Esq is a mediator and arbitrator with Miles in Atlanta.  He has mediated more than 1,000 cases during his tenure with Miles. He specializes primarily in Premises Liability cases; Commercial Liability claims, Automobile/Trucking, Property Damage, and Subrogation Claims.  To schedule a mediation or arbitration with Wayne, please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.

June 22, 2017 No Comments
Sally Atkins

Sally Akins was recently was recently installed as President of GDLA during the 50th Annual Meeting, held June 15-18 at the Breakers in Palm Beach, FL.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to serve as the President of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association. GDLA is comprised of the very best civil defense lawyers in the state of Georgia. I am looking forward to an outstanding year as GDLA celebrates its 50th anniversary and reflects on all of our wonderfully talented past leaders who formed the organization and helped make GDLA what it is today.” said Akins.

Akins is based in our Savannah office and mediates and arbitrates in Atlanta and out-of-state, upon request. Sally handles complex cases in areas of Premises Liability; Automobile and Trucking; Professional Negligence (medical, legal and pharmaceutical); Litigation involving counties and municipalities, including Civil Rights cases and Zoning cases; Insurance Coverage Litigation and Products Liability. Furthermore, she is accustomed to handling significant 6- and 7-figure settlements.

To learn more about Sally Akins, click here. 


June 14, 2017 No Comments
Mediator Roy Paul

Miles is pleased to announce the addition of Mediator Roy Paul. He is based in our Savannah office and is the newest member of Team Leader Danny Cohen’s group.

Roy has served as a mediator for more than a decade and handles primarily business dissolution and business disputes, as well as estate & probate, construction, and personal injury matters. He is also a registered arbitrator.

“Roy has been a well-respected  litigator in the Coastal Empire for over 30 years,” said Team Leader Danny Cohen. “For the last decade, he has married his litigation practice with a successful mediation practice.  Roy certainly understands the litigation process, but undoubtedly his expertise in the area of complex  business disputes and in the  contested estate and probate arena make him a perfect fit for the Miles- Savannah office.  We are so pleased to have him on board, giving the Coastal office more options in the alternative dispute resolution area.”

To learn more about Roy, click here.

To book Roy for a mediation or arbitration, please call 912-417-2879 or click here.

June 13, 2017 No Comments
Mediator Cliff Cobb, Esq.

by Cliff Cobb, Esq.

I have participated in numerous mediations in my 30 plus years of law practice on both defense and plaintiff sides. The current attorney case load has become a challenge to case management and moving cases toward trial or settlement as soon as possible.  More emphasis has been placed on trying to resolve cases as early as possible.  Most cases settle prior to trial and at mediation as it has become the most effective and efficient method of resolving a case.

As a mediator, I reflect on my experiences from a different view, but with the purpose of maximizing the settlement potential.  The probability of a successful mediation outcome can be increased significantly with each party being fully prepared, viewing the case from the other party’ viewpoint, and being flexible in creating different potential settlement outcomes.  Reliance on the mediator to guide the process is important.  The absence of any one of these can prevent a settlement.


Mediation preparation requires that you not only know your case and have all necessary documents to support your position, but to also know the other party’ case and evidence to support their case.  Preparation for mediation should be treated similarly as trial preparation in proof of your case.  It is expected that each side has fully investigated the case and conducted sufficient discovery regardless of whether the case is in litigation.  The more information shared prior to mediation the better the probability for a successful mediation.  A case can be derailed before the mediation begins in the absence of complete information.  Also, a case can only be evaluated properly by the other side with the information provided.  “Last minute” information will not allow sufficient time for each side to evaluate for mediation.  This is especially true in the corporate and insurance arenas which can involve different management levels, depending on the size of the claim made, to provide the appropriate settlement authority.  In a personal injury case, that means having all medical records and evidence of lost income and any permanency of injury.  This affects both areas of special and general damage claims.  Experts are often relied upon to provide much of this information.  Expert information is normally found, on the issues of liability and damages, in the police or accident/incident report and medical records/bills. It is also important to have medical opinions on causation and specific medical/scientific information to “link up” or refute the relationship to the claim if causation is an issue.  While these statements seem self-evident, the required information is absent in many cases presented at mediation.  Lien information (Medicare, subrogation & ERISA issues) and litigation case loan funding to be repaid is important to know as it affects the case settlement potential.

Preparedness also means having all stakeholders present.  This means plaintiff, defendant, party representatives, and insurers (liability, UM, excess/umbrella).  Identification of all insurers and any insurance coverage issue is critical.  Other persons of influence that are not stakeholders should not be included in the mediation process (e.g., the family member, pastor, or friend).  These can only be detractors from the mediation process. Mediation

Preparedness also means preparation of your client(s) before mediation.  This includes a full discussion of the case, damages, and evaluation; mediation strategy and discussion of the opposing party’s case.  It is helpful to have a brief discussion with the mediator before the mediation date to include information intended to be provided at mediation and any pre-mediation demand and offer.  This helps the mediator develop a “blueprint” of how best to proceed with a mediation.  Any pre-mediation demand letter from plaintiff and offer from defendant should be reasonably related to the claimed damages and include exhibits referenced to highlight and support the claim.  The mediation can be affected when the pre-mediation demand or offer amount are not supported by the case facts.  It is also crucial not to increase the plaintiff’s pre-mediation demand or decrease the defendant’s pre-mediation offer without a change in underlying facts of the case.


Case information should be fully presented at the beginning of the mediation in the opening statement phase when in joint session.  The case outline of each party must include all claims made and essentially provide the same information as would be given on the witness stand at trial. This often allows for a party to vent and allows the focus to be on a party without distraction.  Some attorneys believe an abbreviated or summary opening statement is sufficient.  This approach can be counter-productive and result in the suppression of important information that the other party may need.  An opening statement also allows an attorney to show some of their trial skills.  Allowing the plaintiff to speak is another important part of the opening statement phase.  Hearing and seeing the plaintiff and how the accident affected him/her in the past, present, and potentially future, including any lost work opportunities or activity restriction, is part of the evaluation process needed to be presented early in the mediation process.  Disclosure of pre-existing conditions is important even if not directly involved in the claim.  This creates an atmosphere of “full disclosure” and credibility.  All information is especially needed for the liability insurance adjuster.  Conversely, the insurance adjuster should speak to show empathy and the committed attitude to the mediation process.  Other topics for the opening statement should include identifying any apportionment and indemnity issues, the potential for summary judgment, discussing venue, potential juror evaluation/bias, and judge assigned to the case.  The result is making an appearance of “trial readiness”, but with a mediation “mind set”.


Each party should view the case from the other party’ perspective.  The mediator can assist with evaluating the case information when in private caucus.  This often involves answering the questions of what a jury would do with the information provided and how 12 people compromise to reach a verdict.  The “mind set” at mediation is different than at trial.  Attorney advocacy “mind set” transitions into counselor “mind set” during mediation.  The client’s “mind set” must be controlled with assistance from attorney.  Forget hardened positions, flexibility and a rational “mind set” is required. This includes a compromise mentality with a reasonable settlement attitude, and patience in the mediation process.


Maximizing the benefit of a mediator begins with the tone of mediation.  Each party must exercise the utmost professionalism at all times during the mediation.  The advocacy mentality and language used must remain non-insulting or include any challenging behavior.  The order of the day is for courtesy, politeness, and respect for and by each side during any joint conference.  This allows for the crucial transition of position from “advocate” to “counselor” by counsel for each party during the mediation process.

The mediator’s role is crucial to a successful mediation.  The mediator will provide a “welcoming mentality” to all.  While the comments of a mediator in the opening session are for all, they are normally directed toward the plaintiff and other persons who have not previously participated in a mediation.  The mediation process will normally emphasize to the parties that the litigation process is on hold, benefits of mediation versus trial, control and finality of outcome with removal of doubt on trial outcome, cost and time savings, confidentiality, monetary value/exposure, and relationship preservation as applicable.  The mediator will collaborate with the parties individually to evaluate plaintiff/defendant type bias.  The various party type bias includes whether the case involves an individual or corporation (cab or trucking company, premises owner), pedestrian, vehicle driver, motorcyclist, race and gender type, physical qualities (obese, attractive), and youth.

The individual private caucus sessions allow the mediator to identify the information that can be shared with the opposing party as confidentiality is always of utmost interest and concern.  The mediator will recommend information to share with opposing party.  “Reality” testing for each side that is open-ended and non-judgmental is a crucial part in individual caucus sessions.  This includes a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses to each party’ case to evaluate risks associated with each case.  Discussion of opposing party’ expectation with the other party and reasoning for the expectation is helpful to discuss and evaluate the impact of the opposing party case.  This may include a discussion of a potential jury outcome if this case were tried a certain number of times.  The mediator will assist the parties in thinking/developing creative solutions for mutual gain.  Identifying costs of trial versus mediation resolution and attorney fee difference in demand and offer are important considerations.  Other important points of mediation are to trust the mediator to know if mediation should continue or end, allow time for each party to evaluate all shared information, and identify a potential settlement opportunity during the mediation process by being prepared to accept an offer which makes sense for your client.

Last, the mediator role of facilitating/assisting parties is to develop their resolution outcome.  The mediator experience as an attorney can be used as a resource by parties and serve in assisting each party with a case evaluation and negotiation strategy.  Understanding that no legal or financial advice is provided, the mediator’s role is to have empathy with each party and to build trust.  This includes identifying and discussing the needs and interests of each party in settlement and to reveal any party agenda that could affect the potential for a mediation settlement.  The emphasis is on interests versus positions of the parties, needs versus wants associated with party positions, tangible-dollars and/or property interest, and perception of fairness in the mediation process.  There are many mediation tools to know that may be used including (1) hard numbers exchanged separately or in combination with a bracket, (2) bracketing-traditional and reverse, (3) meeting with only the attorneys, and (4) a mediator number (silver bullet).


Terms of settlement are included in a mediation settlement memorandum.  This process cannot be taken lightly or as routine, as problems can later develop in agreeing to certain language within the settlement documents (e.g., release, lien affidavit) drafted by the attorneys from the mediation settlement memorandum.  Specificity of settlement terms in the mediation settlement memorandum is needed and should identify all material terms from the case settlement.  This includes naming all parties to the settlement, non-monetary terms (e.g., adoption of new policies, taking or refraining from certain future conduct or action, written or oral private or public apology, placement of warning signs in a premises case), monetary terms of amount to be paid  including when paid, and the paying party and to whom paid; lump sum and/or structured settlement payment(s), apportionment issues resolved, claims released and those claims preserved (e.g., tort and worker compensation cases from same incident; non-parties), mutual release of claims as applicable, indemnification by plaintiff to defendant(s), mediation costs shared or paid by one party, attorney fees, confidentiality terms applicable, medical and insurer lien responsibility, and the timing of filing the dismissal.  Last, the cooperation of all parties to settlement document implementation must be included.


Mediation doesn’t end at the mediation table, but includes mediator/party attorney contact after mediation.  For a settled case the mediator will want to have an objective review of mediation process—reflection with comments and client input/comments—(favorable and unfavorable).  For an unsettled case, there should be an exit strategy developed by each side.  Don’t be discouraged if the case doesn’t resolve at mediation.  There should be mediator/party involvement that continues the mediation process with specific interest in discussing new information expected which can be shared with all.  The point is to continue efforts as case information normally does change.


Mediation cannot be taken lightly or regarded as a routine matter by placing heavy reliance solely on the mediator.  Mediation takes commitment by all parties.  Mediation should only be used after the case has been fully investigated by all parties and after a fair exchange of information for each party’s case. Merely filing a lawsuit or making a time limited demand and then setting the case for mediation does not increase the probability of a successful mediation.  Mediation is a “mind set” which depends on not having hardened positions.  Party negotiating must be with the “mind set” focused on the potential gain and achievement and not on what you might lose or give up.  Outcomes must be beneficial to all parties recognizing that each party does not prioritize every issue the same way. This recognizes that money is not the only benefit of a successful mediation, but also includes the benefits of finality, cost, control of outcome, and respect.  Respect is shown in a successful mediation by each side having acknowledged and understood each party’ point of view and having negotiated in good faith during the entire process.  An understanding and appreciation for the many moving parts in the mediation process and each party role will result in a higher probability for a successful mediation.

Cliff Cobb, Esq. is a mediatorAtlanta.  He mediates commercial, personal injury, premises liability, product liability, auto and trucking accidents, and workers compensation disputes.  To schedule a mediation with Cliff, please call 678-320-9118 or visit his online calendar.

June 8, 2017 No Comments

What made you want to become a lawyer?
I have always enjoyed problem solving.  From an early age, I would take things apart and put them back together, such as our family computer.  That curiosity fueled a need to learn how things worked, and how to come up with ways to fix things when they did not work.

After college, I was fortunate enough to get a job tasked with developing software for a company’s internal use.  The same concepts applied – take apart what was there and improve it as it was put back together.
I viewed becoming a lawyer in much the same way.  I could help people by taking apart their situations or problems, and finding solutions that add value.  I enjoy contributing to solutions, which, in turn, means I enjoy helping people.

What is your area of expertise?
I am a business lawyer.  Throughout my career, I have assisted businesses in various ways, whether through ongoing business advice or through advocating in various forms of litigation.  I enjoy contract law, which is the lifeblood of business dealings.

What are you most proud of on your resume?
I really do not have a good answer for this question.  I look at my resume as a whole, as opposed to separate parts.  Each of the experiences contributed to who and what I am today.   Overall, I am proud of my client’s achievements, as opposed to items on my resume.  I am most proud of the fact that many of my clients view me as a valued advisor to their businesses, knowing that I am truly a part of their team.

Why did you become a mediator?
Through my litigation experience, I have seen the disruption litigation causes to businesses, distracting them from what they do best.  As an advocate, I learned to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of each dispute.  I became a mediator to assist in finding solutions to business disputes, to help minimize this disruption.  The best resolutions most often occur when they are not provided by the judge or jury, and I enjoy helping parties and their counsel find those solutions.

What is the value of Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Only what the litigants are willing to put into it.  ADR can provide litigants an opportunity to streamline their disputes.  If they come to mediation with an interest in resolving their case, mediation can offer them the opportunity to craft a resolution that would not likely be able to be done through the courts.  Moreover, a mediated resolution provides the parties the ability to control their outcome, as opposed to “taking their chances” with a judge or jury.  Arbitration provides an opportunity to minimize the public eye on disputes, and provides litigants a means and a forum to have a decision maker that has knowledge and experience in the area of law pertinent to their dispute.  Arbitration also provides a litigation format that is aimed at efficiency.

What is the most challenging part of being a mediator?
Helping come up with solutions that may not have been considered prior to mediation.

What is your mediation style/approach?
I look to facilitate solutions through understanding and applied problem solving.  I want to understand the parties’ respective positions, what they have already done to try to resolve the dispute, and what they are trying to accomplish.  I will then work to help remove the parties from the battlefield mentality so that they can hammer out the details of a deal that will allow them to get back to business.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania.  Sharpsville is a small town sitting on the Ohio boarder in Western Pennsylvania about halfway between Pittsburgh and Lake Erie.

What’s your favorite book?
I enjoy reading to learn something new, but also enjoy an occasional fiction.  I have many favorites, but the one that came to mind first is One Second After by William R. Forstchen.

What do you like to do in your spare time? How do you unwind?
I enjoy spending time with my family.  My wife and I are the proud parents of two little boys, ages 7 and 9, and our household is very active.  When not working, we are usually running around from soccer, to Cub Scouts, to swim team, etc.  Having the opportunity to be a part of their lives is the most rewarding part of mine.

Do you have a favorite quote?
I had a hard time picking between three of my favorites, so I provide three in response to a request for a favorite:
1.   “Everything is figureoutable.” – Marie Forleo

2.   “Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

3.   “Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Abraham Lincoln

What’s something your clients wouldn’t expect of you? 
I played the part of King Herod in my college’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

What movie or novel character do you most identify with?
This is “somewhat” aspirational.  I identify with the determination of Maximus from Gladiator, the loyalty of Chewbacca from Star Wars, and the adventurous intellectualism of Indiana Jones.

What characteristic do you most admire in others?

If you could have dinner with anyone living who would it be and why?
My dad, Robert Thiry.  My parents and grandparents are my foundation.  I have learned so much from my dad, and continue to learn from him all of the time.  Over the years, he has given me so much to look up to and be proud of.  We speak very regularly, but, because we live so far apart, we see each other infrequently.

June 7, 2017 No Comments

John Miles recently presented at the Litigation Management College at Emory Conference Center. The seminar was put on by the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC). John spoke to a packed auditorium on “Successful Mediation: Tips & Techniques.” In addition to his presentation, John participated in mock mediations with the seminar participants.

When asked about his involvement in the seminar, John said, “I enjoyed presenting about mediation at the FDCC Litigation Management College. I always learn something new from the excellent faculty which this year included Matthew Moffett and Michael Schroeder. I hope the students walked away with an appreciation with how to effectively communicate with the opposite side at mediation.”

This year’s seminar included an impressive group of faculty–from Atlanta-based attorneys to distinguished national speakers.

For more information about FDCC Litigation Management College, click here.





June 5, 2017 No Comments

We are proud to announce that Miles was voted the #1 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Firm by Daily Report’s Best Of Survey for the fourth year in a row. The Daily Report’s Best Of Survey is a compilation of Georgia lawyers picks for the best legal services and products. Voting was conducted online and garnered several thousand responses. The Daily Report is the foremost publication for Georgia’s entire legal community.

Miles founder John Miles said, “I’m deeply honored that Miles has once again been voted the number one ADR firm in Georgia for the fourth year in a row. We work very hard to earn the trust and respect of the legal community and it’s gratifying to be recognized as the best by our peers.”

In the same survey, Team Leader Greg Parent was voted the No.1 Mediator in Georgia for the second year in a row, and John Miles was voted the No. 3 Mediator. This is the second consecutive year John Miles was voted among the Top 3 mediators in the state.

Team Leader Greg Parent said, “It’s great to be part of an A+ organization whose sole focus is providing the best mediation and arbitration services we can to our valued customers. It is wonderful to be recognized as the top firm in that field for four straight years.”

For more information and to see a list of this year’s complete results, click here.

June 5, 2017 No Comments

Team Leader Greg Parent was voted the No.1 Mediator in Daily Report’s 2017 Best Of Survey for the second year in a row. The Daily Report’s Best Of Survey is a compilation of Georgia lawyers picks for the best legal services and products. Voting was conducted online and garnered several thousand responses. The Daily Report is the foremost publication for Georgia’s legal community.

“I continue to be amazed by Greg’s commitment to his craft,” said John Miles. “He works hard to be the best, and I’m pleased he has once again been selected as the best mediator in the state.”
Greg joined Miles in 2012 and quickly ascended to the level of Team Leader. He mediates and arbitrates cases involving high-end personal injury, premises liability, trucking liability, toxic torts and employment. He also manages a team of seven neutrals who specialize in mediation, arbitration and special master services.

Regarding his award, Greg said, “I am honored to be recognized by my peers as being the best while doing something that I love and work so hard to improve and study each and every day. It is humbling and something I share with everyone at Miles Mediation because I believe it is our shared brand of excellence that makes my successes possible.”

Miles Mediation & Arbitration Services was voted the Best ADR Firm for the fourth consecutive year in the Daily Report Best Of Survey. Founder John Miles was voted the No. 3 Mediator in the same survey. This is the second consecutive year John Miles was voted among the Top 3 mediators in the state.

To view the complete 2017 Daily Report Survey results, click here.