Stites & Harbison has a wealth of ADR experience conducting ADR sessions as either mediators or arbitrators, and in advocating on behalf of clients in the ADR setting. The firm's attorneys mediate and arbitrate all types of disputes. Ten of our firm's attorneys completed training or certification in mediation, and eight completed training or certification in arbitration. The New York City-based CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution has named three Stites & Harbison attorneys to its Panel of Neutrals. In addition, many others have received training in ADR by the American Arbitration Association, the Atlanta Justice Center, or the Mediation Center of Kentucky and regularly serve as arbitrators and mediators.
As advocates, we understand that the majority of litigation results in a negotiated settlement. We are experienced and well-equipped to achieve the best settlement results possible for our clients. We have settled hundreds of millions of dollars in claims by alternative dispute resolution. In one recent case, Stites & Harbison helped achieve a mediated settlement of $12 million in favor of the firm's client.
In our experience, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution often succeed in terminating litigation on terms acceptable to both parties. Mediation or ADR forces a plaintiff to realistically assess a case and come face-to-face with its weaknesses. Otherwise, this might not happen until the eve of trial.
In cases involving complex engineering or scientific principles, we have sometimes used a “non-lawyer neutral” in direct interface with experts retained by the adverse parties. Sometimes we do this without lawyers present; sometimes we have lawyers present, but only for the purpose of observing to ensure the fairness of the process. We have noted how much time can be saved and how many technical issues can be resolved in this manner. Mediations or arbitrations are substantially shortened, and the issues narrowed more quickly.
Examples of complex cases we successfully resolved by ADR include:
- A construction mold case involving $25 million in damage to a hotel in Charleston, S.C. Large amounts of water infiltrated the building within a year of its completion. Essentially, the entire building from the concrete structure out had to be torn down and rebuilt. Engineering issues concerned whether this was a result of construction errors in the masonry system, or design errors by the HVAC engineer inducing negative pressures and exacerbated by the humidity of the South Carolina summer. Ground-breaking scientific approaches to proof were developed in this case.
- A $40 million case involving the chemistry of flu gases generated in a coal-burning power plant, and the metallurgy of a very rarely-used grade of stainless steel that was specified for construction of a scrubber tower. We represented an international engineering and construction company that was the world's leading builder of power plants. On the other side was the last U.S. manufacturer of boilers used in power plants. Each of these companies needed the other in order to maintain its market going forward. The ADR, which followed months of aggressive litigation, was structured totally around future business arrangements between the parties.
As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into 2021 with no clear end in sight, a good question for product liability defendants is whether the pandemic will have a tolling effect on the applicable statute of limitations. In product liability cases, state law provides a statute of limitations to bar untimely-filed claims against the product manufacturer, distributor, or retailer. The point is to provide a predictable time period for a plaintiff to investigate the claim, identify the proper parties, and file suit.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has appointed Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Whitney Frazier Watt to the Board of Directors of the Governor’s Scholars Program.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Legal Aid Society has recognized Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Morgan Ward with its Outstanding Volunteer Award for 2020. Ward was one of three individuals honored with the award this year.
LEXINGTON, Ky.—Leadership Lexington has selected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Megan George as a member of the 2020-21 Leadership Lexington program.
When a construction contractor engages in a construction project, it generally purchases a commercial general liability policy (“CGL”) to broadly cover it and, frequently, the property owner for claims that might arise during the course of construction. These insurance contracts are standard forms issued by the Insurance Services Office (“ISO”) that cover accidental damage to property or personal injury claims.
Presentation by Steven Henderson and Aaron Klein to the 12th Annual Law & Regulatory Forum presented by ARTBA.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Nature Conservancy recently elected Stites & Harbison, PLLC Chair, Robert M. Connolly, to its Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Chapter.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Steven Henderson has been appointed Chair of the firm’s Construction Service Group.