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.
COVINGTON, Ky.—The Diversity Law Institute has selected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Bill Geisen as the recipient of the 2023 Diversity Award.
Shannon Sprinkle and Evan Elam take a look at the enforceability of electronically executed arbitration agreements in this Stites & Harbison Client Alert.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Chambers High Net Worth selected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Gregory D. Smith for inclusion in its 2023 guide in the category of Family/Matrimonial for USA: Tennessee. He is one of only four attorneys honored for Tennessee. Chambers High Net Worth ranks top lawyers and law firms in the international private wealth market. This is Smith’s third time earning the honor.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Nashville Business Journal recently honored Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys Greg Smith and Lauren Paxton Roberts with the 2023 Best of the Bar awards. Smith has been honored nine times for family law. This is Roberts’ first time being honored in the litigation and dispute category.
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Construction attorney Bill Geisen is set to discuss contract terms in this seminar presented by Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) on August 23, 2023.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) has appointed Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Whitney Frazier Watt as Chair of its Product Liability Committee. She will serve a two-year term.
LEXINGTON, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC welcomes attorney Caroline A. Augenstein to the firm’s Lexington, Ky., office. She joins the Construction Service Group.