MDRS Welcomes David A. Mills to the Neutral Panel

Judge David MillsIt is our great pleasure to announce the appointment of Judge David A. Mills to the MDRS Panel of Neutrals. Judge Mills’ remarkable background includes his service at the Massachusetts Appeals Court from 2001 to 2012. He has since then provided case evaluations in appellate matters, trial litigation matters, Single Justice practice, and pre-trial consultatons with a goal toward exploring alternative methods of dispute resolution. He is trained and experienced in ADR in its varied modes, receiving training with Professor Roger Fisher at the Harvard Negotiation Project in 1989. Judge Mills has also participated in extensive mediation training with MWI and MCLE in Boston, and has acted as a mediator in the Salem, Haverhill, Gloucester, East Boston and South Boston divisions of the Massachusetts Trial Court. He volunteers with SERV (State Employees Responding as Volunteers), primarily in the Middlesex and Suffolk Probate and Family Courts. Judge Mills is a member of the Trial Court Committee on ADR and was recently appointed to the Massachusetts Bar Association’s ADR Committee; he also serves as a Commissioner on the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission. Prior to his appointment to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, Judge Mills was a lawyer with a practice based in Boston and Danvers, maintaining private offices for thirty-two years. As a lawyer, his court appearances were diverse in many courts. His practice concentrated on zoning and land use and, for a time, criminal defense and “people in trouble.” He has been involved in a wide range of cases and represented many angles in disputes, from land disputes between opposing neighbors and “small-town fights”, to sellers, buyers, owners and developers in real estate matters. As a veteran of 47 years in the courts, Judge Mills is an advocate for mediation as an integral first response to disputes before time consuming, expensive litigation. Judge Mills has said that “in mediation, the parties seek a resolution that gives each something of value, often a resolution that saves time, money, and minimizes damage to relationships.” His work has given him substantive grounds as an advocate for ADR who will continue to enrich the practice with his many years of experience. We are very excited to have his services available to MDRS clients.

MDRS Presents ADR Techniques to Nigerian…

MDRS is honored to again have been asked to present on alternative dispute resolution to a high-level delegation from Nigeria visiting the United States seeking out information on ADR so that they can further such implementation in their country. This is the third year that MDRS will have the honor of working with this admirable group of dedicated policy-makers. The presenting panel, featuring veteran MDRS Neutrals Attorney Brian R. Jerome and Attorney Paul R. Kelley, will again be joined by Massachusetts Superior Court’s Associate Justice Dennis J. Curran.  We are delighted to welcome Massachusetts Superior Court’s Associate Justice Shannon Frison to our group presentation this year as well. The event on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 will include a number of esteemed, high-level Nigerian Judges and Attorneys traveling to the United States to work with the University of Massachusetts Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development who desire in-depth information about ADR and how it can help their country and their judicial process. MDRS is very pleased that such a distinguished group will join us for this noble and interesting discussion. We are excited for the event and to share the numerous benefits of ADR with those around the world.

Jeanne M. Kempthorne selected for Super Lawyers

We are pleased to announce that one of our distinguished neutrals, Jeanne M. Kempthorne, has been recently selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers 2013 by Thomson Reuters.

Super Lawyers is a rating system for lawyers in a range of practice areas that uses a patented multiphase selection method to choose only the best attorneys to hold the title. The rigorous and discerning selection process includes peer nominations, evaluations of professional achievement and third-party research to ultimately choose only the most exceptional attorneys in each practice area. Super Lawyers provides a comprehensive listing of esteemed attorneys, an unmatched database for those seeking quality legal counsel.

We are proud to have Attorney Kempthorne on the MDRS team, and hope you will join us in celebrating this much deserved accolade. You too can work with this super lawyer, who is available to help you mediate or arbitrate your cases by calling MDRS at (800) 536-5520.

Foreclosure Mediation in Massachusetts

Although Foreclosure Mediation programs are not statewide in Massachusetts, three major cities have instituted mandatory programs through city ordinances as a means to help negotiate alternatives to foreclosures.  Through foreclosure mediation, homeowners and lenders engage in guided negotiation with a skilled mediator who is also a foreclosure expert.  Together they work to define new agreements which ultimately benefit all involved parties to the dispute.

Prior to the mediation, the homeowner provides an accurate and current look at their financial situation, so that the lender has the opportunity to craft potential options that might allow the homeowner to achieve a loan modification enabling them to keep their home.  Other alternatives considered positive outcomes could include a short sale, or negotiating a dignified exit from the property.  Another positive effect of foreclosure mediation is that it often enables the homeowner the opportunity to work with a loan counselor who can help ensure that the homeowner understands their financial situation and loan modification program options, enhancing their ability to work toward a successful outcome.

While foreclosure mediation does not provide a certain avoidance of foreclosure, it is the best – and often times – last chance for the parties to work together to take a final and serious look at their individual situations to determine whether foreclosure can be avoided. One should also be cautious of Foreclosure Rescue Scams. If you are involved in a foreclosure event, MDRS can help.  We have neutrals who are experts in foreclosure mediation, who understand the needs of both lenders as well as homeowners, the state and federal programs currently available, and the case law applicable to these matters.

Now, More Than Ever, ADR is the Answer. 

Please call us at (800) 536-5520 to discuss your case.

Neutral Thomas B. Arnold, Esq. is Retiring

Thomas B. Arnold, Esq.As of July 1st, neutral Thomas B. Arnold, Esq. is retiring.  A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Mr. Arnold began his law career as a civil litigation attorney before starting his own firm, Arnold & Kangas, PC, in 1983.  During his years as an attorney, he handled a vast range of civil litigation cases.  He began practicing ADR in 1989 and has been chosen as arbitrator or mediator in well over 1,800 cases. Since 2001, he has worked exclusively as a neutral.  It has been a pleasure working with Tom over the years, and although both his colleagues and clients will be sad to see him moving on to the next step in his journey, knowing that it will include spending more time with his children and grandchildren surely enables us to celebrate this accomplishment!  We are very grateful for the years Tom served on the MDRS Panel of Neutrals and wish him all the best in his retirement.

Using ADR to Resolve Slip and Fall Accidents

Premise liability occurs when injury is suffered on property belonging to another person or business.  Whether it is the conditions of the land, or activities performed, issues often arise in determining fault. When personal injury occurs it is often the first response to assign causality for the accident, but it can be difficult to prove whether the fault is on the injured party or the owner of the property where the injury occurred – often times there is no clear answer.  Using Alternative Dispute Resolution to reach an agreeable settlement in these types of cases is often the best choice for both parties.

Slip and fall accidents, in particular, are common occurrences.  According to the National Safety Council, slip and fall accidents account for 1 million visits to the ER per year. While the repercussions of slip and fall accidents can vary from minor scrapes and bruises to serious injuries, the accidents often leave the victim in physical and/or emotional pain.  If you are the victim of a slip and fall, or if you are the owner or resident of the location where the accident occurred, consider this:  litigation is often not the best way to handle the incident. When brought to trial, slip and fall cases are highly uncertain and can result in a long, drawn-out process with an extremely unpredictable outcome. Often times, fault is shared and an accident is just that – an unfortunate accident.  With litigation, both parties are subjected to a long, grueling and costly trial that can be avoided by instead utilizing ADR.

As the victim, you are experiencing pain and suffering, and yet during a trial you must prove that the property owner’s negligence caused the accident — not a simple or comfortable task, especially if you wish to preserve the relationship.  As the property owner, you likely feel badly that someone was injured, and are just as anxious to resolve the issue.  With Alternative Dispute Resolution, your case can be heard, and it can be resolved quickly and fairly, with an outcome agreeable to all parties.   MDRS has skilled and knowledgeable neutrals, with a wide breadth of experience in premise liability and slip and fall cases. Contact us at (800) 536-5520.  We’ll help you come to a settlement quickly, easily, and inexpensively.

MED-ARB: Sculpting the ADR Process To The Case

Both mediation and arbitration are now familiar and popular ADR processes used to resolve an ever broadening array of disputes. Over the past years, these two processes have literally transformed the legal landscape such that parties and their counsel are viewing ADR as a more appropriate manner of resolving disputes than is offered by Courts.

Less familiar, and to some observers more controversial, is the hybrid ADR process called MED-ARB, where the parties agree in advance to present their case to a mediator and, should that process not result in a final settlement, the case will be submitted to binding arbitration. In its “pure” state, the same neutral is selected to serve as both mediator and arbitrator.  As an alternative, a separate neutral can be selected to serve as arbitrator should the matter not fully resolve at mediation.  Read more here.

NADN Membership for Brian Jerome

The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN), an invitation-only association of exceptional Alternative Dispute Resolution professionals, has announced the induction of Brian R. Jerome, Esq. to its esteemed group.

The NADN recognizes mediators and arbitrators who have met stringent practice criteria, and whom stand out among firm- and peer-reviews.

The Academy has made its directory of neutrals like Brian available online, to encourage easier searching for the best ADR providers in any area.  Please visit www.nadn.org or www.mdrs.com for more information, and to view our NEW easy-to-navigate calendar tool for your scheduling ease.