News

ADR Update

ADR and settlements in the news

Tom Brady Wins “Deflategate” Appeal in District Court. In National Football League Management Council v. National Football League Players Association, Nos. 15 Civ. 5916 (RMB)(JCF) and 15 Civ. 5982 (RMB)(JCF) (Sept. 3, 2015), appeal pending (2d Cir. Ct. App.), the court overturned Roger Goodell’s suspension of New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, for participating in a conspiracy to deflate footballs during the AFC championship. Generally courts do not get involved in arbitration between parties who have agreed to arbitrate disputes. However, the court has authority to hear appeals under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) if certain grounds are met. 9 U.S.C. §10. In this case, the issue involved whether the arbitrator’s award drew its essence from the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the players and the NFL. Under CBA, Roger Goodell, as commissioner, had authority and discretion to serve as the hearing officer in the appeal. CBA Article 46 §2(a)). But the arbitrator must apply the CBA in a plausible way and act within the scope of his or her authority. The court found Tom Brady was prejudiced and overturned Goodell’s decision to suspend Brady. Goodell had relied on the integrity of the game and competitive rule policies that are not applied to players in the CBA. In addition, the court found that Brady was denied access to key witnesses and lacked notice of the discipline for the actions he was accused of. The court noted there were inconsistencies in the way Brady was punished: players in the past have never been suspended for equipment tampering, and the punishments used were based on the NFL steroid policy. The court held that the process was fundamentally unfair. Copy of District Court’s opinion available at http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/cases/show.php?db=special&id=484. The NFL's appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals is pending, with oral argument set for March 3, 2016 after the 2016 Super Bowl. See "NFL 'Deflategate' appeal to be heard March 3, after Super Bowl," available at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nfl-brady-idUSKBN0TC27P20151123.

IRS appeals arbitration program eliminated. Effective September 2015, the IRS eliminated its appeals arbitration program due to lack of demand. Under the program, taxpayers and the IRS Office of Appeals were permitted to jointly request binding arbitration on any issue unresolved at the conclusion of the appeals process. Over the fourteen-year period the program was available, only two cases were resolved using arbitration. Taxpayers may still request mediation of unresolved issues that remain after completing settlement discussions in the appeals process. Internal Revenue Bulletin at http://www.irs.gov/irb/2015-38_IRB/ar06.html.

Cooper to Serve as Monitor in Daynmar College Settlement. Former Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. will serve as compliance monitor in a $12.4 million settlement reached by the Kentucky Attorney General and Daynmar College in a consumer protection lawsuit. The settlement provides debt relief, cash payments, and injunctive terms over Daynmar’s future operations. An estimated 12,294 students are eligible. The Owensboro, Kentucky school will be monitored over the next two years. Full story at http://migration.kentucky.gov/Newsroom/ag/daymarsettlement.htm

Microsoft and Google end patent war. (Oct. 2, 2015). Microsoft and Google dismissed multiple patent lawsuits they have been fighting for years. The companies will dismiss up to 20 lawsuits. They agreed “to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future.” The initial lawsuit began when Microsoft claimed Google was using their company’s technology without paying royalties. Full story here.

Caselaw Update

Selected Sixth Circuit Cases

Second ground for vacatur of arbitration award must be addressed by trial court. In Bernard J. Schafer; Henry Block v. Multiband Corp., No. 14-2518 (6th Cir. October 20, 2015) (not for publication), the Court addressed the effect of its earlier decision in Schafer v. Multiband Corp., 551 F. App'x 814, 820-21 (6th Cir. 2014) ("Schafer I") (holding arbitrator did not manifestly disregard the law in concluding that Bernard Schafer and Henry Block's indemnification agreements with Multiband Corporation were void). Schafer I reversed the district court's judgment vacating an arbitration award and remanded the case for further proceedings. On remand, Schafer and Block argued that the district court was required to rule on a second theory for vacating the arbitration award, involving stock fraud claims. They asserted that the arbitrator did not provide a full and fair hearing, did not given notice that he was deciding those stock fraud claims, and did not allow them to present evidence on those claims. The district court refused to hear this claim, reasoning that Schafer I precluded review of the second argument. Conceding that Schafer I included some unclear language, the Court of Appeals held that Schafer I did not decide Schafer and Block's second argument for vacatur, and the district court should address that argument in the first instance. It did not address Multiband’s res judicata argument which is to be addressed on remand.

In Skylar Gunn v. NPC International, Inc., William Harris v. NPC International, Inc., Candace Jowers v. NPC International, Inc., Tiffney Penley v. NPC International, Inc., Leah Redmond v. NPC International, Inc., Case Nos. 14-6036, 14-6040, 14-6041, 14-6042, and 14-6044 (6th Cir. August 28, 2015) (not for publication), the Court addressed whether the defendant employer failed to timely assert its right to arbitration, and therefore waived its contractual right to insist on arbitration of employees' claims for unpaid compensation. Affirming the district court, the Court of Appeals held the employer's litigation actions were completely inconsistent with reliance on the arbitration agreement and resulted in actual prejudice to the plaintiffs. The Court relied on Johnson Associates Corp. v. HL Operating Corp., 680 F.3d 713, 716 (6th Cir. 2012) and Hurley v. Deutsche Bank Trust Co., 610 F.3d 334, 338 (6th Cir. 2010), and distinguished Shy v. Navistar Int'l Corp., 781 F.3d 820, 827-28 (6th Cir. 2015). Here, before it moved to arbitrate, the employer delayed for almost 15 months, it engaged in settlement negotiations, it had filed several motions (some dispositive), and it had received unfavorable rulings on initial dispositive motions. The Court also rejected the defendant’s claim that, in these collective actions, the waiver issue should be considered individually as to each plaintiff (evaluating each opt-in plaintiff from the date of opt-in).

Tennessee ADR Cases

Arbitration

In a 32 page opinion, the Court of Appeals in Mid-South Maintenance Inc., et al. v. Paychex Inc., et al., No. W2014-02329-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. August 14, 2015) addresses a number of arbitration issues. The plaintiffs and Paychex, Inc. had expressly agreed to arbitrate any disputes arising from their contract. They also agreed that New York law governed. The plaintiffs later sued Paychex and one of the Paychex’s employees who had not signed the arbitration agreement (the non-signatory employee). The claims were for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and aiding and abetting conversion. The trial court denied the defendants’ motion to compel arbitration on the ground that the plaintiff's tort claims were outside the scope of the arbitration agreement, citing Tennessee law. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that, pursuant to federal and New York law, and the arbitration agreement’s delegation clause, the arbitrator (not the trial court) is the proper tribunal to determine issues regarding the scope and unconscionability of the arbitration agreement. The Court also concluded that the plaintiffs' claims against the non-signatory employee were intertwined with the claims against Paychex, thus all disputes regarding arbitrability of claims against the non-signatory employee must also be resolved by the arbitrator. In the course of its decision-making, the Court addressed a number of issues, including: 1) choice of law, 2) whether the court (not the arbitrator) determines arbitrability where the plaintiffs claimed they never received a copy of the purported arbitration agreement, 3) whether the plaintiffs had waived the arbitrability issue by failing to list it as an issue in their appellate brief, 4) whether the parties’ agreement to have AAA rules apply meant that, per the AAA rules, the arbitrator would decide his or her own jurisdiction, 5) whether to address an unconscionability issue not addressed by the trial court, and 6) severability of the arbitration agreement from the underlying contract. Copy of opinion at http://www.tba.org/sites/default/files/midsouthmaintenance_081415.pdf.

Akilah Louise Wofford, et al. v. M. J. Edwards & Sons Funeral Home Inc., et al., No. W2015-00092-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. November 23, 2015) concerns enforceability of an agreement to arbitrate a dispute between a consumer and funeral home. The consumer signed a two page funeral services contract which included a short, completely one-sided, mandatory arbitration clause and referred to a “Part 3” of the contract. Part 3 included additional arbitration provisions. The funeral home did not provide a copy of Part 3 to the consumer to read. Arbitration clauses are not common in funeral services contracts in Memphis. The contract was presented on a “take it or leave it” basis after the funeral home had already embalmed the body of the deceased and performed additional services to the plaintiff. The trial court refused to compel arbitration, finding no meeting of the minds as to the arbitration agreement. On appeal, the funeral home argued that the Court of Appeals should consider not only the signed agreement, but also the Part 3 document allegedly incorporated by reference into the parties' contract. The Court held there was no meeting of minds regarding the additional Part 3 document that had additional arbitration provisions, so it was not properly incorporated by reference into the parties' contract. Thus, the consumer was not bound by its provisions. Further, the arbitration provision actually contained in the parties' contract is an adhesion contract that is unenforceable because it is beyond the expectations of an ordinary person. Opinion at http://test.tba.org/legal-opinion/akilah-louise-wofford-et-al-v-m-j-edwards-sons-funeral-home-inc-et-al.

Optional arbitration agreement signed by a patient’s health care agent enforceable as a “health care” decision. In Billy Bockelman, et. al. v. GGNSC Gallatin Brandywood LLC, et. al., No. M2014-02371-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. September 18, 2015), the decedent’s attending physician had determined she lacked lack mental capacity. She had previously given an agent the power to make “health care decisions,” and was subsequently placed in a nursing home. The agent completed all nursing home admission contracts on behalf of the decedent, including an optional arbitration agreement. After the patient’s death, the agent sued the nursing home. The trial court granted the nursing home’s motion to compel arbitration. On appeal, the agent claimed she lacked authority to sign the arbitration agreement because the patient was competent at the time of admission, the agreement was not a “health care decision,” and the arbitration agreement was unconscionable. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s order compelling arbitration. First, clear and convincing evidence, based on the attending physician’s determination, showed the patient was incompetent, even though other medical records included some evidence of competence. Second, entering into an arbitration agreement as part of a nursing home admission is a “health care” decision because it is part of the admission process. Finally, the ADR Agreement is not unconscionable it was optional, it had mutuality, and its terms were not misrepresented by the nursing home Opinion at https://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/bockelmanbilly.opn_.pdf.

Settlements; Releases

In Dana Jo Stricklin v. Jerone Trent Stricklin, No. W2015-00538-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. September 21, 2015) the Mother sought to modify the parties' permanent parenting schedule. During a trial recess that followed the Mother’s testimony, the parties settled. The Mother’s attorney announced the parties had agreed to a new parenting plan. The agreed-upon terms were announced in open court in the parties’ presence. The judge stated he was “glad the parties were able to work out their dispute ‘for the best interest of the child,’” but did not make any findings on best interests. The record on appeal does not include a transcript of the Mother’s testimony. After the trial court entered an order approving the modified plan, the Father stated he did not consent to the plan. The trial court denied the Father’s motion to set aside the order. The Court of Appeals, relying on Harbour v. Brown for Ulrich, 732 S.W.2d 598 (Tenn. 1987), held that parties’ consent was not required at the time of entry of the order because the parties had announced their agreement in open court where the terms of the agreement were determined. Nevertheless, the order was not legally sufficient. Citing Tuetken v. Tuetken, 320 S.W.3d 262 (Tenn. 2010) and Fletcher v. Fletcher, No. M2010-01777-COA-R3-CV, 2011 WL 4447903 (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 26, 2011), the Court held that the trial court's order did not contain a finding that the modified parenting plan was in the child's best interests. Therefore, the Court of Appeals vacated the order and remanded the case for further proceedings. Opinion at http://www.tba.org/sites/default/files/stricklind_092115.pdf.

Settlement of will must be in good faith. In In Re Estate of Vide Mae McCartt, No. E2014-02185-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Sep. 25, 2015), five grandchildren contested the decedent’s will. After mediation, the grandchildren and living children entered into a settlement agreement which the trial court approved. One of the decedent’s non-marital grandchildren (the petitioner) was not part of the settlement agreement. She brought an action, arguing that she was entitled to a share of the estate under the agreement and that her siblings perpetrated a fraud by representing that the decedent had only three children and heirs at law when she actually had four children. The defendants argued that the petitioner was time barred and that res judicata applied. The trial court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Court of Appeals found that any interested party may bring a will contest, and all other interested parties are free to join. Those involved in litigation may settle if done in good faith. In the present case, the complaint’s allegations raise a legitimate issue of whether the heirs were acting in good faith. The Court vacated the judgment and remanded for further proceedings. Opinion at https://www.tba.org/sites/default/files/mccarttv_092515.pdf.

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Editor's Note: Marnie Huff’s law clerk, Matthew Oberlin, assisted in preparing this ADR Update. Marnie is a member and past Chair of the TBA Dispute Resolution Section. As a member of the Nashville Bar Association’s Board, she is liaison to the NBA ADR Committee and Fee Disputes Committee. She is also active in the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and Section of Litigation’s ADR Committee. She is past co-chair of the ABA Advanced Mediation and Advocacy Skills Institute. Marnie is an independent mediator, arbitrator, and workplace conflict management consultant in Nashville. Her website is at www.MargaretHuffMediation.com.

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Save the Date

Mark your calendars for the TBA Dispute Resolution Section annual CLE program, which is scheduled for April 22, 2016. Watch the TBA CLE Course Catalog for registration information.

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Some History About a Little Known Government Agency that is Often Called 'America's Peacemaker'

By Stephen Shields

I was asked by an acquaintance if I would be interested in attending a presentation by Mr. Grande Lum, the Director of the Community Relations Service (CRS) this past October. Sure – but I was puzzled: “Who is he and what is CRS?” I shortly found out the answer from Mr. Lum himself. Mr. Lum is the Director of the Community Relations Service, a division of the United States Department of Justice. It is the department’s “peacemaker” for community conflict. He is the ninth director of the community relations service and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 29, 2012. Lum was a mediator and the director of the Hastings School of Law Mediation Clinic before he was appointed director. His presentation was filled with words that would be familiar to any mediator – trust, trustworthy, collaboration, convening. As a result of that presentation, I decided to do some research about the CRS. As it turns out, it was established as Title X of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Its website states its purpose:

“The Community Relations Service responds to communities across the nation to promote peaceful resolution of conflicts and tensions.  Conflict resolution specialists strategically located in 10 regional offices and four field offices through the country respond to meet the unique needs of communities in the states and U.S. territories they serve.”

All CRS services are provided free of charge to the communities and are confidential. CRS works in 50 states and U.S. territories. Grande Lum described it this way in an audio transcript:

“CRS is often called America’s ‘Peacemaker.’ We accomplish that by providing impartial mediation, facilitation, training and consulting services to help communities enhance their ability to independently prevent and resolve future conflicts.  Our experienced conflict resolution specialists are strategically located in 15 offices through the United States to serve your community.”

CRS, although a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, does not take sides in a dispute and it does not investigate, prosecute, impose solutions, assign blame or assess fault. Its purpose is to help communities resolve difficult disputes. 

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson appointed LeRoy Collins (former governor of Florida) to be the first director of the community relations service. He was dispatched to the march on Selma in 1965. Collins, who had never met Martin Luther King Jr., brokered a deal in which King would stop the Selma march on the bridge and then turn around in exchange for which the Alabama state police would agree not to use force. Both King and the officer in charge of the Alabama police kept their word. King led a brief prayer and song and did an about-face. The CRS’ arrival (LeRoy Collins) had gone unannounced as the agencies establishing law required it to operate without publicity. Collins remained in Alabama to negotiate with Montgomery officials. If you do some research, you will find a photograph of Collins, King, Andrew Young, Coretta Scott King and Ralph Abernathy by his side.

As a bit of a “history buff” and “peacemaker," I was glad to learn about the agency and its unique role in peacemaking and dispute resolution in this country. 

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Letter from the Chair

In November, the New York Times published a series of stories about arbitration, followed by an editorial, which has been controversial. Many, including the undersigned, believe the news reports and editorials got the facts wrong and actually misrepresented much of what is really going on in domestic arbitration. But the purpose of this message is not to engage in refutation of the Times, but to speak to a part of its series I found genuinely troubling.

The Times interviewed some arbitrators who said they had not disclosed conflicts of interest to parties during selection, and others who said their decisions had been influenced by concern that a party would not engage them again if they made a decision adverse to them. None of these persons were from Tennessee, thank goodness. But wherever they are from, these practices are unethical. Bluntly, an arbitrator whose principal concern is whether he or she will be retained again is in the wrong business.
 
I am used to detailed conflicts disclosures during the selection process. These are required by forum administrators such as the American Arbitration Association, the CPR Institute and FINRA; and as a matter of practice, I and most arbitrators I know make detailed disclosures even if the case is not administered by one of these forum providers.
 
Arbitrators are not licensed. Many arbitrations are ad hoc, in which someone is engaged outside of a forum that has adopted detailed disclosure requirements and that requires neutrals on its roster to adhere to written ethical standards.
 
For this reason, perhaps it is time for the Tennessee Supreme Court to add an Appendix Rule 31 to require that all Tennessee attorneys who accept engagement as arbitrators, whether or not under a Rule 31 court-annexed appointment, take steps to assure ethical compliance and make specified disclosures during the selection process. Tenn. S. Ct. Rule 31, Appendix A already requires neutrals to make disclosures of troubling relationships, to maintain impartiality and to decline appointment if impartiality is not possible. But these apply only to neutrals chosen pursuant to Rule 31. We may need something a bit broader.
 
Such an appendix could include:

  • Incorporation of published ethical standards specific to arbitration into Rule 31.
  • Required specified and documented disclosures to parties when under consideration for engagement, and a mandatory disclosure form.
  • Required annual or semi-annual continuing professional education specifically designed for arbitrators.

I have no information that Tennessee arbitrators have fallen down in any of these respects. But would not requirements like these boost public and party confidence and help make sure a problem does not develop in the future?
 
I encourage section members to voice their opinions on this subject.
 
Bob Arrington
Section Chair

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Mediators Use Neuroscience Research to Calm Clients

The ABA Journal highlights how mediators and other practitioners of alternative dispute resolution are using the research of neuroscientists to help calm emotions during mediations. Paul Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, has taught mediators how to boost the chemical oxytocin during mediation. “When you increase oxytocin, you make [clients] more amenable to you and make it easier to persuade them,” Zak said.

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Web Series on Employee Dispute Resolution Plans

A four-part webcast series will begin Nov. 4 at noon for lawyers and mediators regarding employee dispute resolution. Courses include Creating and Managing an Employee Dispute Plan, Dispute Resolution in Health Care Settings, Proposed Collaborative Law Rule for Family Law Mediators and Interaction Between Mediators and Lawyers. The series is worth 4.5 credits of CLE.

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Lawyers, Judges Named to Judicial Boards

The Administrative Office of the Courts has released updated rosters for three boards and commissions. On the Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, William Wray was appointed to serve the remainder of James Lauderback’s term. On the Judicial Ethics Committee, Judges Timothy Irwin, Alan Glenn and Betty Thomas Moore were reappointed to an additional term. And on the Board of Judicial Conduct, all members were reappointed with the exception of David Wedekind, who was replaced by Edward Phillips. In addition, Judges Kenny Armstrong, Norma McGee Ogle and Dee Gay were appointed to fill vacancies created by the appointment of Justices Jeffrey Bivins and Holly Kirby to the Supreme Court and the appointment of Judge Timothy Easter to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

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New Mediation Firm Opens in Blount County

Attorney and former Chattanooga area prosecutor Josh Jones announced the launch of East Tennessee Mediation Services, a mediation firm in Maryville offering comprehensive mediation and alternative dispute resolution services to all of Tennessee. The Chattanoogan has more.

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AOC Announces Boards and Commissions Updates

The Administrative Office of the Courts recently released updated membership lists for its various board and commissions, including the Tennessee Code Commission, Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, Board of Professional Responsibility and Integrated Criminal Justice Steering Committee.

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Service Thursday for Pro Bono, Mediation Trailblazer

Knoxville lawyer Milli Cunningham, the first pro bono director for the Knoxville Legal Aid Society, died Saturday (April 12). Cunningham entered the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1973 after putting her husband through school, following him to three international assignments and raising two children, Knoxnews reports. Following graduation, she joined the school’s legal clinic and helped establish its first family law unit. At the Knoxville Legal Aid Society (now Legal Aid of East Tennessee), Cunningham was influential in recruiting private attorneys to provide pro bono services. She also was an early proponent of increased legal protections for domestic violence victims. After five years with Legal Aid, Cunningham opened her own family law practice with an emphasis on mediation and collaboration. A memorial service will take place at Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church, 3700 Keowee Ave., Knoxville on Thursday at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the church, Erskine College, CONTACT Care Line or Jewish Voice for Peace.

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Grants Available for Parent Education, Victim Offender Reconciliation

The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts is accepting applications for two grants funding the Parent Education and Mediation Fund and the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program. The deadline for both grants is April 11.

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6th Circuit Court of Appeals Seeking Mediator

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is seeking applicants for the position of Circuit Mediator, who serves under the direction of the Chief Circuit Mediator and presides at mediations in civil appeals. Duties of circuit mediators include leading discussions of procedural and substantive legal issues, conducting analyses of an appeal’s settlement value and probing each party’s interests in an effort to help the parties create and explore options to continued litigation. Applicants should have a minimum of seven years of post-graduate experience in the practice of law, litigation, negotiation or mediation. Learn more in the attached job description.

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If You Did It, Flaunt It With a TBJ Announcement

The Tennessee Bar Journal has a new opportunity for lawyers and firms to promote outstanding achievements, new associates, new partners, mergers, awards and any changes within the firm. Now, Professional Announcements are available at special, lower-rate pricing. You can tell more than 12,000 of your peers about your accomplishments by placing an announcement in the Journal. For information or to place an announcement, contact Debbie Taylor at 503-445-2231 or Debbie@llm.com. To have an announcement placed in the April issue, please contact her before Feb. 18.

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Tennessee Mediation Day Set for Feb. 14

The TBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, a member of the Tennessee Coalition for Mediation Awareness, will mark Feb. 14 as Mediation Day in Tennessee. At the group’s request, Gov. Bill Haslam has issued a proclamation designating the day and calling on Tennesseans to join him in recognizing the important role mediation plays in the courts. Mediators will gather on Feb. 14 for training at the annual meeting of the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators. Also at the event, the Coalition for Mediation Awareness will present the 2014 Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award to Anne Sides, Carol Berz and Jean Munroe, each of whom has developed mediation programs and trained many of the state’s mediators, especially in East Tennessee.

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AOC Makes Appointments for 2014

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) recently released updated rosters for a variety of boards and commissions that fall under the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Supreme Court. New appointments will take effect Jan. 1, 2014. New members named to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission are Mary Ann Zaha and Virginia Story, who replace Glenna Ramer and Edward Silva. At the Board of Law Examiners, the court appointed Rhynette Hurd and Jeffrey Ward to replace Jimmie Carpenter Miller and Ricky Wilkins. New members named to the CLE Commission are Cynthia Hall and Sarah Creekmore Woodall, who replace Thomas Clifton Greenholtz and John Stanley Rogers. The court also named Ed Lancaster as chair. At the Board of Professional Responsibility, the court appointed Odell Horton to replace Clarence Halmon and named Russell Parkes as chair and Michael King as vice chair. New members named to the Tennessee Lawyers’ Fund For Client Protection are Rep. Vance Dennis, Jonathan Guthrie and Spencer Chinery, who replace Laura Keeton, Katherine Wilson Singleton and Mary Ann Zaha. Fund leaders include Chair Dawn Deaner, Vice Chair Marty McAfee and Secretary/Treasurer Kim Helper.

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Supreme Court Applies Term Limits to 2 Commissions

The Tennessee Supreme Court filed two orders today. The first amends Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Section 12.01 to impose three-year term limits on members of the Board of Law Examiners. The second order amends Rule 31, Section 19 to impose three-year term limits on members of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission. It also formalizes the practice of limiting the commission chair to a two-year term. Download the orders at the links above.

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ADR Commission Hosts 180 for Workshop

More than 180 certified Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mediators attended the 11th Annual Advanced Mediation Techniques Workshop on Oct. 18 in Nashville, the AOC reports. The participants heard presentations from 15 experts in the field of mediation on topics such as Ethical Considerations for the Mediator and Challenges in Early Mediation. There also were several breakout sessions for family law and general civil mediation. The program was sponsored by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, which approves and trains mediators in Tennessee.

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Institute for Conflict Management Names Scholar-In-Residence

British humanitarian and former Hezbollah hostage Terry Waite has been named scholar-in-residence at Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management. Waite, who garnered international recognition when he successfully negotiated the release of hostages in Iran and Libya while serving as a special envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1980s, has a one-year appointment with the institute beginning in September. He was guest lecturer for the institute in 2006. “Dr. Waite will add a new dimension to the work of the institute,” said Steve Joiner, managing director of the institute. “With his experience as a negotiator and a world-renowned agent of peace, he is a testament to the power and resilience of the human spirit and has long been devoted to humanitarian causes, intercultural relations and conflict resolution.”

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Court Names ADR Commission Members

The Tennessee Supreme Court has reappointed Hayden D. Lait of Memphis, Howard H. Vogel of Knoxville, and C. Suzanne Landers of Memphis to its Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission. Tracy Shaw, a lawyer with Howell & Fisher in Nashville, joins the panel for the first time and replaces Judge Ben Cantrell. There is one vacancy on the body following the death of Harold Archibald. Download the full roster

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Comments Sought on Changes to Supreme Court Rule 31

The Tennessee Supreme Court is soliciting comments on proposed changes to Rule 31 requested by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission (ADRC). The commission filed a petition on Nov. 2 asking the court to amend Sections 11(b)(6) and (12) dealing with operations of its Grievance Committee. Written comments should be submitted by Jan. 25. Download the court order and proposed amendments from the AOC website.

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New TBJ Covers Arbitration, Divorce, Wrongful Death Proceeds

Don't miss the September Tennessee Bar Journal, featuring two articles on arbitration. One, by Adam Eckstein, explores when Rule 31 and the Tennessee Uniform Arbitration Act meet; the second, by Shelby R. Grubbs and Glenn P. Hendrix, unveils a new international concept for arbitration services. Columnists Marlene Eskind Moses and Beth A. Townsend give you ideas for finding hidden assest in divorces, and John A. Day discusses distribution of net proceeds in wrongful death cases. Humor columnist Bill Haltom pays tribute to a queen and a princess -- Pat Summitt and the influence she has had on his daughter and many other girls. President Jackie Dixon speaks out about merit selection. You probably already have it in hand, but you can also read it online here

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Huff Featured on ADR Magazine Cover

Nashville lawyer and mediator Marnie Huff is featured on the cover of the Spring 2012 issue of the ABA’s Dispute Resolution Magazine, which focuses on women in ADR. Huff serves as an elected member of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Council and is past chair of the TBA Dispute Resolution Section. (ABA membership is required to access the magazine.)

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Memphis Mediation Team Takes 1st Place in Regionals

Two University of Memphis Law School Advocacy in Mediation Teams recently competed in an ABA Regional Competition in Williamsburg, Va. The team of Christopher Martin and Thomas Williams placed first in the competition, while the team of Caroline Giovannetti and Ryan Hagenbrook placed fourth among the 12 teams. The teams were coached by Steve Shields, with help from various members of the Memphis Bar Association's ADR Section. The first place team will continue to Washington D.C. in April for the national competition. The team is raising funds for its trip. Anyone interested in donating may send a check, made payable to the MBA ADR Section, to Linda Warren Seely at 109 N. Main, Suite 200, Memphis 38103.

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AOC Accepting Applications for 2 Grant Programs

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is seeking applications for two grant programs it administers. The first, the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), was created by the state legislature in 1993 to provide alternatives to the courts for the resolution of felony, misdemeanor and juvenile delinquent disputes, and encourage community participation in such programs. The second, the Parent Education and Mediation Fund, was created as part of Tennessee's parenting plan law to provide court-ordered mediation, parenting education programs and other related services to families facing child custody matters. Organizations seeking to provide services under these programs should apply by April 23. Notification of grant awards will be sent in late May.

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