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Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice

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When a dispute arises, litigation is not the only option.

Negotiations conducted by a skilled and experienced mediator in a more relaxed environment may enable the parties to reach a mutually agreed resolution without trial. Mediation is not only less expensive than going to court but can also reduce the animosity felt by the litigants.

Choosing the mediator is important. You should ask yourself these questions about any mediator you are considering.

Q: Does he or she have the legal experience in the particular field necessary to fully understand the parties’ positions, assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case, help the parties understand what they face if the litigation moves forward and guide the parties to a decision?

The Robinson & McElwee Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group is comprised of mediators with significant experience in a variety of legal disciplines including general litigation, employment law, corporate and transactional matters, oil and gas issues, real estate disputes, will contests, and others. We offer parties and attorneys seeking a mediator a catalog of qualified mediators – all of whom have been fully trained by the West Virginia State Bar Association.

Included in this section of our website is a brief summary of the experience and qualifications of each of our ADR Practice Group mediators. Simply click on the link below each of the attorneys’ summaries to see the complete statement of experience and qualifications for each of the mediators you might select.

Q: Does the mediator have a procedure in place which permits the parties to educate him or her about the issues prior to meeting in person to resolve them?

It is critical to the mediation process that the mediator understands the issues and facts in the matter he or she will mediate. Members of the Robinson & McElwee ADR Practice Group use uniform processes that enable the parties and their counsel to provide information to the mediator on a confidential basis.

Q: Does the mediator listen to the parties and really hear what it is important to each of them?

Perhaps the most important characteristic of a good mediator is that he or she be willing to spend necessary time listening to the parties, understanding their perspectives, and finding creative ways to resolve conflicts. Robinson & McElwee  mediators listen.

Q: Does the mediator offer a convenient and purpose-built location for conducting the mediation?

Robinson & McElwee offers specially designed mediation suites in both our Charleston and Clarksburg offices. These purpose-built facilities offer a quiet and comfortable setting in which the parties and their counsel can carefully consider and privately discuss the issues. Should the parties decide to work through a meal period, food can be catered at each location. During mediation, soft drinks and refreshments are available.

Q: Is the mediator amenable to discussing fees and costs openly and frankly in advance of the mediation?

Members of the Robinson & McElwee ADR Practice Group make it a practice to fully discuss fees and costs in advance of the mediation sessions so that the parties and their counsel have a clear understanding of the expense. We reduce these understandings to writing at the time of our engagement.

For further information, please contact Joseph M. Price at 304-347-8306 or jmp@ramlaw.com.

Participating Lawyers

Mr. Gandee has nearly 30 years of experience in the practice of civil litigation. His experience includes significant transportation industry accidents, professional malpractice, insurance coverage disputes, product liability, wrongful death, serious personal injury and commercial litigation. Mr. Gandee has been awarded both a Masters of Business Administration and Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from West Virginia University. Mr. Gandee is a contributor to the ALFA International Transportation Law Compendium and has been appointed to the Officials Advisory Board for the WVSSAC as the Basketball Official Representative.
Mr. Gandee has nearly 30 years in civil litigation practice and has experience in the areas of electrical contact, electrocution and the National Electrical Safety Code; tractor trailer accidents; oil and gas leases; oil and gas trespass; HVAC issues; wrongful death actions; deliberate intent actions, West Virginia mandolidis matters; automobile accidents; vehicle accident investigation; vehicle accident reconstruction; product failure; product liability; breach of contract.
Mr. Hamb has more than 40 years of experience in issues of real estate broker and salesperson liability, real estate title matters, corporate acquisitions and transactions, timber and mineral law matters, energy and mineral ownership issues. He has broad trial experience and has acted as an expert witness in significant matters involving real estate, gas, oil and mineral titles as well as lawyer malpractice/professional liability cases. Mr. Hamb has earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics and an LL.B degree from West Virginia University.
Mr. Hamb is a member of the Business & Corporate practice area. Mr. Hamb has practiced law for more than 50 years and is well-positioned to help clients with navigating this area of the law.
Mr. Hamb is a member of the Financial Services practice area. Mr. Hamb has practiced law for more than 50 years and is well-positioned to help clients with navigating this area of the law.
Mr. Hamb is a member of the Litigation practice area. Mr. Hamb has practiced law for more than 50 years and is well-positioned to help clients with navigating this area of the law.
Mr. Hamb is a member of the Real Property practice area. Mr. Hamb has practiced law for more than 50 years and is well-positioned to help clients with navigating this area of the law
Mr. Higgins limits his ADR practice to disputes involving will contests, trust interpretation and disputes among shareholders, partners or other owners of businesses. Because of his extensive experience in the area of state and federal taxation, Mr. Higgins is often able to suggest ways to settle disputes with due consideration to applicable tax considerations.
Mr. Higgins routinely assists clients with forming business entities including related planning with regard to the death, disability or retirement of owners in the future. He has experience with mergers and asset sales both from the standpoint of the seller and from the standpoint of the buyer. Mr. Higgins advises clients with regard to the proper operation of their business to ensure that the personal liability exposure of owners is kept to a minimum. He has experience in the area of trademark litigation, appraisal rights, and enforcement of restrictive covenants against competition and confidentiality agreements. Another area of his practice relates to asset protection and methods by which investments and property can be legally protected from creditors. Mr. Higgins also has considerable knowledge in the area of securities law compliance and has represented clients defrauded in their investments.
Mr. Higgins provides extensive document review assistance in connection with commercial and private lending and has been involved with economic development financing provided by various state agencies. He has experience in “work out” situations including refinancing, re-structuring and liquidation sales. Because of his banking law background, Mr. Higgins also assists clients with letters and lines of credit, stock and asset pledges of collateral and loan guaranty agreements. Mr. Higgins also has extensive experience in the performance of due diligence on behalf of business purchasers with corresponding contract protections. Because of his experience in the area of taxation, he also assists clients in “spin offs”, “split ups” and other types of reorganizations.
As a former member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Mr. Higgins has “floor privileges” and a unique perspective on the committee system and its operations. In addition, he served for eight years as a member of Charleston City Council. In these areas, Mr. Higgins can often provide insight and recommendations on persons to contact and procedures to use.
Mr. Higgins has represented physicians in civil and criminal health care fraud and abuse investigations. He also has experience in structuring transactions to ensure compliance with certificate of need requirements before the West Virginia Health Care Authority. Mr. Higgins also assists health care providers with practice formation and related licensing requirements.
Mr. Higgins routinely prepares estate planning documents with related tax planning for clients. He also has experience with the creation and operation of private trusts and probate and estate administration. In the area of will contest litigation, he has successfully defended estate planning documents in litigation commenced by disinherited family members. Mr. Higgins also customarily handles federal estate tax returns and litigation involving the proper interpretation of wills and trusts.
Mr. Kimble has more than 23 years of experience in general civil litigation including commercial disputes, personal injury, “bad faith,” real property, eminent domain, right of way, covenant disputes, boundary disputes and insurance coverage disputes.
Mr. Kimble has more than 24 years of experience litigating matters throughout West Virginia in State and federal courts. Having extensive experience in defending personal injury and products liability matters, including manufacturing equipment, household appliances and exercise equipment, he also has significant experience with insurance-related issues and coverage disputes. Recently, Mr. Kimble’s practice has developed a particular emphasis on commercial and real estate litigation.
Mr. Lannan has more than 25 years of experience in the handling of environmental criminal defense litigation, environmental audits, environmental issues arising in connection with commercial transactions, disputes related to the contamination of real property, environmental compliance, enforcement, contribution and all aspects of environmental regulatory compliance. Mr. Lannan has experience in drafting significant environmental legislation and regulations, as well as representation of national clients in Superfund practice, including defense of cost recovery cases, enforcement actions and administrative matters. Mr. Lannan received a Bachelor of Arts degree (History, magna cum laude) and Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from West Virginia University, as well as a Master of Arts degree (Applied Theology) from Wheeling Jesuit University.
Mr. Lannan, in more than 25 years of practice in the energy and environmental law area, has represented a broad array of individuals, industrial, energy, petroleum, recycling and manufacturing clients with regard to all aspects of environmental law. Mr. Lannan serves as chair for Robinson & McElwee's Energy & Environment Department. His particular areas of involvement have been state and federal programs involving air, water, solid and hazardous waste, Superfund, environmental excellence and sustainability, underground storage tanks, brownfields, corrective action and the common law of negligence, nuisance, trespass and strict liability relating to environmental issues.
Mr. Lannan is a member of the Litigation practice area. Mr. Lannan has practiced law for more than 20 years and is well-positioned to help clients with navigating this area of the law
Mr. Palmer has 41 years of experience involving complex litigation, securities fraud, toxic torts, antitrust violations, coal mining, industrial accidents, catastrophic property damage, white collar crime, defamation, malicious prosecution, admiralty law, oil and gas matters, railroad accidents, “tortious interference” claims, construction disputes, wrongful death, personal injury, employment matters, lender liability, patent infringement, predatory lending, ERISA violations, fidelity bonds, consumer claims, conversion, copyright infringement and class actions. Mr. Palmer is a past member of the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia Board of Governors as well as the organization’s president (1991-1992).
Mr. Palmer is a member of the Financial Services practice area. Mr. Palmer has practiced law for more than 40 years and is well-positioned to help clients with navigating this area of the law.
Mr. Palmer is a member of the Litigation practice area. Mr. Palmer has practiced law for more than 40 years and is well-positioned to help clients with navigating this area of the law.
Mr. Price has over three decades of experience in the litigation of labor and employment cases before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the West Virginia Human Rights Commission, and in state and federal courts throughout West Virginia, in addition to high risk personal injury, wrongful death, “deliberate intent” and significant class actions. He has presented more than 200 employment cases at trial (jury and non-jury) and arbitration, including “wrongful discharge,” discrimination cases (all types), ERISA claims, employee benefits litigation, FMLA cases, Unfair Labor Practice cases (before the National Labor Relations Board and on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit), MSHA discrimination cases, cases before the West Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board of Appeals, injunctive proceedings, labor dispute cases and damage claims arising out of work stoppages. Mr. Price has authored numerous articles concerning employment law issues and is AV 5/5 rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and is listed as a "Top Rated Employment & Labor Lawyer" in the SuperLawyers publication.
Mr. Price has over 30 years of experience in the litigation of labor and employment cases before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the West Virginia Human Rights Commission, and in state and federal courts throughout West Virginia, in addition to high risk personal injury, wrongful death, “deliberate intent” and significant class actions. Mr. Price serves as Chair for Robinson & McElwee's Labor & Employment Department. He has presented more than 200 employment cases at trial (jury and non-jury) and arbitration, including “wrongful discharge,” discrimination cases (all types), ERISA claims, employee benefits litigation, FMLA cases, Unfair Labor Practice cases (before the National Labor Relations Board and on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit), MSHA discrimination cases, cases before the West Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board of Appeals, injunctive proceedings, labor dispute cases and damage claims arising out of work stoppages.
Mr. Price has over 30 years of litigation experience. In addition to employment cases in state and federal courts throughout West Virginia, he has served as first chair in high risk personal injury, wrongful death, deliberate intent trials. His work has included, representing a major metal products company in a significant class action brought by more than 700 workers against their former employer seeking pension and welfare benefits. He has presented more than 200 cases at trial (jury and non-jury) and arbitration. He has served as trial counsel before the National Labor Relations Board in unfair labor practice cases, including a three-week hearing involving seven separate cases that the Board had combined for trial. Mr. Price served as a member of the litigation team defending a significant class action brought against a major oil company, and successfully defended a petroleum processer against claims brought by an employee who alleged he had been discharged for reporting environmental violations.
Mr. Russo has more than 24 years of experience in the litigation of employment cases (including “wrongful discharge,” discrimination cases, ERISA benefits cases, federal black lung cases and others) and cases before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, West Virginia Human Rights Commission and the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Russo also acts as counsel in high risk personal injury and death cases, complex class actions, environmental and regulatory issues, cases involving complex insurance and reinsurance issues, (particularly arising in the oil and gas industry). He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree (Italian Literature) from Bowdoin College and received his legal training at Oxford University, Corpus Christi College, England. Mr. Russo serves as a member of the Democratic Executive Committee, City of Charleston.
Mr. Russo is a member of the Labor & Employment practice area. Mr. Russo has practiced law for 25 years and is well-positioned to help clients with navigating this area of the law.
Mr. Russo is a member of the Litigation practice area. Mr. Russo has practiced law for 25 years and is well-positioned to help clients with navigating this area of the law.