The author is a partner in the law firm of Holm & Drath in New York City. He has lectured at seminars and conferences dealing with management and joint venture relationships, has been an adjunct professor at New York University’s Hotel and Restaurant Administration Program and is an arbitrator on numerous panels at the American Arbitration Association. The names of the parties mentioned in this article have been changed in the interest of confidentiality.
As a practicing mediator, the author has seen first-hand the benefits of employing the process to “prevent all-out war” between disputants and to “[preserve] the equity of a viable enterprise.” This article recounts one such experience in which mediation successfully resolved a potentially devastating commercial dispute between the children of a trio of hotel owners on the verge of retirement.
The three patriarchs of the Benson, Miller and Reisler families had jointly developed, nurtured and supported a successful group of hospitality properties. Their portfolio consists of 15 hotels and four restaurants located along the eastern seaboard.