Large, Complex Construction Disputes: The Dynamics of Multi-Party Mediation - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 62, No. 2
Albert Bates Jr. is a partner in the Trial Practice Group of Duane Morris, LLP, focusing on construction litigation and domestic and international arbitration. An arbitrator or mediator, Mr. Bates serves on the AAA’s Construction Arbitrator Master Panel and represents the ABA Construction Litigation Committee on the AAA’s National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee.
L. Tyrone Holt is the managing principal of The Holt Group LLC, in Denver, Colorado. Mr. Holt provides professional construction arbitration and mediation services throughout the United States through his company, Western Neutral Services, LLC. He is a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators and a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He currently serves on the governing committee of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry. He is a co-editor and a chapter author of the book, Design Professional and Construction Manager Liability. He also serves on the AAA’s National Construction Arbitrator Master Panel.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
At the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) recent Construction Mediation Conference in Miami, entitled “What You Can’t Not Know,” we facilitated a discussion of the complexity of mediating large, complex construction disputes, focusing particularly on the dynamics associated with multi-party mediation. Mr. Holt focused on the role of the mediator, while Mr. Bates focused on the role of lead outside counsel. The purpose of this article is to share the highlights of the Miami discussion.
Complex construction projects involve many stakeholders. The fact pattern that we used at the conference involved a public-private partnership as the owner of a project that involved a multi-modal (train/bus/light rail) transportation station, a 400-room luxury hotel and a three-story parking garage. The owner retained an architect, who in turn retained a number of consultants, many of whom retained subconsultants. The owner also engaged a construction manager with full-time site supervision responsibilities. The project was bid on a “design, negotiate and build” basis, funded in large part through the issuance of municipal bonds. The construction contract was awarded to a general contractor, who retained a number of subcontractors to perform significant portions of the work. Materials were purchased from a number of vendors and suppliers by the contractor and subcontractors. Each of the participants had various types and amounts of insurance coverage.