Increasingly, clients are concerned about the time and expense needed to bring a case to final resolution through trial and appeal. More and more, parties turn to alternative dispute resolution as a way to resolve their cases more quickly and efficiently. Pierce Atwood’s many engagements in this area demonstrate our clients’ confidence in both the firm’s expertise and its attention to quality service in arbitration, mediation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Our attorneys serve on panels of neutrals offered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR), and the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA). Our team includes a former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

John Bulman National Academy of Distinguished NeutralsIn 2017, firm partner John Bulman was inducted into the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, an invitation-only organization limited to professional mediators and arbitrators who are well-established as trusted neutrals among the legal community within their state of practice.

One area for which we offer mediation services is class action litigation.  The practice co-leader of our Class Action Defense Practice Group, Don Frederico, brings to bear three decades of class action experience in federal and state courts across the country.  He is available to assist parties overcome the challenges of resolving class action disputes in a manner that takes into account the interests and goals of both plaintiffs and defendants and positions them to obtain approval of their proposed settlements in the courts.

Representative Experience

We secured an arbitration award in excess of $5 million on behalf of a general contractor. The arbitration award was for a breach of contract/cumulative impact claim against the developer of a high end waterfront residential condominium project. The award exceeded the Guaranteed Maximum Price, as adjusted by change order.

$5 Million Arbitration Award for General Contractor

John Bulman has been appointed sole arbitrator in an AAA large complex case dispute relating to the engineering, design, procurement and construction of a power plant in the Eastern U.S.

AAA Large Complex Dispute Concerning Power Plant EPC Issues

Represented US entity in distributorship dispute with UK company and its US sales and marketing subsidiary.  The matter was administered by ICDR and arbitrated in Rhode Island. Issues concerned reaching the correct respondent (which had approximately 13 related companies).  Received award for 100% of damages, plus attorney’s fees under Rhode Island statute, plus interest, and had the correct respondent liable for the award.  The matter is now in collection in the UK, which administers such awards under the New York Convention.

Arbitration Award for US Subsidiary of UK Company

John Bulman has been appointed to chair an arbitration panel regarding a large complex dispute involving development of a new petrochemical plant.

Arbitration Concerning New Petrochemical Plant

Represented one of two partners in partnership dispute pertaining to operation of P&C personal lines insurance agency.  Ultimately we secured an agreement to arbitrate the dispute, addressing liability and then issues of valuation for a divorce between the partners.  Secured findings in favor of our client and very successful award of damages (high six figures) for his interest in the agency.

Arbitration in Insurance Agency Partnership Dispute

John Bulman is serving as an arbitrator in a matter relating to the construction of a natural gas-fueled combined-cycle generating facility in New England.

Arbitration Regarding Construction of Generating Facility

John Bulman has been appointed the sole Arbitrator in a large complex construction dispute involving a multi-unit residential condominium development project located in suburban Boston.

Arbitrator in Condominium Project Construction Dispute

Represented a construction manager seeking payment for labor and materials (plus profit) provided to a luxury condominium developer, prior to termination. Required to prove that the termination was for convenience and then to prove damages, which was challenging due to the manner in which financial records were maintained.  The developer offered nothing to settle until first day of hearings, when he offered slightly less than $1 million.  Ultimately an award was issued providing for payment to construction manager of slightly more than $5 million, representing almost a 100% recovery plus interest.

Award for Construction Manager in Payment Dispute

Represented the developer of limited service hotel in dispute with construction manager, leading to construction manager’s termination of the contract, arguing material breaches by the developer. The matter went through mediation and then arbitration with award being issued in favor of developer for cover. The proceeding also involved peripheral disputes with various trades who had liens on the project.

Award for Developer of Limited Service Hotel

Represented “parts and smarts” subcontractor in dispute with 2d tier subcontractor in construction of major retail shopping mall.  The 2d tier subcontractor claimed $1 million plus in impact damages arising out of project acceleration and also claimed damages owing to alleged latent ambiguity in plans. Won an award finding no liability.

Award for Subcontractor in Dispute with 2d Tier Subcontractor

Served as chair of arbitration panel addressing claims by public owner against Design Builder of waste-to-energy generating equipment.  Following issuance of award against Design Builder, at the request of the Design Builder, successfully mediated a resolution in a follow-up dispute with its vendors/subcontractors and consultants.

Chaired Arbitration Panel Concerning Waste-to-Energy Generating Equipment

John Bulman has been asked to serve as an arbitrator in a consumer dispute based on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act regarding alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and breach of contract.

Consumer Dispute Concerning Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

John Bulman is currently sitting on a Dispute Review Board for a nuclear power plant construction project. Industry professionals are chosen to sit on Dispute Review Boards by the interested parties involved with a construction project for their experience, their independence, their commitment to the project, and their training as mediators and arbitrators. 

Dispute Review Board for Nuclear Power Plant Construction Project

In a matter recognized by Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly as one of the most important opinions of 2012, we obtained a favorable order for a general contractor seeking to enforce an Ohio arbitration clause. The matter was of particular importance because it was the first time a court concluded that the Federal Arbitration Act preempted a Rhode Island statute that prohibits out-of-state arbitration in certain construction matters.

Favorable Order in Enforcement of Ohio Arbitration Clause

Obtained a favorable settlement for an owner of a spiritual retreat facility against its contractor and design professionals through a seven-party mediation following an incident that involved a burst sprinkler pipe, substantial property damage, and discovery of pervasive latent construction defects. Before the mediation, Pierce Atwood worked closely with the owner and the owner’s representatives to review the defective conditions and press for performance of the remedial work by the construction and design professionals.  Multiple demands on the contractor’s performance bond had to be made to ensure performance of the corrective and incomplete work.  Once the work was completed, Pierce Atwood represented the owner in the multi-party mediation that dealt with challenging issues involving construction defects with the fire protection system, reimbursement for additional costs due to the delayed project, complex insurance coverage issues (including with the owner’s property insurer), contract terms (waiver of subrogation, waiver of consequential damages), continuing warranty obligations, and the scope and finality of the release. At the end of the mediation process, the owner was paid for costs it incurred during the delayed project and it paid nothing against the claims submitted by its contractor and design professionals.

Favorable Settlement in Seven-Party Mediation

We represented a leading energy provider in mediation of approximately $150 million in related claims by two contractors arising out of a $1.55 billion transmission line construction project.  The claims arose from an allegation that environmental compliance on the project was overly restrictive, leading to both delay and significantly increased costs of compliance.  After two days of mediation per claim that included presentations by expert witnesses, we resolved the disputes for a fraction of the requested amount. 

Mediation in Transmission Line Construction Project