Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Could it be? A judge has ordered mediation in the Heery Mitchell case. Please, let this work out.

From the AJC

Judge orders mediation in DeKalb schools suit

Citing millions of dollars of legal fees, a judge ordered DeKalb County schools to mediate its case with construction giant Heery International.

The school system has spent more than $15.5 million in legal expenses in an ongoing civil suit with Heery/E.R. Mitchell over management of the school’s construction program. On Tuesday, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger ordered the parties to attend mediation.

“I’m worried that we will continue to accrue more attorney fees,” the judge told the parties. “This has grown far, far too expensive for the parties, and one party is the school board. Taxpayers are paying for this. Mediation is the best way to get this resolved."

Thank you! I agree Judge Seeliger! Please, save the taxpayers of DeKalb from this abyss!

Sadly, though, the school system attorney's response just sounds like fightin' words:

“The parties got a stern instruction from the judge to go to mediation," school lawyer Ray Persons said Tuesday. "We welcome any opportunity to discuss the resolution of the case to get the taxpayers’ compensation for the wrongdoing that has been done by Heery/Mitchell.


Anonymous said...

To be an optimist--of course the system's lawyer is going to take that tone at the very start of mediation. You don't see Heery being conciliatory, do you?

Anonymous said...

This is good for all parties. Too bad it couldn't be binding arbitration.

If this can be resolved, this would be one less thing the new superintendent has to be concerned about.

Cerebration said...

I agree! If this case could get resolved before we hire a new super it would be so good for the system.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet DCSS agrees to pay Heery Mitchell half of what HM claims in damages and 100% of HM's attorneys fees and costs and then claims "victory". The Board will vote to approve paying HM millions of dollars and then tell everyone "it's in the students best interest" to "cut our losses". Just watch. You'll see.

Sagamore 7 said...

ANON 10:43 am.

If the BOE agrees to settle and pay then we will definitely get a new board immediately!

I hope.

You know this is the 2nd time this case has gone to mediation.
This suit will go to ANOTHER mediation and the ONLY way it gets settled by mediation is for DCSS to CAVE in and pay Heery what they want so it goes away.

Please contact your Dekalb Delegate in support of HB 22!


Anonymous said...

Maybe the best thing is for both sides to drop all charges and incur their own costs up to this point. The School district was attempting to recover taxpayer dollars they felt they were overcharged for through change orders primariy. Given the key witness has been damaged, it may be wise to consider this in light of the circumstances.

Are citizens willing to give up a potential $100 million dollar settlement for this to just go away?

Anonymous said...

@ 1:04 I believe that would be the best outcome of this mediation. I don't see it happening, but I will pray that it does. Enough tax payer dollars have been wasted on this. Our children deserve this money spent on them. I am beginning to wonder if the lawyers we hire look at us as their cash cow.

Anonymous said...

@10:43 You have got the theme right, But there might be some modifications.
I personally would like to see a fight to the end so that we will finally determine who was right.

We live in shame and will go down in flame, nothing can stop DeKalb County School Board. (Borrowing from the Air Force song)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, though it may seem counterintuitive, mediation can end up costing more in attorneys fees. The reason is, the rules of mediation allow for much more information to be brought in and so the attorneys on each side must be prepared to defend against every possible contingency. More evidence allowed = more research must go into each side's defense = longer attorney hours = higher attorney fees. This is why firms secretly rejoice when mediation is ordered. AND there is no guarantee it will be successful.

Anonymous said...

Not all conflicts can be resolved through mediation and this looks to be a problem case that will need more than just a sit down to resolve it.

At the end of the day, if you don´t find a resolution, then the costs incurred will just go up and up. Perhaps a little more thought should be put into what type of ADR might be better suited in a case of this magnitude.

Jean Smith
Mediation Researcher