Great Job! Margo Keller

keller“I want to thank WAMS and specifically Margo Keller for assisting in the recent mediation. She was at all times professional and considerate. Bottom line is she did a great job, got the matter settled and all parties leaving with a resolution which was in their best interests. Thank you.”

~WAMS Client

Great Job! Bill Joyce

“Too often, when a lawsuit is settled as a result of mediation, the efforts of the mediator go unrecognized. I do not want that to happen in the above captioned matter, because, in my view, our mediator, Bill Joyce, went above and beyond the call of duty while guiding the parties to a settlement. Bill demonstrated both great mediation skills and tenacity during an all-day mediation, but, more importantly, after the close of formal mediation and despite his own busy work and travel schedule, he made himself available to the parties on a moment’s notice and thus kept the process going until the case settled.”

~WAMS Client

25th Anniversary of Lemon Law Program

By: Alisa Sullivan, WAMS ADR Program Director

Washington Arbitration & Mediation Service has administered the Washington State New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board (Lemon Law) since its inception in 1988. Designated under statute to settle new vehicle disputes between consumers and manufacturers, the Arbitration Board is an independent, neutral agency that conducts arbitration proceedings as a prerequisite to court. Washington is one of a handful of states with a designated Arbitration Board, as others require the consumer to utilize the manufacturer’s arbitration program prior to filing in court.

In its twenty-five year history, the Lemon Law program has received over 6,025 requests for arbitration from consumers looking to have their vehicles repurchased or replaced by the manufacturer. Of those requests, 2,210 cases have resulted in an arbitration hearing, 1,894 have settled with the manufacturer prior to hearing, and 686 requests have been withdrawn by the consumer. It is estimated that the Lemon Law program has resulted in settlements or awards worth about $104,537,440.

Kudos to the dedicated neutrals who have made the Washington State program a successful, impartial process.

Great Job! Harry Goldman

goldman“Thank you so much for your help mediating yesterday’s case. This is the second difficult case that you have successfully mediated for me. Honestly, I did not think we would settle yesterday’s case. However, your skill, expertise, and patience carried the day. As a younger attorney who does not have a lot of personal injury experience, it is great knowing that you are available to help settle matters. You are an invaluable resource. I will definitely be asking for your services as a mediator in the future.” ~WAMS Client

Great Job! Mac Shelton

shelton“I recently completed a mediation with Mac Shelton at your office. The subject matter was beyond Mr. Shelton’s experience, and the opposing counsel was very difficult. This case had all the indications of a long and hostile battle. I don’t have any idea how Mr. Shelton accomplished resolution. I have recommended Mr. Shelton a dozen times to my colleagues, and will continue to recommend and use WAMS when possible. Mr. Shelton belongs in the Mediator’s Hall of Fame.”

– WAMS Client

Great Job! John Cooper

Cooper“The matter has settled, and it did so through the continued efforts of Mr. Cooper – he graciously offered to help after we were unsuccessful in arriving at a resolution during the mediation.”

– WAMS Client

“John’s relentlessness as a mediator is relentlessly appreciated by us.”

– WAMS Client

Mediator Focus: William J. Rush

By: Penny Gans | WAMS Staff

rushBill Rush is a gracious and wise “old school” lawyer with a twinkle in his eye and lifetime of stories to tell. For the last twenty-five years, WAMS clients have benefited from his broad legal experience and mediation skills. Bill’s introduction to mediation came through his participation in the voluntary Federal Court 39.1 alternative dispute resolution program that began on a trial basis in 1968-69. Then in 1986, WAMS founder Michael Gillie invited him to join Harry Goldman and Larry Levy on the WAMS mediator panel, trained by ADR pioneer Alan Alhadeff. Unlike his two mediator trainee colleagues who have been full-time mediators for many years, Bill has continued his private law practice while mediating hundreds of cases at WAMS.

Mentor, teacher, author, occasional Judge Pro Tem and highly respected member of the Washington State Bar, Bill was born in Tacoma and earned his BA from the University of Puget Sound and his JD from the University of Washington law school. His firm, Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, was founded in 1959 and presently numbers eight attorneys, all graduates of Washington law schools.

In 50 years of practicing law, Bill has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in matters ranging from medical negligence and product liability to construction, business, and family law. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Courts in Washington, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Bill has taken nearly 30 cases to the appellate level, some of which have established legal precedents that are still being cited. His case involving the relationship between emergency room doctors and a local hospital established the Ostensible Agency principal. Another case established rules regarding a general contractor’s overall responsibility for the safety of a worksite. In a third memorable case, Bill won a verdict against the State of Washington when a convict serving a life term in the State penitentiary was included in the warden’s experimental “take a lifer to dinner” rehabilitation program. The convict escaped through the bathroom window of the host’s home, fled to Tacoma, and subsequently shot and killed the owner of a gun shop during a robbery attempt.

As a mediator, Bill feels that his job is to help parties find their own settlement. He believes that the best way to “take the acrimony out of the process” is to separate the parties, although “it’s OK for the parties to be vitriolic with the mediator.” In Bill’s experience, the client is usually well represented by the attorney, who may be aware of facts and issues that are unknown to the mediator. Bill is sensitive to the relationship between attorney and client and is careful to follow the attorney’s wishes as to how he can best work with the client. He encourages attorneys to provide enough case background to enable him to move the negotiations expeditiously toward settlement.

When not working with clients, Bill stays fit playing handball and racquetball and has enjoyed Husky football as a season ticket holder for 50 years. Also an avid traveler, Bill and his wife (a professional photographer) have visited almost every corner of the world. Highlights include a people-to-people trip to China in the early 1980’s to discuss medical malpractice issues with Chinese doctors and court representatives; a behind-the-scenes tour of Oman, Dubai, and Kuwait before 9/11; a 1991 trip to his parents’ Ukrainian birthplace where he met nine first cousins still living there; and journeys to both the North and South Poles. The trip to the North Pole was on a 300-foot Russian icebreaker and included a brief swim in a hole carved out of the ice over 8400-foot deep water while the ship’s armed crew kept a lookout for polar bears. That’s Bill’s idea of fun!

WAMS congratulates Bill on his exceptional career and wishes him many more years of good health and mediation success. Bill, along with Harry and Larry, was honored by WAMS in January for his distinguished career as a WAMS panel member.