alternative dispute resolution

Litigation takes many forms, and Conrad O’Brien attorneys know how to help clients resolve disputes outside the courtroom.  We are routinely involved in a wide range of alternative dispute resolution procedures, from arbitrations to mediations.  Our experience comes not just from being advocates in these types of cases, but also from serving as mediators and arbitrators of a panel of arbitrators.  We act as neutral arbitrators for many state and federal courts and for private organizations such as the American Arbitration Association, the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, the National Association of Securities Dealers, ADR Options, and Dispute Resolution Institute. With this experience, we are often the first choice of private parties with complex disputes who want to avoid a public trial.

The Firm’s ADR practice is led by Louis C. Bechtle, Chief Judge Emeritus of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Judge Bechtle has served as a mediator and an arbitrator in dozens of cases including employment, class action, and international commercial matters.  In addition, Judge Bechtle has served as judge in mock trials and has prepared written opinions on mock motions to give clients his unique insights on how the judge actually handling a case might approach it, thereby helping clients develop their litigation and settlement positions.  Judge Bechtle’s representative engagements include the following:

  • Serves as Equity Receiver for a collapsed $70 million Ponzi scheme involving a former hedge fund manager and his investment companies.  Assisted by court-appointed Conrad O’Brien attorneys, Judge Bechtle has tracked down assets, liquidated property and recovered fraudulently transferred funds, and has made millions of dollars of interim distributions to victims of the Ponzi scheme. 
  • Serves as a Special Master in complex intellectual property cases in the U.S. District Court in Delaware, supervising discovery and resolving disputes.
  • Served as an arbitrator in an international dispute between electronics companies over licensing rights and royalties, involving several million dollars.
  • Chaired an arbitration panel in a $300 million dispute by a claimant alleging breach of an agreement to sell a portion of the respondent’s business to him.
  • Served as an arbitrator in a dispute between the United States and an airplane manufacturer arising out of a government contract.
  • Chaired an arbitration panel in a dispute alleging professional negligence in the performance of an audit, resulting in a multimillion dollar tax liability.
  • Chaired an arbitration panel hearing a wrongful termination dispute between a hedge fund manager and his business partner.
  • Prepared a mock ruling on a motion for summary judgment in an intellectual property case to assist a client in evaluating the appropriate upper and lower limits for a high-low arbitration.

Louis W. Fryman contributes additional depth and experience to the Firm’s arbitration and mediation practice.  He serves as a mediator in the federal district court, an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, and a Judge Pro Tempore in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.  He has resolved, or helped parties resolve, a broad range of matters.  Representative engagements include:

  • Served as arbitrator in a dispute between two major Philadelphia area hospitals concerning the continuation of their heart programs.
  • Served as arbitrator in a legal malpractice action seeking over $100 million in damages from a major Philadelphia law firm.
  • Regularly serves as an arbitrator in medical malpractice, personal injury and contract actions.
  • Mediated claims by a former employee against the City of Philadelphia in connection with “pay to play” investigations.
  • Mediated and resolved contractor litigation involving the construction of Lincoln Financial Field.
  • Recently appointed Judge Pro Tempore for a special mortgage foreclosure conciliation program for the City of Philadelphia.