New ADR Systems Neutral Mediates the Emotional Divide to Settle Disputes - ADR Systems

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ADR Systems is excited to welcome another new senior mediator and arbitrator to our panel of neutrals this year: Hon. Thomas A. Meyer, (Ret.). A founding partner of the Chicago office of what is now AmundsenDavis, LLC, Judge Meyer has cultivated a wide range of experience, having litigated and resolved hundreds of civil cases – everything from employment and partnership disputes to medical malpractice and nursing home matters – as a trial attorney and as a judge for 16 years in the 22nd Circuit Court of McHenry County.

“Judge Meyer was a first-rate jurist who committed more time than he had available to pretrial settlement conferences,” said Marc Becker, president of ADR Systems. “His willingness to go the extra mile makes him extraordinarily equipped to help our clients with their tough cases.”

While presiding over pretrial settlement conferences, Judge Meyer relished opportunities to help parties understand the realities of their case, the risks of trial and the many merits of settlement. By way of this experience, he has cultivated an intimate, comprehensive understanding of the issues and perspectives at play on both sides of a civil action—and especially how emotional hang-ups can affect plaintiffs and defendants.

Notably, Judge Meyer resolved a trusts and estates dispute in which, he thought, emotion and ego often guided the litigation and settlement negotiations more than reason. Beneficiaries of a trust filed suit against other beneficiaries, alleging violations of the trust’s no-contest clause and a breach of fiduciary duty, among others. The heart of their complaint, however, was a personal one: A belief among some claimants that they were treated unfairly by their mother in life and in the division of the estate.

“The lawsuit was highly emotional, but also cannibalizing,” said Judge Meyer. “Legal fees were consuming the value of the trust. If they tried the case, neither side could guarantee a victory. One side would absolutely lose, and nobody in the family would truly win. I did my best to speak past the emotions, to home in on the legal aspects of the parties’ cases and help them see the risks and consequences with which they were playing. Ultimately, they settled.”

Wanting a lawsuit, wanting to be judged in the right, wanting vindication: These are understandable, human motivations. “But very often, when the parties have their moment to tell their story, be heard intently by a mediator and receive an honest assessment by the mediator, their willingness to settle opens up,” said Judge Meyer. “I’m a neutral third party without a dog in the fight. I hope I can provide that on even the most complex and emotional of cases.”

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Hon. Thomas A. Meyer, (Ret.) has been involved in civil litigation for nearly four decades. His legal practice focused on construction, commercial transportation, product liability and professional liability. Judge Meyer has helped resolve matters involving everything from employment and partnership disputes to medical malpractice and nursing home cases. His unruffled demeanor along with his ability to understand the needs and interests of others make him well suited for his role as a mediator and arbitrator.

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ADR Systems, It’s Settled. ®

I want to express our firm’s appreciation to ADR Systems for providing us with an outstanding CLE program.  I received numerous positive comments from our partners; everyone thought that the Hon. F. Keith Brown and Stuart A. Nudelman provided us with useful and interesting insights.  I think that our Chicago partners (and anyone else who might do a mediation in Chicago) would be delighted with any of them as a mediator or arbitrator.

Alan Becker, Managing PartnerLitchfield Cavo LLP
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