ADR Systems is excited to welcome Hon. Elizabeth M. Budzinski, (Ret.) to ADR Systems as our newest senior mediator and arbitrator. Judge Budzinski served in the Law Division for 16 years, trying and settling various personal injury cases, including products liability, premises liability, construction accident and medical malpractice. She also heard commercial cases such as breach of fiduciary duty, wrongful termination, fraud and employment discrimination.
“Judge Budzinski is a tireless, enthusiastic judge with a talent for resolving complex disputes,” said Marc Becker, president of ADR Systems. “She is respected by both sides of the bar, and it is our privilege to now have her at ADR Systems. I think our clients will overwhelmingly agree.”
Judge Budzinski is the fifth neutral to join ADR Systems this year and the tenth to join in the past two years. Like each of those new neutrals before her, her work as a judge and longstanding passion for the resolution of disputes was invigorated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Right before courts closed and jury trials were suspended, Judge Budzinski presided over the first and only trial of what ultimately became a 2,600-plaintiff toxic tort class action lawsuit.
“The change of circumstances required that we all think about how we can move the case’s mass of litigation toward resolution another way,” Judge Budzinski explained. “Every week, I was on conference calls with the attorneys and adjusters from various insurance companies, urging them to move discovery along and reminding them of the mounting litigation costs and the value of settling all these claims.”
Her diligence paid off. After a year of facilitated settlement negotiations, Judge Budzinski helped the parties resolve all the claims, resulting in an eight-figure settlement value without objections by either side.
“It is my belief that every dispute should go through mediation,” said Judge Budzinski. “Mediation is frankly more effective than trial at resolving disputes. Parties receive a fair-minded assessment of their cases from a former trial judge who has lived through all the risks that come with trial. The process is cost-efficient, more flexible and informal, faster and gives both sides their ‘day in court.’”
For mediation to work, though, the relationships between counsel and mediator need to work, she said. Trust is essential.
“If the lawyers and adjusters know and trust their mediator, there’s a greater chance they will be willing to work together toward resolution,” said Judge Budzinski. “My hope and my goal is to be a neutral the litigants, attorneys and adjusters can trust with their disputes and help them find what they are looking for: Settlement.”
Hon. Elizabeth M. Budzinski, (Ret.) was a hard-working, meticulous and highly sought-after trial judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County for 20 years before joining ADR Systems as a senior mediator and arbitrator. She is skilled at bringing even the most recalcitrant parties to a resolution of their dispute. Attorneys who have settled cases with Judge Budzinski describe her as diligent, fair and someone who can keep the parties talking.
ADR Systems, It’s Settled. ®