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Louis K. Polonsky

Louis Polonsky has actively practiced law in Georgia from his office in Atlanta for over 40 years, and has litigated a wide variety of civil claims in over 60 counties in Georgia, as well as in all Federal Courts in Georgia. After his 1974 graduation from the University of Georgia School of Law, Louis spent a short period of time as a litigator with the U.S. Department of Health, Education & Welfare. Louis then entered into a 3-person partnership in late 1976, and left that partnership to become a sole practitioner in early 1979. As a sole practitioner, similar to a "country" lawyer from his roots in Valdosta, Louis initially had a general civil and criminal defense practice. In his early years as a sole practitioner, Louis got a significant amount of his experience as a trial lawyer in criminal defense matters, some of which were highly publicized (including a "not guilty" verdict in a rape trial involving football players at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, and a death penalty case in Baldwin County, Georgia in which he ultimately obtained a dismissal of all charges against his client without a trial). Louis transitioned away from criminal defense matters in the mid-1980's, and then began to concentrate his law practice on civil litigation matters listed below. Louis has tried approximately 50 civil cases to verdict in Georgia, and has participated in approximately 75 mediations since the advent of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Georgia. Louis has taught trial practice to attorneys in Georgia for over 20 years at the annual 1-week Georgia (now Gary Christy Memorial) Trial Skills Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, Georgia. Louis has also served as an arbitrator on the Fee Arbitration panel of the State Bar of Georgia for over 25 years, and has arbitrated approximately 200 cases during that time.

Mediator Philosophy:

Louis' philosophy as a mediator is, based on using his vast trial and litigation experience in numerous areas, to actively participate in mediations under the method that is known as "facilitative mediation," which involves "reality testing" with all participants to point out, at the appropriate time in confidential caucuses, matters and issues such as each side's strengths and weaknesses, the likelihood and degree of success if the matter goes to trial, evidentiary issues that might affect the outcome at trial, and the financial costs involved in preparing for and attending trial. Louis' philosophy is not to be merely a messenger shuttling demands and offers back-and-forth between the parties. Louis is very well-versed in all issues relating to subrogation, indemnification, liens, medical bills, Medicare/Medicaid, apportionment of fault and insurance coverages, as well as settlement considerations such as confidentiality provisions that are often part of a settlement memorandum at mediation. Having attended over 75 mediations as an advocate for his clients, Louis is very aware that the parties, in the event of a resolution at mediation, need to assure themselves that the matter has indeed been fully settled in all regards to the best mutual benefit of all parties.

Arbitrator Philosophy:

As noted, Louis is a very experienced arbitrator as a result of serving on the Fee Arbitration panel of the State Bar of Georgia for over 25 years, and has during that time participated in rendering decisions in approximately 200 cases involving fee disputes between attorneys and clients in matters of all varieties (both civil and criminal).

Additional Available Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution:

"Case Evaluation": In addition to serving as a neutral in "traditional" mediations, Louis can, upon request, serve as a neutral for "case evaluation." Under this process, with Louis' expertise in a subject matter, he will evaluate the case after each side has presented a summary of its evidence and legal theories - and will assist the parties in parties in narrowing the legal and factual issues in the case, as well as assessing the strengths and weaknesses in each side's case. Early "case evaluation" can be a valuable aid in streamlining discovery, addressing other pretrial issues and promoting a settlement. Late "case evaluation" can also take place just prior to trial, especially where a previous attempt to mediate the matter has been unsuccessful. Regardless of which stage of "case evaluation" is employed, it can be a valuable asset to a subsequent resolution of the matter.

"MedArb": In this hybrid process, mediation occurs first, and, if unsuccessful, non-binding arbitration commences immediately thereafter. This is often a very instructive tool to promote a resolution of the matter.

Areas of Practice:

Motor Vehicle Accidents (including claims involving alleged violations of trucking rules and regulations)
Insurance Disputes and Coverage Issues (including declaratory judgments, and bad faith, failure to defend and failure to settle claims - and Louis has been an expert witness in this area)
Medical & Dental Malpractice
Legal Malpractice (and Louis has been an expert witness in this area)
Nursing Home Liability
Premises Liability (including claims against owners, management companies and occupants of premises)
Corporate/business/partnership break-ups and disputes (including restrictive covenants, interference with business or contractual relationships, and claims alleging stealing of business assets or secrets)
Real estate (including wrongful foreclosure, sale contracts, slander of title claims and actions to quiet title)
Contracts (including employment & restrictive covenants)
Construction (including residential and commercial developments)
Fraudulent transfers (to avoid creditors)
Defamation claims (libel and slander)
Civil rights (including claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983)
Malicious prosecution and false arrest claims

{Note: Mediation and arbitration services are not offered in the following areas: Divorce (and all other domestic relations matters, including child custody); worker compensation; taxation; securities violations}

Education:

University of Georgia School of Law
   J.D. - 1974

Georgia Institute of Technology
   B.S., Industrial Management - 1974

Representative Cases

Shaw v. Plaza Pontiac, Inc., 158 GA. App. 799, 282 S.E.2d 393 (1981)
Privitera v. Addison, 190 Ga. App. 102, 378 S.E.2d 312 (1989)
Tillman v. Coley, 886 F.2d 317 (11th Cir. 1989)
Hirsch v. Goodlett, 196 Ga. App. 127, 395 S.E.2d 626 (1990)
Howard v. McFarland, 237 Ga. App. 483, 515 S.E.2d 629 (1999)