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R. Wayne Thorpe

R. Wayne Thorpe, Esq.

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Case Manager
Lauryn Hall
T: 404-566-2157
F: 404-588-0905
One Atlantic Center, 1201 West Peachtree, Suite 2650, Atlanta, GA 30309

R. Wayne Thorpe, Esq. has had hundreds of engagements as a neutral in business, commercial, and consumer cases including antitrust, banking, bankruptcy, corporate/partnership, entertainment and media, estates, franchise and dealership, health care, insurance, intellectual property, international, mergers and acquisitions, non-profits and churches, professional liability, securities, technology, and real estate.

Mr. Thorpe has been a full-time ADR neutral since 1998. He has served as mediator, arbitrator, facilitator, special master, and case evaluator in roughly  2000  cases in at least 15 states, including many high stakes and complex cases, class actions, MDL’s, and other large scale multi-party cases, and more than 500 arbitrations as sole arbitrator, panel chair, or party-appointed arbitrator.

Mr. Thorpe was named by the Best Lawyers in America publication as the 2015 Atlanta Arbitration Lawyer of the Year and the 2012 Atlanta Mediation Lawyer of the Year, and he has been recognized by International Who’s Who of Commercial Mediation, Best Lawyers in America and Georgia Super Lawyers for a number of years.

He is Past Chair of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section, and he has been a leader in ADR ethics and other policy matters both nationally and in Georgia for many years. He has also served as an adjunct professor and guest presenter in ADR courses in several law schools. Before he became a full-time neutral, Mr. Thorpe was a litigation partner in a large Atlanta law firm.

Highlights of his experience appear below. Separate biographies describing his experience in certain specific practice areas can be found on this website.

Representative Matters 

  • Arbitration:  More than 500 arbitrations as sole arbitrator, panel chair, and party-appointed arbitrator in banking, bankruptcy, civil rights, class and collective actions, consumer, corporate and LLC governance and dissolution, construction, employment (including contracts, discrimination, and FSLA), entertainment, environmental, franchise, health care, insurance, IP, international, M&A, real estate, securities, software and computer technology, tort, and professional and employment cases involving lawyers, physicians, accountants and other professionals. See separate Arbitration biography
  • Banking: Numerous mediations and arbitrations of disputes involving consumer and commercial banking, trust and investment departments; FDIC as receiver for several banks in Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina; and employment disputes in financial services industry. See separate Banking biography
  • Bankruptcy: Mediations of disputes among debtors, trustees, and creditors, including:
    • Multi-million dollar dispute between debtor and creditor about valuation and ownership of multiple shopping centers, dissolution of partnership, and distribution of assets
    • Disputes involving trustee claims for fraudulent conveyance of debtor assets
    • Mediation of disputes between trustee of bank holding company and FDIC as receiver for bank
    • Mediation of trustee fraud case, in sale of nursing homes, in State, USDC and USBC in Tennessee and Indiana; multiple parties included a major church conference; also included insurance coverage issuer
    • Appointed by Bankruptcy judge as mediator of 20+ tort claims against nursing home in Chapter 11
    • Arbitration of bankruptcy trustee claim against Big Four accounting firm
  • Corporate/partnership/LLC M&A, Dissolution, and Governance:
    • Arbitrations and mediations of disputes among LLC’s and members about governance, dissolution, and other business issues
    • Arbitrations and mediations between AmLaw 100 law firms and former partners concerning age and gender discrimination, retirement, and accounting issues
    • Several post-acquisition disputes between sellers and buyers of stock/assets, including disputed accounting treatment of contingent liabilities
    • Mediations/facilitations of governance disputes among officers and directors
    • Arbitration concerning alleged breach of letter of intent relating to acquisition of assets of Florida urgent care clinic business
    • Several dissolutions of corporations and partnerships
  • Entertainment and Media: Various IP, Contract and other business:
    • Claims by estates of deceased rock/jazz musicians based upon allegedly wrongful use of celebrity images, songs, and song lyrics for restaurant décor and advertising; nine claimants, 100+ defendants, and ten or more insurers
    • Mediation of cases in California and Mississippi involving trademark and right of publicity claims brought by estate of a leading classic movie actor
    • Dispute between buyer and seller of TV production company concerning production issues and value of assets
    • Suit by former shareholders of closely held media corporation (TV and publishing), alleging breach of fiduciary duty and theft of corporate opportunity
    • Arbitration and mediation of disputes between music artists and managers, producers, distributors
    • Dispute among several groups of investors in radio station, including prominent R&B singer
    • Arbitration involving estate of prominent R&B musician and management company
  • Estates and Family Businesses:
    • Will contest involving alleged undue influence in purported $10 million estate; several additional will contests
    • Will caveat dispute in $200M estate between beneficiary under will and private foundation
    • Mediation allocating interests in inherited family business and multiple real estate parcels
    • Dispute among 12 siblings concerning relocation of parents’ graves
  • Franchise, Dealership, and Distributorship: Disputes about franchise and dealer location, operations quality, and termination, including auto, restaurant, hotel, childcare and other industries.
    • Disputes about franchise and dealer location and termination, including auto, restaurant, hotel, childcare and other industries
    • Termination and trade dress dispute surrounding child care franchise
    • Contract, fraud, and promissory estoppel claims arising from formation of distributorship relationship in janitorial equipment business
    • Dispute between hotel franchisor and franchisee over operation of frequent guest program and potential termination of franchise
    • Numerous mediations between auto dealers and manufacturers over termination, location, marketing, warranty, export issues
  • Health Care: Mediations and arbitrations in many different types of health care disputes including class actions, provider charges and reimbursement, federal and state False Claims Acts, professional negligence, medical staff issues, health care industry employment issues, physician practice breakups, hospital/physician disputes, M&A, technology, other health care business disputes, and various health care business insurance issues. See separate Health Care biography
  • Insurance: Insurance coverage disputes involving financial institutions bonds; environmental and toxic tort claims; construction defects; D&O claims; health care industry coverage disputes; church ownership and governance disputes; IP coverage disputes. See separate Insurance biography
  • Intellectual Property: Mediations and arbitrations of dozens of IP, technology, and media/entertainment cases. These cases have involved trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade secrets and other IP issues; a variety of computer, software, and medical technology issues; and a number of cases involving television, radio, and other media. See separate Intellectual Property biography
  • International: Mediations and arbitrations involving a variety of disputes with non-US businesses and governments and non US business and government activities in numerous non-US countries: Bahamas, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Great Britain, Iraq, Israel, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Taiwan, and Thailand.  See separate International biography
  • Non-Profits/Churches: Governance, employment, and other business disputes involving non-profits and churches:
    • Four-year-old dispute between two church factions, numerous church officials, parishioners, and insurer, concerning ownership and occupancy of church facilities and internal church governance
    • Mediation of fraud case, involving sale of group of nursing homes, with litigation in State, Bankruptcy, and U.S. District Courts in Tennessee and Indiana; multiple parties including a major church conference; also included significant insurance coverage issues
    • Claim against church, pastor, and related non-profit, by consultant for fees arising from work on government low-income and disability housing projects
    • Mediation of dispute between two non-profit conservation groups ending long-standing acrimonious litigation
    • Mediation of employment dispute between church and associate pastor
    • Mediation of dispute between national and state organizations in national youth services organization
  • Professional Liability:  Numerous mediations and arbitrations involving alleged professional liability of accountants, lawyers, physicians and other healthcare providers, investment professionals, construction managers and others, as well as business and employment disputes involving professionals.  See separate professional liability biography
  • Real Estate:
    • State DOT condemnation of hotel (owner and tenant) with long-term lease
    • Mediation of landlord claim against physician group, withdrawn physician, and estate of deceased physician
    • Claims against attorneys for alleged malpractice in real estate deals
    • Mediations in several cases between large condo homeowner groups and developers and builders over construction and financial issues
    • Mediations of alleged wrongful foreclosures on residences
    • Dissolutions of real estate partnerships
    • Numerous disputes between banks and borrowers about real estate secured loans
  • Securities and other Investments: Arbitrations and mediations in a wide variety of cases involving securities and other investments, including SEC enforcement cases, public company cases, and claims against brokers and investment advisers. See separate Securities biography
  • Technology (computers and software):
    • Arbitration of military procurement dispute between general and subcontractor on contract for high tech weapons systems for foreign government
    • Case evaluation for dispute in multi-year, multi-million dollar technology contract between an agency of a southeastern state and a computer services provider
    • Claims, counterclaims, and criminal investigations concerning quality of work on software development project; also involved alleged violations of federal and state anti-hacking statutes
    • Dispute between software developer and one of world’s largest software companies concerning software quality issues
    • Insurance coverage dispute for multi-million dollar dispute concerning allegedly defective computer system
    • Sales contract dispute between Taiwanese manufacturer of computer components and U.S. computer manufacturer
    • Arbitrations and mediations of computer and software vendors and their customers
    • Alleged theft of trade secrets concerning medical software
    • Trade secret dispute between large telecom company and alleged inventor of game application for wireless phone use
  • 2017 Recipient of The Chief Justice Harold G. Clarke Annual Award, presented by the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution and the State Bar of Georgia Dispute Resolution Section, In Recognition of His Outstanding Contributions to Dispute Resolution in Georgia
  • Co-Author, What Is…ADR in Health Care Disputes?, ABA Book Publishing (Health Law Section), 2015
  • Identified by The Best Lawyers in America as the 2015 Atlanta Arbitration Lawyer of the Year
  • Identified by The Best Lawyers in America as the 2012 Atlanta Mediation Lawyer of the Year
  • Named in International Who’s Who Legal, Mediation; Georgia Super Lawyers; and The Best Lawyers in America for several years
  • ABA, Dispute Resolution Section. Section Chair, 2010-2011; Officer or Member of Section Council, 2001-2012; Co-Chair, ABA Task Force on Improving Mediation Quality, 2006-2008; Drafting Committee, Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators, 2003-2005
  • Liaison from DR Section to ABA’s Ethics 2000 Commission (providing testimony on the Model Rules of Professional Conduct provisions relating to mediation and arbitration), 2000-2002; Chair, ABA DR Section Ethics Committee, 1997-2002
  • Member, Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution, 1997-2002, appointed by Supreme Court of Georgia
  • State Bar of Georgia, ADR Law Section. Chair, 2003-2004; Officer, 2000-2004; Executive committee, 2009-2012; Chair or Co-Chair, annual ADR Institute, 2000, 2003, planning committee, 2000-present; Atlanta Bar ADR Lawyers Section, past member, Board of Directors; Georgia Annual Arbitration Institute, Chair, 2018 and multiple prior years
  • Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators; Fellow, American College of Civil Trial Mediators
  • Adjunct Law School Professor, University of Georgia and Georgia State University, Alternative Dispute Resolution Courses, 1998-2004; guest presentations in ADR classes at GSU, Emory University, Mercer University, and John Marshall law schools
  • More than 150 speaking presentations to Bar and ADR professional groups in more than 20 states; faculty member ABA Annual Arbitration Institute, 2010-2012, 2016 (and Co-Chair, 2010); faculty member ABA Annual Advanced Mediation Institute, 2010, ’11, and ’13; dozens of articles and papers on ADR topics
  • Member, American Health Lawyers Association, Panel of Dispute Resolvers; US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution National Roster; CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Roster of Mediators
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation; Fellow, Atlanta Bar Foundation
  • Principal Benefactor, JAMS Foundation
  • JAMS, ADR Neutral, 1998-present
  • Litigation Partner and Associate, Alston & Bird, 1981-1998
  • Law Clerk to Chief United States District Judge Charles A. Moye, Jr., United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1979-1981
  • J.D., cum laude, University of Georgia Law School, 1979; Georgia Law Review, Research Editor
  • B.A., with distinction, University of Virginia, 1976
  • Wayne is married to Jane Thorpe, who retired as a partner at Alston & Bird in 2014.  They have two adult children and one really grand grandchild.  Wayne and Jane own a cabin in West Yellowstone, MT near Yellowstone National Park, where they flyfish and hike as much as they can.

Counsel Comments

    • "Mr. Thorpe brings to his ADR work the same degree of energy, creativity and perseverance that good lawyers bring to their representation of clients."
    • “[Mr. Thorpe] did an outstanding job mediating our dispute…he clearly had a firm grasp of the issues, and worked relentlessly to help the parties resolve a hard-fought case.  I believe [he] facilitated open lines of communication that ultimately allowed the parties to settle. I would welcome the opportunity to have [Mr. Thorpe] mediate for me in the future and look forward to doing so.”

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