R. Wayne Thorpe

R. Wayne Thorpe, Esq.

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

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 acted as mediator, arbitrator, case evaluator, or facilitator in dozens of environmental, toxic tort, land use, and weather or climate cases, many of them including the added challenge of resolving class or other multi-party disputes. Before he became a full-time ADR professional, he was a litigation partner in a large Atlanta law firm, where he handled 100 or more matters involving environmental, toxic tort, land use, and related insurance issues. Mr. Thorpe has been appointed to the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, National Roster of Environmental Dispute Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals. He is also a member of the Environmental Sections of the ABA and State Bar of Georgia. Mr. Thorpe also wrote an article, Mediation and Arbitration in Weather and Climate Disputes, Natural Resources & Environment, Volume 27, Number 2, Fall 2012.

Mr. Thorpe has been a full-time ADR neutral since 1998.  He has served as mediator, arbitrator, facilitator, special master, and case evaluator in over 1500 cases in at least 15 states. These engagements have included mediations in class action, MDL, mass tort, and other large scale multi-party cases, as well as more than 400 arbitrations as sole arbitrator, panel chair, or party-appointed arbitrator.

Mr. Thorpe was named by Best Lawyers in America as the 2012 Atlanta Mediation Lawyer of the Year, and he is listed in International Who’s Who of Commercial Mediation (less than 100 in the US), Best Lawyers in America, and Georgia Super Lawyers.  He is Past Chair of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section.  Before he became a full-time neutral, Mr. Thorpe was a litigation partner at a national law firm based in Atlanta.

Representative Matters

  • Air and Water
    • Mediation of water use dispute between commercial and residential riparian owners and state environmental agency, including issues presented by persistent droughts
    • Dispute between golf course developer and engineers concerning responsibility for wetlands remediation required by USEPA in a major golf course development in North Georgia
    • USDOJ/USEPA claims against road contractor and state highway agency under Clean Water Act
    • Mediation of dispute between championship golf course and adjacent property owners’ association concerning riparian and deeded water rights to streams and ponds and EPD water withdrawal permit, including issues concerning droughts
    • Mediation of Clean Air Act enforcement action by USEPA and South Carolina DHE
    • Storm water runoff cases including Clean Water Act claims (see below under Weather and Climate Related Claims heading
  • Hazardous Waste
    • Mediation of numerous CERCLA, HSRA, RCRA and other cases involving hazardous waste issues
    • Facilitation of Feasibility Study technical discussions among several PRP’s, USEPA and Ga EPD at the largest Superfund site in Georgia
    • CERCLA claims arising from long-term lease at battery plant site in Alabama
    • CERCLA private cost recovery case involving pesticide site; dispute between railroad and owner/operator
    • Dispute over clean-up of soil and groundwater at shopping center/dry cleaner site; mediation with brownfields buyer and another potential buyer among PRP’s
    • Co-mediation of claims by city and water utility against dry cleaner which allegedly contaminated groundwater wells used for city drinking water; appointed to arbitrate allocation of resulting responsibilities among insurers
  • Public Policy and Land Use
    • Multi-million dollar mediation between Georgia city and county under Georgia Services Delivery Strategy Act
    • Mediation between middle Georgia city and county about allocation of Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenues
    • Mediation of long-running acrimonious disputes between City and building owner involving various zoning issues and City order to demolish building in violation of zoning
    • Mediation in multiple lawsuits by non-profit homeless shelter against city, local businesses, non-profits, and university hospital involving issues location of homeless shelter and damages for alleged tortious interference with homeless shelter’s public and private funding sources
    • Co-facilitation of quasi-political, policy disputes among various groups of residents concerning growth issues in ex-urban county
  • Weather and Climate Related Claims
    • Injunction claim by adjacent landowner against church for stormwater runoff from church construction and from church’s easement given to State DOT for roadway runoff; mediated modification to existing detention pond with church, insurer, and plaintiff
    • Claims against county for alleged failure to maintain stormwater ditch
    • Nuisance, Clean Water Act, and related claims brought by owner of large residential property against state, county, and road contractors alleging stormwater runoff damaged lake on property
    • Nuisance, trespass, and Clean Water Act case by large property owner against county and developer relating to alleged stormwater runoff and siltation from development of subdivision, and related insurance coverage issues
    • Lawsuit brought by in-town Atlanta resident concerning construction runoff from adjacent residential construction site
    • Lawsuit by landowner against developer of subdivision for allegedly causing stormwater to cross his property and destroy acres of vegetation; nuisance, trespass, Clean Water Act claims; related insurance coverage issues
    • Disputes about insurance coverage for storm water damage
    • Drought related riparian water rights disputes (see above under Air and Water heading)
  • Tort Claims (including class and multi-party cases)
    • Mediation of toxic tort lawsuit against defense manufacturer alleging that in utero exposure to child of female plant worker caused severe birth defects
    • Multi-plaintiff case (about 20 property owners) against power companies for alleged noise pollution from power plants
    • Mediation of toxic tort claim against oil companies and pipelines alleging childhood leukemia caused by spills at terminals
    • Citizen claims (about 25) against county based upon landfill runoff; properties conveyed pursuant to mediated settlement; conducted arbitration to distribute settlement funds
    • Multiple cases including class action and separate case brought by county; environmental claims against industrial company arising from alleged PCB contamination of river basin and adjacent properties of 600 or more property owners
    • Nuisance claims by homeowners against quarry operator related to blasting noise and vibration
    • Toxic tort personal injury and property damage case by multiple homeowners against builder, termiticide applicator, and plumbing manufacturer alleging contamination of drinking water
  • USTs and Pipelines
    • Dispute between owner of large farm and interstate pipeline company concerning pipeline easement; nuisance, trespass, and Clean Water Act claims
    • Claims by residential property owners against pipeline operator arising from pipeline spill
    • Several disputes involving UST remediation
    • Dispute between major oil company which owned service station and adjacent apartment complex owner concerning UST contamination of apartment property
    • Environmental dispute between landlord and tenant concerning UST contamination
  • Misc. Environmental Disputes
    • Several disputes concerning insurance coverage for environmental investigation and remediation and for toxic tort cases
    • Several disputes over environmental liabilities between sellers and buyers of businesses and property involving responsibilities for contamination including hazardous waste and UST’s
    • Designated arbitrator to resolve disputes under several settlement agreement s in environmental cases including multi-plaintiff claim against county arising from landfill, and dispute among insurers arising from settlement of city claim for contamination of drinking water supply
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • 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
  • Recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America, 2019-2022
  • Identified by The Best Lawyers in America as the 2020 Atlanta Arbitration Lawyer of the Year
  • 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 two grandchildren. 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.”
    • "[Mr.] Thorpe was an excellent mediator who was instrumental in moving both sides towards a mutually beneficial settlement.”




This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

Thorpe_R. Wayne_Environmental_747