Ashley Mediation Centers (“AMC”) provides mediation services to its clients in the resolution of complex disputes at neutral facilities in Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County. AMC was founded by Fred Ashley, an attorney-mediator with over fifteen years of experience in the field of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”). Mr. Ashley has conducted hundreds of mediations throughout Southern California, and dealt with a wide array of factual and legal issues. He also has over twenty-five years of experience as an attorney in the representation of plaintiffs and defendants in complex employment and business related litigation.
MR. ASHLEY’S APPROACH TO
THE MEDIATION PROCESS
Over the years, Mr. Ashley has determined that no single model of conflict resolution is appropriate in all circumstances. He has also discovered that different approaches to mediation can often be effectively mixed in the same negotiation. As such, he adjusts his mediation style to fit the nature of the dispute, the personalities of the parties, the type of relationship that exists between the parties, and the stage of the process in which he finds himself. In so doing, he draws upon his broad range of life experiences, his interpersonal skills, his ability to overcome acrimony, his in-depth knowledge of the distributive bargaining process, his capacity to engage the parties in a collaborative problem-solving endeavor, and his facility at closing deals. He does not give up in the face of adversity, and carries forward with the mediation process so long as there is any possibility of achieving a resolution of the dispute.
In a litigation context, Mr. Ashley makes use of his knowledge of the substantive areas of law in issue in any dispute he is called upon to mediate. He does not employ such knowledge strictly as a means of pontificating regarding the probable outcome of a litigated matter. He rather uses his knowledge of the law as a means of engaging the parties in a dialogue regarding the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions and the uncertainty of anticipated litigation outcomes. As a result of such interaction, parties are frequently able to work through the emotions and personal conflicts that may stand as barriers to settlement, and resolve their dispute based on their best legal and/or business judgment. At the end of the process, the decision of whether to settle a matter, or proceed with litigation, remains one to be voluntarily made by the parties, with the advice and assistance of their counsel.
THE TYPES OF MEDIATIONS
MR. ASHLEY HANDLES
Mr. Ashley is often called upon to conduct mediations of disputes which have arisen as a result of an employer allegedly having taken a wrongful adverse action against an employee (e.g., a termination, layoff, demotion, salary reduction, etc.). On some occasions, these mediations involve claims that, in taking such action, the employer breached an express or implied contract, or the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in a contract. More frequently, they pertain to claims that the employer wrongfully terminated, or took other adverse action against, an employee in violation of fundamental public policy or the federal and state laws against discrimination, retaliation and harassment. The latter variety of claims frequently involves allegations of: (a) sexual harassment; (b) age, race, sex, pregnancy, disability, religious, or sexual preference discrimination; (c) retaliation for complaining of unlawful discrimination or harassment; and/or (d) a failure to grant an employee a leave of absence, or to reinstate him/her to the same or a comparable position at the end of a leave. These claims are also frequently joined with claims that the employer defrauded the employee, defamed him/her, invaded his/her constitutional right to privacy, and/or intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him/her.
Because these cases generally involve claims of wrong doing and evil motive, they often give rise to great emotion and interpersonal conflict between the parties and attorneys. It takes a high level of skill and tenacity to work through these obstacles to settlement to get the deal done. Mr. Ashley succeeds like few California neutrals.
During his years as a litigator, Mr. Ashley represented both employers and employees in cases involving claims of violations of the wage and hour laws and California Labor Code. He has frequently drawn on this experience as a mediator in assisting parties in resolving complex litigation involving such claims. He has also frequently served as a neutral where such claims have been brought by an individual on his/her own behalf and on behalf of others pursuant to the Unfair Competition Law and/or Private Attorney General Act. Mr. Ashley’s knowledge of these laws and class action procedures has proven invaluable in helping parties to resolve such disputes.
Mr. Ashley also relies heavily on his recognized expertise in the field of business law in the mediations over which he presides. Such mediations often involve claims that a party breached its obligations under the terms of a commercial contract. Other mediations involve disputes relating to: (a) intellectual property; (b) partnership dissolution; (c) insurance coverage; (d) antitrust and trade regulation; (e) unfair competition; (f) professional liability; (g) collection matters; (h) product liability/negligence; (i) fraud/deceit; (j) product defamation; (k) environmental regulation; and/or (l) whistle-blowing under the Qui Tam statutes or Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
While one might expect that disputes between business people would promote less emotion and hostility than one regularly sees in other areas of the practice of law, such is not always the case. Where large amounts of money and/or the future of businesses are at stake, passions often rise. However, because disputants frequently find themselves in an on-going relationship, opportunities often occur in a business mediation to enlist the parties in a creative problem-solving enterprise. It is by looking for, and exploiting, these opportunities that Mr. Ashley frequently succeeds in resolving business disputes where others may have seen no chance for a settlement.
Other Areas of Practice
In addition to the foregoing, Mr. Ashley is also frequently called upon to apply his knowledge of the substantive law and skills as a mediator in facilitating the resolution of disputes in the following areas:
• Real Property: Including breach of contract, specific performance, quiet title, adverse possession, fraudulent conveyance, failure to disclose, division of property, boundary disputes, easements, water rights, lateral and subjacent support, liquidated damages, security deposits, commissions, and RESPA violations
• Construction: Including breach of contract, construction defect, architecture, insurance, case management orders, and mechanic’s liens
• Personal Injury: Including negligence, intentional torts, assault and battery, product liability, and mass torts
• Professional Liability: Including legal, medical, broker, accounting, and architectural malpractice
• Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith: Including scope of policy, failure to tender payment, refusal to defend or indemnify, and bad faith practices
• Civil Rights: Including Section 1983 claims, police abuse, unlawful search and seizure, false arrest, discrimination, ADA violations, and failure to accommodate
• Class Actions: Including wage & hour, discrimination, anti-trust, consumer fraud, product liability, and mass torts
No matter what the subject of the dispute, AMC ’s clients can be assured that Mr. Ashley will have done his homework in advance of the mediation, and come fully prepared to perform his role as the mediator. The bottom line is that if you want to resolve your dispute, Fred Ashley should be the mediator-of-choice. You will not find an ADR neutral in Southern California with greater knowledge, experience, skill or dedication to bringing about a successful conclusion to the mediation process.
For more information, please visit AMC's web site at: www.socalmediator.com
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Super Lawyer||Los Angeles Magazine||2010|
|Outstanding Service||Orange County Bar Association - ADR Section||2010|
|Super Lawyer||Los Angeles Magazine||2009|
|Super Lawyer||Los Angeles Magazine||2008|
|Super Lawyer||Los Angeles Magazine||2007|
|Super Lawyer||Los Angeles Magazine||2006|
|Super Lawyer||Los Angeles Magazine||2005|
|Diplomat Member||California Academy of Distinguished Neutrals||2005|
|AV Preeminent Rating||Martindale-Hubbell||1997|
|Distinguished Service||National Employment Lawyers Association||1996|
|Distinguished Service||California Employment Lawyers Association||1990|
|Mediator||Ashley Mediation Centers||2005 - Present|
|Attorney and Mediator||Law Offices of Fred T. Ashley||1987 - 2005|
|Attorney||Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker||1983 - 1987|
|Attorney||Ashley & Honn||1982 - 1983|
|Attorney||Hill Farrer & Burrill Llp||1978 - 1982|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Orange County Bar Association, Labor & Employment Section||Member of the Executive Committee||2010 - Present|
|Orange County Bar Association, ADR Section||Member of the Executive Committee||2008 - Present|
|Orange County Bar Association, ADR Section||Chair||2009 - 2009|
|Orange County Bar Association ADR Section||Chair Elect||2008 - 2008|
|Association of Business Trial Lawyers (Orange County chapter)||Member||2007 - 2008|
|Orange County Trial Lawyers Association||Member||2007 - 2008|
|San Diego County Bar Association||Member||2006 - 2008|
|Fair Housing Council of Orange County||Director||1997 - 1998|
|SCMA, Employment & Workplace Committee||Co-Chair||1997 - 1998|
|Southern California Mediation Association||Member||1997 - 2008|
|California Employment Lawyers Association||Chair||1993 - 1995|
|Orange County Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section||Chair||1990 - 1990|
|Orange County Bar Association||Member||1984 - 2008|
|State Bar of California||Member||1978 - 2008|
|Orange County Lawyer Magazine||Clever Hans and The Importance of Mind-Set in Mediation||2009|
|"Employment Law Practice Guide" - Rutter Group||Harassment Chapter||2002|
|Loyola Law School, Loyola Marymount University||JD - Juris Doctor||1978|
|University of California - Los Angeles||M.P.A||1975|
|University of California - Santa Barbara||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1972|
|Monthly luncheon - ADR Section||Ethics in Mediation for Advocates & Neutrals||2010|
|Annual Conference||Anti-SLAPP Motions in Employment Cases||2010|
|Monthly luncheon - Labor & Employment Section||How to Cross-Examine a Economist/Expert||2009|
|Monthly luncheon - ADR Section||Disclosure & Disqualification Issues for Mediators||2009|
|Labor & Employment Law Section||The Orange County Superior Court's New ADR Program||2008|
|Business Litigation Section Meeting||The Orange County Superior Court's New ADR Program||2008|
|Annual Seminar||Recent Developments in Employment Law||2008|
|Annual Conference||Maximizing Your Effectiveness as an Advocate in Mediation||2006|