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Formatted Disaster Relief Dispute and Conflict Resolution Initiatives Prepared for the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and posted at http://www.abanet.org/dispute/katrina/disaster_relief.doc by Lela Love, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, with Daniel Zinn, Algeria Aljure, and Justin Braun and Daniel Zinn. Formatted American Bar Association The mMission of the American Bar Association is to be the national representative of the legal profession, serving the public and the profession by promoting justice, professional excellence and respect for the law. The organization has posted a page of Hurricane Katrina disaster resources with legal information for victims and lawyers affected by the storm. For more information, visit http://www.abanet.org/katrina/. Formatted American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution The Dispute Resolution Section has both created a clearinghouse for dispute resolution initiatives targeted to disaster victims http://www.abanet.org/dispute/katrina/disaster_relief.doc, as well as hosted a listserv for individuals and groups who have expertise and availability for service related to disaster relief. Organizations in search of experts or volunteers for dispute resolution services are invited to use this list, which is available to all interested parties. In addition, an initiative to promote public dialogue around issues of poverty, race and class brought to the fore by the hurricanes is underway. There will be a session in the Legal Educator’s Colloquium at the April conference of the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section (http://www.abanet.org/dispute/conference/2006/2006sectconference.pdf) devoted to facilitating conversation about poverty and race in the wake of Katrina. American Bar Association Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities The Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section plans to partner with the Dispute Resolution Section to hold public discussion forums on issues relating to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section website is located at www.abanet.org/irr/home.html. American Arbitration Association (AAA) The AAA is a non-profit organization utilizing arbitration, mediation, negotiation, and other dispute resolution processes to resolve all types of conflicts. In response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the AAA has established a Disaster Recovery Claims Resolution Services program which will “use mediation to resolve insurance claim disputes between homeowners and businesses and their insurance carriers” in the affected areas. The program will handle all homeowner claims and business claims over $75,000. This program is similar to those run by the AAA in response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the Northridge, California earthquake in 1994. To find out more about this program, visit the AAA website at www.adr.org. American Institute of Architects (AIA) The AIA, in collaboration with AmericaSpeaks (www.americaspeaks.org) held a collaborative visioning conference for the long-range rebuilding and recovery of Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The conference (in New Orleans, Nov. 10- 12, 2005) convened at the request of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and brought together trained facilitators and concerned citizens to develop the conceptual framework for the Louisiana rebuilding effort. More information on the conference can be found on the AIA website, at: http://www.aia.org/press2_template.cfm?pagename=release_102405_LaRebuildingComi ssion AmericaSpeaks AmericaSpeaks is a non-profit organization that engages citizens in the public decisions that impact their lives. The organization and its partners brought together nearly 4000 current and displaced New Orleans residents to develop and review elements of a city wide-plan for recovery. Commuity Congress II and III were held simultaneously in New Orleans and other American cities with the largest number of Katrina evacuees. The Community Congress meetings are a part of the Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) used to solicit the recovery dollars needed to address the substantial needs for rebuilding the city. Reports and video from the events, as well as information on future projects, can be found at http://www.americaspeaks.org/. will conduct two 21st Century Town Meetings as part of the national dialogue on health care, one in Los Angeles on March 4, 2006, and another in Chicago in late April or early May. AmericaSpeaks hopes to partner with other organizations to create an opportunity for Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to participate in the recovery discussions. For more information, visit http://www.americaspeaks.org/services/town_meetings/. Davie Mediation Center Insurance regulators have established this new mediation center (3544 S. University Dr., Davie, FL) to aid homeowners in Florida settle insurance claims that remain unresolved from the 2005 season. In addition to the new center, mediators are currently available at Jupiter Hurricane Mediation Center (900 South U.S. 1, Suite 207, Jupiter, FL), the Orange County Bar Association (880 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL), Dickerson Law Firm (Jim Williams, 110 E. Reynolds St., Plant City, FL) and Wotitzky Mediation Firm (407 E. Marion Ave., Suite 103, Punta Gorda, FL). The state has contracted with the Collins Center for Public Policy to provide mediators. For more information on the Collins Center for Public Policy, visit www.collinscenter.org. For more information on Davie Mediation Center, contact the Florida State Department of Financial Services at 800-22-STORM. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) FEMA is putting together an “ADR Cadre” made up of experienced dispute resolution professionals to assist in disaster response and recovery. The deadline for resumes has passed, but more information on the cadre may be found at the following websites: For Conflict Resolution Specialists (non-attorneys): http://www.fema.gov/career/get_desc.jsp?id=10805 For ADR Attorneys: http://www.fema.gov/career/get_desc.jsp?id=10806 Cindy Mazur is the FEMA ADR specialist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division In response to Hurricane Katrina, the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division developed a packet of information that has been distributed to the Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi State Bar Associations. John M. Stewart is the president of the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division and can be reached at email@example.com. Houston Dispute Resolution Center The DRC Houston provides ADR services for the greater Houston, TX area. The DRC is prepared to work with parties affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in whatever capacity is necessary. If an overflow of cases arises, experienced ADR professionals may be needed. For more information, go to www.drchouston.org. Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program (HVLP) The HVLP has three ongoing initiatives to help hurricane victims, including: 1) a call center where victims can call with any legal questions or issues they have, from Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM. 2) a booth at the Disaster Relief Center in Houston, where 3-4 attorneys per day volunteer to answer any legal questions. 3) volunteer legal services at several area hotels where hurricane victims are located. For more information, or to volunteer for any of these programs, contact Melanie Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org. International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) CPR offers property-casualty insurers assistance in handling large caseloads stemming from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. CPR’s program focuses on efficient, effective claims procedures, particularly for homeowner and auto insurance claims. For more information on CPR’s Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, E-mail email@example.com . For more information on CPR and the resources they provideit provides, visit the CPRir website at www.cpradr.org. Katrina Forums/conference calls Dispute Resolution professionals wishing to contribute to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort have participated in a series of “Katrina Forum” conference calls hosted by S.Y. Bowland and Maria Volpe. The calls started in early September and continue to take place with new participants each time. For more information, contact S.Y. Bowland at Sybow@aol.com or Maria Volpe at MVolpe4926@aol.com. Liberty Mutual The insurance provider is offering policyholders in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas the option of resolving their complex Hurricane Katrina and Rita claims via mediation or arbitration. Kenneth Feinberg will oversee the program and serve as administrator. The three phase program is available once the claim-adjustment and settlement processes have been exhausted. For more information, visit http://www.libertymutualgulfstatesadr.com/. Mississippi Mediation Project The mMission of the Mississippi Mediation Project (MMP) is to empower residents of Mississippi gulf coast communities with new capacities to work collaboratively through the use of positive problem solving and effective communication skills, in an effort to diminish the conflicts which are impeding the rebuilding of homes and businesses in the region and delaying the return of displaced residents. For more on the project, including information on projects, trainings, applications and ways to donate, visit http://www.mississippimediationproject.org/. Mississippi Insurance Department The Mississippi Insurance Department is in the early stages of developing a mediation program to deal with the overwhelming number of insurance disputes that will need resolution. The Department foresees needing mediators with insurance backgrounds. They have asked that interested volunteers not contact them directly, but they may use the ABA Dispute Resolution Section’s disaster relief listserv to generate a list of available mediators when the program is ready to begin. To subscribe to the listserv, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the message “subscribe drdisasterrelief.” Liberty Mutual The insurance provider is offering policyholders in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas the option of resolving their complex Hurricane Katrina and Rita claims via mediation or arbitration. Kenneth Feinberg will oversee the program and serve as administrator. The three phase program is available once the claim-adjustment and settlement processes have been exhausted. For more information, visit http://www.libertymutualgulfstatesadr.com/. National Arbitration Forum The National Arbitration Forum is a group of highly qualified attorneys and former judges who that provides alternative dispute resolution services nationwide. The group developed on-line brochures with information on disaster relief mediation and natural disaster mediation rules. This information, as well as an on-line form for requesting insurance related mediation relating to Hurricane Katrinahurricane relief, can be found on the National Arbitration Forum website at www.arb-forum.com. National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD) The NCDD is a collaborative organization made up of a wide variety of individuals and organizations dedicated to using dialogue and deliberation to resolve conflicts and foster productive discussions aimed at nurturing justice, innovation, and democracy. The NCDD’s Thataway Forum contains a section listing organizations involved in discussion, action,articles and resources aimed at helping the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For more information, go to http://thataway.org/index.php?s=Katrinawww.thataway.org/discussions/forum. . Rural Southern Voice for Peace (RSVP) RSVP, a non-profit organization based in North Carolina, has implemented the Gulf Coast Listening Project, an initiative designed to conduct national dialogue, education and action on issues of poverty, race and class that have been raised in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Trained volunteers conduct one-on-one interviews with residents of affected communities. For more information about this project, visit www.listeningproject.info or contact Herb Walters at (828) 675-5933. United States Department of Justice, Community Relations Service Formatted The Community Relations Service works across the nation in areas where race and national origin issues are likely to arise. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, the Service established disaster recovery centers in the affected areas. The Service worked to set up a trailer park recovery area that currently houses approximately 2,000 people displaced from their homes following the hurricane. The Service’s staff is still deployed throughout Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana and is working to ease racial tension wherever possible. For more information, go to http://www.usdoj.gov/crs/.
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