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                                   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

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/.
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
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:

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

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
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):
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 cindy.mazur@dhs.gov.

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 jms@st-ev.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

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 info@cpradr.org . For more
information on CPR and the resources they provideit provides, visit the CPRir website at

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

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

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 listserv@mail.abanet.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

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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