Industry Luminaries Launch Entertainment Mediation Institute (EMI), to Bypass Costly Litigation and Resolve Conflicts Cost Effectively, Quickly and Confidentially

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Leaders from every segment of the entertainment industry have joined forces to create the Entertainment Mediation Institute, LLC (EMI), the first-ever organization dedicated exclusively to resolving disputes among parties in the entertainment industry, including the motion picture, television, cable, music, sports, legitimate stage, literary and other sectors.

Leaders from every segment of the entertainment industry have joined forces to create the Entertainment Mediation Institute, LLC (EMI), the first-ever organization dedicated exclusively to resolving disputes among parties in the entertainment industry, including the motion picture, television, cable, music, sports, legitimate stage, literary and other sectors. EMI offers a powerhouse of expert mediators with deep roots in all industry specialties who can help resolve entertainment-related disputes in a confidential, non-confrontational and private manner.

“Litigation is expensive, time-consuming, frustrating and often quite unproductive,” said James S. Mulholland, a well-known entertainment attorney and co-founder and co-managing director of EMI. “There has been a compelling need for a trusted alternate dispute resolution process in the entertainment industry that can move cases forward to a swift, successful and confidential conclusion.

“Historically, formal mediation has not been widely used in the industry, but more recently it has come to the fore as the most effective and cost-efficient strategy to settle disputes while protecting relationships.

Unlike arbitration or litigation which can drag on for months or even years, EMI mediations can be set up in a matter of weeks and often can achieve a resolution of the dispute in a day or two,” he added.

Mulholland pointed out that recent budget cuts have led to a number of courtroom closures resulting in a substantial backlog of cases in the Los Angeles Superior Court which has added even more cost and time to litigation. In an effort to speed conflict resolution, the Court now requires most litigants to engage in mediation and more than 50 percent of assigned cases are resolved through this process. Those who engage in private mediation by contract or voluntary mediation before litigation generally experience a far higher success rate, often exceeding 80 percent, according to Mulholland.

A former board member of FILMEX and 30-year veteran entertainment lawyer who has represented major individual and corporate entertainment clients, Mulholland joined forces with Senator Charles M. Calderon to co-found Entertainment Mediation Institute. Calderon is former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Entertainment, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the California Judicial Council, who currently serves as a member of the Legislative Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism & Internet Media. They recruited high-profile industry leaders from studios, production companies, talent agencies, entertainment law firms, guilds and other organizations to provide a significant alternative to former judges or other non-industry mediators without relevant knowledge or hands-on entertainment experience.

Senator Calderon noted, “Our EMI mediation team’s vast experience in very specialized entertainment industry sectors will be invaluable in bringing disputing parties together to develop potentially win/win outcomes. This allows the principals to get back to their regular business activities without the disruption and expense of long drawn-out litigation and very public trials. Further, EMI is dedicated to achieving results that preserve important and long-standing industry relationships without public damage to either party’s business or reputation.”

In addition to Mulholland and Calderon, the charter panel of EMI senior mediators includes: Ron Mardigian, former William Morris senior vice president and head of the West Coast motion picture literary department; David Braun, a highly regarded, heavyweight music and entertainment attorney; Irwin Russell, a major entertainment attorney, well-respected production executive and former Disney board member; Claire L. Rothman, former president of the Forum and executive vice president of Ticketmaster; Ralph Kamon, entertainment counsel for United Artists for 14 years and senior vice president and entertainment counsel for Paramount Pictures for over 25 years; David Wardlow, previously a senior agent at Chasin-Park-Citron, a subsidiary of International Creative Management (ICM), and senior vice president and head of world-wide production at United Artists Corporation, currently president of Wardlow & Associates; Gregory Bernstein, former vice president of Columbia Pictures and vice president of TriStar Pictures, as well as a former WGA senior executive and a screenwriter for the past 16 years; Fred Kuperberg, recently retired executive vice president, business and legal affairs, Disney/ABC Cable Networks Group where he served as general counsel for over 20 years; and former Senator Steve Peace, a motion picture and television producer, San Diego Padres board member and former Chief Financial Officer for the State of California.

EMI’s Executive Director Priscilla Wardlow holds a Harvard MBA and is a former vice president of Honeywell, Inc., and principal consultant to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

For more information and complete biographies of the senior mediators, go to http://www.entertainmentmediationinstitute.com

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