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SHERMAN KNIGHT

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SHERMAN KNIGHT

GENERAL OVERVIEW

MR.KNIGHT’S VIEW OF THE PROCESS:

Mr. Knight's Mediation/Arbitration service focuses in just four areas.  Construction Disputes, Partnership Divorces and Real Estate issues and Design Professional Malpractice.  Over the last 17 years, his legal practice has also been limited to these areas.  Because of his background as an architect and a construction manager, he also has actual and practical experience in these areas.

Over the years, Mr. Knight has come to believe that the most important issue to a successful mediation is that both parties believe that the mediator listened to and understood their case.  Every party needs to have its day in court, even if it is just mediation.  Anyone can listen, but how many actually understand the facts of a case and how it relates to the law?  Many parties are skeptic of a mediator that does not take the time to understand or is unable to understand a case.  A mediator's ability to quickly grasp the important facts and relate them to the law will show your client that he/she has been heard.  A party that feels he/she has been heard is more likely to settle.

Typically, a mediator will have to disagree with the conclusions of at least one of the parties and in many situations, both.  For the mediator's differing conclusion to be effective, the parties must believe the mediator understands the facts of their case.  Each party will respect the mediator's differing conclusion only if they believe the mediator understands.

Construction cases are often described as "complex".  We have all experienced how difficult it is for many judges to comprehend and assemble all the facts in a construction case.  Imagine a mediation where the mediator not only speaks the language of the attorneys, but also speaks the language of construction and can discuss the issues one-on-one with the party’s experts.  The mediator's ability to settle a case is enhanced when he can speak the language of the parties and understand what happened in the field.

Once a party determines the mediator truly understands his/her case, the party is more likely to respect any disagreement the mediator may have.  With this respect for a differing opinion, comes a greater willingness to settle.

After all, the goal is a successful mediation.

WORK HISTORY

Actual and Practical Experience

Mr. Knight is also a licensed architect in the State of Washington.  As an architect, his primary role, was the construction administrator for all projects in the company.  In other words, Mr. Knight observed and solved problems in the field on a daily basis.  Projects ranged from residences to new multi-story wings for hospitals.  His secondary role was as a project manager where he was responsible for a smaller portion of the firms overall work.  As project manager, his duties ranged from conducting client meetings, budget analysis, real property analysis, original design, production of construction documents, working with local building officials, public meetings, press conferences, the bid process and construction.  Most importantly, Mr. Knight learned to listen not only to a client's objectives, but how to discover his/her expectations.

As a construction manager for a mid-sized construction company, Mr. Knight was responsible for the construction of high-end condominiums and doctor/dental clinics.  This included bidding, sub-contractor organization and scheduling, analysis of changes to the plans and specifications, resolving disputes with architects and owners, dealing with defective plans and satisfying last minute changes demanded by the local building official.

As the quality control manager of a concrete pre-cast company, Mr. Knight was responsible for the accurate construction of complex concrete shapes, sequencing of work, real time delivery of the same.  He was also responsible for the introduction of accelerators and plasticizers to reduce time in form and speed turnaround.

As an engineering technician for the Washington Department of Transportation Mr. Knight was responsible for the survey and design of future highways, and the survey and construction administration of highway work during construction.  This included survey work for road grades and alignment, testing for compaction, suitability of asphalt and concrete testing.

LEGAL EXPERIENCE

More than 18 years as a litigation attorney.

Jury Trials including construction defect, architectural and engineering malpractice.

Bench Trials including construction defect, real estate, easements, rights of municipalities, performance bonds, purchase and sale, vendor rights, consumer rights, product warranty, lender rights, water and common well rights and indemnity issues.

Appellate work in both State and Federal Courts. Representation of both Plaintiffs and Defendants in arbitrations and mediations.

Face to face negotiation and settlement of construction disputes, easements, common well rights, architectural and engineering malpractice, partnership divorces.

Extensive negotiation and drafting business entity formation, real estate documents, construction agreements for residential through large commercial, design professional agreements, vendor agreements, claim analysis and preparation.

Clients include individuals, various business entities, municipalities, school districts, vendors, sub-contractors, General Contractors, owners, architects and engineers and various insurance companies.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES HANDLED AS A MEDIATOR:

Active Mediator since 1997.

Industrial/Commercial: $15,000 to $2.2 million, leaking roofs, defective foundations, Architectural malpractice, Construction delays, wrongful termination, defective construction, on site injury, additional work.

Construction Defect / Design defect: $8,000 to $6 million, 96 cold storage buildings collapse in one day, leaking roofs, defective plans and specifications, incorrect soil report, Engineering malpractice.

Partnership Divorces: $40,000 to $3.3 million, shareholder agreements, division of assets, brains vs the money, partner not pulling his weight.

Real estate: $10,000 to $1.2 million, water rights, common well rights, easements, property line dispute.

Surveyor malpractice.

Employer, employee disputes. 

REPRESENTATIVE CASES HANDLED AS AN ARBITRATOR:

Numerous private arbitrations of commercial and construction defect disputes. Issues included, wrongful termination, excessive overcharges, defective plans and specifications, poor quality work, defective products. 

Active Arbitrator since 1987.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION TRAINING:

Advanced Mediation Training 1991; American Arbitration Association Mediation Training 1995; Advanced Mediator Skills Workshop 1998; 12th Annual Northwest  Dispute Resolution Conference 2004, Week long Mediation Training from the American Arbitration Association, May 2005.

PROFESSIONAL LICENSES:

Licensed Architect in the State of Washington 1984.
Admitted to the Washington Bar 1986.
U.S. District Court, Western and East Districts of Washington

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • Washington State Bar Association, member of the Construction and ADR forums. 
  • American Institute of Architects. 
  • Master Builders. 
  • ABC, American Builders and Contractors, Chair of the legislative committee. 
  • Legislative Lobbyist and Legal Affairs Committee for the Associated General Contractors, AGC. 
  • American Arbitration Association panel of Arbitrators and Mediators. 
  • Speaker "Design Professionals and the Law" CLE 
  • Speaker "Quality Control and how it Creates Quality in the Construction Project" CLE and AIA Professional Series. 
  • Speaker "AIA B141 Contract Agreement" CLE and AIA Professional Series. 
  • Speaker "Going Bare, the Design Professional without Malpractice Insurance" AIA Professional Series.  
  • Speaker "The Six P's" CLE and Yearly Real Estate Update.

EDUCATION

  • Washington State University Bachelor of Architectural Studies, 1978
  • Washington State University Bachelor of Architecture, 1979
  • University of Puget Sound School of Law, JD 1985

SUCCESS RATE:

Every mediation I have done to date as a mediator has resulted in a settlement. 

I am a strong willed individual, that will not sugar coat a party’s situation.  I am known for just telling a client what he can expect. 

Nearly every mediation I have done, starts out in a facilitative manner.  Once both parties have felt that they have had their “day in court” the mediation turns evaluative and starts discussing the strengths and weaknesses of their case. 

A friend of mine (another attorney) simplified everything stated above into just:

I have owned them,
I have designed them,
I have built them,
I have litigated them.
Now I want to Mediate them.

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Knight at 425-576-4028 or email at sknight@cdrsllc.com