Entertainment attorny James S. Mulholland and California state Sen. Charles M. Calderon have joined forces to launch the Entertainment Mediation Institute, the first organization dedicated to resolving disputes among parties in the entertainment industry.
EMI has a staff of expert mediators with roots in all industry areas — film, television, music, sports, theater, literary and others — who can help resolve entertainment-related disputes in a confidential, nonconfrontational and private manner.
“Litigation is expensive, time-consuming, frustrating and often quite unproductive,” Mulholland, co-founder and co-managing director of EMI, said in a statement. “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.
"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 is a former board member of FILMEX and a 30-year veteran entertainment lawyer. Calderon is former chairman of the California Senate Select Committee on Entertainment, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the California Judicial Council. He 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.
Calderon said in a statement, “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. … 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.”
EMI’s senior mediators include Ron Mardigian, former William Morris senior VP and head of the West Coast motion picture literary department; David Braun, a music and entertainment attorney; Irwin Russell, an entertainment attorney, well-respected production executive and former Disney board member; Claire L. Rothman, former president of the Forum and executive VP of Ticketmaster; Ralph Kamon, entertainment counsel for United Artists for 14 years and senior VP and entertainment counsel for Paramount Pictures for more than 25 years; David Wardlow, previously a senior agent at ICM subsidiary Chasin-Park-Citron and senior vice president and head of worldwide production at United Artists, currently president of Wardlow & Associates; Gregory Bernstein, former vice president of Columbia Pictures and of TriStar Pictures, as well as a former WGA senior executive and a screenwriter; Fred Kuperberg, recently retired executive VP, business and legal affairs, Disney/ABC Cable Networks Group, where he was general counsel for more than two decades; Franklin Johnson, former managing partner of Price Waterhouse’s entertainment practice on the West Coast, a board member of the United States Tennis Association and vice president of the International Tennis Federation; and former Sen. Steve Peace, a motion picture and television producer, San Diego Padres board member and former CFO for the state of California.
EMI’s executive director Priscilla Wardlow holds a Harvard MBA and is a former vice president of Honeywell and principal consultant to PricewaterhouseCoopers.