Upchurch Watson White & Max Mediation Group Names 5 New Shareholders

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 18, 2015) - Upchurch Watson White & Max recently announced mediators Judith A. Bass, Dominic Brandy, Jeffrey M. Fleming, George M. "Marty" Van Tassel and William Zei, who joined Upchurch Watson White & Max Mediation Group during a two-year period of growth for the Florida- and Alabama-based firm, are new shareholders.

"This step has been taken to recognize the significant contributions being made by each to the firm through their vibrant practices, their unflagging support of the firm’s mission, and the esteem with which they are held by their clients and the legal community," said John Upchurch, a founder of the alternative dispute resolution group and its CEO.

Highlights from the resumes of the five new shareholders follow:
  • Shareholder Judith A. BassMs. Bass is a Florida native and has been an attorney for 35 years. After obtaining her law degree, she initially worked as an appellate attorney for Tobias Simon P.A. for three years but found her niche as a trial attorney when she joined Lanza, Sevier, & Womack P.A., a busy Miami defense firm that specialized primarily in medical and professional negligence cases. She subsequently worked as a partner at Womack & Bass P.A. for 11 years and handled malpractice cases for hospitals and other health care providers.

In 1997, Ms. Bass relocated from Miami to her hometown of Fort Lauderdale and joined Robert I. Rubin P.A. as in-house counsel for Frontier Insurance Company, a medical malpractice carrier. She subsequently joined Stephens, Lynn, Klein, LaCava, Hoffman, & Puya P.A. as a partner in its Fort Lauderdale office in 2000 and continued to litigate and try medical negligence cases. Since becoming a full-time mediator in 2003, she has mediated more than 3,000 cases throughout South Florida.

  • Shareholder Dom BrandyMr. Brandy, a Davie, Fla., resident, began his legal career in 1974 as a civil litigator. He represented clients in personal injury, professional negligence (physicians, hospitals, attorneys, architects, engineers and software engineers), errors and omissions litigation, insurance policy, bad faith, products liability, construction litigation, commercial litigation and other areas of practice. He has tried numerous cases in state and federal court representing both plaintiffs and defendants.Mr. Brandy, too, has been a full-time alternative dispute resolution practitioner since 2003, and has presided over 2,000 mediations for state and federal courts and the U.S. Department of Labor.He has given continuing education courses for attorneys, nurses and insurance claims personnel.
  • Central Florida Mediator Jeffrey M. Fleming Mr. Fleming began to develop his Central Florida mediation practice in 2013 after spending 11 years on the bench; he had served as a judge for Orange County from 2002 until he was appointed a Ninth Circuit judge in 2006. He was both appointed and then elected unopposed to each post. He also has served as an associate judge for the Fifth District Court of Appeal.Prior to his judicial career, in which he presided over a wide variety of matters including all types of civil, criminal, domestic, juvenile, probate, guardianship and mental health cases, Mr. Fleming was a trial lawyer. He tried cases in both state and federal court and appeared as appellate counsel. He is now a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit, Appellate and Family Law Mediator as well as a Certified U.S. District Court Mediator – Middle District of Florida. Recently, he also has been appointed as a special magistrate in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Alabama Mediator Marty Van TasselMr. Van Tassel, as a litigator until the late 1990s, had represented clients in all of Alabama’s federal and state trial and appellate courts and tried cases as lead counsel in most of Alabama’s 40 judicial circuits. He had represented both plaintiffs and defendants in trials seeking damages for personal injury, property damage, economic loss and wrongful death, as well as for injunctive relief.He has been a full-time mediator since 1999 and, until joining UWWM, Mr. Van Tassel led the Mediation Center at Sirote & Permutt in Birmingham, Ala. He mediates cases within all of the previously mentioned practice areas, plus those  involving products liability, premises liability, professional liability, breach of contract, breach of warranty, fraud, negligence, insurance coverage claims and extra-contractual liability claims in such diverse areas as construction cases, cases involving environmental claims, cases for violation of civil rights or other statutory rights, occupational injury cases and worker’s compensation.
  • Florida mediator Bill ZeiMr. Zei is well known in South Florida and was a sports writer and later an assistant sports editor for a local newspaper while in college and law school. Upon graduating from St. Thomas University School of Law in 1976, he became an associate and later a partner with Gibbs & Zei P.A., serving as associate general counsel for the North Broward Hospital District while also engaged in an active general and trial practice including trusts and estates, real estate and domestic relations.From 1986 to 1993, Mr. Zei, now of Talllahassee, was an attorney/partner with Wicker Smith in Fort Lauderdale, where his areas of trial practice included medical, dental and legal professional liability as well as the litigating of wrongful death and personal injury cases. In 1993, he joined the law firm of Peterson Bernard where he was a managing partner and a senior trial attorney until 2006. Since 2007, Mr. Zei has been serving statewide as a mediator, arbitrator and special master in all of the areas in which he practiced for 30 years as a trial attorney.

Mr. Upchurch said of the five new shareholders: "Individually and collectively, their presence has added immeasurably to the prestige with which the firm is held in the community."

About Upchurch Watson White & Max

A nationally leading mediation specialty firm, Upchurch Watson White & Max is known for facilitating reasonable agreements to resolve complex issues. From seven offices in Florida and Alabama, state Supreme Court certified attorney mediators with wide-ranging specialties serve as court-appointed and privately employed mediators, arbitrators and third-party neutral case managers, implementing innovative methods of alternative dispute resolution across the country. On the Web:

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P R E S S   R E L E A S E
Upchurch Watson White & Max
125 S. Palmetto Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
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