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bruce_bennett_professionalProfessional Experience

Attorney/CPA with over 30 years of business, financial and legal experience now serving as an independent arbitrator and mediator on several local, national and international ADR panels. Has presided as Chair or sole arbitrator on over 60 cases to final award and mediated numerous complex financial and legal disputes with an estimated 75-80% success rate (full or partial settlements).

Prior to becoming a neutral, managed a litigation practice for several years after working as an executive for The Coca-Cola Company responsible for financial oversight of the North American Telecommunications Division. Before joining Coke was Controller and Human Resources Manager for Atlantic Envelope Company (AECO), the nation’s then second largest envelope manufacturing and filing equipment distribution company. Previous to AECO was Senior Auditor for National Service Industries, Inc., a multinational Fortune 500 firm and parent company of Atlantic Envelope. Has provided damage calculations and lost profit analyses as a forensic accountant in white collar criminal cases and in civil damage disputes.

Legal Experience:

Accounting Malpractice; Banking and Finance; Bankruptcy Liquidation and Reorganization Plans; Business Transactions; Commercial Leases, Liens and Conveyances; Consumer Law; Contract Law; Corporate Acquisitions and Divestitures; Employment Law; Federal Tax Controversies; Franchise Law; Georgia Limited Liability Company Act; Healthcare Law; Legal Malpractice; Partnership Formation, Dissolution and Transfers; Private Lending, Guarantees and Promissory Notes; Real Estate Financing, Permitting and Rezoning; Uniform Commercial Code (UCC); and the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act (UFTA).

Business Experience:

At The Coca-Cola Company implemented the North American Information Service Division’s most comprehensive multi-tiered, metadata mining system in its history. Managed the Division’s annual operating and capital budgets and renegotiated several multimillion dollar telecommunication leases resulting in dramatic savings for the North American intra-company communication operations between The Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers.

Prior to The Coca-Cola Company, conducted financial and operational audits and led several high profile forensic accounting and fraud investigations for National Service Industries, Inc. As Controller for Atlantic Envelope Company revamped an automated inventory control and measurement system of a complex manufacturing and wholesale distribution plant and oversaw the construction of a high-tech manufacturing and storage facility. Managed payroll tax compliance, periodic financial closings, inventory control, prepared and monitored budgets, coordinated financial and ERISA pension audits and migrated a periodic inventory control system to an activity-based model. Provided strategic financial guidance during the successful negotiation of several union labor contracts.

Franchise-related Experience:

Drafted promissory notes; loan agreements; security liens; asset purchase and operating agreements; bills of sale and contracts; performed inventory valuations, negotiated franchise fees and other franchise costs and assisted with transition issues after the franchise purchase. Mediated and arbitrated franchise disputes alleging breach of contract, false advertising, franchise disclosure documents, inventory valuation, trademark infringement, unpaid fees and bills, unpaid taxes, nonconformance to franchise standards and non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.

CPA and Forensic Accounting:

Investigated matters alleging breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and misrepresentation. Advised businesses on financial reporting issues and prepared pro forma statements, assisted in the valuation of public and private securities and traced off-the-book-transactions between shell companies in money-laundering operations. Uncovered check kiting schemes, lapped accounts, fake purchase orders and vendor fraud.

Human Resources Experience / Employment Law:

Performed internal audits, audited ERISA plans, managed employee complaints and allegations of statutory discrimination and was responsible for recruiting, hiring and discharging employees. Developed job descriptions and human resource policy and procedures manuals, participated in union labor contract negotiations, investigated EEOC and workers’ compensation claims and developed employee loyalty programs. Managed employer-provided health, disability and long-term care insurance benefits.

Industry Background:

Banking / Brokerage Services; Beverage Manufacturing and Distribution; Chemical and Cleaning Supply Manufacturing and Distribution; Electrical / Lighting Systems; Commercial Filing and Storage Systems; Industrial Linen and Uniform Rental Services; Insulation Manufacturing and Distribution; Men’s Apparel; Paper, Printing and Envelope Manufacturing; Recreational Parks and Entertainment Centers, Telecommunications; and Software Development (including legacy system enhancements).

Dispute Resolution Experience and Training

Arbitration Experience:

Frequent arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association (AAA) on the Banking and Finance; Consumer; Large, Complex Commercial Disputes; Employment; and Franchise panels. Also serves regularly for the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR), serving on its Commercial, Employment, Franchise and Certified Public Accountant panels. Has arbitrated and mediated numerous cases before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), United States Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Georgia, State and Superior Courts of the State of Georgia and the State Bar of Georgia Fee Arbitration Program. Has extensive knowledge of the rules and procedures applicable to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), Title Nine Articles of the Georgia Arbitration Code and the above-listed ADR tribunals.

Issues arbitrated include allegations of accounting improprieties and malpractice; bank financing and lending transactions; breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty; breach of international supplier agreements; business broker sales and listing agreements; business valuations; collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); construction disputes concerning improper design, poor workmanship and lack of permitting; consumer law disputes; improprieties involving stocks, bonds, and derivatives (futures / forward contracts, options and interest rate swaps); conversion; employment contracts; executive compensation and non-compete agreements; false advertising; Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations; False Claims Act violations; franchise disputes (automobile dealership, home healthcare, restaurant, etc.); fraud; Georgia Uniform Securities Act and Georgia Fair Business Practices Act; home healthcare disputes; improper referrals in violation of the Stark Law and federal Anti-Kickback Statute; legal malpractice; medical billing and coding; Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, audits and appeals; non-solicitation agreements; oil and gas waste management permitting; partnership disputes; physician employment agreements; physician credentialing; physician – hospital disputes; payer – provider disputes; public offerings and claims of improper filings under state blue sky laws; purchase and divestitures involving hospitals and physician practices; qui tam / whistleblower disputes; real estate lien and title disputes; RICO claims; shareholder disputes and shareholder derivative actions; supply chain logistics; theft of trade secrets; Title VII discrimination claims; trade name valuations; Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA); Truth in Lending Act (TILA); Uniform Commercial Code (UCC); wage and hour disputes; and wrongful termination.

Mediation Experience:

Has mediated a broad spectrum of cases including the following: account disputes; attorney, CPA and real estate broker malpractice; bankruptcy adversarial proceedings; breach of contract; breach of fiduciary duty involving trustees, executors and business partners; breach of warranty; business valuation disputes and valuation methodologies; commercial lease disputes; construction cases involving improper design, cost overruns, variances, negligent workmanship, lack of permitting and re-zoning applications; eminent domain, foreclosure, liens and partitioning issues; employment disputes, including disputes involving executive compensation and contract physician agreements; Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) complaints; franchise disputes; fraud; improper termination and EEOC claims; intellectual property cases involving trademark infringement; international business disputes involving minimum orders, short shipments, goods lost in transit, spoilage, damaged goods and non-payment; international disputes involving the licensing of technical telecommunication information and U.S. patents; personal injury cases involving serious injury and death; premises liability claims; and tax disputes.

Past speaker on the areas of mediation ethics and tax issues affecting mediation and conducted conflict resolution and avoidance seminars for business executives.

ADR Training:

Over 400 hours of formal training. Recent coursework includes FASB Updates to Revenue Recognition, Financial Statement and Asset Fraud Schemes and International Arbitration sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Serves as a mock arbitrator for the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition and the trial consulting firm Empirical Creative. Is judge and advisor for Brenau University’s Annual Mock Mediation Invitational Tournament.

Selected Honors, Awards, Publications and/or Professional and Civic Associations

Professional Licenses:

• Attorney at Law (State of Georgia, various Federal Courts, #050498)
• Certified Public Accountant (State of Georgia, #CPA013746)

Professional Associations:

• American Arbitration Association (AAA)
• American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA)
• American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
• Financial Industry Regulatory Association (FINRA)
• International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)
• National Arbitration and Mediation (NAM)
• National Futures Association (NFA)
• Resolute Systems, LLC

Publications and Speaking Engagements:

• Speaker, Arbitrability of Collective Action Lawsuits, Emory University School of Law
• Speaker, “Criminal Defense Issues (White Collar Crimes)”; Annual Gwinnett County Bar Association Criminal Defense Seminars
• Speaker, Gwinnett County Panel of Neutrals Conferences
• Trainer, Conflict Resolution for Executives, State Farm Insurance
• Published the “Fair Tax Act of 1999,” NOTRE DAME LAW REVIEW JOURNAL OF LEGISLATION, 27 J. Legis. 1, 2001


• J.D., John Marshall Law School
• M.A., Luther Rice University
• B.B.A., University of Georgia