After 40 years representing clients primarily in litigation disputes, Mr. Lipe has restricted his practice to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). In addition to conducting private mediations, he serves as a judicially-selected adjunct settlement judge for both the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma and the Tulsa County District Court.
As a mediator, he views his role as not only facilitating communication between the parties in a privileged atmosphere, but also to reduce the obstacles to communication and maximize the exploration of alternatives to enable the parties to reach a voluntary and agreeable resolution of their dispute. Mr. Lipe also believes his role includes offering a mediator’s assessment of the parties' position when it will promote or assist them in evaluating their issues.
As an arbitrator, his goal is to ensure that each party has the opportunity to effectively present their case while managing the process in a manner that is consistent with the party-selected dispute resolution method of arbitration by having an expedited time frame and expense sensitive process.
Although Mr. Lipe has participated in ADR proceedings in a wide variety of types of disputes, both as an advocate and as a neutral, his 40 years of litigation experience has been primarily in four areas of practice: Energy, Tort/Product Liability, Insurance, and Construction.
ADR – Experience and Training
- Served as a mediator in private mediations, as well as an adjunct settlement judge in court-ordered settlement conferences
- Participated in a week-long American Arbitration Association workshop on Essential Mediation Skills, as well as participated in the 2015 ABA Dispute Resolution Section Spring Conference and the 2015 ABA Construction ADR Summit
- Participated in over 110 hours of ADR training and CLE over the past 3 years
- Acted as an advocate in over 100 mediations and arbitrations in a variety of jurisdictions
- Current vice chairman of the ADR Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association
Energy Law and Litigation – Experience and Training
- Served for 20 years as primary outside general counsel for a multi-state midstream company, and served 7 years as a member of its board of directors and as national trial counsel
- In the propane and natural gas industries, he provided contract and litigation services for propane wholesalers, retailers, midstream suppliers, the National Propane Gas Association and the Propane Energy Education & Research, and was the founding president of the Propane Gas Defense Association
- Handled disputes between energy-related companies concerning joint ventures, operator/drilling contracts, breach of operating agreements, gas processing plant agreements, terminal operating agreements, force majeure and economic out clauses, and supply agreements
Tort and Product Liability Litigation – Experience and Training
- Acted as lead counsel in a variety of tort and product liability litigation in Oklahoma and multiple courts outside Oklahoma
- Acted as national defense counsel for product manufacturers and gas companies in product liability defense, gas explosion litigation and litigation arising out of catastrophic accidents in the defense of over 250 personal injury suits in over 25 states
- Served as national litigation counsel for the largest propane tank manufacturer in the United States and a midstream energy distribution company, and as national counsel for crane, oilfield and industrial equipment suppliers
Insurance Law – Experience and Training
- Provided counseling and litigation services to both insureds and insurers in coverage disputes involving D&O coverage, large property losses, business interruption losses, extra expense claims, and general liability claims
- Acted as primary outside counsel for the risk management department of a Forbes 200 publicly-traded energy company
- Provided legal services and advice to the risk management department of a midstream energy company, and acted as outside risk manager during the company’s search for a replacement risk manager
- Primary counsel in declaratory judgment actions and bad faith litigation for both insureds and insurers
Construction Law – Experience and Training
- Acted as primary outside counsel to one of the two largest construction companies in Oklahoma, as well as a construction company that performs infrastructure construction throughout the Southwest and Midwest primarily for the energy industry
- Represented owners, subcontractors, material suppliers, and sureties in construction and insurance and bond disputes
- Acted as an advocate in both mediations and arbitrations under the AAA Construction Industry Rules
- Negotiated contracts for owners, general contractors and subcontractors under a variety of industry contract formats, as well as contracts for construction with Native American nations and entities