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John Rusk

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IMI Certified Mediator
AAA - American Arbitration Association
Mediation Profile

John Rusk is an experienced arbitrator and mediator in the Construction Industry with over 120 cases in the New York metropolitan area. He is a construction company owner and balances dispute resolution with his professional duties in that company. John is not an attorney and finds that rather than being an impediment, his focus on building and dispute resolution as an “insider” frequently provides the very key to resolving disputes.

John enjoys working with attorneys and business owners; relying on the expertise in the law that the many talented attorneys he works with bring to the table, as well as a “comrades in arms” approach with the business owners. John understands first-hand the costs of dispute, in dollars, in soiled reputation, in deteriorated relationships and in transaction costs. John’s extensive experience as an arbitrator on the Large Complex Case panel gives him a “decision makers” approach to the fact patterns in a dispute. This expertise and focus gives him the ability to craft an individual dispute resolution strategy with the help of the attorneys that matches the needs of an individual case. 

He approaches cases carefully and expects parties to prepare detailed cases for mediation; preparing the other side for what they can expect in the mediation sessions. John believes that most mediation’s settle only after the burning questions have been addressed. Owners want to know what happened and why before they can begin bargaining in good faith. After a 23 year career of building; starting out as a carpenter and progressing to the list of “Top Contractors” in New York by New York Construction News, John can often help tease out the truth from the parties involved in a way that produces more light than heat. John counts as his proudest accomplishments the many cases he has not only brought to resolution, but brought the parties back to the point that they can continue working together.

Full resume at

John has helped resolve cases involving contract issues, change orders, subsurface conditions, fraud, mold and hazardous materials, caissons, concrete, structural issues, roofing, waterproofing details, cabinetry, finishes, moldings, interior design, architectural malpractice (standard of care), engineering malpractice, residential construction, resort construction, tile, stone and marble, wood floors, framing, insurance fraud, paint, HVAC and Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and practically every other construction related issue in over 120 mediation and arbitration cases.

John approaches mediation with a technique grounded in formal, coached training and academic study; and a no-nonsense, insider's understanding of how things really work in construction. He has a businessman's facility with an Excel spreadsheet and has the willingness to dig down into the most complex details of time sheets, accounting forms, construction details and even job-site standing water. Typically, John carefully studies the claim forms and supporting documentation which both sides prepare for the mediation. He reduces the claims down to a joint spreadsheet which he'll use to help the parties focus their arguments, documents and testimony during the session. Typically, he'll begin the day with general statements, begun by counsel but completed by the business executives in order to get everything out on the table. John will then lead the parties through the issues, one by one, not trying to get to an agreement, but to help both sides understand the issues from the other side's perspective. Once all issues have been discussed, the parties are often broken into separate rooms to begin the process of reasoned offers. John uses many different "styles" of mediation technique including facilitative, transformational and evaluative depending on the needs of the parties. Most of all, John operates as a "professional optimist" keeping the negotiation and the conversation going, often with good cheer and a positive outlook until the parties can find a solution that both can accept. This decision is usually reduced to a document often signed at the conclusion of the mediation.

John Rusk's practice area is construction dispute. He has resolved large complex cases, small cases, multi-party cases and cases involving insurers.

350.00/hour for study and for mediation sessions.
No charge for travel within 100 miles of New York City.
No cancellation fee.

American Arbitration Association
Better Business Bureau
Remodeler's Advantage
Painting and Decorative Contractors of America
Conseil International du Batiment pour la Recherche (L'Etude et al Documentation)

Kevin O'Neil,, (212) 422-9424;
Robert Herrmann, (212) 545-1900
Thomas Welby,, (914) 428-2100;
Brian P. Craig (516) 764-2800.

Training and Education

AAA/ICDR Neutrals Conference, 2009; AAA Webinar, Ensuring That Your Clients' Interests are Addressed in Mediation, 2008; ACR, Advanced Commercial Mediation Institute, 2007; AAA Construction Mediation Conference: What You Can't Not Know, 2007; ICDR The Common Law/Civil Law Gap: The Issues and How International Arbitrators May Resolve Them, 2006; Attended AAA Neutrals Conference, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003; AAA Chairing an Arbitration Panel: Managing Procedures, Process & Dynamics (ACE001), 2005; AAA Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding & Writing Awards (ACE001), 2004; Center for Dispute Resolution, The Mediation Process, 40 hour coached mediation training 2004; AAA Pro Se: Managing Cases Involving Self-Represented Parties (ACE002), 2003; Attended Partnering Facilitation Workshop, 2003; AAA Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding & Writing Awards (ACE001), 2003; AAA Arbitrator Update 2003, 2001; AAA Construction Arbitrator II Training: Advanced Case Management Issues, 2001; AAA Construction Arbitrator Training, 1996; Harvard Law School, Program on Negotiation, 1992.

Columbia University, Adjunct Professor in Project Management since 2007


Co-presenter, "Breaking the Impasse, Moving from Stalemate to Settlement in Mediation," American Arbitration Association, October 2004; speaker, "Ethics in Alternative Dispute Resolution," American Arbitration Association, 2002; ON TIME AND ON BUDGET, A HOME RENOVATION SURVIVAL GUIDE (How to make allies of your architect and contractor), Doubleday, June 1996; articles on causes of construction inefficiencies and appearances on the Today Show, Good Day New York, WALL STREET JOURNAL, NEWSWEEK, ELLE DECOR, LADIES HOME JOURNAL; columnist Taconic Newspaper chain.


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John Rusk
United States
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International Mediation Institute