Richard F. Griffin


Richard F. Griffin, a partner in the Buffalo Law Firm of Kavinoky Cook LLP, is one of the premier mediators and arbitrators in upstate New York. The 2009 Upstate Edition of NY Super Lawyers, in its special edition magazine containing an interview with Mr. Griffin, referred to him as the “king of mediators” in upstate New York.

In addition to his private engagements as a mediator or arbitrator, he is also a member of the following:

  • Mediator for American Arbitration Association
  • Arbitrator for American Arbitration Association (Commercial and Employment Panels)
  • Mediator for Federal District Court Program
  • Mediator and Arbitrator of New York State Supreme Court Program.
  • Mediator and Arbitrator for Resolute Systems, Inc.
  • Mediator for CPR, International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution
  • NY Super Lawyers for ADR
  • Best Lawyers in America for ADR
  • Member, Executive Committee of NY State Bar Association – ADR SectionMr.

Griffin is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  His many years of litigating, mediating, arbitrating and settling hundreds of cases, both jury and non-jury, have provided the experience necessary to understand all sides and aspects of the cases he mediates and arbitrates.  The subject matters of his litigation for both plaintiffs and defendants (also carriers and non-insured parties) cover a broad spectrum including personal injury for both plaintiffs and defendants (wrongful death; terrible burns); railroad FELA injury claims; civil rights (school desegregation and prisoners’ claims); medical and legal malpractice; employee discharges; corporate dissolutions; charter school issues; constitutional claims; defending municipality in action by sculptor for violation of constitutional rights; defense of airline in head injury claim; representing City in contempt proceedings against union for unlawful strike; recovery of substantial overdue payments under separation agreement; purchase of large corporate equipment with defects; defending claim by foundation contractor of 36 story office building; and a host of other claims.

Mr. Griffin’s many mediations and arbitrations cover a similarly broad spectrum of civil disputes: wrongful death in a nursing home; discrimination by Town police against business operator; $32 million settlement of Town indemnity claim; indemnification for passive liabilities; family shareholders’ dispute; contractor’s multiple claims v. subcontractors for delays and defective work; automobiles; trucks; premises; hospitals; physicians; insured and self-insured; compensatory and punitive damages; discrimination and hostile work environment; malpractice by professionals; amputation; dispute involving religious congregation; patent royalties; class actions; railroad property damage; farmer’s insurance claim; post-traumatic stress; non-competition agreements; real property boundaries; leases; buy-outs; joint ventures; patent royalties; and estates and trusts.

Mr. Griffin has been recognized by his peers on many occasions:

  • Distinguished Alumnus Award for Excellence in Private Practice, University of Buffalo, Law Alumni Association ’86;
  • Distinguished Member Award, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel ’98;
  • Canisius College Distinguished Alumni Award ’03;
  • Appointed to Design and Teach ADR Course at University at Buffalo Law School 03;
  • Federal Court Committee to Design Mediation Program ’04;
  • Charles H. Dougherty Civility Award, Bar Association of Erie County ’13;
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Canisius College, ’14.

Mr. Griffin’s open and neutral approach, coupled with his patience and persistence has gained the respect of attorneys and parties participating in his mediations and arbitrations. These qualities, together with his ability to identify the parties’ interests and relevant issues, are reasons for his success in obtaining a resolution in most cases.

Representative Cases Mediated

Commercial & Business

  • A large insurance company denies no-fault medical reimbursement for claims of various treating practitioners.
  • A dispute between two law firms regarding mortgage servicing issues.
  • A dominant shareholder in a family manufacturing business buys out his brother ending a bad internal dispute.
  • A town obtains $32 million indemnification from an insurance fund to reimburse it for payment of a large injury verdict.
  • A person who enters a closed religious group seeks to recover a $1 million payment made to join the group.
  • A lawyer is sued by a former client for failure to file certain papers to perfect a mechanic’s lien.
  • A contract packaging company resolves its dispute with a bottler of various


  • A general contractor building a street scape for a municipality resolves disputes over multiple change orders.
  • A general contractor obtains default judgment against subcontractor who backed out of its bid on the eve of the owner awarding contracts.
  • A homeowner’s claim for multiple defects in the construction of various sections of a large new home.
  • A subcontractor on a sewer facility renovation recovers a large part of disputed change orders.
  • A subcontractor claims delay damages against hospital for extensive renovation work.
  • A general contractor disputes owner’s multiple claims for delays and excessive
  • An owner of religious facility claims general, subcontractor, and architect are responsible for multiple leaks in various parts of new construction.
  • An owner of multiple apartment buildings where windstorm blew off much of roof has major dispute with insurance carrier.

Personal Injury

  • A wrongful death action against a nursing home.
  • A railroad employee claims he sustained a lumbar disc displacement due to straining when he closed a RR car door.
  • An 11 year old visiting his friend has a large scar from a dog bite when he was attacked by the dog in the friend’s living room.
  • A driver suffered a cervical injury requiring surgery following a rear-end collision.
  • An elderly woman fell in a restaurant breaking her hip resulting in hip replacement
  • A wrongful death action by an estate of worker who died from mesothelioma against 15 companies which made asbestos products.


  • A discharged school administrator claimed discrimination against a public school
  • A municipal employee’s claim for age discrimination as basis of termination.
  • A class action by employees of hospital to recover unpaid services at lunch time.
  • A discharged chief executive in a dispute over terms of his employment agreement.
  • A teacher maintains that the school superintendent harassed her and drove her to
  • A Muslim employee of school district alleges discriminatory discharge.

Representative Cases Arbitrated

  • A general contractor claims against owner to recover retention for construction work on new building; owner asserts multiple counterclaims (sole arbitrator).
  • A company’s claim for unfair competition by an executive employee who has entered employ of a competitor (sole arbitrator).
  • A local franchisee of a national delivery company claims unlawful termination (panel of three).
  • A company seeks to recover patent royalties for infringement (panel of three).
  • A railroad seeks to recover property damage from a derailment (Chair, panel of three).
  • A business seeks to establish insurance coverage of counterclaims which it must defend (Chair, panel of three).
  • A beneficiary seeks to recover proceeds of a life insurance policy (sole arbitrator).
  • A practice management firm seeks to recover for consulting services against a medical laboratory (sole arbitrator).
  • A farmer seeks to recover insurance proceeds for a failed crop (sole arbitrator).

Academic Background

  • JD, University of Buffalo (Note Editor, Buffalo Law Review)
  • BA, Canisius College, (President, Student Council)

Publications, Seminars & Teaching

Mr. Griffin often writes for and speaks at seminars upon various aspects of both mediation and arbitration. He developed an ADR course as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Buffalo Law School focusing on mediation and arbitration. Mr. Griffin is pleased to forward representative samples of his articles and seminar presentations.

Comments From Attorneys & Parties

“Your efforts and skills in bringing this to a close were fantastic. I look forward to working with you again.” (Commercial)

“This case presented sensitive issues that needed to be aired and your demeanor demonstrated respect which was the key.” (Employment)

“Many thanks to Mr. Griffin for the hard work, creativity and persistence in getting this wrongful death case settled.” (Wrongful Death)

“With the help of Dick Griffin, I resolved my dispute with the lawyer in my office today.  Griffin did an amazing job.”


“You did an unbelievable job in bringing the two sides together from across a huge divide between demand and offer.”

(Personal Injury)

“You were patient and professional which was just what the case needed.” (Employment)


$275 – $350 depending upon locale. Special arrangements for travel.

Contact Information

Phone: 716-845-6000
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