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Mediator and Ad Litem Appointments

Information Regarding Mediator and Ad Litem Appointments

In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed a new law relating to the selection of mediators, attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem.  See Tex. Gov’t Code § 37.001 et seq.


Section 37.004(b) of the Texas Government Code states as follows: 

In each case in which the appointment of a mediator is necessary because the parties to the case are unable to agree on a mediator, a court using a rotation system shall appoint the person whose name appears first on the mediator list maintained by the court as required under § 37.003.

The new law does not change the previous rule that a court may appoint those mediators on whom the parties agree. Tex. Gov’t Code § 37.004(c). Further, on a finding of good cause, a court may appoint a qualified person included on the applicable list who is not next on the list and may appoint someone whose name does not appear on the list on a complex matter. Id. at § 37.004(d). 

In the vast majority of cases, counsel work out the details of mediation without involving the Court.  Occasionally, the parties are unable to agree on whether to attend mediation and ask for the Court’s involvement.  In those cases where mediation is ordered, the lawyers generally agree on a mediator.  In those rare cases where the parties are not able to agree, the Court will appoint a mediator.  In deciding who may be a suitable mediator, counsel may refer to those who have registered with the Court, or they may choose to employ the services of the Dispute Resolution Center.

The list below consists of all persons who have indicated a desire to be included on this Court’s list of mediators.  There is no criteria for inclusion on this list.  Neither the Court nor anyone on behalf of the Court has reviewed the qualifications or experience of those included on the list and inclusion on the list is neither an endorsement nor a recommendation.  Further, mediators’ fees vary and are not set by the Court; so, you should contact the particular mediator to discuss his/her mediation fees prior to selecting the mediator.  If you would like to be included on this list, please let the Court know.

Mediator List:


Andrew Caplan

Jose Lopez, II

Denise Peterson

Josefina Rendon (Spanish Speaker)

Heather McFarlane

Jerry Hall

Douglas Wilson

James Gaughan

James Baker

Eric G. Carter

Dan Hinde

Dulcie Green Wink

Maria Olmeda

Jim Doyle

Sarah Duckers
Shannon L Mays
Michael C. Sanders
Gerald M. Birnberg
Chris Carmona
Ashley R. Rose
Rob Todd
Esther Cortez Treneer
Dana Carter
Jill McCarthy Arntz
Scott A. Barrett
Mark Ritchie
Andy Siegel
Lingling Dai
Marc G. Matthews
J. Scott Loras
Hon. Terry Jennings
Charles M.R. Vethan
Howard L. Steele, Jr.
Moira Rankin Cooper
Jennifer Robinson
Andrew M. Tolchin
Alfred Flores, Jr.
Jim Doyle
Teresa A. Carver
Dan E. Hinde
Ileana M. Blanco
Michael Hawash
Whitney Casey Griffin
John Donovan
Amy Dunn Taylor
Patrick Parker
Sandra Kimbrough
Robert Lloyd Smallwood, JD
Michael W. McCoy
Austin Martin
Amanda D. Gordon
Tracy Croom Jones
Michael W. McCoy
Morgan K. Abels
Crystal Finley
Michael S. Wright
Tanya Chaney
Joseph R. Alexander Jr.
Frederick J. Wagner
Vernique R. Hutchinson
Mark D. Flanagan

Larry Weiman

Dominique Bartholet

Paul Rodriguez Jr.

Felicia Harris Hoss

Camille Tankersley

Noe Moreno

Kent Altsuler

Fanesha Washington

Peter Taaffe

Carman Ross

Carl W. Thompson
Sylvia Mayer
Afreen Ahmed
Todd Litton
Tim McInturf
Kelly Greenwood Prather
Eric William Carter
Phillip Sharp

Guardians Ad Litem

Recently enacted Gov’t. Code § 37.004 provides that the Court must appoint guardians ad litem from the Court’s list in order, except when: (a) the parties agree (subject to court approval) to the appointment of an ad litem whose name is not next on the list or is not on the list; or (b) the court finds good cause to appoint a person whose name is not next on the list or is not on the list because the person appointed: (i) has specialized training, skills, experience or other qualities relevant to the subject matter of the case; (ii) has “relevant prior involvement with the parties or case”; or (iii) “is in a relevant geographic location”.

Tex. R. Civ. P. 173 provides for the appointment of a guardian ad litem when a minor or non compos mentis is a party to a suit, and is represented by a next friend or a guardian who appears to the court to have an interest adverse to the minor. The trial court can appoint a guardian ad litem only where there is a conflict of interest between the minor and the next friend. The determination of the existence of a conflict of interest requires the exercise of judicial discretion.

A guardian ad litem should not be expected to do work that is typically done by the attorney for the next friend.  Rather, the guardian ad litem is charged with acting as the advocate for the “client”, which may require the ad litem to assume an adversary stance vis-à-vis the next friend.  It is, therefore, crucial that a guardian ad litem be suited by training and experience that is appropriate to each case.  The Court takes into account the special circumstances present in each case when making appointments; it, therefore, is expected that serial appointments from the list required by Gov’t Code Sec. 37.004 may not be routine.

A guardian ad litem bears the same fiduciary responsibility to the minor or non compos mentis client as to any other client, and may face liability in the event of professional negligence. 

Those wishing to be included in the Court’s list must submit a written request with a complete resume that details the nature of the applicant’s experience as a civil trial practitioner.  Special capabilities, such as fluency in languages other than English, background in finance, and the like, also should be listed.  Applicants also must confirm that professional liability coverage is in effect and will remain current. Inclusion on the list does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the Court and no attorney so listed may state or imply that they have been approved, recommended or endorsed by the 157th District Court for any reason or purpose.

As referenced above, the Court reserves the right to assign a guardian ad litem who either is not on this list or not "next" on the general list when the case being assigned warrants special consideration.  The special guardian ad litem list may be updated at any time by the court as special circumstances arise which were not considered in compiling this list.

List of Guardians Ad Litem:

Andrea Roth

JoAnn Storey

Nomaan Husain

Heather McFarlane

Fran Watson

Patrick Flynn

Chance McMillan

Carlos Hughes, Jr.

Thelma Elizalde (Spanish Speaker)

Mario Davila, Jr. (Spanish Speaker)

Jim Doyle

Sarah Duckers

Seth Kretzer

Raphael Qiu (Mandarin Chinese and French Speaker)

Jorge Gomez (Spanish Speaker)

Marilyn Vilandos

Manpreet Singh

Eric G. Carter

Maria Olmeda
Michael K. Hatchett
Jacqueline N. Barnes
Derek R. Anderson
Maureen Garrett
Jacob Barber
Rob Todd
Brandon J. Barnes
Judge William "Bill" McLeod
Alfred M. Benoit
Carol J. Carrier
J. Scott Loras
Herrick L. Sovany
Natalia Cruz
Greg Ahlgren
Eric William Carter
Alfred Flores, Jr.
Jim Doyle
Sherra V. Gilbert (Spanish Speaker)
Francisco Medina (Spanish Speaker)
Jared B. Caplan
Denise Adkison-Brown
Jimmy Sunosky
Ian C. Hernandez
Michael D. West
Jose A. Blazquez
Nichole M. Nech
Carlos Hughes Jr.
Kris Ougrah
Mario A. Martinez
John Vong (Vietnamese)
Misty A. Hataway-Cone'
Jeffrey B. Hardaway
Sydney M. Womack
Natalia Cruz
Michael S. Wright
Vernique R. Hutchinson
Carlos Hughes Jr.
Chelsie King Garza
Rod Manor
Juvie Cruz Cardenas
Mark D. Flanagan

Dominique Bartholet

Carnegie Mims

Noe Moreno

Harun Calehr

Peter Taaffe
Glen Austin

Davida Green-Norris

Danyahel (Danny)Norris
Natalia A Cruz
Kelly Greenwood Prather

Attorneys Ad Litem

The 157th District Court follows the Protocol for Appointment of Attorneys Ad Litem adopted by the Board of Civil Judges in August 2015.  See  Protocol for Appointment of Attorneys Ad Litem

Bragg, Melanie D.

Brokaw, Judith

Copeland, Nile

Diggs, Cheryl H.

Duckers, Sarah A.

Garcia, Bernardo J.

Good, Tracy D.

Kretzer, Seth

Lopez, II, Jose R.

Perdue, Joe N.

Schaffer, Jo Ann Weiss

Sepolio, Donald

Stow, Mary

Watkins, Bruce K.

West, David

West, Michael D.
Birnberg, Gerald M.
Carmona, Chris
Garrett, Maureen
Todd, Rob
McLeod, Judge William "Bill"
Anderson, Derek
Vuong, David C.
Loras, J. Scott
Cruz, Natalia
Ahlgren, Gregory L.
Flores Jr, Alfred
Gilbert, Sherra V (Spanish Speaker) 
Daniel E. Hinde
Michael D. West
Jeffrey B. Hardaway
Sydney M. Womack
Natalia Cruz
Marilyn Vilandos
Rod Manor
Vernique R Hutchinson
Mark D. Flanagan

Harun Calehr

Davida Green-Norris

Danyahel (Danny) Norris
Natalia A. Cruz



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