As a lawyer, my practice ranged from institutional to individual, including insurance defense, multinational, government agency, a country (France), companies and small businesses in simple and complex litigation cases, as well as serving as outside general counsel.

As a mediator, my areas of emphasis are business, family business, partnership, and trust and estate disputes. I mediate in other types of cases as well.  Here are some examples:

Areas of Expertise​

​​Business Disputes

  • Loan to online merchant, lender sued for breach of contract, fraud, related claims, based on alleged subterfuge of using a front person to obtain the loan.

  • Equipment purchase dispute. Medical equipment sold to doctor, claimed to be defective by doctor. Seller claimed no defect or failure of doctor to properly seek replacement.

  • Wedding venue sued for breach of contract, negligence and emotional distress resulting from power outage during wedding party. High emotions on both sides. Eventually settled post session after mediator follow up.

  • Lemon Law case. Focus of dispute was level of damages including applicability of civil penalties. Settled on basis of actual damages.

  • Cannabis dispensary: founder disputes over ownership and control of real property and improvements.

  • Pre-litigation dispute over performance of an agricultural contract for growing industrial hemp for CBD. Investor vs. farming company.

  • Breach of contract for payroll services and failure to notify of termination by insurance broker.

  • Pre-litigation claim by franchisees for refund of franchise fee paid to franchisor.

  • Dispute between fabric manufacturer and clothing maker over payments due on fabric delivered in multiple transactions over 2.5 years on the basis of purchase orders and invoices.

  • Recovery of value on goods held on consignment in the retail jewelry business.

  • Lawsuit by minority owner of a company for declaratory relief regarding ownership interest in company and commercial real property assets of company, and for damages.

  • Breach of Loan Agreements, Fraud, Conversion, Wrongful termination of Executive. Plaintiff had worked as an executive in upper management for Defendants (affiliated companies). Plaintiff made a series of loans to Defendants. Defendants defaulted on some of the loans and terminated Plaintiff’s employment. The case was emotionally charged by the issues surrounding the tort claims. There was strong emotional attachment to certain of the subject events. It took some time to deflect and reduce the emotions on both sides. At the end of the day, to the surprised delight and relief of the parties, the case settled.

  • Breach of Contract and Negligence re: Failure to Develop a Website. Plaintiff operates a web based service provider. Defendants had agreed but failed to produce an operable website in time. Defendants blamed Plaintiff’s lack of cooperation for the failure. The key to settlement was positioning information so that Defendants understood that Plaintiff’s interpretation of the facts was viable and Plaintiff understood the value of discounting its damages to obtain resolution.


Trust and Estate

  • Two adult brothers owned a wholesale flower growing business with their father, involving multiple properties. After the father’s death, disputes arose on multiple issues including apportioning the properties and responsibility for maintenance costs.


  • Three adult children, wealthy family, fighting about everything after second parent’s death. Disputes over multiple real and personal properties, pre-death loans/gifts.


  • Two adult children disputing the management and distribution by one of the children acting as successor trustee of the personal property and cash of the estate.


  • Five adult children disputing title to family home which mother still occupies, management of mother’s care, visitation rights and disposition of home and personal property on mother’s death. Home had been gifted years before for asset protection purposes to one of the children. Revocable trust negotiated and established to effect the settlement.


  • Surviving Spouse vs. Surviving Business Partner And Putative Trustee. Intestate probate subject to late “discovery” of holographic will by surviving business partner.


  • Co-Trustee Siblings Of Living Trust Dispute. 3 adult children of incapacitated mother, one living in mother’s house and others managing finances, with a history of family dysfunction and mistrust.


  • Ex-Wife Vs. Brothers Of Ex-Husband Over Disposition Of Commercial Real Property. Ex-wife sued brothers over management of business property; ex-husband incapacitated with his property interests subject to a trust.


Family Business and Partnership 

  • Three brothers, interconnected construction development and management companies + jointly owned properties. Family business started by the father. Multiple efforts by the brothers over several years to resolve the disputes were never finalized. Mediation required several sessions including one with the common accountant to finally get it done.


  • Dissolution of two cannabis industry companies. Each side claiming breach of contract regarding the funding and operations of the business. Case settled after one session and multiple follow ups by the mediator.


  • Two partners (“Alpha” and “Beta”), professional services firm, equal ownership. Beta was the mentor of Alpha when they both worked for another firm. Alpha recruited Beta to open their own firm. After a few years, Alpha thought that Beta was chronically underperforming and wanted Beta gone. Beta wanted to stay in the business and was willing to adjust ownership percentages. Case settled with Alpha buying out Beta, with very specific terms hammered out at the mediation as to how the transition would occur.


  • Two principals (“Doc” and “Manager”) in a medical services firm. After years of working for other clinics, Doc was encouraged by Manager to open her own clinic, with Manager covering all the business formation and management elements and Doc focused on patient care. Doc eventually wanted to end the relationship. A formal partnership had never been created. Doc had asked to do so but Manager had held off, expressly wanting to be an employee to avoid personal exposure until the clinic was financially stable. Doc acknowledged that Manager had done a good job setting up the clinic, but Doc was not happy with Manager’s later performance. Manager wanted to be bought out as a “partner” and was willing to fight to get that even though he knew he’d probably lose. The case settled on the basis of fairness, with each side satisfied and relieved at the outcome.


Real Estate


  • Homeowner and contractor vs. remodel designer/interior decorator. High-end home in Newport Beach.


  • Commercial Unlawful Detainer case with underlying damage claims by tenant, the subject of a separate lawsuit filed by tenant but not yet served. Settlement involved negotiating with new third party tenant who is to buy the existing tenant's business and to make $250,000 in improvements to the property.


  • Landlord/Tenant.  Pre-litigation residential landlord/tenant dispute over early termination of a lease of a Santa Monica townhome.​


  • Commercial Unlawful Detainer, Breach of Lease & Guarantee. Landlord and Tenant otherwise had good business relationship which was leveraged to resolve all claims including back rent and to cooperate in marketing the property and tenant’s vacating.


  • Predatory Lending, usury, and related claims over foreclosure on a loan secured by a deed of trust. Lender defendants recognized sympathy factor and case economics and made a business decision to settle.


  • Easement dispute between a church and adjacent homeowners’ association, regarding maintenance and expense of shared signage and installing gates attached to both properties.


  • Commercial real estate dispute over damages to tenant’s business caused by water intrusion.


  • Dispute over Common Area Maintenance charges, performance, and signage in a commercial common interest development.


  • Suit by broker for commission on the purchase and sale of an apartment building that cancelled due to the buyer terminating the deal based on the representation of the trustee of the seller that the trustee who signed did not have authority. There was also a cross-complaint for elder abuse. Settlement terms included exclusive listing agreement and case payment.


  • Undisclosed Defects, Single Family Residence. Buyer of multimillion dollar home sued sellers for failure to disclose roof water leaks throughout the architecturally unique home.


  • Residential Development Projects; Tort Claims. Suit by investor in residential real estate development projects against developer and lender for tort claims.


  • Undisclosed Defects, Single Family Residence. Buyers of home in West Los Angeles sued sellers for failure to disclose water intrusion and mold.


  • Undisclosed Home Intrusion. Buyers of home in Los Angeles sought damages or buy back for failure to disclose home invasion.


  • Undisclosed Defect, Single Family Residence. Buyers of home in Los Angeles sought damages or buy back for failure to disclose airplane noise.


  • Breach of Residential Lease. Professional athletes leased a home for $50,000 a month and trashed it. Owner kept entire $100,000 deposit and tenants sought refund of 60%.


  • Commercial Real Estate Easement. Dispute over the right of property owner to continue to use vehicle parking area of adjacent property which had been the subject of a prior agreement.


  • Undisclosed Defects, Single Family Residence. Buyers of home in Pasadena sought damages for failure to disclose multiple instances of unpermitted improvements to the home.


  • Breach of Contract, Sale of Apartment Building. Buyer sought specific performance on contract to purchase apartment building.


  • Breach of Residential Lease. Tenants sought refund of damage deposit on a home in Los Angeles. Owner sought damages in excess of the damage deposit.


  • Residential Landlord/Tenant Dispute. Owner, management company and agents brought defamation action against tenant. One part of several prior and ongoing disputes between tenant and owner/management company.


  • Breach of Contract between Owner/Developer and Contractor; Multi-Unit Building. Owner/developer sought damages from contractor for delays and defective work on remodel project in Santa Monica.


  • Breach of Contract, Industrial Development Project. Dispute between developer of water treatment plant in Wyoming and contractor over work done and money owed.


  • HOA vs. Management Company. Claim for damages for multiple breaches of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and other tort claims by homeowners association against its management company.


  • Foreclosure Sufferers vs. Fix and Flip Company. Former owners subject to eviction by foreclosure purchaser protested the practices of the company resulting in harassment proceedings.


  • Specific Performance; Short Sell of Residence. Sellers facing foreclosure claimed fraud by third parties to stop enforcement of sale by non-commercial buyers.


  • Fraudulent Conveyance of Commercial Real Property. Judgment creditor sued adult children of judgment debtor to claw back property transferred to the children.


Personal Injury


  • Auto v. Auto, intersection, clear liability. Substantial loss of earnings claim.


  • Motorcycle v. Auto, undisputed that lane change caused crash. Dispute over extent and valuation of bodily injury and property damage.


  • Plaintiff, a young man, was seriously injured in a car accident, sustaining a broken tibia and permanent scarring of the forehead. The other driver was in the course and scope of work and settlement was with the insurer for that driver. Core issues were the effect of prior release from insurer for the other driver, plaintiff’s pre-existing physical condition, and injuries from a subsequent car accident.


  • Plaintiff was a passenger in bus v. automobile accident in which the automobile hit a bus. Plaintiff’s pre-existing condition was affected.


  • Vehicle v. vehicle, soft tissue case.


  • Asbestos litigation. Multiple mediations in separately filed cases with upwards of 20 participants at a time, resulting in settlement between plaintiffs and most of the defendant companies.


  • Auto vs. Bicycle. Liability not disputed. Soft tissue injuries not disputed. Plaintiff, a professional team cyclist, was hit by defendant who drove away from the scene claiming she was not aware of the collision. Although injured, Plaintiff chased her down to get her personal information. Damages were disputed, due to Plaintiff being able to ride after the collision and the unusually high value and technical specificity of Plaintiff’s bicycle. Once the facts were put in perspective of the carrier, a quick dance of the numbers resolved the case.


  • Food Poisoning. Plaintiffs (mother, father, two children) contracted salmonella poisoning after eating chicken purchased from one of Defendant’s nationwide stores. Defendant was self-insured and had a claims manager and defense counsel well versed in toxic tort litigation. Food poisoning claims are difficult to establish. The case settled after I had the claims manager meet the mother and listen to her story, in a brief joint session.


  • Old Man vs. Big Dog. Plaintiff, in his 80s, said he was pushed over by Defendant’s big dog, where they all lived in an exclusive, tight-knit gated community. The dog had a history of running loose and jumping up on people. Some of Plaintiff’s immediate family also lived in the community and were driving the claim. Defendant had an adequate homeowner’s policy, but had allowed coverage to lapse. Emotionally charged neighbor relations issues and insurance coverage issues had to be aired before the numbers could be addressed. Underlying case settled in one day, with a follow up mediation set to address the coverage dispute. That second session also resulted in a settlement in one day.


  • Employee Negligence at Big Box Store. Plaintiff, an independent construction contractor, was injured while loading concrete bags at a big box store, claiming that a store employee, without warning, “tossed” one of the bags to him, causing chronic back injury. The impediment to settlement was that Plaintiff and his family, hard- working victims of a difficult economy, were in financial straits, looking to this lawsuit for relief. Plaintiff appeared at the mediation with his wife and young adult son. The realities of litigation had to soak before real progress could be made on the numbers. Case settled in less than one day.


  • ​Product liability claim for damages caused by spontaneous fire in vehicle.


Employment


  • A kitchen worker that was employed for 14 years was terminated. The employee made FEHA and wage and hour claims. The employer claimed termination was for cause and that the wage and hour claims were either unfounded or time barred.


  • Employee at car dealership claimed he was terminated after refusing to engage in unlawful practices and being subject to ethnic discrimination.  Employer claimed  termination was for cause and denied discrimination. 


Intellectual Property


  • Trademark infringement/Unfair Competition alleged by two businesses against each other operating in the same rental services space, including allegations of fraudulently obtained mark.

  • Copyright Infringement: multiple cases brought by photographers against digital multimedia platform that publishes creative content for unauthorized use of photographs on the platform.

  • Trade secrets misappropriation, interference with contract and breach of employment contract claims by apparel manufacturer against former employee who went to work for a competitor.

  • Copyright infringement of clothing design. Liability and damages were contested.

  • Copyright, Textile Design on Garments. Owner of copyright in artwork for printing on fabric for making garments sued manufacturer who made garments using a knock off of the subject design and the national retailer who sold the garments.

  • Trade Dress, Website Design and Content. Business sued competitor and its owner for copying the design and content of the former’s website.

  • Trademark, Electronic Goods. Plaintiff’s certification mark used without permission by Defendants. Defendants claimed they did not know of the use and that an overseas manufacturer had applied the mark to goods without Defendants’ knowledge.

  • Trademark, Food Products. Plaintiff produces and sells products nationwide under a well-known trademark for Kosher meat products. Defendants put Plaintiff’s labels on third party products and sold those products to the public.

  • Copyright, Textile Design on Garments. Owner of copyright in artwork for printing on fabric for making garments sued manufacturer who made garments using a knock off of the subject design and several national retailers who sold the garments.

  • Copyright, Published Book. Former manager of pop music star sued the star for publishing her autobiography using text written by the former manager.

  • Copyright, Architectural Drawings. Architect sued former client for copying, duplication and infringement of plans.

  • Copyright, Textile Design on Garments. Owner of copyright in artwork for printing on fabric for garments sued manufacturer who had purchased printed fabric from owner and then had fabric made using the subject design to make garments.


  • Trademark.  Plaintiff’s certification mark used without permission by Defendants. Defendants claimed they did not know of the use and that an overseas manufacturer had applied the mark to goods without Defendants’ knowledge. Defendants initially claimed inability to pay and refused to pay above nuisance value at the first mediation session. To protect its reputation in the manufacturing world and the public perception of its certification mark, Plaintiff was willing to spend more than the case itself was worth. I followed up by email and phone with counsel over the next several weeks to eventually get the case settled.

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  • Trademark.  ​Plaintiff produces and sells products nationwide under a well-known trademark. Defendants put Plaintiff’s labels on third party products and sold those products to the public. Defendants’ counsel aggressively asserted technical defenses and Plaintiff was willing to spend more money than was evidently collectible to set an example. After I caucused privately with the two insurance carriers, and with Plaintiff’s company representatives participating from Canada and New York by video teleconference, we got the case settled.


Insurance Coverage 


  • Plaintiffs, brothers in law, submitted a loss from a burglary of the contents of a home. Plaintiffs claimed the loss investigation and adjustment was improper, including ethnic/cultural bias, and that coverage was otherwise denied in bad faith. Defendant insurer claimed that the plaintiff who lived in the home was not the named insured, plaintiffs had provided false or incomplete information on their claims and otherwise failed to present a covered claim. Time was needed to let Plaintiffs vent their concerns about the way they were treated. The case settled in one day.

  • Plaintiff, a general contractor for home construction, suffered damage in his own home from a burst water valve. Defendant insurer denied coverage under a ”faulty installation” exclusion. Bad faith denial claimed. Battle of the expert reports was the focus of the factual issues. Devolved into a straight forward dance of the numbers to get it settled, with each side acknowledging the benefit of making a deal, with the bad faith element left untouched and evaporating in the process.

  • A homeowner’s policy had lapsed under which coverage was sought for claim by neighbor for injuries from the insured’s big dog pushing over an elderly neighbor. Insured claimed that he had not been given adequate and effective notice of nonpayment of premiums, and was not told of the lapse of coverage until months into the adjustment of the underlying claim. In a mediation I conducted, the underlying claim was settled with the insurer paying, followed by a separate session to address the coverage dispute. The coverage dispute settled in one day after allowing time for the insured to absorb the reality of how litigating the dispute would unfold.


  • Pre-litigation residential landlord/tenant dispute over early termination of a lease of a Santa Monica townhome.