Mark K. Ameli, Esq.

Profile

Mark K. Ameli, Esq. has over 35 years of legal experience, including 20 years of experience as a mediator and arbitrator. He has served on the Los Angeles Superior Court alternative dispute resolution panel since 1994 and has handled private mediations and arbitrations with an emphasis on cross-­‐cultural disputes since 2005. Over the past three decades, he has been involved in the resolution of thousands of cases.

Mr. Ameli has extensive experience in the areas of general business, including preparation and negotiation of contracts, formation and administration of corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies; business litigation; personal injuries as a result of defective products, vehicular collisions, slip and fall and industrial accidents.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Southern California, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of West Los Angeles. He has also completed multiple advanced mediation courses at Pepperdine University and Harvard University.

Areas of Specialization

  • Business/Commercial Contracts
  • Personal Injury
  • Employment
  • Product Liability
  • Cross-­‐Cultural Disputes
  • Real Estate

Legal and ADR Experience

  • Diversified Dispute Resolution, Mediator and Arbitrator 2005-­‐2015
  • Los Angeles Superior Court, Mediator, Arbitrator, Judge Pro Tem 1994-­‐2015
  • Private Practice, Attorney at Law 1980-­‐2015

Education

  • University of West Los Angeles, Juris Doctorate 1980
  • University of Southern California, Master of Arts in Economics 1972
  • University of California at Berkeley, Bachelor of Arts in Economics 1970

Professional Affiliations

  • Beverly Hills Bar Association, Chair of the Section on Conflict Resolution
  • California Bar Association, Member
  • Iranian American Lawyers Association, Founder and Past President
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member
  • Southern California Mediation Association, Past Member of the Board of Directors
  • Mediators Beyond Borders, Member
  • Rotary District 5280, Chair of Peace and Conflict Resolution

Representative Cases

Business & Real Estate

  • In a case involving theft of a classic vehicle that was delivered to a repair shop for service, plaintiff claimed defendant was negligent since it did not keep the keys in a safe and did not engage any of the two “kill switches” with which the car was equipped. Defendant claimed the car was stored in a locked garage and the intervening criminal act of third parties cuts off its liability.
  • In a breach of a lease agreement plaintiff asked for the full amount of the remaining term of the lease. Defendant argued failure to mitigate damages. Defendant had offered to stay and pay less than the contractual rent and plaintiff had rejected that offer. Defendant, Middle Eastern man who was from a high context culture used roundabout arguments that required more time to bring out the facts. Additionally his poly chromic style of communication would have been frustrating for the plaintiff who was American with a mono-chromic style of communication.
  • Dispute involving an easement on a property which if enforced would reduce the value of the property and its usefulness. There was a possibility to move the easement to a different location which would not diminish the value of the property on which the easement was located and provide the benefit to the owner of the easement.
  • Dispute involving purchase and sale of a property. Plaintiff buyer had filed a complaint for specific performance of the sales agreement. Defendant Seller alleged the escrow was cancelled due to Buyer’s failure to perform. Seller was willing to sell the property at this time at a higher price.
  • Dispute involving real estate in Iran that was willed to two brothers and a sister. The two brothers could not return to Iran for political reasons and the sister and her husband were able to sell the property, but were not able to bring the funds to the US until later. The suit alleged that had they brought the funds from the sale of the property at the time of the sale, since the value of the Dollar was lower, they each would have received 2 1⁄2 to 3 times more than if the money is brought in now. Defendant sister and her husband alleged that if they had not gone to Iran, the two brothers would not have received any money since they could not have gone to Iran anyway. Additionally, there were costs in procuring the sale of the property in which the brothers should also share. Being members of a high context society, keeping the harmony in the family was paramount. Therefore, the sister who had a high power distance and a proponent of keeping the harmony was very amenable to settlement based on the mediator proposal. The brothers, who had to save face among the family and friends, needed more persuasion.
  • In a breach of contract and specific performance action in a real estate transaction, plaintiff claimed that the parking spaces assigned to their condominium unit was deeded to another unit by mistake and wished specific performance of that portion of the agreement. Defendant claimed that plaintiff had breached its contract if failing to satisfy a loan contingency and therefore cancelled the contract.
  • In a subrogation claim a homeowner insurance that had paid over $90,000 in damages to its own insured. The Homeowner’s carrier was now suing the alleged negligent third party who allegedly caused the water leak and the resulting damages that was paid by the carrier.
  • In a Declaratory Relief action filed by Plaintiff, the tenant of a residential property, on a lease agreement, to confirm the terms of a 3-year lease. Defendant and cross complainant claimed that they had an oral agreement for a rent that was 3 times the amount stated in the lease and either plaintiff forged her name to the lease or that since her knowledge of English is limited, she did not know what she was signing and demanded the balance of the funds and cancelation of the lease agreement. Both parties were Middle Eastern; however, plaintiff had come to the United States at a young age and had acquired an overlay of the Western Culture. Defendant had brought her daughter with her to mediation to satisfy the Collective nature of the High Context cultures. However, she had also come to the US at a young age and had acquired most of the Western culture. Therefore under the circumstances of this case, even though both Plaintiff and defendant had Middle Eastern Cultures, the mediation had to be conducted as if they were of the Western cultures.
  • In a breach of a sub-lease agreement plaintiff claimed that defendant had agreed to pay the utility expenses of an office space and failed to do so. Defendant claimed that he did not have to pay for the utilities.
  • In a dispute between an elderly Iranian American dentist and his Iranian American manager, the dentist sued the manager for locking him out of the office and not allowing him to practice. The dispute was about the fact that the defendant had used a swearword and not apologized. The dispute was resolved with an apology.
  • In a dispute involving trade mark infringement in Iran, the plaintiff had received a judgment from the lower court in the amount of $600,000. It would have been a loss of face if the plaintiff accepted less than the full amount of the judgment. In order to be able to save face and at the same time not face bankruptcy by the defendant, it was agreed that the defendant would pay the full amount of the loan within 24 months. However, if defendant paid $400,000 within 6 months it would be considered full and final payment.

view all

Employment

  • Dispute involving wrongful termination and discrimination of an insurance company against an Iranian-Armenian man. The defendant claimed that the termination was due to the plaintiff’s inability to produce based on their standards and there was no discrimination since they still have a large number of Iranian-Americans working there. In this case the mediator must pay attention to cultural factors and the final determination was reached by paying close attention to the power distance. The plaintiff was from a culture with High Power Distance. Therefore, the statement of the person in the position of perceived power would be given higher deference.
  • In a wrongful termination action plaintiff claimed that he was terminated because he had filed a worker’s compensation claim as a result of the injury at work. Defendant claimed that he was terminated because there was no job where plaintiff could work with the work restrictions that the physicians had placed on him.

Cross-Cultural

  • In a reverse rear end accident where there was only minor damage to plaintiff’s vehicle, she claimed over $26,000 medical expense and another $25000 future medical care. Defendant claimed the force of impact could not have caused such severe injuries and that plaintiff over treated. Plaintiff was a young Middle Eastern woman. Although she came from a High Context Culture, she was raised in the United States and the Low Context Western Culture had been super imposed on the high context. Therefore we had to distinguish between the high and low context part of her psyche.
  • In a personal injury action involving rear end collision, defendant initially denied he was involved in an accident but later admitted it. Insurance company paid plaintiff his property damage and later put a stop on the property damage check. The offer was minimal and only the cost of defense. Plaintiff was Chinese and as such came from a high context culture. Consequently, if he had lost the case, it would cause him to lose face. It was important for him to win the case. The amount that he would win would be secondary as long as it would be a win for him.
  • Personal Injury - Rear end accident – Defendant claimed that plaintiff’s property damage and medical bills were inflated and they had evidence to show the same. Plaintiff claimed that he had a special package for the bumper on this car that cost a lot more than what the defendant was willing to allow. The special circumstance in that the defendant was Chinese and which is a high context culture. He required more time because people in high context cultures generally speak with caution and indirectly to avoid further conflicts. But it is important for them not to lose the case. Therefore it was important to have the defendant pay for Plaintiffs damages and at the same time to make sure that he would not lose face.
  • In a wrongful death of an elderly Armenian man caused by a car vs. pedestrian, action was brought by his wife. Aside from the issues relating to the value of the case when an elderly retired man is involved, there was an issue of who would be the decision maker or the decision makers. The Armenian society is a high context culture and, therefore, the decisions will have to be made collectively. In fact all the decisions were made by the two sons and the son in law of the plaintiff.
  • In a Declaratory Relief action filed by Plaintiff, the tenant of a residential property, on a lease agreement, to confirm the terms of a 3-year lease. Defendant and cross complainant claimed that they had an oral agreement for a rent that was 3 times the amount stated in the lease and either plaintiff forged her name to the lease or that since her knowledge of English is limited, she did not know what she was signing and demanded the balance of the funds and cancelation of the lease agreement. Both parties were Middle Eastern; however, plaintiff had come to the United States at a young age and had acquired an overlay of the Western Culture. Defendant had brought her daughter with her to mediation to satisfy the Collective nature of the High Context cultures. However, she had also come to the US at a young age and had acquired most of the Western culture. Therefore under the circumstances of this case, even though both Plaintiff and defendant had Middle Eastern Cultures, the mediation had to be conducted as if they were of the Western cultures.
  • In a breach of a lease agreement plaintiff asked for the full amount of the remaining term of the lease. Defendant argued failure to mitigate damages. Defendant had offered to stay and pay less than the contractual rent and plaintiff had rejected that offer. Defendant, Middle Eastern man who was from a high context culture used roundabout arguments that required more time to bring out the facts. Additionally his poly chromic style of communication would have been frustrating for the plaintiff who was American with a mono-chromic style of communication.
  • Dispute involving real estate in Iran that was willed to two brothers and a sister. The two brothers could not return to Iran for political reasons and the sister and her husband were able to sell the property, but were not able to bring the funds to the US until later. The suit alleged that had they brought the funds from the sale of the property at the time of the sale, since the value of the Dollar was lower, they each would have received 2 1⁄2 to 3 times more than if the money is brought in now. Defendant sister and her husband alleged that if they had not gone to Iran, the two brothers would not have received any money since they could not have gone to Iran anyway. Additionally, there were costs in procuring the sale of the property in which the brothers should also share. Being members of a high context society, keeping the harmony in the family was paramount. Therefore, the sister who had a high power distance and a proponent of keeping the harmony was very amenable to settlement based on the mediator proposal. The brothers, who had to save face among the family and friends, needed more persuasion.
  • In a dispute between an elderly Iranian American dentist and his Iranian American manager, the dentist sued the manager for locking him out of the office and not allowing him to practice. The dispute was about the fact that the defendant had used a swearword and not apologized. The dispute was resolved with an apology.
  • In a dispute involving trade mark infringement in Iran, the plaintiff had received a judgment from the lower court in the amount of $600,000. It would have been a loss of face if the plaintiff accepted less than the full amount of the judgment. In order to be able to save face and at the same time not face bankruptcy by the defendant, it was agreed that the defendant would pay the full amount of the loan within 24 months. However, if defendant paid $400,000 within 6 months it would be considered full and final payment.
  • In a personal injury action by an Iranian American woman for a fall from the escalator, mediation failed because her husband and son were not involved in the process. Once the correct decision makers were brought to the table, the case was settled. In the Middle Eastern Cultures decisions are made collectively and the head of the household, usually the men in the family, will have to be present.
  • Dispute involving wrongful termination and discrimination of an insurance company against an Iranian Armenian man. The defendant claimed that the termination was due to the plaintiff’s
    inability to produce based on their standards and there was no discrimination since they still have a large number of Iranian Americans working there. In this case the mediator must pay attention to cultural factors and the final determination was reached by paying close attention to the power distance. The plaintiff was from a culture with High Power Distance. Therefore, the statement of the person in the position of perceived power would be given higher deference.

view all

Personal Injury

  • In a slip and fall accident plaintiff claimed she slipped on a rough piece of paper and fell injuring the right side of her body. Defendant claimed the area had been cleaned 30 minutes prior to the accident and that she suffered from a prior carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • In a slip and fall accident on a private property plaintiff claimed that there was wet broken up pavement that caused him to fall. Defendant claimed trivial defect and that the defect was open and obvious.
  • Slip and Fall in the rain. Plaintiff claimed that a dangerous condition in the sidewalk caused him to fall. Defendant claimed natural hazard and that plaintiff was drunk at the time of the accident and that he did not fall in the location where he claimed he fell. D claiming a pot hole caused him to fall.
  • In a personal injury action by an Iranian American woman for a fall from the escalator, mediation failed because her husband and son were not involved in the process. Once the correct decision makers were brought to the table, the case was settled. In the Middle Eastern Cultures decisions are made collectively and the head of the household, usually the men in the family, will have to be present.
  • In a car v. bicycle accident where plaintiff claimed he was riding his bicycle in the pedestrian cross walk and defendant attempting to make a right turn on a red light struck his bicycle. Defendant claimed that plaintiff was traveling west bound in the east bound lane of traffic and that defendant was not liable for the accident or injuries.
  • Auto v. pedestrian accident in the middle of the block, plaintiff claimed that defendant was inattentive in that she was driving in a school zone and should have used extra care. Defendant claimed a “dart out” from behind other cars parked on the street.
  • In a reverse rear end accident where there was only minor damage to plaintiff’s vehicle, she claimed over $26,000 medical expense and another $25,000 future medical care. Defendant claimed the force of impact could not have caused such severe injuries and that plaintiff over treated. Plaintiff was a young Middle Eastern woman. Although she came from a High Context Culture, she was raised in the United States and the Low Context Western Culture had been super imposed on the high context. Therefore we had to distinguish between the high and low context part of her psyche.
  • In an intersection collision plaintiff claimed that defendant ran the red light and struck her car. Defendant claimed that his light was yellow when he entered the intersection and therefore plaintiff ran the red light. Defendant also claimed that based on the Howell case plaintiff’s damages should be reduced.
  • In a rear end auto accident the issues of the case involved the severity of impact and the reasonableness of the medical expenses.
  • In a rear end auto accident and injury to a young 12 year old girl, the issue was the value of pain and suffering and general damages when there is a possibility that she will not be able to participate in sports when she was very actively involved in sports prior to the accident.
  • In an accident between a small sedan and a tanker trailer plaintiff claimed that defendant struck her car when he was attempting to change lanes. The accident caused injuries including a tear of the rotator cuff, impingement syndrome of the toe and disc protrusion in the cervical and lumbar spine. Defendant did not deny liability and the issue was the value of the case.
  • In an accident involving a tractor trailer of defendant that struck the unoccupied parked asphalt paving vehicle of plaintiff causing total loss of the equipment and loss of income as a result of loss of use. Plaintiff claimed the defendant went over the fog line and struck the paver and defendant claimed that the paver protruded into the lanes of travel and there was no warning to alert the traffic.
  • In a rear end accident case plaintiff claimed that defendant caused in excess of $10,000 damage to plaintiff’s car and that defendant admitted to being drunk and signed a paper to that effect. Defendant claimed that the accident was a minor impact and could not have caused the injuries to plaintiffs.
  • In a case involving an automobile accident, plaintiff claimed that he was a passenger in a car that lost its brakes and struck a lamp post. Defendant claimed that the car was taken to plaintiff as a mechanic and plaintiff told the defendant to drive the car and therefore he was responsible for the accident.
  • In an automobile accident involving a left turning vehicle, plaintiff’s car was considered a total loss with a value of in excess of $13,000. Plaintiff claimed injuries and loss of use in the amount of $9,650 due to defendant carrier’s delay in the settling the property damage. Defendant admitted liability but argued the reasonableness of the loss of use and medical expenses.
  • In an auto v. bicycle accident plaintiff claimed that defendant was negligent in exiting parking driveway and striking plaintiff causing injuries. Defendant claims that Defendant was traveling on the sidewalk in violation of the Vehicle Code and City Ordinance and therefore was negligent per se.
  • In a red light/green light dispute plaintiff claimed soft tissue injuries to various parts of her body. Defendant admitted liability and argues excessive treatment.
  • In a personal injury matter plaintiff claimed she had backed her car partially out of a parking space when she saw defendant, she stopped and honked her horn, but the defendant who was speaking on a Walkie-Talkie was not paying attention and struck plaintiff’s car.
  • In a personal injury action involving rear end collision, defendant initially denied he was involved in an accident but later admitted it. Insurance company paid plaintiff his property damage and later put a stop on the property damage check. The offer was minimal and only the cost of defense. Plaintiff was Chinese and as such came from a high context culture. Consequently, if he had lost the case, it would cause him to lose face. It was important for him to win the case. The amount that he would win would be secondary as long as it would be a win for him.
  • Dispute involving a two car collision where the plaintiff claimed defendant drove backwards into the plaintiff’s car. Plaintiff claimed defendant was working in the course and scope of his employment. Defendant claimed that defendant’s driver was not an employee of the defendant.
  • Personal Injury - Rear end accident – Defendant claimed that plaintiff’s property damage and medical bills were inflated and they had evidence to show the same. Plaintiff claimed that he had a special package for the bumper on this car that cost a lot more than what the defendant was willing to allow. The special circumstance in that the defendant was Chinese and which is a high context culture. He required more time because people in high context cultures generally speak with caution and indirectly to avoid further conflicts. But it is important for them not to lose the case. Therefore it was important to have the defendant pay for Plaintiffs damages and at the same time to make sure that he would not lose face.
  • In a wrongful death of an elderly Armenian man caused by a car vs. pedestrian, action was brought by his wife. Aside from the issues relating to the value of the case when an elderly retired man is involved, there was an issue of who would be the decision maker or the decision makers. The Armenian society is a high context culture and, therefore, the decisions will have to be made collectively. In fact all the decisions were made by the two sons and the son in law of the plaintiff.

view all

Product Liability

  • In a product liability action plaintiff claimed that the handle bar of the bicycle he was riding collapsed which caused severe injuries to him. Defendant denied liability claiming that the bicycle was assembled improperly by the purchaser.
  • In a product liability case Plaintiff claimed that a hot water cup collapsed in his hand and hot water burned plaintiff. Defendant manufacturer claimed that the cup was manufactured properly, but the cause of the collapse of the cup was that the restaurant employees failed to place the cap on the cup properly.
  • In a product liability action plaintiff claimed that the defendant manufacturer of a supermarket shopping cart was negligent in manufacturing the wheel of the cart in that a screw holding the wheel extended out of the body of the wheel causing injury to plaintiff. Defendant manufacturer claimed that the wheel was repaired by the defendant supermarket improperly thereby causing the injury.
  • In a dispute, plaintiff claimed that the air bag in a car failed to deploy in an accident causing additional injuries to him. Defendant claimed that the air bag was not defective and under the circumstances of this accident it did not need to deploy.

Real Estate

  • In a case involving theft of a classic vehicle that was delivered to a repair shop for service, plaintiff claimed defendant was negligent since it did not keep the keys in a safe and did not engage any of the two “kill switches” with which the car was equipped. Defendant claimed the car was stored in a locked garage and the intervening criminal act of third parties cuts off its liability.
  • In a breach of a lease agreement plaintiff asked for the full amount of the remaining term of the lease. Defendant argued failure to mitigate damages. Defendant had offered to stay and pay less than the contractual rent and plaintiff had rejected that offer. Defendant, Middle Eastern man who was from a high context culture used roundabout arguments that required more time to bring out the facts. Additionally his poly chromic style of communication would have been frustrating for the plaintiff who was American with a mono-chromic style of communication.
  • Dispute involving an easement on a property which if enforced would reduce the value of the property and its usefulness. There was a possibility to move the easement to a different location which would not diminish the value of the property on which the easement was located and provide the benefit to the owner of the easement.
  • Dispute involving purchase and sale of a property. Plaintiff buyer had filed a complaint for specific performance of the sales agreement. Defendant Seller alleged the escrow was cancelled due to Buyer’s failure to perform. Seller was willing to sell the property at this time at a higher price.
  • Dispute involving real estate in Iran that was willed to two brothers and a sister. The two brothers could not return to Iran for political reasons and the sister and her husband were able to sell the property, but were not able to bring the funds to the US until later. The suit alleged that had they brought the funds from the sale of the property at the time of the sale, since the value of the Dollar was lower, they each would have received 2 1⁄2 to 3 times more than if the money is brought in now. Defendant sister and her husband alleged that if they had not gone to Iran, the two brothers would not have received any money since they could not have gone to Iran anyway. Additionally, there were costs in procuring the sale of the property in which the brothers should also share. Being members of a high context society, keeping the harmony in the family was paramount. Therefore, the sister who had a high power distance and a proponent of keeping the harmony was very amenable to settlement based on the mediator proposal. The brothers, who had to save face among the family and friends, needed more persuasion.
  • In a breach of contract and specific performance action in a real estate transaction, plaintiff claimed that the parking spaces assigned to their condominium unit was deeded to another unit by mistake and wished specific performance of that portion of the agreement. Defendant claimed that plaintiff had breached its contract if failing to satisfy a loan contingency and therefore cancelled the contract.
  • In a subrogation claim a homeowner insurance that had paid over $90,000 in damages to its own insured. The Homeowner’s carrier was now suing the alleged negligent third party who allegedly caused the water leak and the resulting damages that was paid by the carrier.
  • In a Declaratory Relief action filed by Plaintiff, the tenant of a residential property, on a lease agreement, to confirm the terms of a 3-year lease. Defendant and cross complainant claimed that they had an oral agreement for a rent that was 3 times the amount stated in the lease and either plaintiff forged her name to the lease or that since her knowledge of English is limited, she did not know what she was signing and demanded the balance of the funds and cancelation of the lease agreement. Both parties were Middle Eastern; however, plaintiff had come to the United States at a young age and had acquired an overlay of the Western Culture. Defendant had brought her daughter with her to mediation to satisfy the Collective nature of the High Context cultures. However, she had also come to the US at a young age and had acquired most of the Western culture. Therefore under the circumstances of this case, even though both Plaintiff and defendant had Middle Eastern Cultures, the mediation had to be conducted as if they were of the Western cultures.
  • In a breach of a sub-lease agreement plaintiff claimed that defendant had agreed to pay the utility expenses of an office space and failed to do so. Defendant claimed that he did not have to pay for the utilities.
  • In a dispute between an elderly Iranian American dentist and his Iranian American manager, the dentist sued the manager for locking him out of the office and not allowing him to practice. The dispute was about the fact that the defendant had used a swearword and not apologized. The dispute was resolved with an apology.
  • In a dispute involving trade mark infringement in Iran, the plaintiff had received a judgment from the lower court in the amount of $600,000. It would have been a loss of face if the plaintiff accepted less than the full amount of the judgment. In order to be able to save face and at the same time not face bankruptcy by the defendant, it was agreed that the defendant would pay the full amount of the loan within 24 months. However, if defendant paid $400,000 within 6 months it would be considered full and final payment.

view all