Michael G. Balmages, Esq.

Profile

Michael G. Balmages, Esq. is an accomplished mediator and discovery referee with extensive experience as a trial lawyer, general counsel, and transactional lawyer. As a mediator and as a neutral, he has had great success in helping litigants resolve their disputes in more than 750 cases. His friendly nature and ability to find common ground contribute to his easy rapport with litigants and their attorneys, while his determination to get cases settled is evident at each hearing. He is committed to exploring every option available to the parties to develop creative solutions to dispute resolution.

Mr. Balmages’ mediation experience is supplemented by his broad experience as a civil litigator, corporate general counsel, and transactional attorney. He has tried over 75 cases, taken more than 1,000 depositions, and negotiated and drafted more than 1,000 contracts. He has extensive experience with business entities, including the formation, dissolution, and merger of such entities, and the negotiation and drafting of numerous contracts and deal documents. Mr. Balmages has been rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell for over 30 years.

PRIVATE PRACTICE TRIAL AND LITIGATION EXPERIENCE

BALMAGES LAW OFFICE/BALMAGES & DAVIDSON      2005-Present
Counseled and represented business entities and individuals in employment, business and real estate litigation.

BALMAGES & DAVIDSON       2005-2013
Counseled and represented business entities and individuals in employment, business and real estate litigation.

LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL G. BALMAGES     1987-1988; 1993-2005
Represented and advised several major business entities on a diverse variety of business, employment and litigation issues.

CORBETT, STEELMAN & BALMAGES      1984-1987
Represented numerous local business clients in litigation with a strong emphasis in employment litigation.

MICHAEL G. BALMAGES, INC.      1977-1984
Specialized in business planning and litigation. Developed significant expertise in employment law.

KINDEL & ANDERSON       1972-1977
As an associate, worked in both the corporate and litigation departments. Drafted contracts and pleadings for senior lawyers and made court appearances.

MEDIATION AND DISCOVERY REFEREE EXPERIENCE

As a private mediator, Mr. Balmages has settled over 300 cases, specializing in business, employment, and real estate disputes. He has also conducted over 100 mediations for Superior Court and Federal Court ADR programs. He was Chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s ADR Section for 2016 and served as Vice-Chair for 2015. He has also been appointed as discovery referee in more than a dozen Superior Court cases.

NEUTRAL EXPERIENCE

As a neutral Mr. Balmages has settled:

  • Hundreds of business litigation cases, including breach of contract, unfair competition, business dissolution, trade secrets.
  • Dozens of employment cases, including FEHA, wage and hour (classification, minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest periods), harassment, discrimination, disability.
  • Numerous cases involving claims against municipalities and other governmental agencies.
  • Many IP cases involving trademarks and copyrights.
  • Dozens of Americans with Disability Act cases.
  • Dozens of slip and fall cases.
  • Dozens of auto v. auto/pedestrian cases.
  • Numerous medical/dental/professional negligence
  • Numerous eviction cases.
  • Numerous foreclosure cases.

GENERAL COUNSEL EXPERIENCE

OUTSIDE GENERAL COUNSEL EXPERIENCE     1993-Present
Mr. Balmages served as outside counsel to several medium-size companies, most notably Medstone International, Inc., a publicly-traded medical products manufacturer; Phygen, LLC, a medical products manufacturer; Orange County Nursery, Inc., a grower and seller of trees; and Superior Crankshaft, LP, a manufacturer of race-car crankshafts. He advised senior management on employment, business, real estate and litigation issues, and negotiated and drafted major business documents.

OCEAN PACIFIC SUNWEAR, LTD.       1988-1993
SENIOR EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL
Mr. Balmages started representing “Op”, then the world’s largest surfwear apparel brand, in 1980 and became in-house General Counsel in 1988. As General Counsel, he advised senior management on all legal, financial, and political aspects of the international apparel business; negotiated and drafted all major transactional documents; managed litigation and outside counsel; managed Chapter 11 proceedings; supervised in-house lawyers and paralegals; managed its worldwide intellectual property assets, including more than 1,000 trademarks; and performed all other general counsel functions.

EDUCATION, BAR ADMISSIONS, AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSES

  • University of California, Irvine – Certificate in Conflict Management and ADR    2005
  • University of California, Berkeley – J.D.    1972
  • California State University, Fullerton – B.A.    1969

Mr. Balmages is admitted to practice in California and before the United States Supreme Court; the Ninth Circuit; and the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California.

Mr. Balmages is a licensed California Real Estate Broker.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

Mr. Balmages is a frequent speaker and lecturer for California Continuing Education of the Bar, the Orange County Bar Association, and various other professional groups. He remains available to give MCLE-qualified presentations to professional groups through ADR Services, Inc., a State Bar certified MCLE provider.

PERSONAL

Mr. Balmages and his wife, Mary, have three children and seven grandchildren. Mr. Balmages has lived in Orange County since 1958.  He is the lead astronomer for the Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo.

Representative Cases

EMPLOYMENT:

  • Represented international sports shoe company in defense of numerous termination, discrimination, and harassment claims in California over a 10-year period.
  • Represented national child-care center company in defense of numerous termination, discrimination, and harassment claims in California.
  • Represented offensive coordinator of major university football team in response to harassment and discrimination charges.
  • Represented Santa Ana based law firm in wrongful termination and wage and hour case against it by former employee.
  • Represented Los Angeles County based metallurgical testing firm against claims of race discrimination and national origin discrimination.
  • Represented Orange County manufacturer of lithotripters (kidney stone smashers) against sexual harassment and wrongful termination claims.
  • Represented two nurses suing major Orange County beach area hospital for wrongful termination.
  • Represented former employee suing well-known Orange County amusement park for wrongful termination.
  • Represented former officer of Orange County based hamburger company for wrongful termination.
  • Represented former Senior Executive Vice-President of Orange County based international engineering firm for wrongful termination after he was terminated shortly after he divorced the CEO’s sister.
  • Represented the apartment owner/defendants in wrongful termination and wage and hour claims brought by former live-in apartment manager.
  • Represented retail chain store clothing company in employment discrimination case by former employee who claimed that she was terminated for taking medical leave.
  • Represented teenage employee of retail store clothing chain against her former employer for false imprisonment, assault and battery.
  • Represented manager of nationwide drug store chain who was sued for assault, battery, and sexual harassment.
  • Represented medical products manufacturer against its former head of sales who alleged wrongful termination and unfair competition.
  • Was principal investigator of approximately 20 employment complaints by employees against various school districts and community colleges.

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BUSINESS:

  • Represented founding partner of major Orange County law firm against his former partners and firm for money due upon retirement based on breach of contract and elder abuse.
  • Represented former head of construction of major Orange County builder who was being sued for usurpation of corporate opportunities and malfeasance.
  • Represented Orange County manufacturer of spinal surgery implants against claims of breach of contract and unfair competition.
  • Represented trustee of estate of deceased lawyer in a dispute over the sale of a his law practice that involved the plaintiffs’ claims of fraud and the defendants’ and cross-complainants’ claims of breach of contract.
  • Represented Trustee in family member dispute over disposition of trust assets.
  • Represented executives of nationwide mortgage lender against founder of company for breach of contract and fraud.
  • Represented medical products R&D company in breach of contract claim by a consultant who claimed he was entitled to money and stock.
  • Represented medical products company in numerous breach of contract actions against its suppliers.
  • Represented apparel company in breach of contract lawsuits against its licensees.
  • Represented “baseball hat” manufacturer in several lawsuits with is suppliers.
  • Represented majority shareholders in corporate dissolution action of family held corporation brought by one group of cousins against another group of their cousins.
  • Represented former employee of metallurgical testing firm who went to work for a competitor against claims of theft of trade secrets and unfair competition.

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REAL ESTATE:

  • Represented former owner of major Fountain Valley apartment complex against buyer’s claims of fraud and breach of contract.
  • Represented trustee in probate petition to determine interest in real property. It was a battle of a 3rd wife against her step-children.
  • Represented buyer of hotel in Korea Town against numerous "squatter" tenants.
  • Represented residential landlords in more than 500 unlawful detainer actions, many of which went to trial on issues of habitability and retaliatory eviction.
  • Represented residential tenants in more that 25 unlawful detainer actions, many of which went to trial.
  • Represented commercial landlords in more than 50 unlawful detainer actions, many of which went to trial.
  • Represented commercial tenants in more that 15 unlawful detainer actions, many of which went to trial.
  • Represented tenant/optionee in specific performance action to compel owner to sell house to her upon exercise of tenant’s option to purchase.
  • Represented lawyer in specific performance action to purchase office building.
  • Represented plaintiffs, sellers of hotel via online sales website against defaulting buyer.
  • Represented a brother against his brother in a partition action involving property left to them by their mother.

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PERSONAL INJURY:

  • Mediated dozens of slip and fall cases.
  • Mediated dozens of auto v. auto and auto v. pedestrian cases.
  • Mediated numerous medical/dental/professional negligence cases.

MISCELLANEOUS:

  • Represented formerly incompetent ex-wife against her ex-husband for taking all of her property while she was institutionalized.
  • Represented Orange County personal injury attorney in binding fee arbitration against former client and her new counsel who was very prominent OC PI attorney.
  • Represented homeowner of house that was slowly siding down a hill in Laguna Beach against builder and former owner for negligence and fraud.

SETTLEMENT EXPERIENCE:

  • Hundreds of business litigation cases, including breach of contract, unfair competition, business dissolution, trade secrets.
  • Dozens of employment cases, including FEHA, wage and hour (classification, minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest periods), harassment, discrimination, disability.
  • Numerous cases involving claims against municipalities and other governmental agencies.
  • Many IP cases involving trademarks and copyrights.
  • Dozens of Americans with Disability Act cases.
  • Dozens of slip and fall cases.
  • Dozens of auto v. auto/pedestrian cases.
  • Numerous medical/dental/professional negligence cases.
  • Numerous eviction cases.
  • Numerous foreclosure cases.
  • Discovery referee.

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