Hon. Patricia L. Collins (Ret.)

Profile

Professional Expertise

As a neutral with ADR Services, Inc. since May 2008, Judge Collins brings her experience from twenty years on the bench, including sixteen years on the Superior Court. Judge Collins presided over the Law and Motion Department in the West District, Long Cause Civil in Central Civil West and an Independent Civil Calendar in Santa Monica. She has settled scores of cases involving insurance coverage, personal injury, medical malpractice, entertainment law, partnership dissolutions, mold infestation, contract and commercial lease disputes, wrongful termination, and homeowner association disputes. She has also presided over sophisticated business disputes between national and multinational organizations, matters involving high-profile parties, as well as complex asbestos litigation. Judge Collins’ judicial career was preceded by extensive federal court trial experience with the United States Attorney’s Office, including complex bank and real estate fraud matters. Judge Collins also has litigated in private practice where she primarily handled business and insurance matters.

Professional Honors

  • 2015 Women of Achievement Award, Century City Chamber of Commerce
  • 2011-2013 Daily Journal, “Top 50 Neutrals”
  • 2012 Ernestine Stahlhut Award, Women Lawyers Of Los Angeles

Judicial Experience

  • 1992 – 2008 Superior Court Judge, Los Angeles, California
    • Assignments in long cause civil (Central Civil West), civil independent calendar (Central Civil and West District), Law & Motion Department (West District), and felony trials and long cause/high security criminal trials (Criminal Courts Building). Appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson and re-elected. Retired May 5, 2008.
  • 1988 – 1992  Municipal Court Judge, Los Angeles, Municipal Court
    • Also served as Supervising Judge of the Metropolitan Court. Assignments in criminal misdemeanor trials (Metropolitan and West Los Angeles) and felony preliminary hearings (Criminal Courts Building). Appointed by Governor Deukmejian and re-elected.
  • 1994 (Oct.-Dec.)  Judge pro tem, Court of Appeal

Professional Experience

  • 1982 – 1988 Assistant US Attorney, Central District of California, Criminal Division
    1987 – 1988 Chief, Major Crimes Unit

      Supervising prosecution of violent federal offenses, including murder, rape, and arson

    1983 – 1987 Major Frauds Unit

      Prosecuting primarily complex business, banking and real estate related federal criminal violations
  • 1979 – 1982 Adams Duque & Hazeltine, Associate
    Civil litigation practice, primarily business, antitrust and insurance defense
  • 1977 – 1979 Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, Washington D.C., Law Clerk (part time)

Education

  • GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER, JD cum laude (1979)
  • STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF NY AT BUFFALO, BA summa cum laude (1975)
  • CANISIUS COLLEGE, Buffalo, NY (1972)

Professional Affiliations

  • Current:   Los Angeles County Bar Association; Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles; California Judges Association; Association of Business Trial Lawyers;
  • Past:   Irish American Bar Association; Bureau of National Affairs, Civil Trial Manual Advisory Board; Municipal Court Judges Association; National Women Judges Association; Southern California Business Litigation Inn of Court; American Bar Association
  • Admitted to practice:  California; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal; Central, Southern & Northern Districts of California

Community Affiliations

  • TEAM PRIME TIME:
    Nonprofit after school program for at-risk middle school students that provides mock trial, sports and art programs. Creator of Prime Time Trials, a mock trial program partnering with Loyola Law School.
  • EVERYCHILD FOUNDATION:
    Philanthropic organization providing annual $1million grant to fund programs to support the needs of children and young adults.

Representative Cases

Business/Real Estate

  • Tenant suing its broker for fraud, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty, alleging broker misrepresented that the landlord was guaranteeing that the newly constructed premises would be completed by a certain date and that broker failed to conduct due diligence to verify that premises would be available.
  • Dispute between self-insured plan and plan administrator, regarding failure to timely submit claims resulting in denial by stop loss insurer.
  • Class action case against a restaurant chain for failing to cash out gift cards where the amount is under $10.
  • Dispute between corporation and former officers/shareholders for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and accounting related to venture capital investment, subsequent asset sale proceeds and stock redemption rights.
  • Dispute re breach of contract involving stock options as partial compensation for brokering an asset sale.
  • Dispute arising from sophisticated transaction involving option sale of high-rise apartment building with multiple layers of financing, equity funding and redevelopment permits.
  • Dispute between investment bankers regarding compensation;
  • Contract and will dispute among family members relative to ownership of several pieces of Malibu commercial and residential properties, including issues of refinance and asset redistribution;
  • Dispute following purchase of business entity and discovery of overstated assets and misappropriation of funds.
  • Dispute involving multi million dollar alleged fraudulent transfer by judgment debtor to debtor’s attorney.
  • Dispute involving dispute between purchaser of distressed asset and former owner who had avoided foreclosure through the asset sale but subsequently claimed fraud.
  • Dispute involving multiple lawsuits concerning a residential foreclosure sale, a subsequent claim of irregularities in the sale, a judgment declaring the trustee sale void and subsequent judgment vacating the former judgment.
  • Dispute alleging legal malpractice where firm fails to prevent foreclosure.
  • Dispute between lender and borrower regarding attempted foreclosure where borrower challenges mortgage pooling assignment.
  • Disputes between small business and computer company regarding development of defective software, ill functioning web site, and excessive IT costs.
  • Dispute between joint venturers involving ownership of a website and its content.
  • Dispute involving theft of web site technology involving code for banner and carousel.
  • Dispute involving theft of trade secrets involving travel photos.
  • Dispute between Sears and Focus Media concerning advertising advancements and cross claim for unfair competition.
  • Dispute between wholesaler and overseas clothing manufacturer relative to contract specifications and defective goods.
  • Dispute between parties to consignment agreement re liability for fire damage to goods.
  • Dispute between homeowner and film producer for damage to home during filming.
  • Dispute involving construction defect in installation of security and audio visual systems.
  • Dispute breach of contract dispute between producer and writer/director regarding the financing of a film.
  • Dispute between Producers and Executive Producers regarding unpaid compensation and film credits.
  • Various disputes including real estate partnerships, law partnerships, accounting practices, dental practice, various medical practices, and online marketing partnership, including claims of waste and self-dealing with causes of action for dissolution, accounting and partition.
  • Dispute between restaurant owner and restauranteur involving allegations of fraud, negligence and self-dealing respecting the development of two restaurants.
  • Various disputes involving trade secrets, violation of non-compete clauses and unfair business practices, relative to businesses such as talent agencies, investment banking, advertising, maintenance services, wholesale food distributors, insurance, fencing, aerospace, fashion, healthcare and satellite towers.
  • Litigation arising from a sophisticated transaction involving option sale of high-rise apartment building with multiple layers of financing, equity funding and redevelopment permits.
  • Dispute between shopping center developers and lessee regarding limitations on “buildable” land.
  • Dispute between developer and prospective tenant involving construction delays, issues of force majeur, delays in City building approvals and lease repudiation.
  • Purchase of commercial building related to dispute over misrepresentations of square footage and tenant leases.
  • Dispute between land owner and architect alleging professional negligence resulted in excessive delays and loss of development permits creating financial distress and jeopardizing owner’s ability to maintain financing.
  • Litigation between developer and City over delays in soliciting information and producing Environmental Impact Report.
  • Dispute between developer’s heirs and hard money lenders involving allegations of usurious rates and undisclosed financing terms in defense of lender’s attempts to foreclose.
  • Dispute between investment partners and developer regarding the delayed development of apartment units (delays in permitting and construction financing) rendering the project a financial loss.
  • Dispute and suit for partition among multiple parties who jointly owned interests in numerous commercial buildings and large parking lot comprising a “village” area of LA suburb.
  • Dispute between developer and seller involving a failed escrow and allegations of non-disclosure regarding contamination.
  • Dispute involving interpretation of landlord’s agreement to install signage.
  • Dispute involving lease repudiation triggered by nature and character of adjoining tenants.
  • Dispute involving tenant’s continuing right to possession of premises and ability to operate business during new building owner’s renovation.
  • Dispute involving exclusivity clause in commercial lease for a grocery store in a large shopping center.
  • Dispute involving construction of fair market value relating to option to purchase by tenant grocer and landlord where grocer constructed new building.
  • Disputes involving calculation of CAM charges.
  • Dispute between tenant operating nightclub and landlord, where tenant installed encroaching outdoor patio and common area lighting negatively impacted nightclub.
  • Dispute between large commercial tenant and landlord involving timing of CPI escalator provision.
  • Numerous unlawful detainer matters.
  • Dispute between buyer, seller and termite inspection company following sale of multi unit apartment building with termite infestation.
  • Dispute between foreign sovereign and local municipality re whether the municipality could assess a transfer tax upon the sale of the sovereign’s property in the US.
  • Numerous matters related to the sale of real property involving fraud, non- disclosures and easement issues.
  • Numerous title disputes involving clouds on title resulting from fraudsters obtaining loans secured by property of innocent property owners.
  • Various disputes regarding mold, lead and insect infestations.
  • Bed bug claims.
  • High end residential tenants bringing claims regarding plumbing problems, security gates, locks, electrical and HVAC.
  • Numerous HOA actions, including disputes arising from rights to roof, property water damage from defective decks and windows, personal injury from mold, suits for ineffective or delayed handing of earthquake repair, dispute over dogs, disputes over parking;
  • Defamation action by HOA against unit owner related to alleged defamatory statements published on website.
  • Served as election Inspector to oversee HOA elections.
  • Dispute involving purchaser of distressed asset and former owner who had avoided foreclosure through the asset sale but subsequently claimed fraud.
  • Dispute involving multiple lawsuits concerning a residential foreclosure sale, a subsequent claim of irregularities in the sale, a judgment declaring the trustee sale void and subsequent judgment vacating the former judgment.
  • Trespass cases involving tree trimming and encroaching structures.
  • Numerous nuisance actions, including for example, neighbor disputes, tavern noise, tree damage, flooding, drainage, soil erosion, construction noise and debris, and damage to lateral support;
  • Numerous view and easement disputes, including multi party easement dispute re access to satellite towers on mountain top in Malibu, sewer easements, access easements, and various encroachment disputes.
  • Celebrity suit against a business manager for professional negligence in the calculation of commissions paid to other professionals also retained by the celebrity.
  • Dispute between joint venture partners who were building a two-unit condominium regarding the allocation of construction expenses, responsibility for delays, and breach of fiduciary duties.
  • Dispute regarding interpretation of indemnity agreement where indemnitee retained separate counsel due to alleged, but disputed, conflict of interest and settled without agreement of indemnitor.
  • Plaintiff alleged seller should have disclosed the fact that a home was used to film a popular scary movie.
  • Action for specific performance in sale of commercial real estate, with counter-claim by the seller against the broker for failure to disclose, and against the buyer for conspiracy with broker to defraud.
  • Independent contractor radiologist alleged that he was not fully paid for his work over four years. Parties disputed the terms of their agreement regarding the formula for determining compensation. Plaintiff also alleged fraudulent promise to pay.
  • Plaintiff claimed he had a side deal that the broker should have placed in a second escrow. The broker claimed she did not know until two days prior to the close of escrow and it was not her duty to handle a side deal that would defraud the lender in a short sale. The buyer denied owing the money on the side deal as it purportedly expired when the lender did not approve the original short sale terms, but required a higher purchase price. The seller claimed that the broker should not have allowed the escrow to close without guaranteeing payment on the side deal.

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IP/Entertainment

  • Claim for multiple violations of the Stored Communications Act where defendant used spyware to review email communications over several months. Plaintiff also claimed that defendant downloaded his manuscript and lifted portions to write her novel. Defendant writer and publishing house disputed the copyright infringement claim.
  • Dispute between playwright and producer regarding royalties from the production of a Broadway musical.
  • Dispute re trademark infringement and theft of trade secrets regarding Disney designs.
  • Dispute re breach of contract between film producers and distributors over the delivery and quality of the master and the good faith efforts to distribute the film.
  • Dispute over ownership rights to the film Easy Rider.
  • Dispute over film credits among parties to joint venture to produce a film.
  • Dispute over rights to use of Peggy Lee name and image.
  • Dispute re royalty and production rights to animated motion picture and comic book character.
  • Dispute between producer and writer/director regarding the financing of a film.
  • Constructive termination and breach of employment contract by Division President running film production equipment business.
  • Dispute between Producers and Executive Producers regarding unpaid compensation and film credits.
  • Dispute between filmmaker and studio regarding royalties for home video.
  • Various disputes re ownership of various reality show treatments.
  • Dispute between network and individual who claimed she was falsely portrayed in docudrama.
  • Various disputes between music and television talent and agents and/or managers following termination of professional relationship, including issues of commissions owing, breaches of fiduciary duty and disparagement/defamation.

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Defamation

  • Dispute between news source and newspaper alleging illegal recording, defamation, and intrusion.
  • Presided over numerous defamation lawsuits, including various celebrity cases (e.g., Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Bing).
  • Mediated dispute between network and individual who claimed she was falsely portrayed in docudrama.
  • Mediated dispute between music artist and former manager involving allegedly defamatory tweets.
  • Mediated dispute involving alleged defamatory comments broadcast on radio.

Mock Arbitration/Evaluation Services

  • Judge Collins was retained as one of three mock arbitrators to hear a matter involving malpractice claims arising from disallowed tax shelter plans.
  • Judge Collins was retained as one of three mock arbitrators to hear a matter involving suit by a former officer of a Fortune 500 company involving canceled stock options and stock option backdating.
  • Judge Collins was retained to evaluate and advise in anticipation of an arbitration involving the interpretation of easement rights relative to parking and access rights as affecting adjacent commercial parcels and a proposed redevelopment plan.
  • Judge Collins was retained to evaluate and advise in advance of an appellate argument involving complex res judicata issues as impacted by multiple demurrers and appeals related to an underlying lawsuit to quiet title.
  • Judge Collins was consulted pre-litigation regarding residential real estate nondisclosure issues involving a remodel and settlement problems arising from a lack of proper engineering.

Personal Injury

  • Presided over trial and settled scores of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits including slip & fall; motor vehicle accidents involving automobiles, buses, motorcycles, bicyclists; dogs, cats and spider bites; and bar and restaurant fights.
  • Presided over trials, litigation and settlement conferences involving the following unique subject matters:
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS, or also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, RSD) allegedly arising from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents and slip and falls;
  • Wrongful death claims arising from gang shooting at Moose Lodge during a party;
  • Third party liability for sexual assaults, including complex law and motion issues involving question of dangerous condition arising from rape in an elevator on Regents property; contractor liability for rape following installation of defective lock; landlord liability for rape arising from defective windows; alleged sexual assault of nanny by employer husband.
  • Sexual assault by bus driver on disabled child.
  • Repeated sexual assault by construction worker employed at middle school site.
  • Sexual assault on minor by adult cousin.
  • Sexual assault on 8 year old by 13 year old.
  • Sexual assault alleged by employee by superviser.
  • Property owner living in newly built home sues contractor after she was raped by gardener who gained entrance through defectively installed lock.
  • Judge Collins has presided over matters involving alleged dangerous conditions on government property, including for example: drive test area at DMV; new construction at UCLA; traffic diversion on PCH; negligence in handling police dog; faulty courtroom seating.
  • Lawsuit alleging liability of law enforcement agency for fatality resulting from a police chase.
  • Various wrongful death cases resulting from shootings by law enforcement.
  • Transgender student dismissed from college and barred from campus for allegedly misrepresenting her gender.
  • While assigned to Central Civil West, Judge Collins presided over a lengthy jury trial regarding complex asbestos litigation involving alleged property damage to commercial high-rise building. She has also presided over numerous cases involving allegations of personal injury resulting from exposure to mold and other toxins.

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Professional Malpractice

  • Judge Collins has presided over trial, litigation and/or settled numerous medical and dental malpractice, legal malpractice, architect malpractice, accountant malpractice and construction defect cases.
  • Alleged missed compartment syndrome resulting in amputation;
  • Sponge left in patient;
  • Wrongful life where tubal ligation not effective;
  • Failed breast reconstruction of cancer patient;
  • Patients who fell from beds and chairs;
  • Defective dental crowns;
  • Defective breast implants;
  • Improper liposuction;
  • Defective penile implants;
  • Various failures to diagnose;
  • Wrongful death arising from escape from mental facility.
  • Judge Collins has also presided over and/or settled numerous legal malpractice actions involving failure to hire proper experts, investigate claims, and file appropriate motions. Specific subject matters include professional services re tax shelters, probate matters, real estate investment.
  • Judge Collins’ trial experience includes claims of architect malpractice involving allegations that plans did not properly anticipate grading and included oversized windows resulting in excessive heat.
  • Judge Collins has also handled dozens of high end residential construction defect matters including roofs, windows, foundations, paint, plumbing, tile, and audio visual, utility cables, among others
  • Commercial projects include defective water well drilling.
  • Allegations of legal malpractice against an attorney who handled legal, financial, and production work on several movies, with claims over 1.5 million dollars and counter-claims for attorney’s contingent and deferred fees

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Employment

  • Plaintiff alleged he was raped after a holiday party by another employee who escorted plaintiff back to the hotel. Plaintiff claimed employer was liable as the rape occurred as an extension of the workplace at a hotel paid by employer and by another employee who escorted him to the hotel in a Lyft paid by employer and at employer’s direction.
  • Plaintiff claimed she was terminated based on her age and in retaliation for complaining about a hostile work environment created by her supervisor. Defendant claimed she was terminated for altering her scheduling within the company computer system, violating company policy.
  • Judge Collins has presided over trial or arbitration, and/or settled numerous wrongful termination and constructive discharge cases, for example:
  • Wrongful termination involving bank officer;
  • Constructive termination, hostile work environment and retaliation regarding City of Santa Monica employee;
  • Wrongful termination of in house counsel employed by Michael Jackson;
  • Wrongful termination by Hilton related to reorganization;
  • Wrongful termination of professor by university based on religious discrimination;
  • Wrongful termination and slander of residential house manager;
  • Wrongful termination/breach of consulting agreement between buyer and seller of bar supply business;
  • Constructive termination and breach of employment contract by Division President running film production equipment business.
  • Wrongful termination of employee after taking leave when wife suffers stroke.
  • Wrongful termination when employee returns from extended disability leave.
  • Constructive termination resulting from alleged sexual harassment and sexual assault.
  • Plaintiff alleged that he was terminated after taking leave for medical appointments necessitated by an injury sustained on the job.

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Insurance

  • Complex D & O coverage for underlying lawsuit involving allegations of wrongful termination and breach of contract following company merger.
  • Insurance coverage for construction defect litigation and duty to defend and pay for cumis counsel.
  • Numerous insurance coverage cases involving landslides, water erosion and earth movement.
  • Insurance coverage issues involving condominium owners, HOA and former owners relative to damage to common areas
  • Insurance coverage issues regarding fire during construction and exclusion for existing structures
  • Numerous title insurance matters involving easements, encroachments, fraudulent mortgages, and equitable subrogation.
  • Plaintiff who issued Surety bond on construction project bonding a subcontractor sued its agent for both failing to disclose material information verifying information presented in support of issuing bond where plaintiff ultimately had to pay out on bond when the subcontractor defaulted.

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Palimony/Family/Probate

  • Judge Collins has presided over trial, settled and otherwise handled various cases involving Marvin issues, including same sex couples, as well as high profile palimony cases such as Kirk Kerkorian and Oscar de la Hoya.
  • Judge Collins has mediated various disputes among family members including opposing claims to family owned real and personal property, claims involving competency, claims involving sexual abuse, and claims involving elder abuse.

Health Care

  • Dispute between provider and hospital regarding alleged duplicate and overbilling.
  • Disputes regarding compensation between various physician groups and IDPs/group insurance plans.
  • Disputes between various health care provider or insurance plans regarding compliance with California health care statutes and regulations involving solicitation, advertising, referrals etc.
  • Disputes between patients and medical/drug suppliers regarding billing.
  • Various medical malpractice disputes. (see also professional malpractice)