Thomas Denver, Esq. has been exclusively committed to dispute resolution since 2000, following a 27-year career handling civil litigation matters. The strength of his reputation as a neutral is built upon his ability to effectively resolve multifaceted and complex cases. His sharp legal mind, coupled with creative problem-solving skills, has enabled him to facilitate lasting resolution in thousands of cases.

Mr. Denver has achieved an extraordinarily high settlement rate while mediating in excess of 1,000 matters. In addition, he has arbitrated over 600 matters and has served as a referee or special master in dozens of cases in both state and federal courts, by court appointment and at the request of the parties. As a litigator, Mr. Denver has tried over 50 jury trials and is a current member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Mr. Denver is a founding member of Mediation Masters. He is consistently listed among Northern California’s ‘Super Lawyers’.

Mr. Denver has substantial expertise with alternative dispute resolution, having served as a settlement Judge Pro Tem for the Santa Clara County Superior Court for more than 25 years, and serving as a Judge Pro Tem for both State and Federal Courts. He has also been a frequent lecturer in CLE educational programs, teaches at the Stanford University Law School Trial Practice Program, and has been an instructor for the Santa Clara County Bar Association and Superior Court.

Areas of Expertise

  • Complex/Commercial Litigation
  • Employment
  • Insurance Bad Faith
  • Intellectual Property
  • Personal Injury / Products Liability
  • Professional Liability (Medical and Legal Malpractice)
  • Real Estate

ADR Experience

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Mediator and Early Neutral Evaluator
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, Approved Mediator, Arbitrator, and Special Master
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, Former ADR Task Force Chair
  • Center for Public Resources Institute for Dispute Resolution, Distinguished Neutral
  • Association for Conflict Resolution, Member

Training and Certification

  • Harvard Law School, Basic and Advanced Mediation Skills Programs
  • Harvard Law School, Negotiation Project Program
  • Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Basic and Advanced Mediation Programs
  • World Intellectual Property Association, Trained and Certified Mediator
  • International Centers for Arbitration, Certified Arbitrator and Mediator


  • Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D.
  • University of Washington, M.S.
  • Syracuse University, B.S.


Complex/Commercial Litigation: Served by Court appointment or parties’ request, in both State and Federal Court, as a mediator, discovery referee and fact finder in cases varying from one under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, to allocation of insurance payments in a flood case, to the full range of Intellectual Property cases, including patent disputes, customer lists, violation of non-disclosure agreements and breach of various contracts for the sale, design, construction and operation of various computer technology facilities and equipment.

Employment: Mediated numerous employment based disputes, including wage/hour, break and mealtime issues, overtime, and discrimination and/or harassment in all forms, including racial, ethnic, sexual and sexual orientation. Cases have varied from those involving mom & pop shops and restaurants to a class action based on discrimination and wage/hour issues against a major Silicon Valley employer. Arbitrated several wrongful termination claims, as well as claims involving allegations of misclassification and executive compensation and vesting.

Insurance Bad Faith: Conducted several bad faith jury trials to successful conclusions and draw on that experience in mediating such disputes. Mediations have been conducted in the context, among others, of alleged arson, fraud in the application and appraisal issues. Several cases involving definitions of total disability and cause of death questions have been successfully resolved. Served as discovery referee on a case involving claims of misleading and deceptive application materials and processes for Fire Loss Coverage implicating approximately 200,000 policies.

Intellectual Property: Mediated or served as a Discovery Referee on numerous cases in several Intellectual Property areas, including Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), customer lists, patent disputes and whistleblower claims. Dealt with cases filed in both State and Federal Court.

Personal Injury/Products Liability: Mediated or arbitrated many hundreds of cases, including auto, pedestrian, construction site, wrongful death in many settings, often in cases where the parties were represented by the very best attorneys in the State and beyond. Product liability cases have involved punch presses, firearms, farm equipment, vehicles, seatbelts, motorcycle and bicycle helmets and many others, with injuries ranging from relatively minor to catastrophic, including multiple deaths. Cases have been venued in virtually all Northern California counties, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, the Central Valley, as well as in Texas, New York, Florida and Alaska.

Professional Liability: Have arbitrated or mediated more than 100 cases in this area, including medical, dental, veterinary and accountant malpractice claims. Have served as an Arbitrator on many medical claims, involving surgical misadventures, failure to diagnose, delayed treatment and many others, with alleged negative outcomes including death. Have served as an Arbitrator in the Kaiser system for well over twenty years.

Real Estate: Routinely mediate real estate matters, including assertions of non-disclosure. Have arbitrated a number of cases, including those arising out of purchase and sale agreements, lot line and other neighbor disputes, easement issues and issues regarding deposits.

Representative Cases


  • Pool Contractor charged double original contract price. At the same time, owner made numerous requests for additions to founds or contractor left job unfinished, charging $60K unpaid. Owner asserted poor workmanship, work not authorized, etc. Very few written changes.
  • Mediated a breach of contract and fraud matter where the claim is set at a multimillion-dollar stake for a phone service in South Africa.
  • Successfully resolved a suit involving a claim of a defective valve allegedly causing the corruption of several million dollars’ worth of silicon chips.
  • Appointed by the Federal Court as a Special Master in claims under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
  • Appointed by the Federal Court in a matter involving multiple lawsuits alleging fraud and violation of various federal contract statutes in connection with the construction of federal facilities in two states.
  • Appointed by the Federal Court as Special Master in a multimillion dollar case involving large industrial HVAC installations.
  • Appointed by the Federal Court as Special Master in a dispute between two major telephone and online language translation services – the dispute involved a bitter fight over market share.
  • Served as referee at the deposition of plaintiff in a hotly contested allegation that blood donations by the defendant had been used by a prominent medical facility for purposes not authorized by the donor – a rare blood type was involved.
  • Appointed by the Federal Court as a Special Master to advise the Court whether counsel had committed fraud in certain representations to the Court.
  • Mediated a matter involving the failure of a winery and the disposition/disappearance of its wine inventory.
  • Mediated the terms of sale of a dental practice, with suggestions of fraud and misrepresentation.
  • Mediated a claim between a business customer and a major bank concerning alleged mishandling of substantial funds.
  • Mediated a claim by a trucking company against a major manufacturer for alleged multiple breaches of warranty.
  • Mediated a dispute between several brothers involving the buyout of one brother’s interest in the family ranching operation.
  • Mediated a dispute between a manufacturer and a customer alleging delivery of non-conforming aircraft parts.
  • Mediated a claim by the owner of an exceptionally valuable classic car against a restoration company for failure to complete restoration work and for poor workmanship.
  • • Mediated, on an ongoing basis, a dispute between and among the members of a homeowners’ association board, including providing for a necessary board election and supervision of the vote.

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Construction Defect

  • Special Master, appointed by Federal Court in a case alleging violation of Federal Contracting law and fraud regarding HVAC installations at five huge Federal Buildings.
  • Appointed by the State Court as Special Master in a construction defect claim by several homeowners against a major developer.
  • Arbitrated a claim of substantial construction defect in a single family residence against a prominent single family developer.


  • Sexual harassment, unwanted touching, male v. male, company investigation and discharged two employees, main issue was whether management had noticed.
  • Handled a case involving a large association of physicians in a dispute with its physician president regarding wrongful termination, breach of contract, libel and slander.
  • Appointed as a Referee by a state court complex case department in a class action wage & hour/wrongful termination matter involving allegations of extreme abuse of overtime and break time regulations and assertions of plaintiff immigration fraud.
  • Mediated several matters involving executive compensation, severance and non-compete agreements.
  • Mediated a claim of wrongful discharge and unpaid compensation by the pro at a prominent golf course, with counter-allegations that the pro had skimmed receipts.
  • Mediated a claim of wrongful discharge and false promise, with allegations by the defendant of misrepresentations and misconduct by the plaintiff.
  • Mediated a wrongful discharge claim against an auto dealership, involving assertions of withheld commissions.
  • Mediated numerous cases involving claims by employees, typically of independent restaurants, of wage & hour violations, inevitably involving very poor or no record keeping by defendant.
  • Served as a negotiator in a reduction of force of several thousand individuals for a major computer manufacturer.
  • Mediated a claim by a city employee against the city employer with claims of intrigue, sexual impropriety, liability, etc.
  • Appointed by the Federal Court as Special Master in a whistleblower case involving technology incorporated into a nuclear missile warhead.

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  • Appointed by a State complex litigation department as settlement judge pro tem in a multicounty consolidated class action claim involving lead paint pigment with asserted damages in excess of $2 billion.
  • Mediated a very substantial class action claim against a tire manufacturer for alleged contamination of ground water, affecting a residential subdivision.


  • Plaintiff purchased a condo unit in a commercial building intending to convert it to a dental office. Substantial delays and numerous disputes over the improvements ensued.
  • Homeowner smokes on her deck in violation of HOA rules and is fined. Agreement is that homeowner will abide by rules and the HOA will waive fines and $12k in local fees.


  • Tried four (4) separate insurance bad faith cases to a jury verdict
  • Settled on insurance bad faith case on the courthouse steps, for 7 figures, with one of Southern California’s bad faith attorneys
  • Mediated a claim arising out of the total destruction of a manufactured home by fire with multi-party claims for property damage, living expenses and lost wages
  • Arbitrated the apportionment of insurance proceeds in connection with the settlement of several substantial personal injury claims
  • Both mediated and arbitrated several fire subrogation cases involving both residential and commercial properties

    Intellectual Property

    • Appointed by the Federal Court as Discovery Referee in an intellectual property claim involving a prominent manufacturer of disk drives.
    • Appointed by the Federal Court in two (2) separate matters involving patent infringement in connection with sophisticated chip technology.
    • Appointed by the Federal Court as Special Master in two (2) matters involving theft of trade secrets with regard to chip manufacturing.
    • Appointed by the Federal Court in a matter involving trade secrets and patent violations between manufacturers of e-readers.
    • Appointed by the Federal Court in a multiparty matter involving Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology.
    • Appointed by the Federal Court in a multiparty litigation, involving counsel from six (6) states, regarding trade secret and patent allegations against six (6) of Silicon Valley’s most prominent technology companies.
    • Appointed by the Federal Court as Special Master in a multiparty claim involving patent infringement, with defense assertions that claimants were ‘trolls’.
    • Mediated a case involving claimed theft of a customer list and unfair competition.
    • Mediated a dispute between two large equipment rental companies involving claims of theft of customer lists and unfair competition.

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    Legal Malpractice

    • Tried a legal malpractice case involving three (3) Northern California attorneys.
    • Served as deposition referee in a legal malpractice claim alleging that plaintiff attorney in the underlying case had coerced his client to accept an inadequate settlement.
    • Mediated a legal malpractice claim arising out of the alleged failure by the attorney to negotiate/incorporate terms into a substantial commercial lease.
    • Mediated a legal malpractice case involving assertions that defendant attorney failed to file a lis pendens in a partnership dissolution matter and assertions of poor legal advice involving chances of prevailing and chances of obtaining attorney’s fees.
    • Mediated numerous legal malpractice cases arising out of attempts by law firms to recover their fees and subsequent cross claims for malpractice.
    • Mediated a legal malpractice matter involving allegations of failure to appropriately plead, failure to adequately oppose a demurrer and assertions of excessive billing with a cross-complaint for very substantial attorney’s fees.

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    Medical Malpractice

    • Served as Deposition Referee in a medical malpractice case involving the deposition of the prime defendant.
    • Mediated a medical malpractice dispute involving major finger pointing between the involved physicians, nurses, and hospital.
    • Arbitrated, as the neutral arbitrator on a panel, a medical malpractice claim involving allegations of failure to diagnose an occult cancer condition, followed by allegedly improper surgery.
    • Sole arbitrator on a medical malpractice case involving failure to properly diagnose in an emergency room with severe medical consequences. Following preparation of the award but before its delivery, counsel advised that they had settled for a high six-figure amount.
    • • Sole arbitrator in a medical malpractice claim involving alleged failure to provide necessary medications and misdiagnosis, with a subsequent amputation.

      Personal Injury

      • Plaintiff sued to quiet title on ranch land. Cross-defendant/Cross-Complainant sued on a theory that he had been defrauded of his inheritance (part of the ranch). He named all others with an even remote interest in the property, as well as the CPA who did accountings. Extreme statute of limitations issues. Case resolved primarily by granting water source easement to ranch.
      • Fall from defective scaffold - Serious knee injury. Issue of general contractor fault.
      • Motorcycle collision with low-speed truck involving highly contested liability.
      • Substantial impact rear-ender. Defendant employer's driver had appealing driving record including 4 rear-enders in employer's truck. All 3 plaintiffs had classic neck and back injuries. All eventually had very significant lumbar surgery, but medical and wage claims were inflated.
      • Possible code violation on the exit door of the dental office leading to a fall resulting in foot and wrist fractures.
      • Tried a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of industrial rope involving catastrophic degloving injuries.
      • Tried a serious personal injury case against the manufacturer of a handgun involving an unintended discharge due to an alleged defect.
      • Tried to a jury verdict a case against the manufacturer of refrigeration equipment involving Reynaud’s Syndrome.
      • Tried a wrongful death case involving a teenage drunk driver.
      • Tried to a jury verdict a claim against a well-known nightspot involving a fall from a mechanical bull.
      • Tried to a jury verdict a claim of libel by a dentist against a dental insurance carrier.
      • Successfully resolved a wrongful death/product liability case involving the death of a young man operation an all-terrain drilling rig.
      • Tried to a jury verdict a claim of brain injury resulting from a fall at a construction site.
      • Settled a trip and fall case involving orthopedic and ocular injuries.
      • Handled catastrophic personal injury cases involving manufacturers of large scale farm equipment.
      • Settled a claim arising out of a ‘T-bone’ automobile accident.
      • Mediated several snow and water skiing personal injury accidents, one involving a fatality and two involving catastrophic injuries.
      • Mediated several cases involving tree care/arborist services with personal injury or property damage claims resulting.
      • Mediated a case with allegations of police excessive force involving a gang member.
      • Mediated a catastrophic personal injury claim as part of a program designed to work out claims against General Motors after its reorganization in the financial crisis.
      • Mediated several matters involving pest control chemical applications and claimed personal injury.
      • Mediated a case involving the claim by a driver of a large recreational vehicle that an oncoming pick-up truck had caused a wild turkey to fly into the RV’s windshield, resulting in personal injury.
      • Mediated a personal injury matter involving multiple party catastrophic injuries against a major freight line.
      • Mediated the civil aspect of a case in which two teenagers stabbed a fellow student to death “to see what it would be like to kill someone."
      • Mediated a personal injury claim, with significant injuries, arising out of a gang-related shooting at a nightclub.
      • Mediated a personal injury claim against a swim school involving claims of inadequate maintenance and supervision.
      • Mediated a multi-party claim for serious injuries arising out of a bar fight at a resort for college students on spring break, with allegations of inadequate staffing and supervision.
      • Served as sole arbitrator on approximately 30 uninsured/underinsured motorist claims.
      • Mediated claims of elder abuse and personal injury for lack of supervision against a rehabilitation facility.

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      Product Liability

      • Mediated several cases involving farm equipment, involving death or catastrophic injury.
      • Mediated case involving contamination of large batches of silicone wafers.
      • Mediated case involving allegation of defective disk drive.
      • Davinci medical surgical device allegedly caused thermal injuries. Plaintiff asserted insulation defects in the device, resulting in tissue damage to the vagina, requiring further surgery. (Plaintiffs asserted widespread incidence of this defect in the device, various product defect theories and asserted punitive damage claims).

      Real Estate/Real Property

      • Water district line burst, flooding plaintiff's residence. District paid for substantial temporary housing and some property damage. Dispute involved cleaning fees and additional claimed personal property damage.
      • Tried to a jury verdict a case of real estate fraud in the development of a large commercial property.
      • Mediated the claim of an elderly homeowner against her mortgage lender, with allegations of usury and wrongful eviction.
      • Mediated a case involving claims by a homeowner against a realtor alleging missing personal property, damage to the property, and improper handling of a potential sale.
      • Mediated a commercial dispute involving tenant holding over at the end of a lease, cross-allegations of damage to the property, and disputes with regard to rent owed and offsets.
      • Mediated a claim by real estate purchasers against a title company for failure to discover items constituting a significant cloud on title.
      • Mediated a class action claim by 200 tenants on issues of habitability and return of security deposits against a large apartment complex.

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      “Mr. Denver was exceptional! It was a complete pleasure to meet and work with him. Top notch!”

      I appreciated that Tom had read the materials, understood the issues, and was ready to hit the ground running at the start. Very effective, no-nonsense mediation style that got our matter resolved quickly.”

      Tom Denver did an excellent job in a difficult situation. He always made himself available and he stuck to the task most admirably. I highly recommend him.”