Michael R. Diliberto, Esq.

Profile

Michael Diliberto is an internationally recognized mediator and arbitrator in full-time practice since 2003. He is expert at working with complex facts and legal issues as well as cross-cultural dynamics. Mr. Diliberto also serves as an Administrative Law Judge pro tem for the Office of Administrative Hearings, conducting administrative hearings with various agencies of the State of California. A prolific writer, speaker and consultant on mediation, he has trained lawyers and judges in the United States, Europe and South America. Mr. Diliberto is a skilled negotiator, and teaches “negotiations” as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School.

Areas of Expertise

  • Business/Commercial: Breach of contract and commercial agreements; partnership and corporate matters; dissolution and winding up of partnerships and corporations; buy-sell agreements; joint venture and franchise disputes; attorney/client fee disputes; professional malpractice claims; insurance coverage and bad faith claims. Mr. Diliberto also conducts arbitrations for securities violations claims brought before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
  • Employment: Wrongful termination; discrimination (FEHA, Title VII, ADEA, and ADA); sexual harassment; whistleblower and retaliation; wage and hour; executive and personal services contracts; and ERISA. Mr. Diliberto conducts administrative hearings for public employee termination appeals for the City of Los Angeles Civil Service Commission, and retirement benefits appeals for the Orange County Employees Retirement System. Mr. Diliberto also conducts Board of Rights hearings for police officer use of force, officer-involved shootings, and other disciplinary matters for the Los Angeles Police Department.
  • Entertainment: Motion picture, television, music, advertising, internet, new media, and publishing disputes; copyright and trademark infringement; idea submission; misappropriation of name and likeness; First Amendment; defamation; rights of publicity; licensing agreements; royalty accounting; and profit participation. Mr. Diliberto also conducts international motion picture arbitrations involving production agreements, financing agreements, film exhibition agreements, royalties, and above-the-line employment issues brought before the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA).
  • Intellectual Property: Copyright, trademark, trade dress, and patent infringement; rights of publicity, trade secrets, unfair competition, and domain name disputes.
  • Real Estate: Residential and commercial purchase and sale contracts; homeowners associations; partnership disputes; breach of fiduciary duty claims; design and construction defects; boundary lines and easement rights; premises liability; and environmental matters.

Litigation and Trial Experience

  • Kleinberg & Lerner, LLP, Partner, Los Angeles, California, 1993-2003
  • Sheldon & Mak, LLP, Associate, Los Angeles, California, 1990-1993
  • Allen, Allen & Hemsley – Solicitors, Sydney, Australia, 1989
  • Diliberto, Booth, Sibley & Guttieres, Associate, Miami, Florida, 1987-1989

Education

  • J.D., University of Miami School of Law, 1987
  • Temple University School of Law, Summer Session, Rome, Italy, 1985
  • B.A., University of Miami, 1981

Selected Professional Affiliations

  • Los Angeles Copyright Society, Member
  • Italian American Lawyers Association, Past President
  • Fulbright Senior Specialist, Council for International Exchange of Scholars

Selected Speaker Engagements

  • Adjunct Professor, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California
  • Visiting Professor, Elon University School of Law, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Continuing Education of the Bar, Los Angeles, California
  • U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C.
  • Academy for Training of Judges and Prosecutors of the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje, Macedonia
  • Corte Provincial de Justicia, Loja, Ecuador
  • Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Loja, Ecuador

Selected Professional Recognitions

  • Southern California Super Lawyers: Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Mediator Profile: “In Tune at the Table,” Daily Journal, Verdicts & Settlements [Nov. 25, 2011]
  • Mediator Profile: Daily Journal, Extra [April 19, 2004]

Language

  • Fluent in Spanish

Representative Cases

Business

  • Consumer claims concerning the Volkswagen emissions defeat device for parties who opted out of the United States District Court multidistrict litigation class action.
  • Partnership dissolution disputes, including dissolution of law firms, medical groups, and other partnerships.
  • CFO was removed from the board of directors and was asked to leave the company. Settlement of exit from the company and exit package regarding compensation and benefits.
  • Class action arising out of company recording phone calls of consumers without notice or consent.
  • Class action against major sporting events venue for issuing improper receipts for credit card transactions.
  • Partnership dispute involving a group of doctors who owned several medical clinics in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. One partner opened a competing clinic in violation of their agreement. Resolved by determining an appropriate buy-out amount, future ability to continue to use the clinics, and establishing conditions for the leaving member’s competing clinic.
  • Partnership dispute involving brothers who owned a restaurant. One brother accused the other of taking cash from the receipts during his management shifts. The brothers’ family members were an integral part of the settlement discussions. The issues were determining an accounting, and whether one partner would buy out the other, or agree to appoint a neutral manager and change the cash deposit procedures.
  • Partnership dispute with partners involved in an e-commerce business. One group of partners felt the others were not contributing sufficiently to deserve performance bonuses. The issue involved clarifying the scope of duties and responsibilities among the partners and appropriate compensation.
  • Partner buyout action by investor in marijuana cultivation business.
  • Dispute between bank and its customer over fraudulent wire transfers.
  • Breach of contract and fraud arising out of investment and partnership agreement for an electronics company.
  • International dispute regarding sales of medical supplies to companies in Iran.
  • Lottery winner claimed she was the victim of fraud by others who gained her trust and caused her to invest millions of dollars in real estate.
  • Derivative action brought by shareholders of a bank alleging that a bank executive used the corporation’s assets for personal gain.
  • Derivative action brought by shareholders of a high tech company, alleging that the CEO backdated stock options, gave drugs to employees, and used the corporation’s assets for personal gain.
  • Collection of credit card debt against primary cardholder and corporation by major credit card company.
  • Action to enforce judgment with claim of fraudulent transfer of assets by defendant to avoid judgment.
  • Breach of contract regarding partnership dispute involving investor and payment of profits.
  • Marijuana industry case regarding breach of contract claims arising out of sale of extraction pod for marijuana.
  • Breach of contract and related indemnity claims arising out of manufacture and sale of jet fuel alternative fuel.

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Employment

  • Fraud claims by a company against former employees who formed sham companies to sell products to their employer-company at a marked-up price and diverted money to their own accounts.
  • Wage and hour claims by multiple plaintiffs against multi-state plumbing company.
  • Wrongful termination and related claims after plaintiff was terminated from his position as a safety coordinator after a leave of absence.
  • Claims for overtime, meal and rest break violations, retaliation, PAGA claims, and pay stub violations.
  • Claims for wage and hour, meal and rest breaks, and reimbursement of business expenses.
  • Claims for sexual harassment and related claims by employee against agricultural company and direct supervisor.
  • Claim by university professor for back-pay under collective bargaining agreement.
  • Claims of wrongful termination, overtime, and meal and rest breaks.
  • Sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation claims.
  • Sexual harassment and related claims by actress against the CEO of a clothing company who allegedly harassed her while she modeled clothes for his company at a fashion trade show.
  • Gender discrimination claim by an electrical worker who was allegedly harassed and fired after transitioning sex to female.
  • Claims for sexual harassment and related claims by employee against agricultural company and direct supervisor.
  • Wrongful termination and related claims arising from termination of an area supervisor working in the oil and gas industry.
  • Pregnancy discrimination claim by a waitress whose employer allegedly blocked her return to work after a leave of absence.
  • Disability discrimination case with issue concerning whether corporation was liable as a successor company/employer.
  • Wrongful termination, retaliation, and other claims by a pest control employee who was fired after suffering a panic attack at work.
  • Wrongful termination of supervisor at a food distribution company.
  • Claims for alleged misclassification of non-exempt employees.
  • Action for alleged inaccurate wage statements and failure to pay for meal and rest breaks.
  • Claim by university professor for back-pay under collective bargaining agreement.
  • Multiple plaintiff case for wrongful termination, wage and hour, and related employment claims.
  • Claims for wage and hour, overtime, and meal and rest breaks.
  • CFO was removed from the Board and asked to leave company. Settlement of exit from company and exit package regarding compensation and benefits.
  • Claim for wrongful termination and related claims for employee fired while on medical leave of absence.
  • Pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination for not hiring back after leave of absence.
  • Claims for sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation by a nurse against a skilled nursing facility.
  • Wrongful termination based on alleged retaliation regarding complaints for unsafe workplace.
  • Wrongful termination and discrimination based on gender and disability.
  • Claims regarding improper pay statements, meal breaks, and rest breaks.

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Entertainment/Intellectual Property

  • Claim for monies due for services rendered by overseas technical support company for a web hosting company.
  • Trademark infringement action regarding defendants’ use of plaintiff’s trademarked phrase in greeting cards. The case involved interpreting the “Rogers” test as to whether defendants’ use of the mark “explicitly misleads consumers as to the source or the content of the work.”
  • Claims for misappropriation of name, photograph and likeness under Civil Code section 3344 brought by six models against a nightclub for unauthorized publication of the models’ photographs in advertisements.
  • Trademark infringement action regarding defendants’ use of plaintiff’s trademarked phrase in greeting cards. The case involved interpreting the “Rogers” test as to whether defendants’ use of the mark “explicitly misleads consumers as to the source or the content of the work.”
  • Film distributor sought return of minimum guarantee license payment from movie studio due to alleged blocked release of film by Chinese censorship authorities.
  • Claim by estate of famous deceased rap music artist against photographer for ownership and exploitation rights in photographs taken of the music artist.
  • Copyright infringement action against director of motion picture who allegedly used footage from the film he was hired to direct to create a separate film that he licensed in Europe.
  • Copyright infringement claims for unauthorized use of music in motion pictures, television shows and sound recordings.
  • Copyright infringement action against major motion picture studio for its unauthorized use of photographs created by famous photographer for cover of DVD re-issue of iconic television series.
  • Copyright infringement claim for use of protected design patterns used in allegedly infringing clothing.
  • Copyright infringement claims for use of copyrighted software, technology, and consumer products.
  • Copyright infringement action by comic book writer against major motion picture company and comic book company for using his characters in a major motion picture and product merchandising.
  • Copyright infringement action against major rap music label for unauthorized use of sound recording licensed to major motion picture studio for use in film soundtrack.
  • Dispute between personal managers and multi-platinum rock band over ownership of copyrights and licensing rights in sound recordings and music publishing.
  • Dispute between famous pop group members and music publisher over song royalties.
  • Dispute between personal mangers and reality television star over manager commissions.
  • Infringement claims for use of trademarks on clothing, footwear, and a variety of consumer products.
  • Infringement claims for trademarks used in catalogs, brochures and advertising materials.
  • Claim for trademark infringement as a result of alleged breach of licensing agreement for use of mark in connection with defendant’s clothing and jewelry.
  • Trademark claims in band names by members of prominent rock bands and rap groups against competing former band members.
  • Infringement claims brought by the estates of famous deceased actors and recording artists against alleged infringers using their name, likeness, and trademarks.
  • Claims of dilution of trademarks brought by publicly traded internet-based retailer against competitors using confusingly similar trademarks and domain names.
  • Trade dress infringement matters involving a variety of product configurations, such as cosmetic and perfume bottles, water art sculptures, motorized tie racks, footwear, product packaging, and other consumer products.
  • Claims for misappropriation of name and likeness under Civil Code section 3344 brought by a well-known body builder whose image was used to promote vitamin and health products.
  • Utility patent infringement case by owner of heat treating system used to kill pests against group of water damage repair and restoration companies using heat in their drying process.
  • Utility patent claims for bicycle pumps, photo booths, instrument flight cases, and a variety of consumer products.
  • Design patent claims for motorized tie racks, perfume bottles, cosmetics, automotive industry forms, artwork, and a variety of consumer products.
  • Domain name infringement and cases brought under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
  • nitial interest confusion and claims of consumer confusion and damages caused by the redirecting of similar domain names by a competing business to their own website.
  • Issues of internet jurisdiction and venue. Company based in Los Angeles used domain name for its website which displayed its goods. Plaintiff sued Defendant in Seattle, Washington, claiming jurisdiction existed for a federal court action filed in Seattle, Washington.
  • Trade secret disputes concerning theft and use of customer lists; use of ingredients used for competing health products; theft and use of product and pricing information for competing business; use of business methods and plans; and other matters.
  • Claim for misappropriation of trade secrets used for manufacturing works of art.
  • Claim for use of trade secrets used to create a competing consumer product.
  • Trade secret dispute concerning computer program used to determine air quality data.
  • Insurance coverage issue regarding whether manufacturer of plastic bags was entitled to insurance coverage for defense of patent infringement claims
  • Insurance coverage issue regarding whether “prior publication” exclusion extinguished carrier’s duty to defend underlying trademark infringement claims involving labels on health products.
  • Insurance coverage issue regarding whether claim for misappropriation of trade dress for sales of motorized tie racks fell within the scope of “advertising injury” as a covered claim under a comprehensive general liability policy.
  • Insurance coverage issue regarding whether publication of allegedly infringing DVD “testimonial” constituted a published “advertisement” within the scope of “advertising injury” under a comprehensive general liability policy.
  • Insurance coverage issue regarding whether a nightclub’s unauthorized publication of several models’ photographs in advertisements was within the policy period for a carrier’s duty to defend underlying claims for misappropriation of name, photograph and likeness under Civil Code section 3344.
  • Insurance coverage issue regarding whether Plaintiff’s amendment of its complaint to seek injunctive relief only, and omit a previous claim for monetary damages relieved the insurance company of the duty to indemnify and defend the insured against a trademark infringement action.
  • Defamation claim based on alleged statement that skin treatment product causes cancer.

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Real Estate

  • Breach of real estate sales agreement for failure to close escrow on commercial property and claim for deposit.
  • Nuisance claims against nightclub for allegedly violating zoning restrictions.
  • Claims by developer against Seller and broker for alleged misrepresentations concerning applicable zoning for proposed commercial development.
  • Fraud and misrepresentation claims based on sale of residential property to two different buyers by seller who fled town after making both sales.
  • Boundary line disputes involving residential and commercial property owners.
  • Property boundary line dispute for parcels of land in a real estate development located in Mexico.
  • Action by school district against seller for failure to disclose hazardous substances on proposed site for school.
  • Action by buyer of residential property against seller for failure to disclose flood hazard that occurred during heavy rains.
  • Variance issues for a shopping mall seeking permission to depart from the zoning ordinance requirements for proposed use of advertising and signage.
  • Issues involving shoring of hillside properties and landslide prevention.
  • Action by commercial landlord against tenant for failure to leave premises in “broom clean” condition.
  • Actions concerning “substantial destruction” and “partial destruction” of premises and whether lease is terminated.
  • Actions concerning casualty damage, and time frame for tenant to resume use of the premises and whether tenant must spend additional funds to return to normal business operations.
  • Actions involving requests for rent abatement by tenants.
  • Actions by tenants for repairs to unit, and determining common area issues.
  • Actions by tenants for breach of warranty of possession (quiet enjoyment) of premises.
  • Action by multiple tenants alleging uninhabitable conditions at apartment building.
  • Investor partnership disputes over financing of residential and commercial properties.
  • Joint venture disputes concerning sale and purchase of commercial property.
  • Actions for breach of contract seeking return of escrow deposits for purchase of residential and commercial properties.
  • Actions seeking damages for breach of contract for purchase of residential and commercial properties.
  • Quiet title actions involving family members and friends, where one person obtains a real estate loan and title to the property in the name of another person who has better credit, with an expectation that the person on title will later transfer title back to the person with poor credit, who contends he or she is the true owner, and related issues of ownership claims arising from such arrangements.
  • Action between live-in domestic partners to determine ownership of property and allocation of proceeds and expenses, where one person sold her home and used the proceeds for a down payment on a new home purchased with the other partner, with an expectation of marriage that did not materialize.
  • Actions by banks and consumers against mortgage brokers for alleged fraudulent lending practices.
  • Action by homeowner against HOA alleging discrimination, improper assessments, and HOA’s failure to follow CC&Rs and Civil Code for pre-litigation dispute resolution.
  • Pre-litigation mediation involving a recorded lien against homeowner’s residence and non-judicial foreclosure proceedings to collect delinquent regular and special assessments against homeowner.
  • Actions concerning property damage and time frame for homeowner to resume use of the residence and whether owner must spend additional funds to restore habitable conditions.
  • Actions involving requests for assessment abatement by homeowners.
  • Actions by homeowners disputing property damage and whether alleged damage occurred in the common area.
  • Actions by homeowners for breach of warranty of possession (quiet enjoyment) of premises.
  • Action by HOA against homeowner to remove a wall constructed by homeowner on his residence that exceeded the maximum height restriction of the HOA regulations.
  • Action by HOA against homeowner for constructing a residence that exceeded the maximum height restriction of the HOA regulations.
  • Action by adjoining landowner against HOA for wrongful removal of exotic trees.
  • Specific performance matters where a seller or buyer of land, residential property, or commercial property refuses to honor the terms of the contract.
  • Quiet title and partition actions to determine ownership of real property.
  • Eminent domain involving auto dealership property adjacent to freeway.
  • Eminent domain involving loss of business goodwill for equipment supply company that was required to relocate.
  • Eminent domain for a residential neighborhood, so that an upscale condominium development could be built on that land. Any home within the neighborhood was defined as “blighted” if it did not meet the criteria set by the municipality.
  • Action by buyer against seller of real property alleging breach of contract for construction and sale of real property.
  • Claims for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud, and related claims brought by a real estate developer against a real estate broker. The broker’s MLS listing stated that the property was zoned LAR4, and allowed the buyer to build a multifamily building containing up to 16 units. After close of escrow, the buyer discovered that a General Plan Land Use contained restrictive zoning that took priority over the R4 zoning. As a result of the zoning conflict, buyer claimed damages for development fees incurred, lost profits for inability to develop the property as represented by the broker, and for the difference between the purchase price and the true value of the property.
  • Lottery winner claimed she was the victim of fraud and elder abuse by others who gained her trust and caused her to invest millions of dollars in real estate investments.

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