John M. Drath, Esq. brings over 40 years of legal expertise to his ADR practice and has developed a reputation as a skilled and efficient mediator with an exceptional ability to isolate the key factors in a case and bring the parties together to reach resolution.

As an accomplished trial lawyer, John has tried cases in virtually every area of the law, and his success in the courtroom allows him to bring a unique insight to each dispute before him. Having mediated over 1,000 cases, John has the creativity, tenacity and analytical abilities to get the case settled.

John’s clients have commended him for his work ethic, preparedness, and persistence in following up if a case does not settle at the hearing. He has been described by many as a fair and personable mediator who can develop rapport with all parties of a dispute while getting to the heart of the issues.

Areas of Expertise

  • Business / Commercial
  • Elder Abuse
  • Environmental / Toxic Tort
  • Insurance / Bad Faith
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Personal Injury / Catastrophic
  • Products Liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property

Legal Experience

  • 2000 – Present Mediatior and Arbitrator
  • 2010 – 2014 Shareholder, Bishop Barry Drath
  • 1994 – 2010 Partner, Drath, Clifford, Murphy & Hagen
  • 1983 – 1994 Partner, Hyde & Drath
  • 1980 – 1983 Attorney at Law, Law Offices of John M. Drath
  • 1973 – 1979 Associate, Low, Ball & Lynch
  • 1971 – 1973 Associate, Cooksey, Coleman & Howard


  • 1969 Juris Doctorate, University of San Francisco School of Law
  • 1965 Bachelor of Arts, University of Washington

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Past President, Association of Defense Counsel, Northern California


  • California Super Lawyer, Professional Liability
  • California Lawyer, Listed Among Prominent Legal Malpractice Attorneys
  • Certified Specialist in Legal Malpractice, California State Bar, 2011-2015

Representative Cases


  • Plaintiff sold an auto collision repair shop to the defendant along with the building in which the business was located. The two transactions were to close simultaneously but due to financing complications and an error on the part of the title company (also a defendant), only the building sale closed and now the defendant claims an inability to complete the sale of the business due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
  • Defendant contracted to provide security at plaintiff's distribution facility in Mississippi. During a holiday weekend, thieves driving big rigs broke through a perimeter fence and hooked up trailers loaded with the plaintiff's merchandise. Three trailers were removed and one was recovered with its load intact. The stolen merchandise was valued at $1.75 Mil. Plaintiff accused the guards of failing to watch the monitors or make rounds, so the theft was not discovered in progress.


  • Action by 11 former employees who were not rehired following corporate reorganization – claimed age and disability discrimination based in part on disparate impact evidence.
  • Action by attorney against former employee for breach of employment agreement, dispute over fees.
  • Action for sexual harassment by female employee against her male supervisor during business trips.
  • Action by attorney against former non-equity partner regarding fees owed, responsibility for completing firm business, slander.


  • Plaintiff is a cannabis company that was broken into during the riots following the George Floyd incident. Rioters went into the building on two separate occasions that night, breaking into and taking product from two separate vaults. The insurance company claimed this constituted only one occurrence and paid out the limit for an occurrence. The plaintiff contended that there were two occurrences and that it was entitled to a second policy limit. Also, the plaintiff's agent suggested reducing the limits of his business interruption coverage to lower the premium but neglected to point out and discuss the possible application of a 90% coinsurance clause. The plaintiff's net incoming increased significantly during the pandemic and the co-insurance penalty reduced the recoverable business income loss by 50%. Both the insurance company and the agent were sued. The company got out on summary judgment, which has been appealed.
  • Bad faith action based on refusal to defend, resulting verdict in excess of 2.0 million. Assault and battery exclusion at issue.
  • Insurance agent failed to properly describe property on liability policy resulting in no coverage for a claim arising from the use of that property. Following a multi-million-dollar settlement, agent sued for professional liability.
  • Bad faith action based on insured’s claimed failure to pay an uninsured motorist claim in a timely fashion.
  • First party bad faith claim based on claimed mishandling of insured’s fire loss.
  • Bad faith claim based on failure to defend and resulting seven figure judgment. Personal injury and advertising liability coverage was in issue.
  • First party bad faith claim based on insurer’s disagreement over the damage to high value artwork.
  • Action against health benefits claims administrator for approving and paying out of the insured’s account 350K plus in claims not covered by the employer’s group health policy, thus preventing the insured from getting reimbursed by the insurer.
  • Action and cross-action regarding the effectiveness of the cancelation of a worker’s compensation policy, and resolution of the worker’s compensation case that arose after the alleged cancelation.
  • Action against insurance company and two producing agents over the interpretation of additional insured endorsement and its application to a suit against a retailer sued for products liability.

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Intellectual Property

  • Settled a case in which the plaintiff was the assignee of the rights of fourteen models whose images were improperly used by the defendant in advertisements for a business.
  • Models sued two night clubs for using their photos for club promotion without permission.

Legal Malpractice

  • Pre-litigation matter. Law Firm represented an LLC in proceedings to collect money from a former bookkeeper who embezzled over $800,000 from the LLC. The bookkeeper also embezzled from another employer. The law firm obtained a TPO to prevent the bookkeeper from transferring her assetts but the court failed to require a bond, despite that being a mandatory requirement under the statute. The law firm never brought that to the attention of the court. The other embezzlement victim entered into a settlement with the embezzler and obtained a deed of trust on her home to secure the settlement. The embezzler then filed for bankruptcy and because there was no bond, the LLC's claim was listed as unsecured. What followed was protracted litigation with several adversary proceedings. The LLC secured bankruptcy counsel, and ultimately prevailed over the other victim. However, the amount collected exceeded the amount paid in legal fees and the law firm sought payment of additional fees. The LLC contended that the bulk of the fees were expended because the law firm failed to get a bond posted for the TPO. The LLC wanted the firm to disgorge a portion of its fees, and the Firm wanted the LLC to pay the outstanding balance owed.
  • Pre-litigation matter. Law Firm represented an LLC in proceedings to collect money from a former bookkeeper who embezzled over $800,000 from the LLC. The bookkeeper also embezzled from another employer. The law firm obtained a TPO to prevent the bookkeeper from transferring her assetts but the court failed to require a bond, despite that being a mandatory requirement under the statute. The law firm never brought that to the attention of the court. The other embezzlement victim entered into a settlement with the embezzler and obtained a deed of trust on her home to secure the settlement. The embezzler then filed for bankruptcy and because there was no bond, the LLC's claim was listed as unsecured. What followed was protracted litigation with several adversary proceedings. The LLC secured bankruptcy counsel, and ultimately prevailed over the other victim. However, the amount collected exceeded the amount paid in legal fees and the law firm sought payment of additional fees. The LLC contended that the bulk of the fees were expended because the law firm failed to get a bond posted for the TPO. The LLC wanted the firm to disgorge a portion of its fees, and the Firm wanted the LLC to pay the outstanding balance owed.
  • Plaintiff contended defendant firm committed malpractice in national class action litigation, and failed to reveal conflicts of interest. Defendant denied wrongdoing and sought payment of balance owed.
  • Lawyer #1 committed malpractice by representing two parties with conflicting interests without providing a written disclosure as required by the rules of professional conduct. Lawyer #2 sued lawyer #1 but he missed the statute of limitations. Lawyer #3 then sued lawyer #2 for missing the deadline for suing lawyer #1. A negotiated settlement fell through because a defendant attorney refused to dismiss a separate action for unpaid fees in unrelated litigation.
  • Law firm sued client for fees owed, client cross-complained for legal malpractice based on poor result in litigation. Law firm represented itself in a contentious and protracted mediation, resulting in settlement.
  • Pre-litigation claim was made against attorney whose client lost a business dispute and was assessed punitive damages. An appeal was filed, and the mediation resolved both the legal malpractice claim and the underlying appeal.
  • Attorney sued after failing to file a timely wrongful termination suit.
  • Attorney, after successfully defending his client in an intellectual property case, recommended bringing a malicious prosecution action against both the plaintiff and its attorney. The attorney/defendant filed an anti-SLAPP motion and was awarded significant attorney’s fees. Client then made a legal malpractice claim against his attorney for the erroneous advice to bring a malicious prosecution action.
  • Attorney sued by judgment debtor for abuse of process and conversion for seizing and liquidating debtor’s assets without following the requirements of the EJL.

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Medical Malpractice

  • Plaintiff's complaint of knee/thigh pain misdiagnosed as hematoma when it in fact was a synovial sarcoma. By the time it was recognized it had metasticized to the lungs and his leg needed to be amputated above the knee. Defendant contended that the hematoma diagnosis was not unreasonable given the MRI and x-ray results, and the fact that the mass went down in size in the two month following initial discovery. Plaintiff, a 29 year old, contended that the MRI, conducted the day of discovery, was read by the radiologist conducting the MRI as concerning and likely a sarcoma. A referral to an orthopedic oncologist was suggested. The defendant's radiologist reached a different conclusion, namely that it was more likely a hematoma. Plaintiff contended that a timely diagnosis would have resulted in either a normal life expectancy or a life expectancy of greater than 15 years, and would not have required amputation. Because of the delay, the chances of survival beyond 5 years is less than 50%. Damages included lost earnings for the years he would have been able to work had he lived a normal life expectancy. There was an ERISA lien which included care which, according to the defendant, would have been required even with a timely diagnosis.
  • Defendant physicians declined to impose spinal precautions for accident victim, and paraplegia developed while hospitalized.
  • Severe birth defects resulting from claimed negligence during labor and delivery. Action against two physicians, independent nursing staff, and hospital. Settled piecemeal over two mediation sessions.
  • Defendant physician allegedly left placental fragments following birth and ignored the plaintiff’s subsequent complaints of pain. The failure to treat resulted in a hysterectomy, bowel resection and colostomy.
  • Wrongful death claimed to be caused by negligently failing to prescribe medications to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Pharmacy erroneously refilled a prescription with the wrong medication, leading to a severe albeit temporary reaction in a mentally challenged minor.
  • Asthmatic woman given a beta blocker despite contraindications, resulting in cardiac arrest and permanent brain damage.
  • Claimed medical malpractice, elder abuse and statutory violations against a skilled nursing facility resulting in pressure sore.
  • Claimed medical practice and elder abuse against two skilled nursing facilities for wrongful death and enhanced remedies.

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Personal Injury

  • Wrongful death case. Decedent was hired by an unlicensed contractor to perform labor, specifically the installation of an electronic sign in a new restaurant. Decedent was walking in the area above the ceiling of the restaurant when he fell 20 feet to his death. Plaintiffs are three children, two of whom are adults. One of the claimants was adopted at birth by another family. Plaintiff argued the decedent was a statutory employee because neither the contractor that hired him, or the contractor that hired that subcontractor were licensed or carried worker's compensation insurance. The contractor hired by the restaurant was licensed but not for the electric work. Defense argued that since the contractor they hired was licensed, and since they had neither the control nor the right to control the location of the accident they bore no responsibility. They further argued that the claimant who was adopted at birth had no standing as she was not an heir.
  • Truck vs pedestrian at a truck terminal. Plaintiff, also a truck driver, was walking behind a row of trucks when the defendant started backing up and struck him. Video of incident shows plaintiff walking behind the truck after it started backing up. Claimed back and knee injuries.
  • Plaintiff's husband was injured when an elevator fell two floors without warning and causing him wrist and shoulder injuries. He went through multiple surgeries but died of cardiac issues two plus years after the accident. Plaintiff sought recovery of the economic damages - $450,000 - plus non-economic damages per CCP 377.34. Defendant denied liability and denied that she could recover non-economic damages because she did not file a separate action as the survivor.
  • Several months after falling on a sidewalk in front of a mansion then died several months later for unrelated causes. Survivor's action under CCP 377.34 sought recovery of her economic and non-economic damages. The sidewalk in question was in some disrepair and the City had notified the owner of the problem but had done nothing to mark the area of danger or put up cones. The sidewalk was a custom paver sidewalk installed pursuant to a permit issued over 20 years earlier. The mansion had changed hands two or three times since. Plaintiff sued both the City and the property owner. City tendered defense and the property owner declined. Both the plaintiff and the City recovered from the property owner and the City paid nothing.
  • 6 year old plaintiff was ice skating with her older sister when she fell and another skater fell, cutting off part of two fingers. Plaintiff sued the operator of the rink, its designer and the manager of the rink, contending that the design resulted in congestion and that the management allowed too many skaters on the ice at one time. Doctors were able to reattach one finger but not the other. The plaintiff's two sisters claimed emotional distress from witnessing the incident.
  • Plaintiff fell on a plastic warning sign that was lying on the pavement outside her apartment. Cervical and wrist injuries with surgery likely.
  • Wrongful death following a fall at defendant's premises. Plaintiffs (son and daughter of decedent, age 82) alleged that the design of the ADA improvements to the defendant Bank were confusing and led to the decedent's fall. Bank cross-complained against all contractors and designers involved in the ADA improvements. Defendants contended that the decedent's death, coming several days after the fall, was not related to the fall, and was due to several co-morbidities.
  • Elderly (89 years old) dialysis patient being transported began to bleed because she pulled an IV in her arm out. The driver stopped just a block short of the dialysis facility and took the patient towards a grassy area so he could try and stop the bleeding. The driver spoke little English and asked a bystander to call 911 when the patient collapsed. She was subsequently transported by ambulance to the ER where she was pronounced dead. The decedent left 14 heirs. Defense denied wrongdoing and argued that the decedent had very little time to live in any event.
  • Plaintiff fell from scaffolding at a worksite, landing 10 feet below on concrete. Comminuted clavicle fracture and TBI. Scaffolding had no fall protection.
  • Plaintiff and Defendant individual were both special employees of Defendant company but were supplied to Defendant company by separate agencies. Both Plaintiff and Defendant individual were operating forklifts. Defendant individual ran into Plaintiff causing injuries. Defendants contended that the exclusive remedy barred the third party claim. A worker's compensation lien was being asserted against the defendant individual and his general employer.
  • Plaintiff was operating a reach lift in a warehouse when he lost his balance and his foot was pinned between the lift and a metal post. The injury was severe and resulted in a mid-calf amputation. The defense denied that the lift was defective in any way and contended that the plaintiff intentionally put his foot out to keep the lift from striking the post. The plaintiff was inexperienced in the operation of the lift and was practicing to be able to eventually be assigned to use that machine. Plaintiff contended the lift was defective because there was no guard at the rear of the machine which would have prevented the accident.
  • Plaintiff, a landscaper, was cutting down a high limb on a tree and was harnessed to the limb at its base. To keep the limb from falling he instructed his assistant to secure a line to the defendant's truck, and he asked the defendant to pull the truck forward to tighten the line. The truck was pulled too far forward, ripping the limb off and sending the plaintiff to the ground. He sustained multiple fractures and a claimed head injury.
  • Plaintiff bicycle rider was struck by defendant turning right across a bicycle path. Neither party saw the other before the collision. Plaintiff sustained a broken wrist and dental injuries.
  • Three car collision with three plaintiffs separately represented. Responsible defendant had a 250/500 policy which was eventually offered and the negotiations were between the plaintiffs as to how to divide the proceeds.
  • Plaintiff claimed aggravation of COPD and emotional distress from rodent infestation. Defendant denied that there was any rodent problem of any duration and that each complaint was addressed in a timely manner. Further, a pest control company made weekly inspections of the plaintiff's unit. The plaintiff was a problem tenant and his agreement to vacate the premises was a motivating factor for the defense in settlement.
  • Three car accident resulted in serious injuries for the occupants of two of the vehicles. The insurance carrier for the third vehicle tendered its policy limits of $500,000. The accident was caused in part by two other drivers, one of whom caused a brush fire to start and generate smoke across the roadway, and the other backed his vehicle up in the right lane of traffic to alert approaching drivers of the problem ahead.
  • Head on collision resulting in the death of the driver, plaintiff's mother, 50 years of age. Plaintiff's father had died years earlier and the plaintiff had no siblings. Liability was undisputed. The decedent survived for approximately 30 minutes after the collision and based on recent legislation, the estate had a survivor's claim for pain and suffering. Plaintiff and his mother kept in regular contact though they did not live near each other.
  • Construction accident involving father and son who suffered multiple fractions and related injuries.
  • Decedent with mental health issues ran out of a car and was struck and killed by a passing truck while being transported to the emergency room by caretakers of his residential care facility.
  • Plaintiff riding a motorcycle struck a left-turning vehicle. Both drivers contended that their view was obstructed by foliage in the county-owned median. Severe brain damage resulted in permanent cognitive impairment and partial paralysis.
  • • Plaintiff riding a motorcycle struck a left-turning vehicle. Both drivers contended that their view was obstructed by foliage in the county-owned median. Severe brain damage resulted in permanent cognitive impairment and partial paralysis.
  • Plaintiff, 61-year-old window washer, fell from the roof of a 12-story building and landed on the roof of a passing car. He survived, but with multiple serious and permanent injuries. The case was complicated by a dispute between insurers and a contractual indemnity claim.
  • Male neighbor assaulted a female neighbor whose dog had defecated outside his house. Plaintiff claimed the defendant was choking her, which defendant denied but did admit to grabbing her.
  • Off-duty police officer riding a motorcycle hit another vehicle and caused the driver to be thrown to the pavement, sustaining traumatic brain injuries.
  • Plaintiff was a grandmother driving with her two small grandchildren when an unlicensed driver hit her. There were injuries caused.
  • Settled a high-end, six-figure matter where the plaintiff was injured by a vending machine falling on her foot.
  • Settled a case in which the plaintiff was operating a dirt bike on a public street and struck the defendant's vehicle, which had pulled out from a stop sign and was turning left. The plaintiff sustained multiple fractures and a brain bleed.
  • Plaintiff was an employee of Amtrak. The train she was on struck the defendant's trailer at 70 MPH. She claimed aggravation of pre-existing back problems leading to surgery.
  • Plaintiff, severely intoxicated, got into a dispute with a security guard at a complex. The guard shot the plaintiff twice, once after he was on the ground.
  • Construction accident involving father and son. Multiple fractures and related injuries.
  • Plaintiff motorcyclist struck a u-turning vehicle operated by defendant. Impact occurred at highway speed. Plaintiff sustained leg and shoulder injuries from which he has still not fully recovered. Case not yet in litigation.
  • • Plaintiff injured himself on apartment stairs thus giving him anxiety-induced panic attacks, which resulted in death from not making it to the hospital fast enough due to having a heart attack that he thought was a panic attack.
  • Plaintiff struck in the head by the overhead gate in a service elevator. Gate was lowered by an employee of another contractor. Other defendants included building owner and elevator maintenance co. Plaintiff claimed permanent injuries influencing his ability to work.
  • Plaintiff was struck while walking his dog. Defendant driver was towing a trailer which became disconnected and struck the plaintiff, causing extensive injuries. Plaintiff alleges that the driver, who had no insurance, was in the course and scope of his employment by the defendant, for whom he was building a fence. The defendant denied that he had any control over the driver/defendant’s work and therefore was not liable for injuries to third parties such as the plaintiff.
  • Defendant truck driver crossed partly into shoulder on a freeway and struck a motorist who pulled over to check a problem with his vehicle. He was standing on the driver's side when he was struck. The truck also sideswiped the parked vehicle.
  • 64-year-old male was killed crossing the street, and mother and heir died of a broken heart five days later. Siblings brought their mother's wrongful death claim, which survives. An additional issue was whether the mother survived more than 120 hours. If not, then the siblings could bring their own wrongful death claim for their brother's death.
  • Alleged defective road design and maintenance: double death resulted from driver losing control and crossing into oncoming traffic.
  • Bus vs. auto - claimed traumatic brain injury, inability to return to employment.
  • Bus vs pedestrian - wrist fracture, claimed traumatic brain injury, impairment of earning capacity.
  • Bus vs pedestrian - extensive fractures, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain syndrome, no longer able to work, outside care needed.
  • Pedestrian injured in trip and fall on sidewalk - alleged dangerous condition.
  • Bus vs property owner. Driver and property owner got into a dispute about where the bus was stopping. Driver pulled away when the individual still had his foot stuck in the door. Extensive foot injury.
  • Bus vs auto resulting in back surgery.
  • Auto vs street sweeper - wrongful death - alleged slow moving street sweeper pulled onto roadway when it could not safely clear the intersection and avoid an impact with decedent's vehicle.
  • Action for wrongful death brought by the parents of a boy killed when he rode his skateboard under a moving garbage truck. A second boy, also on the skateboard, brought suit for severe personal injuries.
  • Action for severe chemical burn injuries sustained when the plaintiff, driving a truck filled with pool chemicals, struck the trailer of a truck, causing the chemicals to crash into the cab of the plaintiff’s vehicle.
  • Action for extensive personal injuries sustained by the driver of a vehicle hung up on railroad tracks, which was struck by an oncoming train before the plaintiff could extricate himself from the vehicle.
  • Action for wrongful death by the two sets of parents of a newly married couple killed by a driver who fell asleep and struck the couple’s car head on. Significant emotional and personality conflicts between the two sets of parents.
  • T-Bone collision resulting in neck and back injuries. Carrier rejected $100,000 policy limits demand despite clear liability and surgical prognosis. Case settled for substantially above policy limits.
  • Action for wrongful death by two minors arising out of the death of their father when he was crushed by a runaway trailer. The two minors also sustained injuries and had Dillon v Legg claims. A female passenger claimed multiple injuries and a closed head injury.
  • Action for wrongful death for motorcycle rider killed when he struck a left turning vehicle.
  • Action for wrongful death by elderly woman survived by eight children. The woman was quite short and was below the truck driver’s vision when the light turned green and the driver started up, running over the woman in the crosswalk.
  • Action for injuries for mother and daughter struck from behind by a motorist while they were bicycling home.
  • Multiple claimants making claim to a 1.3-million-dollar liability policy which was being tendered. Injuries included death, closed head injuries, multiple fractures.
  • Action for personal injuries – crushed hand – sustained when operator of a forklift pinned a truck driver’s hand against the truck during the loading process.
  • Postal worker attacked by dogs and fell, sustaining traumatic brain injury.
  • Action for severe personal injuries sustained when a vehicle crushed the plaintiff against the side of a building while seated at a bench. Claim against building owner based on dangerous position of bench.
  • Burn injuries sustained by restaurant patron when hot liquid spilled on her.
  • Homeowner tripped over utility conduit, aggravating a pre-existing back condition.
  • Wrongful death of a child resulting from the ingestion of over-the-counter medication. Summary judgment for the manufacturer granted, settled on appeal.
  • Claimed tire defect caused single car accident resulting in paraplegia.
  • Claimed improper design of trailer, resulting in separation from tractor and
    wrongful death of occupant of stopped vehicle.
  • Claimed defect in design of ladder resulted in collapse, personal injuries.
  • Neighbor versus neighbor – long standing animosity – knee damaged in altercation over location of garbage cans.
  • Personal injuries sustained by bar patron in altercation with security guard.
  • Personal injuries (scarring) sustained by female bar patron when fight broke out between two groups of patrons.
  • Wrongful death of a woman at the hands of her boyfriend, who had a modest liability policy. Boyfriend was charged with murder and the insurance company filed a declaratory relief action. The case settled after a protracted mediation and just hours before the jury returned a guilty verdict in the murder case.
  • Breach of privacy against electronics company and its employee by female whose pictures were lifted from her cell phone and transmitted to the employee’s phone.
  • Neighbor versus neighbor – brain damage resulting from physical altercation

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Real Property

  • 2.5 million-dollar claim for damage to computer equipment due to release of sprinkler system during remodeling of computer company facility.
  • Downhill homeowner sued uphill homeowner for damage due to landslide.
  • Lessee of high end home sued owner for damage to personal property destroyed when the home burned, allegedly due to defective maintenance by the owner.
  • Subrogation claim for extensive water damage to home resulting from defective plumbing coupling. Plumber and coupling manufacturer sued.
  • Subrogation claim for destruction of barn by fire allegedly caused by operator of equipment in vicinity of structure.
  • Subrogation claim against a landscaper who damaged a gas line, allowing water into the line and destroying the HVAC unit in the home.
  • Pre-litigation mediation of dispute among members of an LLC and a contractor regarding disputed profits, breach of contract.
  • Landlord/tenant dispute involving automobile dealership, right to purchase, amounts owed on commercial lease.
  • Breach of contract claim by security firm against commercial property owner. Dispute over amounts owed, alleged fraudulent billing practices.
  • Breach of contract arising out of the sale of medical practice, question as to whether certain additional obligations were triggered.
  • Action by investor against bank whose employees were operating an independent business brokering second mortgages. Claimed vicarious responsibility for fraudulent activity.
  • Breach of contract involving an exclusive supply agreement by a paint manufacturer. Customer claimed he met the minimum required by the contract and had no further obligation, cross-complained based on supplier’s removal of stock and equipment.
  • Action to quiet title and for injunctive relief by railroad against property owner claiming adverse possession/prescriptive easement of land occupied by nearly 90 years.
  • Action for trade name infringement by one restaurant owner against another for misleading advertising.
  • Action and cross-action between orthodontist operating multiple offices and a dental management company over interpretation of agreement. Each side claimed breach and resulting damage from the other.

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Toxic Torts

  • Groundwater contamination in Montana. Two separate actions filed two years apart involving over 50 plaintiffs residing in the contaminated area. Gross settlement was in excess of 7 million dollars.
  • Appeal of multi-million dollar verdict in asbestos case.


  • Plaintiff claimed various habitability issues, including water leaking into the bedrooms, which the landlord-defendant ignored.
  • Plaintiff's girlfriend was the defendant's long term tenant in a rent controlled building. Plaintiff contended that he moved in with the plaintiff several years ago and that the landlord was aware of that. The girlfriend died and the defendant changed the locks on the apartment, denying the plaintiff access because he was not a tenant. Plaintiff contended that he was a tenant by definition under the rent control ordinance.
  • Plaintiff claimed multiple violations of the Oakland Tenant Protection Ordinance, including physical harassment. Plaintiff lived in Defendant's single family residence with three of her children, one of whom is autistic and required an emotional support animal, namely a dog. Defendant insisted on enforcing the no pets provision in the lease and this forced the plaintiff to leave.


  • Elderly plaintiff was admitted to defendant's nursing facility to recover from a urinary tract infection. She was partially demented and had Parkinson's disease and was not ambulatory without a walker. The defendant did not provide either bed rails or a mattress alarm, contending that they were counterproductive. The plaintiff left her bed at some point during the night and fell breaking her ankle. No one witnessed her fall and she was discovered in a bed in a different room. The plaintiff had a number of subsequent, unwitnessed falls. It was contended that the post-accident care was beyond negligent and that the enhanced damages under the Elder Abuse Act were warranted.


“Obviously, John Drath is a professional. Very pleased with the experience and the outcome!”

“Plaintiff counsel found the neutral extremely effective.”

John has very good sense of fairness. And he’s a guy who actually used the law in real life when he was practicing, so having an arbitrator like him, there’s not a whole lot that gets by him. And he’s very good at letting both sides speak their mind and make their case. And more importantly, he’s sharp about what matters and what doesn’t matter within the means of the applicable law.”

John Drath is in a league of his own. John will challenge you, and I like that about him. If he thinks we’re dead wrong in how we’ve evaluated the case. He doesn’t mind sharing that to get movement. He has a folksiness. He’s genuine. He’s honest. He’s extraordinarily likable. He’s just one of those guys that it’s in his DNA. He’s immediately engaging and disarming, which can be good and bad, because he’s a guy you want to talk to and you want to pour your heart out to. But you can most definitely trust him when it comes to mediation.

John worked very quietly behind the scene and was extremely effective at wrangling all the cats and getting all the various insurance companies and defendants on the same page. He’s very patient. He kept lawyers in check. He allowed the parties to express themselves when they needed to vent and just stayed very focused on the goal. And he really, really stayed with it.”