Profile

Mediator • Special Master

Gideon Kracov, Esq. is a distinguished mediator with 30 years of experience specializing in civil, environmental, and real estate cases. Mr. Kracov offers demonstrated expertise honed by 30 years of experience providing dispute resolution services to a diverse clientele, including businesses, individuals, labor organizations, and non-profit entities. He has an extensive background in navigating complex legal matters, coupled with significant experience in handling governmental affairs at the highest levels of California state government. The Daily Journal describes Mr. Kracov as a “highly collaborative” and “pragmatic” mediator with a “committed approach to preparation.” He has “credibility with all parties, perhaps the highest currency.”  Mr. Kracov offers both in-person and virtual mediation services as a highly effective alternative to protracted litigation, working diligently with the parties every step of the way – from pre-mediation calls to post-mediation follow-up – towards resolving the dispute.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

CIVIL LAW:

  • Breach of Contract
  • Class Actions
  • Employment
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
  • Products Liability

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW:

  • California Environmental Quality Act
  • CERCLA and Toxic Torts
  • Clean Air Act and Climate
  • Clean Water Act and Stormwater
  • Coastal Act and Natural Resources
  • Contaminated Property
  • Environmental Justice
  • Nuisance and Private Enforcement
  • Proposition 65

REAL ESTATE AND PUBLIC ENTITY LAW:

  • Administrative and Municipal Law
  • Condemnation
  • Easements, Encroachment and Trees
  • Government Oversight
  • Homeowners’ Disputes
  • Public Policy Disputes
  • Real Estate Development and Sales
  • Zoning Entitlements and Land Use

BIOGRAPHY AND EXPERIENCE

Berkeley Law, University of California, Berkeley
J.D. and Environmental Law Certificate, 1995

University of California, Berkeley
B.A. with high honors, 1992

With a diverse background representing plaintiffs, defendants, and governmental entities, Mr. Kracov is uniquely positioned to mediate complex civil disputes. His experience includes serving as a Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney in the Real Property Division, where he counseled the Departments of Planning and Sanitation on public works and real estate projects and successfully defended the City in high-stakes trials. Notably, he played a pivotal role in negotiating a $168 million settlement for the removal of trash from the Los Angeles River and advised on the City’s property redevelopment initiatives. In addition, Mr. Kracov led civil prosecutions in the City Attorney’s Environmental Protection Unit.

Prior to his public sector tenure, Mr. Kracov practiced at Rose, Klein & Marias LLP, a prominent plaintiff’s trial law firm, handling toxic tort and personal injury cases that helped shape these areas of the law. He began his legal career at the prestigious Los Angeles firm Weston Benshoof LLP (now Alston & Bird LLP), where his practice involved toxic tort defense for Fortune 500 clients in product liability, mass tort, and environmental contamination cases.

Mr. Kracov holds the esteemed title of Thomson Reuters California Super Lawyer, a distinction reserved for the top 5 percent of lawyers. He received specialized training in “Mediating the Litigated Case” from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law. Additionally, he is a member of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Mediation Panel, where he contributes his expertise in facilitating settlements. He also serves as a settlement officer for the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Resolve Law Mandatory Civil Settlement Conference Program and provides mediation services at the Center for Conflict Resolution.

Beyond his legal practice, Mr. Kracov has made significant contributions to the legal community. He is the former Chair of the California Lawyers Association Environmental Law Section, Executive Committee. In that role, he led educational and program activities for over 2,500 section members. As a member of the adjunct faculty at Loyola Law School, he imparts his knowledge of land use law and regulation to future legal professionals. Notably, Mr. Kracov proudly coached the Loyola Law School team to first place in the 20th Annual California Lawyers Association Environmental Law Student Negotiation Competition.

Mr. Kracov serves as the Governor’s appointee to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state’s lead air pollution and climate change regulatory agency. He also serves as the Governor’s appointee to the South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board. In these roles, he navigates complex public policy issues, engaging with diverse stakeholders to achieve satisfactory outcomes while upholding trust and accessibility. Previously, he chaired the three-member Department of Toxic Substances Independent Review Panel, overseeing governance of the agency responsible for the cleanup of contaminated properties throughout California.

Representative Cases

Environmental

  • Federal Clean Water Act stormwater matter against large industrial facility. Case involved detailed analysis of Consent Judgment terms and Industrial Stormwater Permit.
  • Federal RCRA site cleanup and stormwater run-off matter concerning PCBs released at electric utility site. Detailed consent judgment signed by district court include terms concerning regulatory oversight, cleanup standards and attorneys’ fees.
  • State court dust nuisance dispute between commercial property owners. Detailed settlement terms involving air quality release standards, future enforcement and attorneys’ fees.
  • Multi-party Proposition 65 failure to warn consumer exposure matter. Defendants include manufacturers and retailers of products alleged to contain phthalates.
  • Proposition 65 failure to warn relating to food product. Defenses included res judicata from prior settlement and challenge to plaintiff’s calculation of cadmium concentrations.

    Real Estate and Landlord Tenant

    • Landlord Tenant habitability case involving refund of rent and damages with allegations including failure to repair. vermin and retaliation.
    • Dispute over interpretation of conservation easement, land use permits and California Environmental Quality Act compliance for hillside development. Claims involve homeowner’s association and property owner.
    • Landlord tenant dispute over early termination of commercial lease and landlord efforts to mitigate rent. Tenant also claims amounts due for common area repairs.
    • Landlord tenant dispute for failure to return deposit and consequential damages. Allegations include racial animus.
    • Landlord tenant dispute for back rent and damages to property. COVID-19 related legal defenses also at issue.
    • CEQA and zoning lawsuit brought by neighboring homeowners association concerning construction of 30 acre residential project in Northern California. Resolution involved detailed mitigation conditions and long term lease of boundary area.

    view all

    Personal Injury and Tort

    • Sexual battery allegations made by customer against chiropractor and medical services provider. Case involved complicated concurrent felony criminal matter.
    • Automobile accident involving multiple surgeries for plaintiff. Liability contested by defendant represented by insurance carrier.
    • Premises liability claims relating to severe injuries when garage gate caught and snapped invitee’s right arm. Defendant’s contentions include plaintiff’s contributory negligence.
    • Negligence claims against California Highway Patrol relating to automobile accident involving one of its deputies. Multi-plaintiff matter.
    • Property damage claims against car wash by patron. Defenses related to lack of mechanism for causation and valuation of damages.
    • Dangerous condition of public property negligence claim against City of Compton relating to public sidewalk. Liability contested by public agency including lack of notice.
    • Trip and fall liability claimed by invitee of commercial premises. Defenses included review of video footage and frequency of inspection and maintenance.

    view all

    Employment

    • Place of origin discrimination claims for harassment and hostile work environment in violation of FEHA against medium-sized manufacturing firm.
    • Disability discrimination employment case filed against large accounting firm. Employee alleged to have been terminated as part of a large reduction in force (RIF).
    • Claims by terminated employee against media company including disparate treatment, employment discrimination and wrongful termination in violation of public policy (Tameny claim). Employer contested liability on grounds of pervasive tardiness and other work performance issues.
    • Failure to accommodate claims brought by employee relating to COVID-19 respiratory protections. Defenses include compliance with OSHA regulations and detailed industrial hygiene analysis.
    • Claims for nonpayment of minimum wage, denial of uninterrupted meal and rest breaks, failure to pay overtime brought by property manager against owner of multi-family property. Defenses include failure to perform duties and absence of contemporaneous documentation evidencing the claims.
    • Lawsuit filed by adult industry performer for owed wages, failure to provide meal and rest periods, failure to provide itemized wage and hour statements, and corresponding PAGA violations. Defendant’s contentions include failure to document violations and Plaintiff’s violations of employee handbook policies.

    view all

    Contract

    • Contract litigation over amounts due to contractor for construction services. Dispute included scope of work and licensing violations.
    • Lemon Law action transferred to federal court. Matter involves surrender of vehicle, penalties and attorneys’ fees.
    • Contract dispute over auto collision repair and storage costs for multiple vehicles. Bureau Automotive Repair violations at issue.
    • Health care services dispute involving insurance benefits and failure to pay provider for medical care.

    Civil Harassment

    • Dispute among family members relating to visitation of elderly family member. Allegations included threats of violence and intimidation.
    • Claim by tenant against landlord relating to invasion of privacy and interference with possession. Counter-claim include failure to pay rent.

    Testimonials

    “Gideon’s committed approach to preparation really allowed us to cut right to the chase on the day of. He had a good, persuasive style with the parties, so they understood both the way the case might come out if it didn’t resolve and the benefits to a resolution. He really made use of a nice combination of an evaluative approach plus a much more pragmatic approach that helped the parties reach common ground.”


    “Gideon has worked on the plaintiff’s side, but at the same time he’s worked for the city attorney’s office, and he also used to work for a developer-side law firm. I love the fact that he has three different hats that he’s worn – plaintiff, defendant, and then also the government. Gideon did a great job with the clients on both sides of the dispute. There were a lot of strong emotions. Each side thought the other side was treating them unfairly. But he did a really good job of navigating the different perspectives, the different feelings, and helping the parties deliberate through that process.”


    “Sometimes the personalities in litigation can be large, but Gideon puts those to the side and really gets to an interest-based mediation. He really takes the time to figure out what are the interests of the various parties, where do they converge, and once those things are identified, it really greases the skids towards reaching a resolution. He wasn’t afraid to mention strengths and weaknesses of sides’ cases. But he doesn’t beat you over the heard. There are times when you need somebody who’s got a sledgehammer and is hitting both sides over the head, but I like working with somebody who’s collaborative because we can have a more civilized and rational discussion, and that goes a long way towards allowing my clients to make certain concessions where they need to. And it’s been my experience that Gideon is highly collaborative.”


    “Our firm dealt with a heavily litigated (and contentious) environmental matter for a couple of years. The sides agreed to mediation and defense counsel suggested using Gideon. After reviewing his credentials, he seemed knowledgeable in the field and his diverse litigation background gave me comfort to try him out. From the outset, Gideon was engaged and communicative with the sides before the mediation date. He worked to lay out a foundation towards resolution and honed in on the key issues. During the actual mediation date, Gideon demonstrated his knowledge of the law, acting as a facilitator at times, educator at others, with the focus on overcoming the roadblocks in our case. He patiently took in the day’s worth of back and forth and put a proposal on the table that was eventually accepted by all parties. Given the fact that very few mediators actually know the environmental realm, and also given Gideon’s balanced approach, I know we will use him again and I am certain opposing counsel (that want to get cases resolved) will also be on board.”


    “Initially, my opponent offered Gideon as a candidate to mediate the conflict but I considered that a stroke of luck given what I knew of him through others. This gave him significant credibility with both sides.  He also worked overtime to ensure both sides were convinced that he had no favoritism and was seeking resolution based on the claims, the judge’s prior rulings, and what likely would be admissible evidence. He was a consummate professional in that regard, and very particular about confidentiality. On top of that, his interpersonal skills dealing with some very difficult opposing attorneys (a main reason the case had stale-mated), seemed to me to integrate both his experienced skill, and his brand of personality and psychology, in order to reach a resolution that, ultimately, was agreed to by the parties. Both these issues — his deep expertise in a complex environmental matter — coupled with the right dose of the right kind of “bedside manner” — allowed the parties to settle amicably without incurring very costly legal and expert fees between the mediation date and the trial date.”


    “Gideon Kracov served as our mediator in a complex environmental law citizen suit brought under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in federal court in Los Angeles against a construction company that provides contract services to a utility provider. The defendant’s activities at a service yard facility created significant site contamination with dioxins and pentachlorophenol. The case involved very complicated issues concerning the risk posed by this on-site contamination to a nearby sensitive wetlands slough. After years of extensive litigation, including multiple rounds of written discovery and depositions and a series of settlement mediation meetings conducted by a magistrate judge, the case still had not settled and was approaching the eve of trial. With a court order compelling the parties to engage in an additional round of settlement mediation before trial, the parties retained Mr. Kracov to serve as our mediator.


    “Mr. Kracov proved to be a remarkably quick study, reviewing lengthy expert reports and briefing materials to be fully informed in our mediation sessions. He demonstrated great skill as a mediator in grasping the parties’ competing interests and motivations. He was further very skillful in helping the parties to graphs their comparative risks and continuing to trial and in steering the parties to common ground. When the matter did not settle after our first nearly all day mediation session, he demonstrated great commitment and resolve in following up with the parties and continuing to get them to work towards a settlement resolution. In the end, on the day before trial, the parties were able to reach agreement on a comprehensive consent decree which obligates the defendant to engage in further site remediation and cleanup activity to the level of satisfaction of an appropriate regulatory agency. Mr. Kracov’s skilled and energetic mediation was greatly helpful in securing this mutually acceptable resolution to what had been an intractable litigation conflict. I would highly recommend him as a mediator. His thorough, but congenial style helps make stressful situations more workable. I would especially recommend him as a mediator for complex environmental matters, these cases involve specialized law and science and finding mediators with the requisite background to maximize their effectiveness can be far from easy.”


    “I thought Gideon did an excellent job managing a difficult mediation. We were able to get to a tentative settlement in a case that has been going for several years.”