Profile

ADR EXPERIENCE

Robert S. Mann, Esq. is widely respected as one of California’s pre-eminent dispute resolution professionals. Selected for five consecutive years as one of the Top 50 Neutrals in California by the Daily Journal, and a multi-year Super Lawyer in Dispute Resolution, he has successfully mediated thousands of complex real estate, business and construction disputes and issued thoughtful, fair and impartial arbitration awards in a variety of challenging disputes.

Mr. Mann’s technical expertise in real estate and construction is unmatched. This experience allows him to help parties and their counsel understand and manage the risk in these expert-driven and factually complex matters. His experience as a trial lawyer (he has tried over 70 cases to verdict and was lead counsel in the longest construction arbitration in the history of the California operations of the AAA—261 hearing days) and his experience in managing construction projects as an owner’s representative, gives him a unique perspective and ability to settle even the most difficult and hotly contested matters. He is the author of more than 50 published articles on mediation and arbitration and he is the published author of a major technical book on construction, Defect-Free Buildings, published in 2007 by McGraw-Hill.

Mr. Mann is known for his calm yet extraordinarily persuasive demeanor, his ability to rapidly assimilate the most complex facts and legal issues, and an uncanny sense of the critical issues that will guide the outcome of trials and arbitrations. He is sought after for his ability to resolve even the most difficult of cases, especially those involving strong emotions and strong personalities.

Mr. Mann has special expertise in real estate matters involving non-disclosure, broker malfeasance, escrow issue, title company issues, and commercial and residential lease disputes. He has likely resolved more real estate non-disclosure disputes than any other mediator in California. He also has substantial expertise in business disputes of all kinds including partnership disputes.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Construction Law
  • Real Estate
  • Business and Commercial
  • Real Estate Broker Malfeasance
  • Homeowners Association Disputes
  • Professional Liability
  • Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith
  • Wrongful Death and Personal Injury
  • Employment
  • Intellectual Property and Entertainment

EDUCATION

  • J.D. cum laude, 1977, Santa Clara University School of Law
  • A.B., 1974, Stanford University

LEGAL CAREER

1998-2021       President, The Mann Law Firm
1993-1998       Partner, Colton Mann Partnership
1979-1998       Partner, Fierstein & Sturman Law Corp.
1977-1979       Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney

Mr. Mann has more than forty years of experience in construction, real estate and business litigation. Nearly 100% of his practice was devoted to construction law matters, including representation of owners, developers, general contractors, subcontractors, specialty contractors, architects, and engineers. He is a Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America (CLSA), an invitation-only, selective and limited membership international association of the world’s best construction lawyers.

Among his accomplishments, Mr. Mann obtained an award in excess of $90 million (the largest construction defect arbitration award in California history); obtained other multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements in various business, construction and real estate matters; defended major institutional clients in complex construction cases having over $35 million in exposure; has two published appellate decisions; and served as expert witness in construction disputes.

His experience includes all aspects of construction disputes, including construction defect, delay, disruption, mechanic’s liens, change orders, private and public works, multi-family, multi-party, residential and commercial. He has substantial technical expertise in building, including a thorough understanding of infrastructure (including dry and wet underground utilities), sewer systems, septic systems, soils and geotechnical issues, foundations, framing, fenestration, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, exterior plaster systems, roofing, waterproofing, civil engineering and mold. He also served as an expert witness regarding the reasonableness of attorney’s fees and standard of care in construction defect disputes.

PUBLICATIONS

  • Author, Defect-Free Buildings: A Construction Manual for Quality Control and Conflict Resolution 2007, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY
  • Author of more than 50 published articles on mediation and arbitration
  • Author of numerous appellate briefs with two published decisions
  • Columnist for the Daily Journal on construction issues

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

  • “The Architects Responsibility During Construction Administration,” Construction Law Seminar, Construction Specifications Institute/AIA, September 29, 2007
  • “Effective Case Preparation for Commercial/Construction Mediation,” The Absolute Mediator, Pepperdine University, November 5, 2005
  • 3rd Annual Avoiding and Resolving Construction Claims, West Coast Casualty (2014, 2015); Insurance Issues in Construction Litigation

ADR TRAINING

  • AAA Dealing With Delay Tactics in Arbitration, 2007
  • Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding and Writing Awards, 2005
  • AAA Commercial Arbitrator II Training, 2003
  • AAA Arbitrator I Training – Fundamentals of the Arbitration Process, 2002
  • Mediation Alliance, Basic and Advanced Mediation Training, 1996, 1997

Representative Cases

Construction Law

  • In this matter, a condo association alleged that due to alleged defects in the installation of a new roof the entire roof needed to be removed and replaced.
  • This matter involved a dispute between an owner and a general contractor with respect to the ground up construction of a distribution warehouse facility.
  • This was a dispute between a contractor and owner over tenant improvements in several commercial buildings. The owner claimed delay; the contractor claimed an unpaid contract balance and additional sums for change order work.
  • Case involving a claim of professional negligence against an architect with respect to the construction of a large single-family residence.
  • A dispute between the owner and contractor arising from the construction of a large custom home. Both parties had claims against each other involving construction defects and delay amounting to more than $15 million.
  • Public works case involved the construction of an underground water treatment facility. This dispute centered on the condition of the surface of the property after completion of the project and whether the grade was at the proper height. This was a technically complex case involving issues of civil engineering and sub-surface construction.
  • Public works construction case involving a freeway offramp where the parties disputed various quantities of materials and other change order differences.
  • This factually complex matter arose from a dispute over the construction of two 31 story residential condominium towers. The general contractor terminated the services of the concrete subcontractor early in the job. The parties disputed the amount owing at the time of the termination.
  • In this interesting dispute a condominium association hired a contractor to make extensive repairs throughout the association. The association claimed that the repairs were performed defectively, leaving the association with a repair bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • This was a dispute between a contractor and owner over tenant improvements in several commercial buildings. The owner claimed delay; the contractor claimed an unpaid contract balance and additional sums for change order work.
  • This construction dispute involves Mom and Pop contractors with no assets, little insurance coverage because no resultant damage, almost all the defects were from the original construction, e.g., not done by these defendants.
  • In this extremely interesting case, a commercial landlord agreed to build a commercial building for a tenant who was entering into a long-term lease. The tenant alleged that the landlord delivered the completed building more than a year late, that the building had numerous construction defects and that the landlord had not provided the contractually required number of parking spaces. The landlord alleged affirmative claims against the tenant, claiming that the tenant was partially responsible for the delay in the completion of the building, causing the landlord damages in the form of lost rent.
  • In this interesting dispute a condominium association hired a contractor to make extensive repairs throughout the association. The association claimed that the repairs were performed defectively, leaving the association with a repair bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • This was a dispute between a contractor and owner over tenant improvements in several commercial buildings. The owner claimed delay; the contractor claimed an unpaid contract balance and additional sums for change order work.
  • Hundreds of cases involving disputes between owners and contractors with respect to breach of contract, construction defects, mechanics’ liens, delay and disruption and incomplete work, including multi-million dollar disputes arising from the construction of residential, commercial and office projects. Total value of claims resolved exceeds $150 million.
  • Public Works cases, including resolution of $29 million dispute between public agency and surety regarding claims by surety for additional work under Modified Total Cost Claim analysis, dispute over claim arising from underground utility tunnel in San Francisco Bay Area, dispute over installation of one mile of high pressure welded steel fire supply line for downtown Los Angeles Metro Rail line, dispute over installation of high capacity pumps in public agency owned storm water retention and pumping facility, dispute over installation of cell towers on public agency owned land, dispute over damage to public utility equipment by private contractor during construction project.
  • Multiple cases involving disputes between private contractors and school districts, including disputes involving breach of contract, claims, discrimination, delay and disruption and construction defects.
  • Multiple cases involving disputes over removal of lateral and subjacent support including major claim arising from construction of commercial office building next to existing restaurant causing damage to restaurant facility.
  • Multiple cases involving multi-party construction defect claims arising from the construction of condominium and multi-family housing in California and Nevada.
  • Commercial construction disputes, including resolution of conflicting multi-million claims of owner and contractor on commercial hotel project and claim involving construction of hospital facility. Dispute involving construction of major downtown entertainment facility involving more than 40 parties.
  • Served as arbiter of quality control and completion issues on projects where parties agree to submit such issues for binding resolution based on my inspection and report.

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Commercial Disputes

  • Business dispute between manufacturer and supplier of custom-made machine involving claims that machine did not perform to manufacturer’s specifications and demand for return of purchase price plus lost profits claim.
  • Dispute between importer of household goods and warehouse/logistics company over termination of favorable warehousing contract and claim for damages including damaged and lost goods.
  • Partnership dissolution dispute involving dozens of parcels of real properties acquired over decades by partnership with claims of improper distributions and accounting issues in an emotionally charged relationship between the partners.
  • Dispute between two branches of family over ownership of family-owned and run restaurant business.
  • Dispute over ownership and valuation of antique Koran.
  • Dispute over ownership of parking rights in downtown office tower project.
  • Dispute involving malfeasance of property manager causing loss of rental income and increased financing charges due to reduction in rental income from property.

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Employment

  • Wrongful discharge of record company executive seeking $5 million in damages.

Home Inspection Disputes

  • Many cases involving home inspections by Home Inspectors and Termite Inspectors, including:
    Disputes arising from incomplete or inadequate inspections;
    Claims of fraudulent inspections (inspections not actually performed by signed off) by both buyers and sellers.

Homeowner Association Disputes

  • This matter involved a claim by an owner of a unit in a high-rise HOA where personal property was allegedly damaged during the course of repairs to the unit.
  • Member of homeowner association sues HOA Board for harassment, intimidation, and alleged failure to properly repair plumbing leaks into owner’s unit
  • Scores of Homeowner Association Disputes including:
    Dispute over obligations of “sister” associations to maintain and repair common area;
    Dispute over maintenance and repair of hillside area;
    Disputes over alleged non-compliance with architectural standards;
    Disputes over alleged damage to private property by HOA failure to maintain or repair common areas;
    Disputes over alleged failures to enforce CC&Rs;
    Disputes between HOA and third parties, including vendors and others over non-payment , breach of contract, breach of warranty;
    Disputes over elections of officers and Directors;
    Disputes over approval of construction and other loans by HOA to improve HOA property.

Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith

  • First party insurance dispute arose from smoke damage from the Woolsey Fire of 2018. The insured had tens of thousands of individual products, worth millions of dollars stored in a warehouse and alleged that the goods were damaged by smoke from the fire. The parties disagreed on the extent of the damage, the method that should be used to clean the products and the cost of the cleaning operations. Numerous experts had examined the goods and had conflicting opinions as to method and cost. The insured also contended that the insurance carrier had not handled the claim in good faith. The matter was settled by the carrier agreeing to a multi-million dollar payment to the insured.
  • Insurance bad faith case arising from dispute between carrier and homeowner over proper amount for repairs after water loss damages expensive single-family home.
  • As an adjunct to construction matters, scores of insurance coverage and bad faith lawsuits.

Intellectual Property and Entertainment Related Disputes

  • Theft of intellectual property dispute between the two largest manufacturers in U.S. of adult sex products over alleged misappropriation of images used in advertising materials.
  • Multi-million dollar dispute between creators/producers of top 20 network television show over who should be entitled to residuals as “creator” of show upon syndication.
  • Copyright infringement action between internet company selling “touts” (predictions by sports handicappers of up-coming games) for a fee and internet company with “billboard” displaying allegedly copyrighted materials.

Landlord/ Tenant

  • A Landlord/tenant/construction dispute in which the owner of a hotel agreed to make renovations to the hotel property that was currently leased to a hotel operator. The parties had a dispute over the time that it took to accomplish the renovation and the quality of the finished product.
  • A landlord/tenant dispute in which the parties disputed over an extension of a lease for a commercial retail store. The property was owned by one party but managed by a third party. The third party, allegedly without the owner’s consent, extended an existing lease for a substantial term. The owner, who desired to sell the property, brought an action to cancel the extension of the lease. The tenant contended that it was entitled to rely on the owner’s agent in obtaining the lease extension.
  • A complex commercial lease dispute arising from the build-out by the landlord of more than 50,000 square feet of space for the tenant, per the design of the tenant and its design team. The tenant claimed that the landlord delayed the construction of the tenant improvements and that some of the improvements were defective. The tenant claimed damages for the cost of renting other facilities while awaiting possession of the premises.
  • A commercial landlord/tenant dispute in which the tenant leased approximately 10 spaces in a light manufacturing/industrial building and then subleased the spaces to marijuana growers. A central issue in the case was the landlord’s knowledge of the growing operation and the tenants use of the premises for other questionable purposes. The landlord’s principal claim arose from the alleged failure of the tenant to leave the premises in “broom clean” condition.
  • A commercial landlord/tenant dispute arising from the lease of a fast-food franchise in which the parties disagreed over the terms of the lease and the obligations surrounding maintenance and repair.
  • The arbitration of this landlord/tenant dispute arose from the breach of a lease for a luxury “skybox” at a prominent sports venue. The case presented a number of interesting factual and legal issues including the impact of a separate agreement between the parties under the terms of which the landlord was obligated to purchase products from the tenant. The tenant claimed that a breach of this agreement excused its performance of the lease for the skybox.

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Legal Malpractice

  • $2.5 million claim of legal malpractice arising from failure to timely file and record Stop Notice in construction dispute.

Probate/Wills/ Trust

  • In this residential single family home non-disclosure case the buyer alleged that the elderly seller of the home had hired a local handyman to cover up defects in various components and not disclosed dry rot and other damage.

Real Estate / Real Property

  • This matter involved a claim by a landlord that the tenant had damaged a rental home during the tenancy.
  • A developer of a luxury single family home in the Hollywood Hills was alleged to have undermined the support for a large electrical utility power pole during the construction of the home, resulting in the utility having to replace the power pole at considerable expense. The utility sought to recover the cost of replacement from the owner, the general contractor and several subcontractors.
  • Matter involving a dispute between a residential landlord and a tenant with respect to the lease of a single-family residence.
  • Matter involving a buy-out of a close corporation. The parties each claimed malfeasance by the other party with regard to use of corporate funds.
  • A family member forged a deed and sold a property belonging to the family’s father. Another member of the family filed suit to set aside the transaction. The buyer claimed to be a good faith purchaser.
  • A developer of a luxury single family home in the Hollywood Hills was alleged to have undermined the support for a large electrical utility power pole during the construction of the home, resulting in the utility having to replace the power pole at considerable expense. The utility sought to recover the cost of replacement from the owner, the general contractor and several subcontractors.
  • Real estate non-disclosure. Claim that dual agent for buyer and seller did not adequately protect interest of buyer who discovered multiple construction defects in single family home remodeled by seller who failed to disclose defective and non-permitted work.
  • Real estate non-disclosure. Claim that dual agent for buyer and seller did not adequately protect interest of buyer who discovered multiple construction defects in single family home remodeled by seller who failed to disclose defective and non-permitted work.
  • In this interesting and factually complex real estate non-disclosure case, the plaintiff buyers contended that the sellers failed to disclose important information that the sellers learned from 2 prior buyers who cancelled escrow in the purchase of a single-family residence.
  • In this unusual real estate dispute, a buyer of a single-family home alleged that the real estate broker had failed to provide him documents prior to the close of escrow that would have put him on notice of a condition of the property that would make it impossible for him to construct room additions as he had planned as part of the purchase. The case, which did not involve fraud, but at best, negligence, presented an interesting legal question about the measure of damages.
  • In this commercial real estate dispute, a landlord sought damages for the repair of premises that were allegedly left in poor condition after the expiration of the tenant’s lease. The matter involved, among other things, the standard to be applied to the common “broom clean” language in a commercial lease.
  • Over 100 real estate broker malfeasance cases, including:
    Failure to disclose defects and other problems;
    Conspiracy to defraud;
    Inflating values for fraudulent loans;
    Misrepresentation of size and quality;
    Improper advice re escrow transactions;
    Mishandling documents;
    Improper advice re disclosure statements.
  • Real estate non-disclosure. Claim that dual agent for buyer and seller did not adequately protect interest of buyer who discovered multiple construction defects in single family home remodeled by seller who failed to disclose defective and non-permitted work.
  • In this complex identity theft case, a person purporting to be the owner of residential property obtained a large loan from a private lender and encumbered the property with a first trust deed. The settlement required payment to the lender, reconveyance of the fraudulent deed, cancellation of the promissory note and the payment of damages. A title company, escrow company and notary were all parties to the mediation.
  • In this unusual real estate dispute a buyer of a single family home alleged that the real estate broker had failed to provide him documents prior to the close of escrow that would have put him on notice of a condition of the property that would make it impossible for him to construct room additions as he had planned as part of the purchase. The case, which did not involve fraud, but at best, negligence, presented an interesting legal question about the measure of damages.
  • Dispute involving termination of lease at Staples Center luxury box.
  • Multiple cases involving commercial breach of lease and return of deposits in both residential and commercial properties.
  • Failure to disclose and other misrepresentation.
  • Multiple disputes arising from zoning and other use restrictions.
  • Multiple neighbor disputes over boundary lines, view sight easements, encroachments, hillside failures, lack of lateral and subjacent support.
  • Multiple cases involving foreclosure issues, including claims of lenders, borrowers, wrongful foreclosure, priority and title issues.
  • Dispute between Homeowner’s Association and Homeowner over filming rights on HOA property.
  • Dispute over maintenance obligations with regard to quarter-mile long retaining wall between two condominium associations including resolution of repair and maintenance responsibilities in the future.
  • Dispute over maintenance and repair of failing hillsides in large planned use community in hillside area adjacent to Mulholland Drive.
  • Dispute over method and cost to repair damaged condominium association property.

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Wrongful Death and Personal Injury

  • Toxic Tort wrongful death cases involving alleged death from inhalation of powdered dye and inhalation over time of toxic chemicals in workplace.
  • Personal injury automobile cases.

Testimonials

“Mr. Mann impressed my clients with his demonstrated willingness to work on settling the case. Mr. Mann was deeply invested in working hard to settle our case.”


“The client was very impressed by the mediator and he was a pleasure to work with.”


“I believe that Bob Mann is the best mediator in LA. Everyone that I have spoken to about him thinks so too. Eve Thorstens is great.”


“Bob Mann impressed my clients with his demonstrated willingness to work on settling the case. We had previously mediated this dispute, and Mr. Mann was qualitatively more invested in working hard to settle our case.”


“Mr. Mann did an excellent job of bringing the parties together and resolving a very difficult case where the parties were far apart.”


“Robert Mann is one of the best. He was effective and got the case settled. I highly recommend him.”


“Robert Mann is terrific. Knowledgeable, realistic, and doesn’t give up.”