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 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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Real Estate Disputes

  • 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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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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Real Estate Broker Malfeasance

  • 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.

Homeowner Association Disputes

  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

Employment

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

Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith

  • As an adjunct to construction matters, scores of insurance coverage and bad faith lawsuits.

Legal Malpractice

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