Stephen McAvoy, Esq. brings 28 years of litigation and advocacy experience towards resolving disputes encumbered by high emotion and conflict. Half of his legal career was spent representing plaintiffs and consumers while the other half of his career was in defense representation. The combined experience from these different roles makes him a fair and impartial neutral that is also attentive to the motivations and processes of both sides.

Persistent and personable, attorneys can count on Stephen McAvoy, Esq. to continue working on the settlement even after the mediation has concluded; a great many of Mr. McAvoy’s cases come to him at the early stages of the litigation and some are even pre-litigation. The guidance provided by Mr. McAvoy helps parties settle earlier with lower expenses and turmoil.

Masterful in his ability to empower the parties to evolve beyond their positions of disagreement, Mr. McAvoy has been praised for his unique ability to connect with strong personalities as well as manage and overcome the intrinsic factors that create barriers to a successful settlement.

Areas of Expertise

  • Business & Commercial Contract
    • Business disputes including Dissolution, Breach of contract and Unfair competition
  • Construction Contract, Defect and Liens
    • Commercial and Residential Construction defect claims from single units to whole developments, Mechanic’s Lien, Breach of Contract, Delay Claims and Public Works
  • Employment Law
    • Wage and Hour matters, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination, Wrongful Termination, Public Policy Violations and ADA issues
  • Personal Injury  
    • Soft tissue to catastrophic injury and Wrongful Death matters  involving industrial accidents, Products Liability, Motor Vehicle claims, Premises Liability, Public Entity claims, Dog Bite, mold related claims and Sexual Abuse. High emotional content issues.
  • Professional Malpractice
    • Legal, Realty, Architecture, Elder Abuse and Neglect, Veterinary, Business and other professional liability matters
  • Real Estate
    • Residential Non-Disclosure cases and those involving commercial leases and commissions, Boundaries, Easements and CC&R related claims.
  • Probate, Trust and Estates and Family Law
    • Will and Trust disputes as well as divorce mediation and dissolution of domestic partnerships

Legal Experience

  • ADR Neutral
    • 5 years as Mediator, Arbitrator, and Referee – resolving disputes involving Construction Defect, Construction Contract, Liens, Personal Injury, Business, Commercial Contract, Employment, and Legal Malpractice. Also served as an arbitrator for NASD as well as mediator and discovery referee for construction cases before the San Diego Superior Court.
  • Trial Attorney
    • 28 years of experience as Trial Attorney – representing  individual consumers, businesses, and insurance defense. Specialized in: Construction Defect and Construction Contract, Catastrophic Personal Injury, Employment, and Business Litigation.


  • University of Virginia, BA, with Distinction (1981)
  • University of San Diego, JD (1985)

Dispute Resolution Training

  • Pepperdine School of Law – Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Mediating the Litigated Case
  • National Conflict Resolution Center, Mediator Credential
  • Restorative Justice Mediation Program, Mediation TrainingUniversity of Virginia, BA, with Distinction (1981) University of San Diego, JD (1985)

Bar Admissions & Membership

  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of New Jersey (Inactive)

Representative Cases


  • Settled dispute between law firms over attorney’s fees.
  • Mediated dispute between multiple utility companies regarding power lines damaged during repair.
  • Settled dispute regarding a longtime rental contract of heavy construction equipment.
  • Resolved dispute between real property owner and the holder of a lease hold interest in the same property over the right to collect fees in connection in the placement of a cell phone tower.

Construction Defect

  • Resolved a construction defect dispute between a general contractor and homeowner regarding a custom house.
  • Resolved multimillion dollar lawsuit between general contractor and sub-contractor regarding the dispute of cladding on a commercial building.
  • Arbitrated a large number of construction disputes between home owners and contractors.

Employment, Wage & Hour

  • Wage and hour matter involving long distance truck drivers.
  • Settled disputes regarding warehouse and assembly line workers, discrimination claims, meal and rest breaks.
  • Mediated disputes involving wage and hour, overtime, meal and rest breaks involving nursing staff.
  • Wage and hour dispute involving golf instructor and high-profile country club.
  • Resolved class action wage and hour matter involving servers at a chain restaurant.
  • Dispute against large government contractor regarding racial discrimination.
  • Mediated wrongful discharge regarding age discrimination.
  • Pre-litigation by an employee of a major corporation involving PAGA in retaliation.
  • Dispute between a physician shareholder against an HMO Group over annual bonus and shared dividends. Plaintiff’s complaint also involved a PAGA claim.
  • Mediated a wage and hour and sexual discrimination case involving employee of a car dealership.
  • Sexual harassment case involving waitress and management.
  • Wrongful discharge action based on pregnancy.

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Personal Injury

  • Resolved personal injury auto collision dispute regarding serious injuries between a commercial truck and car.
  • Mediated altercation between bar patron and security guard resulting in severe injuries.
  • Mediated damp building environment (MVOCs) between property owner and tenant and defective railing.
  • Plaintiff severely injured by alleged defective massage chair.
  • Plaintiff allegedly injured during physical therapy.
  • Settled slip and fall case with severe injuries regarding large fast food industries.

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