Ms. Takahashi has been a trial attorney for the past 40 years, having prosecuted and defended hundreds of cases as both a state and federal prosecutor and civil litigator.  While a prosecutor, the criminal defense bar nicknamed her “the D.A. with a heart.” Her reputation in the legal community is stellar.  She is regarded by judges, mediators, the plaintiff’s bar, and defense counsel as hard-working, trustworthy, and reasonable.  Her background provides a solid foundation and a unique perspective from which to assist the parties in reaching a settlement of disputes. If requested, she can offer an objective prognostication of what may be of concern to the trier-of-fact.

As litigators know, most cases settle; however, the road traveled to final resolution is often long, circuitous, costly, and stressful. Caseloads keep building while litigants become increasingly dissatisfied as they stand on the sidelines of the court system. Whether the goal is to reach an early resolution or settle after experts’ depositions, Ms. Takahashi provides a fresh approach as well as a candid and unbiased assessment of the case at hand.

Areas of Expertise

  • Personal Injury: slip and fall; auto, motorcycle, pedestrian, skateboard accidents; wrongful death, sexual assault and child abuse
  • Landlord-Tenant: commercial and residential
  • Property Liability and Damages: fires, floods, crimes committed on property
  • Professional Liability/ Errors & Omissions
  • Public and Private Entity Liability: school districts, churches, private and public organizations, and government institutions
  • Business Litigations/ Breach of Contract


  • 2017    Mediation Training, Mediation Offices of Steve Rosenberg
  • 2015    Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution
  • 1976    University of California at Davis School of Law: Juris Doctor
  • 1973    University of California at Berkeley: Bachelor of Arts

Career History

  • 2001 – 2016    Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith – Partner
  • 1998 – 2000    Santochi Gable Dwyer & Takahashi – Managing Partner
  • 1996 – 1998    McLemore Collins & Toschi – Partner
  • 1991 – 1996    Kincaid Gianunzio Caudle & Hubert – Senior Associate
  • 1989 – 1991    Contra Costa County Municipal Court – Judge
    Presided over civil and criminal cases, Law & Motion, settlement conferences, case management, community forums, and educational outreach to youth, women, and minorities
  • 1982 – 1989    County of Contra Costa – Deputy District Attorney
  • 1980 – 1982    Private Practice – Criminal defense in Alameda County
  • 1978 – 1980    United States Department of Justice – Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California
    Prosecution of federal offenses; wrote and argued appeals before the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • 1976 – 1978    County of Alameda – Deputy District Attorney

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • Mar. 2018     “Does Gender Matter in Civil Litigation Mediations?”, Alameda County Bar Association
  • Nov. 2017     “Young Women in Excellence”

Professional Activities

  • 2018 – 2019    Assistant Coach, Contra Costa County (High School) Moot Court Competition
  • Mar. 2019    Judge, ABA Section of Dispute Resolution, Representation in Mediation Competition, Berkeley Law

Representative Cases

Landlord Tenant

  • Plaintiff and her family (husband and 3 children) rented a 2 bedroom apt. in San Leandro and claimed habitability problems (including mold, asbestos in ceiling material, plumbing, and cracks in wall joints and ceiling.
  • Plaintiff alleged causes of action for negligence, negligent inflation. Emotional distress, breach of contract, invasion of privacy, breach of covenant of quiet environment, breach of warranty, habitability, retaliatory eviction, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealings and sexual harassment by the property manager of a rental home in the East Bay. Plaintiff alleged various habitability deflects as well as unwanted sexual overtones that resulted in severe anxiety, fear and a belief that the defendant was spying on her and that his "work" on the home to address defects was a pretense to have contact with her.
  • Plaintiffs made written and verbal complaints concerning habitability defects over almost 2 years of occupancy. Parties pursued mediation prior to litigation pursuant to the rental contract, where a settlement was reached.
  • Plaintiff discovers that her "landlord" is the beneficiary of Section 8 housing which is paid for by another individual, and has been pocketing her rent for over a year. Actual Section 8 tenant and property manager boarded up the apartments to bar her from entry. Plaintiff suffered conversion, illegal lock-out and emotional distress.
  • Woman with seven (7) children sues owner of building for habitability and discrimination claims
  • Tenant claims racially-motivated physical and verbal assault and eviction

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Personal Injury

  • An elderly quadriplegic gentleman confined to a wheelchair for the previous 23 years sustained a fracture to the lower extremity when he fell forward from his specially designed wheelchair as the sling from the Hoyer lift was being removed by an in-home medical aid. Conservative treatment on the form of splinting failed, after ORIF surgery was performed with fair results.
  • Underinsured motorist. Mother (Driver) rear-ended by motorist and sustained moderate damage to the rear of their vehicle. Underlying case settled with a third party. Mother had pre-existing neck and back chronic condition and the daughter had recently undergone hand surgery. Daughter claimed a second surgery was necessitated by trauma sustained in the car accident. She complained of the scar on hand and residuals.
  • Young Adult male and his friends have been drinking and approached the family dog despite the dog growling and parking near the mother of one of the young men. The mother tells plaintiff to leave the dog alone as the backs up and continue to cark and appears to bark and appears to want to protect its owner. Plaintiff is told to stop approaching the dog but plaintiff ignores the warnings and is injured with bills total approximately $11,000.
  • Plaintiff claimed wage loss after sustaining injuries in an auto accident, but medical records and social media data did not support and even contradicted her claims.
  • Plaintiff steps off a 10-inch curb outside a bank at a strip mall and falls, resulting in permanent knee and ankle injuries requiring multiple surgeries. Plaintiff had undergone an ACL reconstruction repair with a graft approximately one year prior to the subject incident.
  • Asian family in automobile is rear-ended by an alcohol impaired driver
  • Woman driver, unfamiliar with the changing lane markings as a freeway onramp lies ahead, collides with a motorcycle, sending its rider airborne and resulting in injury and damages
  • Elderly woman shopping at outdoor market in Oakland sustains injury when an employee accidentally rolls a dolly loaded with boxes of crabs over her foot
  • Woman waiting in line at major retail store is injured when lumber leaning against a nearby counter falls on her
  • Female tenant is scalded by hot water coming from bathtub fixture in low income residential facility and sues the building’s owner and manager
  • Young man driving his parents’ vehicle rear-ends a woman’s vehicle. Plaintiff sustains soft tissue injury as a result of the three-car chain reaction accident on the freeway. Defense alleged that plaintiff’s complaints and claimed damages are pre-existing and stem from four (4) prior motor vehicle accidents, and as such, plaintiff’s claimed medical treatment is excessive and unrelated to the subject accident
  • Young woman is jumping on a trampoline and, after she does a drop-seat maneuver, suffered vaginal lacerations after a metal T ball stand located under the trampoline pierced through the trampoline’s surface
  • Slip and fall accident on artificial butter in a movie theater results in plaintiff’s fractured knee, bruised hip, and sprained ankle. She sustained substantial medical and chiropractic treatment and attendant wage loss to the woman who owned her business
  • Wrongful Death- Elderly man living in a low-income apartment is severely burned over 1/3 of his body and, after three agonizing weeks in the intensive care unit, dies. Plaintiffs were his two adult sons who had not seen their father for more than a year before his death. Plaintiffs believed that the fire started from a gas leak from the living room furnace and that there were no working smoke/fire alarms in the apartment. The defense was convinced that the decedent was drunk and had fallen asleep while smoking in bed and had, essentially, set himself on fire. The defense argued that the smoke alarms in the apartment could not be heard because decedent had taken them down in order to smoke in his apartment. Facts, liability and damages were hotly contested. Opening plaintiffs' demand- $1 million; Opening defense Offer - $0.

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Property Damage

  • A mysterious fire of uncertain origin rages through a business and spreads to the restaurant next door, resulting in devastating property damage and rendering stored food ruined

Sexual Misconduct

  • High school freshman is assaulted by an upper classman at school. She continued to experience harassment. When she reported the incidents to school officials, they failed to immediately contact child protective services or the police. Plaintiff alleged that the school district failed to protect her from continued harassment, which left her with anxiety and depression.
  • Young woman demands compensation for parental acts and omissions against her mother and alleged sexual misconduct by her stepfather


  • Plaintiffs alleged that they were defrauded by false representations made by defendants and were thereby induced into contracting for the construction of commercial buildings. Within months of the start of construction, serious construction problems arose and other material misrepresentations were discovered. Plaintiffs ultimately cancelled the contract with defendants and proceeded to hire new contractors at a substantially higher contract price. Plaintiffs filed suit and cross complaints followed. At mediation, plaintiffs' demand was $855,000. Case settled for a confidential sum. Defendants were not covered by insurance.