Hon. John M. True (Ret.)

Profile

After almost 29 years practicing law and 11 years on the Alameda County Superior Court, John True is now a full-time mediator, arbitrator and fact-finder.  He is also a part-time adjunct law professor.  Although his primary experience has been in the field of labor and employment law, he has also handled a wide variety of other cases including contract disputes, torts, property matters, malpractice cases (both medical and legal) and construction defect cases.  A brief summary of his experience and qualifications follows:

Alternative Dispute Resolution Experience

While on the bench and after his retirement from the bench, Judge True has mediated cases in a wide variety of practice areas including:

  • Employment, including class actions;
  • Labor disputes;
  • Business disputes including commercial sales, business agreements, and others;
  • Personal injury cases;
  • Professional liability, including medical and legal malpractice claims;
  • Trade secrets and non-competition litigation; and
  • Real estate.

While on the Alameda County Superior Court, Judge True held settlement conferences in hundreds of civil cases, most of which resolved successfully.  In 2005, he was asked by the Court to lead its Alternative Dispute Resolution Administration Committee, which he did until his retirement.  As Chair of the ADR Committee, Judge True helped to develop and implement the Court’s successful Court Mediation Program for civil cases.  Local rules and procedures were modified to encourage mediation, and a panel of mediators willing to volunteer time to help settle civil cases was developed.  The Program is now the centerpiece of the Court’s ADR program.   Judge True also helped to develop and inaugurate a Discovery Facilitation Program, now widely used to resolve discovery disputes before motion practice is required.

Since he left the bench, Judge True has been an active arbitrator in employment and labor disputes.  In addition to being available as a private mediator and arbitrator, Judge True serves as a mediator and discovery facilitator on the Alameda County panel he helped to create. He is also a panel mediator and Early Neutral Evaluation Program Evaluator for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California’s ADR Program.

Professional Experience

  • Current – Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee, ADR Services, Inc.
  • 2003 – 2015  Judge, Superior Court of California, Alameda County
    Served as civil trial judge from 2008 – 2015
    Appellate Division for four years, including one year as Presiding Judge
    Conducted settlement conferences in hundreds of civil cases
  • 1975 – 2003  Employment Litigator
    Handled labor and employment cases in state and federal courts, including individual and class action cases in the state and federal trial courts, before administrative agencies and at the appellate levelMediated, arbitrated, served as a neutral fact-finder, and provided expert witness and consulting services in employment matters
  • 2000 – 2003 Partner, Leonard Carder
  • 1994 – 2000 Partner, Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & True
  • 1985 – 1993  Senior Staff Attorney, San Francisco Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center
  • 1979 – 1985 Partner, True, Wetzel, Colton & Fouts
  • 1975 – 1979 Field Attorney, National Labor Relations Board
  • 1966 – 1972 United States Peace Corps
    Deputy Peace Corps Director in Afghanistan (1969 – 1972)
    Peace Corps Fellow in Washington, D.C. (1968 – 1969)
    Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal (1966 – 1968)

Education

  • 1975 – University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall), J.D.
  • 1966 – Trinity College, B.A. in History

Professional Associations

  • Member, Alameda County Bar Association
  • Member and Past Chair, Bar Association of San Francisco, Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Member and Past Chair, California State Bar, Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Member, Advisory Board, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice (Boalt Hall)
  • Member, Advisory Board, Berkeley High School Student Court
  • Member and Past Chair, Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Group, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • Past Member (1998 – 2001), California State Bar, Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Past Lawyer Representative (1988 – 1992), Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference

Honors

  • Member, American Law Institute (elected 2009)
  • Fellow, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers (elected 2001)

Selected Publications

  • Recently published “Collective Bargaining To Crowdsourcing: Taxi Drivers In Transition,” 29 Cal. Lab. & Empl. Rev. No 6, p. 1 (2015).
  • From 1993 to 2003, authored a bi-monthly employment law column titled “Point of View” in Matthew Bender’s California Employment Law Reporter (LEXIS Law Publishing).
  • Wrote regularly on employment law topics for CEB’s Civil Litigation Reporter and the California State Bar Labor & Employment Law Section Quarterly.
  • Co-author of California Employment Litigation: Strategy and Tactics (LEXIS Law Publishing, 1999, now in third edition).
  • Wrote or edited chapters of several major employment law treatises including California Employment Law (Matthew Bender)(author of Chapter 51); Employment Discrimination Law (BNA)(contributing editor, Chapters 20 and 26); and Wrongful Employment Termination Practice (CEB)(co-author of Chapter 2, “Discrimination Claims”).

Representative Cases

Business & Commercial Contract

  • Case involving a City’s “undergrounding” project pursuant to which telephone, electric and other services are delivered to businesses and homeowners via underground connections. When the construction company which had successfully bid for the project sued the City for nonpayment, the City counterclaimed on various grounds. After extensive motion practice and a three-week trial, jury found in favor of the plaintiff contractor.
  • Handled a dispute over the purchase and sale of a retail food establishment in Sunol. One of the parties and several witnesses were monolingual Mandarin speakers.
  • Tried a case involving a Korean couple who invested in a small restaurant chain pursuant to immigration provisions granting visas to foreign investors. Under the agreement by which the investment was made, the husband of the couple was employed in the restaurant chain. After the husband had been discharged from employment, the couple sued, claiming that they had been defrauded by the restaurant chain owner. The owner defended, asserting that the husband’s failure to perform pursuant to his employment obligations effectively “wasted” the investment.
  • Handled a bench trial in a dispute over the sale of a restaurant business in Berkeley, California. The purchaser, an Afghan, wished to open an ethnic restaurant featuring Afghan food, including kebabs. The parties apparently failed to agree on price, and the purchaser defaulted. As well, the owner of the property where the business was situated objected to the sale.
  • Mediated a dispute involving the installation of an industrial oven at a Northern California commercial bakery. Plaintiff, owner of the bakery, claimed that the oven was defective and/or had been improperly installed. An explosion in the oven’s venting rendered it inoperable. The defendant seller denied liability, asserting that the oven had been properly installed and that the buyer had approved of its condition post-installation. The matter resolved.
  • Handled a lengthy and bitter dispute among congregants in an East Oakland Baptist Church. The case involved a dozen separate lawsuits which had to be consolidated, numerous applications for restraining orders, allegations of trespass, theft, voting fraud and battery.
  • Settled a hard-fought partnership dispute involving two East Bay law firms in which allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and wrongful appropriation of clients and intellectual property were made when one of the partners left the business.
  • Matter involving the partnership breakup of two brothers who could not agree on the control and direction of a small East Bay business. Entered findings of fact and conclusions of law which were twice appealed and upheld.
  • Handled a bench trial in which two individuals who had previously worked together founded a peptide manufacturing business in Pleasanton, California, entering into a partnership agreement in order to do so. The partners had a falling out which resulted in lawsuits against each other. Numerous claims and counterclaims were included.
  • Handled a case involving individuals formerly doing business together dissolved their relationship. One individual later sued the others and their company on various claims, including breach of a non-compete clause, fraud, intentional and negligent interference with economic relationship, and for injunctive relief. The named defendants filed a cross-claim for breach of contract and common counts.

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Civil Rights

  • The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was sued by the Prison Law Office, an advocacy group in the San Francisco Bay Area, alleging unconstitutional conditions of confinement in California’s juvenile detention centers.
  • Handled a highly charged dispute among Eritrean émigrés. Issues involved rights of an Eritrean community group against the First Amendment rights of several individuals who vehemently opposed the government currently in power in Eritrea. The group asked that various individuals within and outside of the state of California be enjoined from conduct which they alleged was harassing and defamatory.

Construction Defect

  • Handled a case involving the application of industrial paint to the interior of a Newark, California, multi-use community center. When the paint failed, the City sued the general contractor who in turn sued subcontractors who then sued the general and each other. There were complicated issues of liability for the failed paint, insurance coverage at various levels and times, indemnification and comparative fault. Various parties settled out, and the jury reached a verdict and apportioned damages among the non-settling defendants.
  • Dispute involving significant defects in the construction of a private dwelling. The general contractor, subcontractors and the building’s previous owners were involved. Settlements were reached with some of the parties and the plaintiffs; other claims were tried and resolved.
  • Handled a group of consolidated cases involving alleged construction defects in a large Emeryville, California, condominium property. The proceedings involved condominium owners, the project developer, lenders and insurers. All of the claims were settled in the course of over a year and with extensive motion practice.

Discovery Matters

  • While on the bench, handled dozens of discovery disputes involving issues of privilege, allegations of burdensome and/or oppressive discovery and so forth. In virtually every case that went to trial, some discovery dispute had to be resolved.
  • As the Court’s ADR Administration Committee Chair, helped to originate a pilot program involving discovery facilitation. Joined the pilot program as a volunteer discovery facilitator after leaving the bench. Have assisted the parties in cases in resolving discovery problems prior to the need for motion practice.
  • Mediated a discovery dispute involving the city of Oakland and a service provider which required extensive review of allegedly privileged documents and a decision as to whether the documents should be released to the plaintiff.
  • Mediated a discovery dispute on the issue of whether documents generated in review by an auto company’s legal department were discoverable or whether they were covered under the attorney-client privilege work product doctrine.

Elder Abuse

  • Handled dispute in which relatives of a disabled and incompetent person alleged that a skilled nursing facility had discharged the patient improperly, resulting in a long period in which he was homeless in the streets of various East Bay communities. The case presented somewhat complex issues of corporate liability for the alleged treatment as well as difficult issues of damages for the patient who was generally unaware of his surroundings. After jury was instructed, case settled.

Labor & Employment

  • Mediated approximately a dozen cases in which women employed by a large East Bay oil refining and distribution company complained of sex discrimination in promotional opportunities. The defendant company denied liability but agreed to settle a large number of individual claims through mediation.
  • Mediated an employee’s claims against an East Bay luxury automobile dealer for employment discrimination, sexual harassment and wage & hour violations. The plaintiff claimed that she had been severely verbally abused and subjected to unwanted touching. She also asserted that she was not provided proper meal and rest breaks. The defense alleged that plaintiff evidenced consent or willingness to engage in the behavior to which she objected. The matter was resolved in mediation.
  • Mediated claims of race discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination by an individual employee of a Northern California utility. The employer asserted that the individual was himself acting inappropriately in the workplace, failed to follow directions or heed warnings, and therefore was lawfully terminated.
  • Mediated a claim of disability discrimination by an individual employed for a total of two weeks by a company that manufactured and distributed medical devices. Claims also included wage and hour violations. The case settled.
  • Mediated a dispute between an employee and a well-known Berkeley California produce and grocery market. Employee claimed that he had been discriminated against and wrongfully terminated; employer asserted that the employee had been disciplined according to the employer’s progressive discipline system and ultimately terminated as a result of that process. The parties were able to settle the matter in mediation.
  • Arbitrated a case in which a female African-American employee of an East Bay coffee maker and retail distributor claimed race and gender discrimination. The employer asserted that the employee failed to meet performance standards and was disrespectful to her supervisors and managers. After numerous warnings and write-ups, she was terminated.
  • Arbitrated a matter in which an employer based in France sued the manager of its California subsidiary for fraud and conversion based on allegations of falsifying and otherwise manipulating receipts for business expenses. The employee counterclaimed alleging race and gender discrimination. The case involved a weeklong arbitration hearing, post-hearing briefing, and issuance of an award.
  • Plaintiff, an apprentice ironworker, complained that he was subjected to extremely demeaning, sexually explicit comments and gestures by his male supervisor, and later to similar comments by male coworkers, and that he was also subjected to physical threats by coworkers in retaliation for his complaints about his supervisor. The defendant changed plaintiff’s work site to separate him from his harassers, but his union suspended him from its apprenticeship program and, after the suspension expired, his employer did not rehire him. Granted summary judgment to employer under then current law. Decision upheld on appeal.
  • Handled a case in which a City Administrator claimed that she had been discriminated against on account of her gender by the Mayor and that the Mayor had demanded that she approve of the expenditure of public funds for his private purposes. The City and the Mayor denied her charges and asserted, as a reason for her termination, a highly publicized incident in which the Administrator appeared to have intervened with the Police Department on behalf of a relative which allegedly caused the Mayor to lose confidence in her. Jury found against plaintiff.
  • Handled a case in which a detective in the Oakland Police Department claimed that he had been discriminated against on account of “perceived religious affiliation” after he was discharged from the force. The City defended on the grounds that the termination was justified and that the detective’s “perceived religion” had nothing to do with his termination. The detective had been involved in a highly controversial investigation in the murder of an African-American journalist by an individual affiliated with an Islamic bakery in Oakland. Granted summary judgment.
  • Handled a case in which an Oakland Police Department supervisory employee was discharged along with others in connection with allegations of widespread falsification of search warrants presented to Alameda County judges for execution. Employee alleged that she was singled out for discriminatory treatment on account of her gender. Before filing suit, she had exercised her rights in a union grievance proceeding ending in an arbitration in which she did not prevail. Granted summary judgment.
  • A union-represented employee of the Port of Oakland claimed that she was harassed and discriminated against on account of her gender and sexual orientation. She also claimed that she had been singled out for adverse treatment because of her grievances and other activities in protest of allegedly discriminatory conduct. Granted summary adjudication as to some claims; jury found for defendant on retaliation cause of action.
  • A female employee of a trucking company alleged that she had been subjected to unwanted attention, verbal comments, and touching by the male owner of the business. The defendant denied the conduct, denied that it was unwanted and proffered after-acquired evidence to show that the plaintiff would not have been hired had the defendant known of certain pre-hire conduct. Jury found for plaintiff.
  • Female employee of a large, nonprofit hospital and healthcare organization claimed that she was subjected to sexual harassment by her supervisor who, according to the employee, touched her inappropriately and made inappropriate verbal comments and demands. The supervisor and the hospital vehemently denied her claims. The case was greatly complicated by the fact that both the employee and the supervisor remained employed by the hospital in the same work unit in which the allegedly harassing conduct took place. After jury verdict, granted a new trial to defendant. Plaintiff’s appeal denied, and case was tried again.
  • An employee of a large Oakland California medical marijuana dispensary sued the dispensary for wrongful termination and other torts. The case settled prior to trial after a considerable amount of motion practice, including in limine motions.
  • Successfully mediated a claim by a senior employee of a major high-tech company that he had been slapped in a meeting by his supervisor. He left work on disability and claimed that he was constructively discharged by this conduct. He also alleged severe emotional distress leading to disruption of his family life and other consequences. The matter settled in mediation.
  • A dispute among principals of an East Bay tenant rights organization led to several lawsuits. One of the cases involved a former employee who claimed workplace defamation. Jury found for plaintiff.
  • An employee alleged that she was terminated by her employer in violation of public policy after she had chosen to retain counsel to negotiate the terms of a pregnancy leave. Jury’s verdict in favor of plaintiff upheld on appeal.
  • Handled two separate but very similar mediations involving class-action wage and hour claims against different East Bay retail food establishments. Causes of action involved unpaid overtime, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, and claims for Labor Code penalties. In each case, defendant claimed that employees were permitted to take rest and meal breaks as required by law. In each case, damage computations played an important role in settlement.
  • Mediated an individual wage and hour and discrimination claim against a Fremont retail food establishment which ended in settlement. Plaintiff claimed that she had “risen through the ranks” from dishwasher to manager. She alleged that she had been paid improperly and then terminated without cause and for discriminatory, retaliatory reasons. The defendant denied any discriminatory purpose and asserted that the separation from employment was for cause. The case settled in mediation.
  • Mediated and resolved an individual discrimination/wage & hour case by an employee of a skilled nursing facility. The employee claimed that he was required to work “off the clock,” and the employer denied this. Employer also asserted that the employee failed to carry out critical job duties resulting in the potential for danger to patients.
  • Mediated an individual wage & hour matter involving a courier who claimed that he was required to work “off the clock” while picking up and delivering packages in the San Francisco Bay area. Provided assistance to both parties in examining time records, pickup and delivery orders, and other evidence in order to arrive at a successful conclusion of the mediation.
  • Claimant in a pre–litigation dispute with his former employer asserted that he had been compelled to work “off the clock” and underpaid as a result. He claimed that emails between him and his supervisor established that he had protested this treatment and had been threatened with termination. The defendant property management company denied any compelled overtime work and asserted that the employee had been terminated for cause. The parties were able to resolve the case in mediation.
  • Handled a case in which employee claimed that he had been denied overtime pay and rest breaks during his employment at a small chain of Mongolian barbecue restaurants.
  • Purported class action involving claimed misclassification of individuals working for a large real estate sales organization.
  • Handled a misclassification matter involving a class-action challenge to the practice of "leasing" cabs to drivers. Case was resolved when summary judgment granted to employee drivers.
  • Handled a class-action challenge to the misclassification of small package pickup and delivery drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. Case was ultimately settled.
  • Handled a class-action challenge to the use of "independent contractor" status for farm workers in the strawberry industry. The case settled before trial.
  • Handled a number of cases involving classification of employees in the fast food industry as “managers” or “assistant managers,” thereby making them exempt under relevant California law and ineligible for nonexempt employee overtime wages and benefits. All of these cases resolved in mediation prior to trial.
  • Handled a misclassification challenge involving a nationwide chain of residential business hotels. The case involved misclassification of “managers” and “assistant managers” who were allegedly required, based on the labor budget they were given by corporate headquarters, to perform nonexempt work. The case eventually resolved in mediation.
  • Appointed by a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to serve as a special master in an ongoing dispute between a union and several of its rank-and-file members. Analyzed and interpreted union documents including its international Constitution and local union bylaws in order to ascertain the rights and responsibilities of the parties under federal labor law. Drafted a special master’s report for the judge, who then requested that I attempt to settle the case. Served as a mediator and successfully resolved the case.
  • Mediation involving union member who claimed discrimination and breach of the duty of fair representation because she was not being sent out to construction jobs. The Union denied both, claiming the downturn in construction work was the reason for lack of work.
  • Selected by a Bay Area theater chain and a local of the Musicians Union to preside over a panel arbitration arising from a member grievance having to do with working conditions of orchestra members in the pit. Issued an award resolving the grievance.
  • Arbitrated a case involving a grievance of an employee of a Bay Area Superior Court and Local 1021 of the SEIU. After a three-day hearing involving oral testimony and documentary evidence, issued an award resolving the grievance.
  • A former City Manager sued the City and one or more City Council Members after her contract of employment was not renewed. She alleged breach of contract, tortious interference and other causes of action. Case was resolved when defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion was granted.
  • Participated as a panel arbitrator in a series of cases involving disputes over severance pay for laid-off employees of a major pharmaceutical company. Presided over several hearings and issued awards in each one.
  • In response to a complaint alleging fraud in the inducement of an employment agreement, the employer filed a motion to dismiss under FRCP Rule 12(b)6. The matter was resolved in a mediated settlement.
  • Handled a class-action case challenging a publishing company’s policy of requiring a urinalysis drug exam of all applicants for editing and copy editing positions. Plaintiffs claimed that the testing program invaded applicants’ right to privacy under Cal. Const. Art I, Section, 1.
  • Handled a Fourth Amendment class-action challenge to INS factory raids which was tried over the course of 10 weeks and involved upwards of 80 witnesses, most of whom spoke only Spanish. The matter was settled during the course of trial.

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Intellectual Property - Trade Secrets

  • A business seeking to develop hardware and software for television stations to use in enhancing news and sports broadcasts hired an employee to design and develop this equipment to be ready for use. An employment contract was entered into with certain confidentiality and trade secret protection language. The individual proceeded to build the needed components for the project. A dispute over the employee’s performance and failure to meet deadlines resulted in his termination. This led to a two-week arbitration involving cross-claims of wrongful termination and theft of trade secrets. Issued an award resolving claims and counter-claims.

  • Plaintiff alleged breach of a nondisclosure agreement involving a device he claimed to have invented which had the capability of producing massive amounts of energy through the bombardment of tiny diamond crystals with laser rays. He provided plans and details for the device to the University of California under a nondisclosure agreement. The defendant denied breach of the NDA and asserted that his intellectual property was already in the public domain. Jury found in favor of defendant and against plaintiff.

Medical Malpractice

  • A young mother had breast reconstruction surgery post-mastectomy and formed a massive blood clot shortly after discharge from an East Bay hospital which resulted in her sudden death. Her family’s survivor claims were tried to a jury over the course of three weeks during which the jury heard percipient witnesses as well as expert testimony and reviewed medical records. The verdict was for defendants.
  • A somewhat elderly woman was being treated at an East Bay hospital when she began to have labored breathing. Her family, which was present, contended that hospital staff engaged in malpractice when obvious symptoms of impending coronary arrest were not responded to in time. A jury found for the plaintiff survivors.
  • A woman who had sought minor facial treatment at an Oakland, California, clinic claimed medical malpractice after the treatment allegedly caused scarring on her face. The clinic’s insurer defended by asserting that in fact no damage had been done and that, if any bad effects did occur, they were the fault of the patient. A jury found for the defendant.

Personal Injury

  • Handled upwards of 200 personal injury cases involving automobile accidents. These cases ranged from extremely serious cases involving death or catastrophic injury to minor parking lot fender benders. As a whole, they presented every legal issue in tort law imaginable from liability to damages and everything in between.
  • Handled a dispute involving wrongful death claims by the fiancée of a motorcyclist who was killed in an accident in which the surviving fiancée was riding on the back of the motorcycle. Complicated pretrial legal issues included whether the fiancée of the deceased could bring a wrongful death claim and whether she was entitled to bystander emotional distress damages.
  • Handled an automobile fatality case in which a family driving on Interstate 880 stopped by the side of the highway so that the father could assist other family members who were in an automobile that had stopped ahead of them. While helping to change a tire, the father was struck by a vehicle driven by an individual employed by a transport company. The driver was later found to be driving under the influence. Motions involving the company’s vicarious liability were resolved before trial. The matter settled on the eve of trial.
  • A young Alameda woman on her way to work in the early morning darkness fell from her motor scooter and suffered catastrophic injuries. She alleged that the front wheel of her scooter had become caught in obsolete railroad tracks embedded in the street and that she could not see them because of construction that had begun in the area. The case involved the City of Alameda, Alameda County, the owners of the property and adjacent properties, the developers, and the construction companies involved in the ongoing project. Extensive pretrial motions had to be resolved in order to determine the respective liability of various parties. In addition, the case involved numerous discovery disputes. The case settled on the morning of trial.
  • Handled numerous cases involving alleged passenger injuries and accidents involving buses, BART and other public transit. In one such case, injuries were alleged to be caused by the suddenly deceased driver of an automobile which collided with an AC Transit bus. The defendants were able to show that the auto driver, who had moments before been involved in an act of “road rage” and who had suddenly died of a heart attack, had no medical history that could have been adduced to show causation. Accordingly, the matter was resolved.
  • Handled a considerable number of Jones Act maritime injury cases, all of which settled prior to trial. These cases required considerable case management and some motion rulings.
  • Handled several cases involving death or injury from exposure to asbestos. In one case, “take-home” liability was alleged: that is, that the decedent had been exposed many years prior to asbestos by his uncle, who had it on his work clothing, when he came home from work at the end of the day.
  • Handled a dispute in which an individual sued the manufacturer of a back hoe which overturned during the course of landscape work at an Alameda County residence. The accident allegedly caused injury to the operator.
  • Handled and settled numerous product liability cases brought under California Proposition 65 alleging the sale and distribution of products containing excessive amounts of listed carcinogens and/or failure to properly identify such substances.
  • Settled or tried a large number of trip and fall cases in which plaintiff sued various municipalities in Alameda County, along with property owners, claiming injuries caused by allegedly improperly maintained sidewalks or other street surfaces.
  • An employee working for a third-party vendor at a truck washing station at a Bay Area refinery jumped from the back of his tanker to the ground, injuring himself. He pursued a workers compensation claim against his employer and also sued the refinery. The refinery alleged that the employee’s act of jumping off the truck was negligent, and therefore denied liability.

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Probate

  • Handled several will contests and other disputes referred from the Alameda County Superior Court Probate Department among surviving relatives of deceased property owners. These were bench trials involving extensive testimony and documentary evidence, all of which required statements of decision.

Real Property

  • Handled a case in which tenants of a property owner in Berkeley suffered injury due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The landlord was alleged to have failed to install the appropriate carbon monoxide monitors. A jury found for the defendant landlord.
  • Mediated a case involving the implied warranty of habitability in a rental unit. Plaintiffs were monolingual Mandarin speakers. Defendant asserted that habitability issues were created, for the most part, by the tenants. The matter resolved.
  • Settled a dispute between a landlord and a tenant in which other tenants in the building were complaining of the defendant’s behavior, including alleged “hoarding.” Mediated an agreement in which members of the tenant’s church assisted her in cleaning out her apartment and surroundings.
  • A condominium owner complained that the homeowners’ association was responsible for mold she alleged had infested her dwelling. The Association denied responsibility. The jury found for the Association.
  • Successfully mediated a dispute between condominium owners, one of which was self-represented, in which each accused the other of wrongdoing.
  • Handled a case involving whether Alameda County’s Proposition E infringed on property rights of a business which built a storage facility in an area of the county designated rural use only. Had to hear and resolve issues of inverse condemnation and Fifth Amendment Takings Clause.
  • Handled a case involving the sale of a retail store in which the buyer defaulted on payments to the seller. When the seller sued, the buyer defended in part on the basis that at the time of the sale, improvements to the property made by the seller were in violation of local zoning regulations.
  • Handled dozens of cases in which homeowners in foreclosure alleged that they had been defrauded by one or more lending institutions and/or their agents. Most cases settled prior to trial.
  • Consolidated and settled a dozen or so mortgage fraud cases in which the Alameda County District Attorney had been involved.
  • Handled a matter involving a challenge to a taking of certain East Bay property by a Bay Area transit district pursuant to eminent domain. The plaintiff business claimed that its property had been greatly undervalued by the transit district because of the unique characteristics of certain unmovable machinery essential to the plaintiff’s business. The district defended on the grounds that its assessment properly took into account the actual value of the machinery.
  • Handled a number of disputes between property owners concerning lot lines, fences, water runoff and view obstructions. All were settled with considerable effort short of trial.
  • Handled a property dispute among homeowners in a Piedmont, California, neighborhood who disagreed on the issue of undergrounding local utilities. When a couple in the neighborhood sued the City of Piedmont to stop the undergrounding project, the city responded with an anti-SLAPP motion. The case resolved after the motion was denied.
  • Settled an unlawful detainer matter in which the property owner sought to evict tenant because tenant was operating a medical marijuana clinic in violation of local city ordinances.
  • Handled a large number of unlawful detainer cases. Most were settled.

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