Following a successful 37-year career litigating personal injury, product liability, and medical malpractice cases, Sean brings his negotiation, communication, and legal skills to his role as a neutral.
He began his legal career with an insurance defense firm and later transitioned to the plaintiff side as a partner of Thielen and Burke until forming his own firm in 1998. As a litigator, he resolved over 500 cases for his clients, most involving mediation to reach a resolution. He also volunteered with the Los Angeles Superior Court's Alternative Dispute Resolution program and mediated well over 50 cases.
Through his experiences, he has concluded that the mediation process is a much more efficient and much less costly (financially and emotionally) method for resolving disputes.
He describes his approach to alternative dispute resolution stating, “I believe in listening to the parties to determine their ultimate goals and desires in the case and using creative techniques to assist them in reaching those goals. I firmly believe in the "process" of mediation and feel that every case is amenable to that process.”
- Elder Care Law
- Medical Malpractice
- Personal Injury including Wrongful Death
- Product Liability
Sean enjoys photography, cycling-both road, and mountain, all water sports, skiing, and mountain hiking in the Sierras and Teton Mountains, as well as spending time with his wife and three adult children.
- Full-time Neutral, Judicate West (2023-Present)
- Founder, Burke Law, APC (1998-2023)
- Mediator, Los Angeles Superior Court ADR Panel (2004-2009)
- Partner, Thielen and Burke; Specialized in Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Product Liability, and Legal Malpractice for Plaintiff (1988-1998)
- Attorney, Law Offices of Joseph Thielen; Specialized in Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Product Liability, and Legal Malpractice for Plaintiff (1985-1988)
- Ellis, McGarry, and Laufenberg; Specialized in Insurance Defense (1979-1981)
- J.D., MBA, University of Southern California (1977-1981)
- B.A., Pre-Law, Magna Cum Laude, University of Southern California (1971-1976)
- Mediating the Litigated Case, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution - Pepperdine (2004)
- American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Associate (Member Since 2009)
- ABOTA Foundation, Legacy – Patriot
- ABOTA, Orange County Chapter, National Board Representative
- Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), Member
- Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), Member
- Orange County Trial Lawyers Association (OCTLA), Member
- American Association for Justice (AAJ), Member
- Orange County Bar Association, Member
- Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member
- Long Beach Bar Association, Member
- Joseph D. McNeil Civility Award, ABOTA, Orange County Chapter (2020)
- Top Gun Trial Lawyer of the Year Award for Medical Malpractice, OCTLA (2005, 2014, 2019)
- Southern California Super Lawyers (2005-Present)
- Best Lawyers in America (1990-Present)
- Represented a young boy who was given the wrong dosage of anti-seizure medication by a pharmacy and it caused Stevens-Johnson syndrome and blindness.
- Represented a 51-year-old woman who suffered a seven-month delay in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.
- Represented the parents of a young man who died after a radiologist perforated a major artery during insertion of a catheter to deliver dye to his heart.
- Represented the husband of a woman who died after a respiratory therapist attempted to extubate her while she was heavily sedated and unable to breathe on her own. She was then negligently monitored and asphyxiated, suffering severe brain damage from which she never recovered.
- Represented a woman who suffered a spinal cord injury during an epidural steroid injection.
- Represented a man who suffered a spinal cord injury from a delay in diagnosis of a spinal hematoma.
- Represented a woman who suffered severe physical injuries to her genital organs as a result of a negligently managed birth process and a delay in recognizing the need for a C-section.
- Represented a man who fell from an operating room table during a hernia surgery and suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result.
- Represented a man who underwent a kidney removal surgery for kidney cancer and the surgeon removed the wrong kidney, leaving the cancerous kidney. The surgeon, assistant surgeon and primary care provider then concealed the fact they had removed the wrong kidney.
- Represented a young aspiring boxer who underwent knee surgery and the orthopedic surgeon operated on the wrong knee, causing the patient to have to give up his boxing career.
- Represented a young girl who developed sudden ischemia in her leg within an hour of birth and then suffered a delay in diagnosis and treatment of the ischemia leading to amputation of her leg at 5 days old.
- Represented the family of a young hip hop artist who underwent surgery and was negligently monitored which allowed him to aspirate and he died as a result.
- Represented a young girl who was born with only half a brain and we proved that the injury was due to her mother’s obstetrician striking her in the head during an amniocentesis.
- Represented a young girl who suffered severe brain damage as a result of a delay in performing a C-section leading to anoxic brain damage and severe hypoxia.
- Represented the family of a young man who overdosed and died in a transitional living facility when the people managing the home failed to appreciate that he had the signs and symptoms of an overdose and failed to get him to emergency care.
- Represented a young girl who suffered shoulder dystocia, Erb’s Palsy and hypoxia when her mother’s obstetrician failed to respond to the nurses’ call to come to the hospital to deliver her and another OB had to step in and deliver her emergently.
- Represented a man who lost his penis following a penile implant procedure that developed an infection and the urologist failed to appreciate the infection until it was too late to save the tissues. The urologist then completely altered his records to delete any indication that there were signs of an infection.
- Represented a young boy who suffered permanent brachial plexus paralysis following a traumatic birth and vacuum assisted delivery in a baby who was known to have shoulder dystocia.
- Represented a 70-year-old man who suffered severe brain damage during a dental procedure to remove a molar when the oral and maxillofacial surgeon negligently anesthetized and monitored his patient.
- Represented a 58-year-old woman who lost her eye following a sinus surgery to remove polyps and the surgeon negligently perforated the globe of the eye.
- Represented a family from Mainland China, whose mother and wife came to Southern California to give birth to her second child. Although the birth went smoothly, the mother started bleeding profusely and died.
- Represented a 36-year-old man who went to an optometrist who failed to recognize test findings showing early signs of glaucoma. 10 months later, an ophthalmologist diagnosed him with severe vision loss due to progressive glaucoma.
- Represented a construction worker who was crushed against a block wall when a delivery driver lost control of a roll-off trash bin.
- Represented a woman who was injured at a city-sponsored picnic and concert when a city employee lost control of a cart full of tables, causing the tables to fall on the woman from behind and causing neck and back injuries.
- Represented a woman who was struck in a crosswalk and suffered multiple broken bones and a head injury.
- Represented a bicyclist who was struck by a motorist who was lost and drove through the bike lane to make a turn in an intersection.
- Successfully tried a case against a fast-food restaurant for a Marine MP who was on leave and was shot at one of their restaurants which had become a hangout for high schoolers of rival high schools in Carson on Friday nights after football games and which had multiple violent incidents and no response from management.
- Represented a woman who slipped and fell on a wet walkway outside a hospital injuring her knee and requiring surgery.
- Represented a woman who slipped and fell on spilled rice in a grocery store and sustained serious injuries to her legs and back.
- Represented a young man who suffered traumatic brain injury as a result of a defective seatbelt that failed after an accident.
- Represented an actress playing the part of a fairy godmother who was on a swing flying over and around the stage when a defective chip in the computer controller for the swing failed and the swing fell 25 feet to the stage causing a permanent spinal cord injury.
- Represented a woman who sustained serious burns when a bio-ethanol tabletop fireplace tipped over and spilled all over her and ignited.
- Represented a family whose mother and daughter died in an apartment fire which had expired smoke alarms and other safety measures which were negligently maintained.
- Represented the family of a young man who was killed while riding a motorcycle and hit a car which had turned left in front of him.