Susan has been a full-time mediator since 2010. She uses insight and intuition to bring a fresh and creative approach to reaching settlement. Before becoming a mediator, Susan was a business litigator with an international law firm, practicing in-house as litigation counsel for a large national bank, and since 1985, has closely followed personal injury cases of all types. Susan has a natural ability to read people and can skillfully uncover the real issues fueling the dispute and redirect the parties toward settlement
She is bright, tenacious, and hardworking, and has mastered the art of follow-up to achieve resolution. One attorney commented that her "expertise, intelligence, humor, and commitment were the key to bringing both sides together in what seemed like an impossible feat." Susan guides the negotiation with empathy and exhibits genuine care and concern for the embattled parties. When not mediating privately, Susan assists the burdened Court system by settling cases of all types and works with schools and parents to resolve educational conflicts.
- Construction Defect
- Medical Malpractice
- Partnership Dissolution
- Personal Injury
- Real Estate
A mother of three, Susan is an enthusiastic cyclist, hiker, water skier, boater, linguist and traveler. She is also fluent in French and proficient in Spanish.
- Full-Time Neutral, Judicate West (2015-Present)
- Full-Time Mediator, Mediation Office of Susan G. Feder (2010-Present)
- Settlement Conference Officer, San Francisco Superior Court (2012-Present)
- Settlement Panelist; Marin County Superior Court (2010 to Present)
- Banking Litigation Attorney; Bank of America Legal Department, San Francisco (1981-1986)
- Commercial Litigation Attorney, Paul Hastings (Formerly Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker); Los Angeles (1979-1981)
- J.D., Hastings College of Law (1979)
- B.A., Magna Cum Laude, University of California, Los Angeles (1976)
- University of Paris; Sorbonne' (1975-1976)
- Marin County Bar Association, President (2020)
- American Bar Association, Member (2012-Present)
- Bar Association of San Francisco, Member (2012-Present)
- Marin County Bar Association, Board of Director’s Secretary (2018)
- Marin County Bar Association, Chair of ADR Section (2017)
- The Mediation Society, Board of Directors Member (2018)
- California Women Lawyers, Member (2012 - Present)
- Marin Women Lawyers, Member (2012 - Present)
- Richard M. Sangster Inn of Court, Member (2014 - Present)
- Youth in Arts, Marin; Board of Directors, Member (2005 - 2017)
- Marin County Bar Association (MCBA), Secretary, Board of Directors (2018)
- Board Member, The Mediation Society (2018)
- ADR Section of MCBA, President (2017-2018)
- Association of Defense Counsel of No. Calif. and Nevada; presented on Expert Witness Testimony in Deposition and Trial.
- Marin County Bar Assn: Presentation, Nov. 2017: “Getting the Most From Your Mediation; Tips from the Experts”
- CAOC Annual Meeting: "The View from the Middle; A Mediator's Perspective"
- CAOC Winter Seminar: "What Every Trial Lawyer Can Learn from a Mediator"
- Guest Lecturer in Mediation; USF Law School (2013-2017)
- Presenter, ADC Boot Camp, Expert Witness Testimony (2017)
- MCBA CLE Fair, Presenter: How to Get the Most From Your Mediation (2017)
- Association of Defense Counsel (ADC), Training: Expert Testimony (2017)
- Moderator, Marin County Bar Association Presentation on Gender Inequality Issues (2018)
- Marin County Bar Association, "Getting the Most From Your Mediation" (2017)
- Bar Association of San Francisco, "Getting the Most From Your Mediation" (2018)
- SFTLA: “Top Ten Tips for Mediation Advocacy” (2018)
- : Employment wage and hour case in which employee claimed misclassification as “exempt” employee. Claimant sought recovery of unpaid overtime, plus penalties and fees.
- Settled breach of commercial lease action involving restaurant owner and owner of hotel property. Long term business relationship between the parties was maintained as a result of the settlement.
- Settled breach of warranty action by contractor against commercial seller of decking material. Settlement allowed contractor to replace customer’s deck and maintain his favorable relationship with clients.
- Settled commercial lending dispute between borrower and major lender on a sold out equity line of credit after a trustee’s sale by lienholder. Addressed issues of nature of loan, and consequences of foreclosure action.
- Settled nursing home penalty dispute between government agency and owner of facility. Penalty level was reduced, allowing family-run facility to maintain its business. Addressed issues of patient neglect and code requirements for nursing home facilities.
- Action by family members for breach of contract and misrepresentation involving mistake in burial by mortuary. Issues related to recoverability of emotional distress for breach of contract in special cases, and calculation of loss to individual family members. Cultural issues relating to particular beliefs was a notable and interesting component of the case.
- Mediated pre-litigation business dispute between French corporation and California distributor regarding delivery of goods, breach of warranties and liability for expenses of French government sanctioned internship program.
- Settled case brought by family of decedent against cemetery owner for breach of contract and emotional distress damages, when cemetery mistakenly buried another decedent in the gravesite previously selected and purchased by the plaintiffs. Cultural awareness and Feng Shui issues weighed heavily in the negotiated resolution.
- Action for breach of contract and misrepresentation by parents against private school in which their daughter was enrolled. Plaintiffs allege that school failed to honor its representations regarding special education services it could and would provide, and that they were damaged in relying on school's false representations. School claimed it acted appropriately with regard to daughter's education, but that it eventually couldn't provide student with the special services she required. Confidential settlement was reached between parents and school.
- Plaintiff and defendant were informal partners in successful rodeo business. When working relationship failed, dispute arose over ownership of asserts and equipment, as well as damages for loss of use. Also at issue were unpaid amounts allegedly owing on previous business contracts. Settlement resolved all issues, including payment of funds and asset ownership.
- Partnership dispute in which partner with majority interest claimed minority partner had made unauthorized withdrawals from business account. Cross complaint alleged that majority partner had unlawfully ousted minority partner from business, and converted company assets to start new business. Dispute was highly contentious and emotional.
- Partnership dissolution in which co-owners with fractional interests in several restaurants sought to separate their interests. Damages also sought for breach of contractual duties to manage business and failure to perform.
- Arbitration of Lemon Law case in which Claimant/Consumer sought to rescind sales agreement based on Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability and violation of Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
Construction Breach Of Contract
- Breach of construction contract action between owner of historic county inn and contractor who completed a $6 million renovation and construction project. Owner sought compensation for delay in project based on liquidated damages clause, as well as refund of amounts paid under contested change orders. Action settled, and both main case and cross complaint for unpaid invoices were dismissed.
- A Breach of Construction Contract matter in which the sub contractor filed an action against the general contractor for sums owed after the general terminated the contract. The contractor filed a cross-complaint for damages it claimed were incurred when it hired another sub to complete the work.
- Construction breach of contract case regarding the installation of a solar power system, in which the sub-contractor claimed damages resulting from the contractor's exercise of a Termination for Convenience Clause in the subcontract. The contractor cross-complained for breach of contract damages.
- Handled a complex CD matter involving multiple defendants litigating over a remodel project on a residence. The claims involved alleged defects with the driveway, doorways, windows and iron work. The plaintiff also had a PI claim associated with the case when she fell on water which had leaked from the defective doorway. This case resolved in mediation.
- Complex commercial case involving development of two different multi-unit real estate projects. Case included several cross actions in which allegations of breaches of fiduciary duty, fraud, mismanagement and breach of contract are alleged against numerous parties. Parties were emotionally and financially invested in polar opposite positions.
- Breach of construction contract action by a homeowner against a contractor claiming unlawful overages, delays, and unacceptable work done by the contractor on a full house remodel.
Breach of Contract
- Mediated breach of contract case in which employment agency claimed damages against hospital for termination of agency relationship without due cause. The disputed claim centered on question of hospital’s ability to cancel contract at will. Case settled on day of trial.
- This case involved allegations of elder financial abuse against a home care worker who counterclaimed for breach of an oral employment agreement as well as sexual abuse against her employer. The parties were highly emotional, and the case required special handling due to the highly personal and delicate issues involved. The relationship between the parties was complicated by the fact that it was partly worker/employer and partly personal/romantic.
- Pre-litigation claim for breach of contract for services rendered as an independent contractor. Potential cross-complaint for financial mismanagement and misrepresentation.
- Age discrimination employment matter involving multiple plaintiffs who were terminated as part of a periodic lay off. Issues included proper classification of employment status, as well as underlying reason for the terminations. Defendant alleged workers were terminated because of poor performance based on objective criteria, whereas plaintiffs claimed this was a pretext for age discrimination.
- Employment dispute filed by a former nurse against a skilled nursing facility. Employee was assaulted by a former patient and obtained workers' compensation benefits from their employer. Thereafter, former employee sued another entity that had a consulting relationship with the employer, claiming retaliatory conduct and failure to provide a safe working environment.
- Former employee brought an action for harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation after she was laid off from employment in sales. The company claimed layoff was related to pandemic shut down and denied the existence of workplace harassment.
- Plaintiff brought case for unlawful retaliatory conduct against former employer after plaintiff was injured on the job and pursued a worker's compensation claim. Plaintiff claimed that employer failed to offer appropriate accommodations for his physical condition after his workplace accident, and that he suffered emotional distress as well as lost past and future wages when his employment ended.
- Settled high conflict case with allegations of sexual harassment, elder financial abuse and breach of employment contract involving home care worker and employer. Issues involved difficulty in characterizing the multi dimensional relationship between the parties, and whether labor laws applied and were breached.
- This is a case for sexual harassment in the workplace brought by a young employee against her direct manager. Plaintiff claimed her manager engaged in inappropriate conduct at the workplace, and that she suffered emotional damages as a result. The employer claimed that the conduct was not reported timely, but that when it was, the company took appropriate action against the manager. Plaintiff voluntarily resigned from the company, and was not terminated.
- Sexual harassment in the workplace. Plaintiff alleged inappropriate conduct by a co-worker which she reported. She claimed that the resulting investigation was insufficient, and that employer's conclusion finding the claimant was not credible was erroneous.
- Employment sexual harassment case in which employee alleged that former employer improperly investigated harassment claim and failed to take corrective action against a fellow employee. Claimant also alleged constructive termination as the reason she ended her employment.
- Employment action by former employee alleging sexual harassment and discrimination under the FEHA. Plaintiff claimed that a co-worker assaulted her and that the employer failed to take action to prevent abusive behavior. Negligent hiring and retention were also alleged.
- Employment/Sexual harassment claim by a former employer against the CEO of a company for which they both worked. Plaintiff claimed that she was demoted and lost her job after she had a consensual relationship with her boss.
- Sexual harassment was claimed by a former employee who resigned after long-term employment. The employer claimed that the employee/office manager had wrongfully overpaid her wages over the course of the years of employment. The claim included FEHA violations and a potential attorney’s fee award.
Wage and Hour
- Employment dispute in which a former employee brought an action to recover legal expenses and other costs incurred in defending a lawsuit by a third party which arose from circumstances within the course of scope of employment with the former employer.
- Employment action in which a dental hygienist sued the employer for misclassification of status, wrongful termination, and violations of wage and hour laws. Plaintiff claimed constructive termination with resulting damages.
- An Employment/Wage and Hour dispute in which a former employee claimed that he was unable to take lunch and rest breaks as a practical matter due to the way jobs were scheduled. Issues centered on the legality of allowing breaks in name only, without a realistic means to ensure they are feasible during a busy work day.
- Employment case in which the plaintiff claimed that he was not fully and adequately paid for his work. He was a salesperson and his income was based on commissions. He claimed that his prior employer manipulated the profit structure to pay him less than he was owed. He also claimed failure to reimburse for out-of-pocket expenses and violation of meal and rest breaks.
Wrongful Term & Discrimination
- Settled case by a former employee of a major healthcare facility for claims of retaliation after the employee was injured and pursued a claim under workers’ compensation system. The employer claimed that the employee voluntarily resigned and that his injury and subsequent workers’ compensation claim were unrelated to the termination of his employment.
- Settled case by a former employee of a hotel hospitality company for claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, and failure to engage in the interactive process, after the employee became ill and disabled from continuing in his current position. The employer asserted that the employee was never eligible to resume work and that a permanent leave is not a reasonable accommodation.
- Employment action in which plaintiff claimed that the employer failed to accommodate him for a medical condition he deemed a disability, and for wrongful termination. Dispute centered on the nature of accommodation requested and provided, and whether the employer acted appropriately.
- Settled an emotional workplace termination action in which employee alleged loss of job due to prior reporting of alleged sexual harassment by employer. Dealt with emotionally-charged litigant in helping to resolve dispute.
- Employment case in which plaintiff claimed wage and hour violations, as well as wrongful termination due to pregnancy. Plaintiff had worked for restaurant for six months, and alleged she was summarily dismissed when her employers learned she was pregnant. Plaintiff claimed damages for emotional distress as a result of the termination. Case settled several months before trial.
- Employment case in which plaintiff alleged wrongful termination and workplace harassment arising from a workplace injury and subsequently claimed disability.
- Employment wrongful termination case in which former employee claimed his termination was based on age discrimination. Employer denied discriminatory conduct and alleged that termination was performance-related.
- Employment action with allegations of constructive termination and wage and hour violations brought by a former service technician for a family-run business.
- Plaintiff brought two actions to recover for property damage to her home when a car negligently drove into one of the walls. Plaintiff claimed property damage and loss of use and other consequential damages against both the tortfeasor as well as her own homeowner's coverage.
- Insurance bad faith claim by a policyholder against carrier which partially rejected policyholder's claim for business loss due to a burglary on the premises. The policyholder claimed that the carrier mishandled the claim and breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. In addition to the amount of the claim, the claimant sought attorneys' fees and punitive damages.
- A Breach of Contract and Bad Faith claim by the owner of multiple properties. The claimant alleged that the carrier wrongfully denied the first-party claim and wrongfully denied coverage of third-party claims.
- The insurer brought an action to rescind the contract and recover amounts paid to the insured after a theft at the insured's warehouse. Rescission action was based on a claim of misrepresentation by the insured in an application for insurance. The insured brought separate action for bad faith and breach of contract, claiming that the amount paid on loss was insufficient and that the insurer’s conduct in processing the claim amounted to bad faith.
- Insurance bad faith and breach of contract action brought by an injured worker against Defendant's carrier in an underlying slip and fall case. When the carrier denied Defense and coverage to its insured, Plaintiff settled with the insured who thereafter assigned all rights to pursue his carrier on a bad faith claim. Case centered on the interpretation of exclusionary clauses in the commercial liability policy.
- Real Estate dispute between landlord and former commercial tenant for claim of damage to tenant's personal property resulting from leak in HVAC unit not contained within tenant's rented space. Owner sought affirmative relief for unpaid rental amounts owing under lease agreement.
- Subrogation claim by insurer for damage to real and personal property of the insured from an alleged defective washer in upstairs unit. Issues mediated included reasonable cost to repair, measure of damages and product defect.
- Subrogation claim against the third party for reimbursement of workers' compensation benefits paid by comp. carrier. An injured worker tripped and fell in the parking lot sustaining an ankle injury. Workers' comp. carrier claimed the parking lot owner was negligent for failing to maintain the premises in a safe condition.
Workers Comp Coverage Issues
- A subrogation claim against a third party for reimbursement of workers' compensation benefits paid by comp. carrier. An injured worker tripped and fell in a parking lot sustaining an ankle injury. The workers' comp. carrier claimed the parking lot owner was negligent for failing to maintain the premises in a safe condition.
- Settled medical malpractice claim of mother and young child against well known hospital for injuries arising from incorrect pharmaceutical prescription. Damage allegations included both physical injury and emotional distress claims.
- Medical malpractice case involving ankle surgery following complicated fracture. Plaintiff alleged that surgeon improperly repaired tri-malleolar fracture and subsequently failed to properly read post-operative x-ray. Plaintiff required second surgery and claimed general damages and lost earning capacity.
- Settled a medical malpractice/wrongful death case brought by parents against the doctor for alleged negligence in overprescribing opiates to their 28-year-old son, who died of an apparent overdose. Parents claimed that the son’s doctor breached the standard of care by failing to appropriately monitor the controlled substances he was prescribing. Plaintiff also argued that physicians should be held liable for treble damages under the statute directed at drug dealer liability.
- Settled a medical malpractice case against a surgeon and physician’s assistant after complications following surgery to repair ankle fracture. Plaintiff claimed doctor’s conduct fell below standard of care in performing surgery and in conducting follow up care, resulting in need for second surgery and a longer recovery time.
- Medical malpractice case in which plaintiff claimed that nurse practitioner caused severe burn to her face after administration of laser treatment. Damage allegations included claims of emotional distress, embarrassment and concern over facial scar. Case settled several months before trial.
- Negligence alleged against Residential Care Facility when resident fell and broke their arm after being evacuated due to fire. Resident claimed that additional aggravating circumstances existed which resulted in her experiencing severe cognitive decline post-incident.
- Medical Malpractice/Elder Abuse case in which the plaintiff sustained a severe stroke while at a skilled nursing facility. Plaintiff claimed that conduct of facility fell below the standard of care and contributed to the poor outcome of the patient.
- A medical malpractice case based on lack of informed consent prior to administering an intramuscular gluteal injection of pain medication into a patient with gluteal implants.
Breach Of Contract
- Breach of commercial lease claim by former business partner and lessor against former tenant and business partner. The claim centered on the issue of whether a valid extension of the original lease agreement had been created when the business was sold by one partner to the other.
- Breach of Contract for Real Estate management compensation brought by family members against each other.
- Action to determine right to commission on sale of residential real estate. Seller disputed that agent and broker were entitled to commission, alleging breach of fiduciary duties and failure to follow seller’s instructions. Agent/brokerage company claimed it was entitled to full commission earned on sale of property. Dispute settled prior to litigation being filed.
- Virtual mediation involving a Real Estate Non-Disclosure action by the buyer of a vacant plot of land against seller's agent. Buyer claimed that the agent failed to discover a land survey that questioned the lot lines of the land being sold, resulting in a smaller plot than represented. Buyer alleged that due to the smaller size of the lot, it was more difficult and expensive to build a house on the property.
- Real Estate Purchase and Sale transaction in which client claimed agent breached fiduciary duty and made misrepresentations which led to failure of anticipated purchase.
- Dispute between client and agent/broker in which client claimed that agent did not properly handle a complicated buy/sell “domino” contingency transaction. Whereas clients’ property was sold, they were unable to close escrow on the property they were hoping to purchase, resulting in claims of damage and stress.
- Family dispute in which family members sued over the amounts allegedly owing to the father after the sale of jointly owned property. Understanding and addressing cultural issues and family dynamics played a significant role in resolving the dispute.
Home Owners Association
- Real Estate dispute by former property owner against HOA alleging that defective condition of property resulted in a diminution of value and the loss of rental income for townhouse owner.
- HOA dispute in which the owners of three condominium units in one building mediated various issues affecting the respective use and enjoyment of their units.
- Assisted homeowners in resolving various disputes regarding a building co-owned by them. The disputes related to improvements, claimed violations of CC&Rs, establishing a reserve account for capital improvements, and creating a template for future HOA meetings and communications.
- Settled landlord/tenant dispute in which tenant sued for breach of warranty of habitability and retaliatory eviction. Plaintiff’s damage claim included a computation of loss of income for day care business on property, as well as statutory penalties for retaliatory eviction. Plaintiff also claimed emotional distress and harassment by landlord.
- Real Estate breach of lease action by landlord against former tenant, in which allegations of constructive eviction and breach of implied warranty of habitability were litigated. Case also addressed propriety of withholding of security deposit, and applicable statutory penalties.
- Action by a former tenant against the owner of a property for breach of habitability, and to recover rent paid for an unpermitted conversion unit. Issues related to whether the tenant misused the property, causing habitability claims, and to whether the tenant was constructively evicted, and if so, what the proper measure of damages should be.
- Landlord versus Tenant dispute where tenant claimed defects in the property.
- Landlord versus Tenant dispute where tenant claimed leaks in roof damaged his valuable personal property.
- Contentious neighbor dispute involving issues of fence location and property line, invasion of privacy, nuisance, assault and battery and property damage. Both neighbors sued one another on cross-complaints with similar allegations. Emotionally charged case settled with template for future behavior by the parties, as well as damages for various claims.
- Neighbor dispute involving a tree, in which competing interests of restoration and privacy/enjoyment of property were mediated. Discussion and evaluation were governed by a local ordinance addressing Tree Dispute Resolution.
- Real Estate matter involving claims of Prescriptive Easement or Irrevocable License to use shared roadway between neighboring vineyard properties. Parties were adjacent vineyard owners whose prior dealings had created a lack of trust between them.
- Neighbor dispute between two condo owners involving alleged nuisance by Tenant.
- Neighbor dispute involving damage to adjacent property from a burst pipe.
- Neighbor dispute involving trees and views. Adjoining property owners had mutual complaints about vegetation and structures on properties. Highly charged emotions and allegations were made by both owners. Case settled before the need for a hearing before the City authorities.
- In the role of Discovery Referee, assisted the parties with pre-litigation document requests relating to the investigation of a catastrophic fire.
- Settled heated dispute between homeowner and Homeowners' Association in Kentfield involving issues of alleged violations of CC & Rs.
- Settled highly emotional neighbor dispute involving fence and property line issues, responsibilities for repair and encroachment, between owners in San Francisco. Settlement allowed neighbors to repair their relationship as well as their fence
- Landslide dispute between upper and lower slope property owners when property was damaged after heavy rains caused upper slope to slide onto lower property.
- Settled family property dispute involving issues of ownership of real and personal property, tenant’s rights and obligations, lending and foreclosure. The emotionally charged and delicate family situation required sensitivity and careful handling by the mediator.
- Emotionally charged family dispute between mother and son regarding division of real property asset. Parties were able to agree on a framework for resolution that helped repair relationship as well as resolve property dispute.
- Action by seller against realtor for breach of fiduciary duty in dual party representation of both seller and buyer. Seller claimed agent concealed material facts in brokering sale, and sought disgorgement of substantial commissions paid to seller in transaction.
- Real Estate Partition case between a former couple.
- Family dispute regarding ownership interests in real property.
- Action against realtor for failure to disclose regarding defective plot survey, resulting in property dimensions being different than represented.
- Real estate Partition action brought by one joint owner against the co-owner of a property.
- A construction Breach of Contract case regarding the installation of a solar power system, in which the subcontractor claimed damages resulting from the contractor's exercise of a Termination for Convenience Clause in the subcontract. Contractor cross-complained for breach of contract damages.
Warranty of Habitability
- Action for breach of warranty of habitability with claim of emotional distress following settlement of previous unlawful detainer action. Plaintiff tenant sought to recover rents paid, as well as treble damages and attorneys' fees under applicable code sections. The claim alleged harassment, nuisance and rental of illegal unit by property owner.
- Landlord-tenant breach of warranty of habitability matter; former tenant claimed that premises were rodent infested and suffered from water damage, and that landlord failed to remedy the situation. In addition to seeking recovery of past rental payments, the tenant claimed property damage, emotional distress, and attorney's fees.
Assault and Battery
- Settled highly contentious case between ex-spouses for damages bases on allegations of battery and abuse. The parties were embroiled in conflict, with feelings of anger, mistrust and fear affecting the negotiations. By incorporating excellent listening skills, empathy and nuanced negotiation strategies, Sue was able to arrive at a negotiated settlement of this sensitive civil dispute.
- Action for assault and negligence arising out of a physical altercation between a patron and guard in defendant's nightclub. Plaintiff alleged continuing cognitive impairment as a result of trauma to the head and face, and claimed to have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. Issues involved employment status of guard, vicarious liability and insurance coverage matters.
- Civil rights violation and racial profiling alleged when the customer was mistaken for a shoplifter in a store and ushered out by police. Plaintiff claimed to have suffered humiliation and emotional distress as a result of this incident.
- Neighbor dispute involving failure to restrain dog and subsequent attack and bite. Strained and difficult relationship between the neighbors fueled the dispute and presented a challenging situation for the mediator. A history of police involvement and other complaints created further animosity between the parties.
- Plaintiff walked into a stack of lumber left on his property during a construction project, and sustained a large gash to his shin area. Plaintiff claimed that contractor was negligent in leaving lumber in a pathway on his property. Contractor claimed plaintiff himself was negligent for not using a light or otherwise trying to ascertain where any materials had been left before walking onto project area at night.
- Plaintiff sustained a knee fracture when she fell while trying to separate a large dog owned by a neighbor from her small dog. The use of crutches resulted in shoulder pain, and a rotator cuff tear was diagnosed. Issues included whether Defendant violated local leash law, resulting in negligence per se.
- Dog bite case in which gardener was attacked by employer's pit bull mix who was inadvertently left loose in the yard. Plaintiff claimed significant emotional distress damages and PTSD related to the attack.
- Plaintiff homeowners claimed injuries after a refrigerator that was installed in their garage toppled over onto them when they opened the door. Injuries involved ankle fractures, and knee and back pain.
- Slip and fall in grocery store in which plaintiff alleged that fruit debris was responsible for elderly customer's fall. Plaintiff alleged that their advertised store layout required a higher level of cleaning and diligence to prevent falls.
- Personal injury action for traumatic amputation of finger by horse bite. Plaintiff alleged that both horse owner and ranch were negligent and/or strictly liable when horse bit off end of plaintiff's finger while under defendants' care and control. Issues included evaluation of whether owner knew or should have known that horse exhibited dangerous propensities.
- Premises liability case regarding stairs in residential apartment complex. Plaintiff claimed stairs were defective and dangerous, causing her to fall and sustain injury. Defendant claimed they were not negligent, since stairs were built to the code present at the time, and that they acted reasonably in arranging for repairs to this apartment complex which had been recently purchased by them.
- Trip and fall on alleged defect in sidewalk in front of business property. Plaintiff sustained damage to foot and ankle, including fractures. Defense claimed comparative fault, pre-existing condition and failure to mitigate damages. Case settled two months before trial.
- Trip and fall on curb adjacent to handicap ramp in parking lot. Plaintiff sustained knee injuries for which surgery was necessary. Significant issues of comparative fault and possible Code violations existed.
- Trip and fall on darkened stairway with no handrail while attending a work-sponsored event off-site. Plaintiff sustained serious injuries to shoulder and hip, requiring surgery. Plaintiff continues to suffer pain and residual problems. Plaintiff's injuries were covered by workers' compensation, so the issue of dealing with and closing the workers' comp case was also mediated.
- Trip and fall case in which plaintiff, now deceased, fell on an unsecured mat on business premises. Because the plaintiff died of unrelated causes, the case is a survival action for economic damages only.
- Slip and fall at plaintiff's place of business with no workers' compensation insurance. Plaintiff sued property owner for failure to maintain premises in a reasonable condition. Plaintiff sustained fractures to ankle with complications during recovery.
- Plaintiff slipped and fell on water on a basketball court and sustained a knee injury resulting in surgery. The owner of the facility cross-complained against a roofing company, claiming that any water on the court floor was the result of poor roofing construction.
- The plaintiff realtor fell on stairs while touring an unfinished unit in the defendant's real estate development. There was no lighting in the unit at the time of the tour, and the plaintiff was invited to view the home by the defendant's sales agent.
- Plaintiff/Minor sustained burns when the top became dislodged from a traveler’s mug which spilled hot tea on him after erroneously being filled with very hot water by the defendant's coffee shop.
- Auto accident in which injuries were difficult to quantify due to plaintiff's unique susceptibilities.
- Settled UIM claim against plaintiff's insurance carrier for injuries sustained in high-speed freeway rear end accident case.
- High speed highway collision occurred when plaintiff's car crashed into defendant's disabled car which was partially blocking plaintiff's lane of travel. Defendant had tried to avoid an earlier collision, and in executing an evasive maneuver, had ended up in the center divider at midnight. Primary issue under discussion was extent of liability of each party, and how to apportion comparative fault. Important facts included range of visibility; highway conditions and visual perception.
- Settled a motorcycle accident case in which motorcyclist was hit by motorist while lane splitting on Golden Gate Bridge. Issues of comparative fault and extent of injury were raised by motorist and resolved.
- Settled a motorcycle vs. auto case in which plaintiff claimed that injuries to his hand effectively ended his career as a musician. Damage computation was hotly contested as speculative, and plaintiff claimed to have suffered severe emotional trauma.
- Settled auto accident case in which plaintiff collided with defendant’s disabled vehicle that was stopped in center divider of highway. Disputed liability focused on whether plaintiff should have seen stalled car and avoided impact.
- Plaintiff was a semi-professional golfer and instructor who claimed that her shoulder injury and resulting surgery drastically affected her ability to pursue her chosen career. Negotiations included discussion of how to evaluate the loss of a prospective business opportunity, and how to compensate plaintiff for the loss of her dreams.
- Settled UIM claim involving auto accident where four plaintiffs were hit by a drunk driver. Case was noteworthy because of previous stipulated judgment entered into between claimants and defendant driver that included punitive damage payments. Question arose as to proper amount of credit to be applied against UIM policy.
- Automobile accident case in which plaintiff sought damages for post concussive syndrome and related transformed migraine syndrome. Defendant disputed causation of these damages, as well as alleged dental injuries resulting from the accident. Issues included discussion of mechanism of injury and diagnosis of concussion without external trauma.
- Claim of mild traumatic brain injury sustained as a result of fall in wheelchair while plaintiff was being transported in specially equipped transit van. Claimant alleged that van driver improperly secured wheelchair, allowing it to flip backwards on a sharp turn. Claimed injuries include mild cognitive impairment and PTSD, and recurring headache.
- Auto accident in which plaintiff sought damages for mild traumatic brain injury and post-concussive symptoms. Discussion focused on whether the plaintiff could recover from somatic symptom disorder where evidence of organic brain injury was slight.
- Auto accident on freeway in which plaintiffs' car was clipped, causing it to hit the median divider and come to rest facing on-coming traffic at high speed. Significant portion of damage claim was for emotional trauma and fear at being left in such a vulnerable and dangerous situation.
- Uninsured first party motorist claim in which claimant alleged TBI and post concussive syndrome after being hit by a drunk driver. Insurance carrier disputed that claimant sustained TBI, and claimed any residual issues were due to prior, documented major depression and anxiety.
- Auto accident case involving two elderly drivers in an intersection. Issues included general health effects of an accident on a person of advanced age, and relative reliability of recollection of facts of the incident when apportioning fault.
- Elderly plaintiff was injured in an auto accident and developed Thoracic Outlet Syndrome thereafter. Plaintiff claimed that quality of life was affected and that certain accommodations to lifestyle needed to be made.
- Virtual mediation of a rear-end auto accident in which plaintiff claims to have sustained knee and neck injuries as well as a traumatic brain injury. Defendant challenged causation of most injuries, and relied on car's "Event Data Recorder," for evidence of the severity of the crash.
- Virtual mediation involving a motorcycle accident in which plaintiff suffered a rib fracture after being hit by defendant in the center left-turn lane. The issue centered on who had the legal right of way.
- Uninsured motorist claim in which two claimants sustained back and neck injuries after being rear-ended. Carrier defended by pointing out large time gap in treatment. Issues also included discussion of causation and pre-existing conditions.
- Three rear-end accident on the freeway where unnamed motorist stopped on the freeway to change a tire. Plaintiff was able to stop behind disabled motorist but was hit from behind by first car, which in turn was rear-ended by second car and was pushed into plaintiff for a second impact. Liability discussion dealt with percentage of fault to be attributed to each motorist involved.
- Auto accident in which defendant ran a stop sign and hit plaintiff who was traveling on a state highway. Plaintiff's injuries included torn rotator cuff and ankle fracture.
- Multi-vehicle high-speed accident in which 5 people were seriously injured. Issues centered on whether the driver was within the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. Also involved substantial insurance coverage issues centering on permissive driver status and non-listed vehicle exclusion.
- Big rig and auto collision in intersection with a disputed fact pattern. Liability and degree of possible comparative fault were at issue, as well as the reasonableness of treatment and cost.
- Multi-truck accident in which plaintiff claimed he sustained an injury to his cervical spine, resulting in eventual fusion surgery. Causation disputed by defense, as well as the need for potential future surgeries.
- Underinsured motorist claim in which claimant alleged continuing post concussive symptoms and somatic symptom disorder.
- Auto accident in which plaintiffs were passengers in a car driven by a minor who was intoxicated while driving. All passengers had attended a party at which alcohol was served. Issues included the liability of the homeowner for furnishing alcohol to minors, as well as the liability of the intoxicated driver.
- Rear-end accident in which plaintiff sustained neck and back injuries, as well as claimed fracture to her foot and toe. The disputed issue centered around whether foot/toe injury was causally related to the accident.
- Auto accident in which plaintiff claims aggravation of pre-existing conditions when she was a passenger in a vehicle involved in a rear-end accident. Defendant denies liability and asserts that the accident was caused by an unsafe lane change made by the driver of the vehicle in which the plaintiff was a passenger.
- Rear-end auto accident in which the plaintiff sustained an injury to the lower back and hip. Complicated wage loss component centered on the difficulty in assessing lost business opportunities and business development claims.
- An auto accident caused by excessive speed in hazardous roadway conditions. Plaintiff claimed to have sustained numerous injuries resulting in several surgeries. Defendant claimed that conditions leading to surgeries were pre-existing, and that accident at most resulted in a temporary exacerbation.
- Pedestrian/mail carrier hit by a car in a crosswalk while on the job. Plaintiff sustained injuries to both knees as well as neck, back, and shoulder. Plaintiff received workers' comp benefits and brought an action against the driver who hit her for damages.
- Underinsured motorist claim where the claimant was a rear seat passenger involving hip replacement surgery.
- Settlement of underinsured motorist claim in which claimant was a driver for a rideshare company and sustained back injuries requiring multi-level surgeries.
- Plaintiff was the passenger in a rideshare vehicle and sustained surgical neck injuries when the driver failed to yield at a stop sign, resulting in a collision with another car in the intersection.
- Auto accident in which the defendant ran a red light at an intersection and caused serious injuries to the plaintiff, who was attempting a legal left turn. Injuries were both physical and mental, with diagnoses of stress disorders and anxiety.
- Plaintiff was a passenger in a taxi when it was hit by a drunk driver going the wrong way on a one-way street. Plaintiff's medical history was complicated, making a determination of direct causation of injury difficult.
- A motorcyclist was injured when a driver made a left turn into him and clipped his bike. Injuries included foot and ankle wounds that had difficulty healing and required frequent and painful debridement procedures to promote healing.
- Plaintiff motorcycle driver claimed neck and back injury after his motorcycle was pushed over by defendant auto driver. The parties had previously engaged in aggressive driving behaviors, and both claimed that the other acted out of "road rage". Defendant claimed that most of the plaintiff's injuries were not causally related to the accident.
- An elderly plaintiff was a pedestrian in the crosswalk when he was struck by the defendant in a rental car. Injuries included a concussion, TBI, and vertebral fractures.
- Multi-car rear-end accident on the highway, resulting in neck and back injuries to the plaintiff. Plaintiff claimed residual symptoms and a nerve release surgery relating to the accident.
- Plaintiff sustained injuries to his elbow, neck and back when his truck collided with defendant while she was attempting to make a U-turn and failed to see plaintiff's truck.
- Motorcycle vs. vehicle accident in which plaintiff/cyclist sustained a wrist fracture when the car collided with his motorcycle. Plaintiff made a good recovery but may be at an increased risk of arthritis in the future.
- Underinsured motorist claim in which the insured was injured as a pedestrian who was hit by a third party in a marked crosswalk. Injuries included rotator cuff tear and dental injury.
- Plaintiff sustained multiple fractures to bones in her dominant hand when her airbags deployed after the defendant's truck hit the plaintiff's car in a controlled intersection.
- A drunk driver ran through a stop sign and broadsided one vehicle with two passengers, pushing it into a third vehicle that was consequently pushed into a bank of trees. Three injured parties sought division of policy limits from the defendant driver, now deceased.
- Plaintiff sustained a shoulder injury as a result of a car accident in which the driver was operating in the course and scope of his employment. Plaintiff had multiple prior injuries, including a prior surgery to the same shoulder nine months before the accident.
- Settled a bicyclist accident case in which cyclist was hit by an elderly motorist. Plaintiff claimed significant damages for alternative therapies used to treat cyclist’s injuries.
- Plaintiff claimed traumatic brain injury resulting from a concussion sustained when plaintiff was hit by a bicycle while both parties were using a shared bicycle/pedestrian path. Plaintiff also sustained orthopedic injuries from the collision with the bicycle, ridden by a minor. The challenge in this case was in determining whether plaintiff suffered from continuing cognitive impairment, and if so, whether it was caused by a brain injury or other factors.
- Plaintiff fell from her bicycle when her tire became stuck in a railroad track near a bike lane. She suffered several fractures to her shoulder, requiring two surgeries. The suit was against the public entity for dangerous condition of public property. Cross complaints were filed against the railroad companies for indemnity.
- Premises liability case involving unsafe access to public beach area by bar/restaurant where patron sustained knee injury on broken glass.
- Premises liability case by elderly resident of assisted living facility for injuries sustained when sliding door closed on her walker, causing her to fall and suffer arm fractures. Issues addressed included how to evaluate a claim of change in quality of life for the elderly, accompanied by loss of sense of independence.
- A 69-year-old teacher tripped and fell on a crack in the pavement adjacent to a curb jointly owned and maintained by the City and a private party. Plaintiff suffered a broken nose with residual scarring. Issues addressed included notice, failure to remedy a defective condition, comparative fault, and nature and extent of damages. Case settled in post mediation follow-up.
- Settled a premises liability case brought by 97-year old resident of assisted living facility for injuries claimed when automatic door malfunctioned and closed on her, causing her to fall. Plaintiff claimed that her injuries caused a dramatic decline in her quality of life. Analysis involved evaluation of life care plan for a person of advanced age.
- Settled a premises liability case for trip and fall on crack in sidewalk owned by the city and maintained by a local business. Plaintiff claimed that injuries to her face and eye resulted in permanent disfigurement requiring plastic surgery.
- Premises liability action by emotionally fragile commercial tenant against property owner and maintenance company for slip and fall. Damage allegations included onset of somatic system disorders that plaintiff claimed severely impact her life and ability to work creatively and productively.
- Settled highly emotional premises liability case brought by building tenant who slipped and fell on recently waxed floor in her place of business. Plaintiff’s particular emotional and physical status resulted in high damage claims, and made settlement challenging.
- Settled case alleging civil assault and battery arising out of altercation in defendant's home. Plaintiff was extremely emotional and upset, making it very difficult to discuss her claim. After a nine hour session, plaintiff felt heard, and both parties were satisfied with the result.
- Plaintiff injured her ankle when she fell on a sidewalk near her work and claimed to have tripped on a dangerous crack in the concrete caused by a tree root. The lawsuit sought damages from both the City and the adjacent property owner, with both sides filing cross complaints for indemnity. Interesting questions posed by this case were: ownership of and responsibility for maintenance of the trees and sidewalk; proof of the location and mechanism of plaintiff's fall; and nature and extent of residual complaints. Case settled three months before trial.
- Trip and fall on business property when plaintiff was led through landscaped area by salesperson. Elderly plaintiff fell, incurring dental and facial injuries. Case evaluation included discussion of impact of injury on the emotional well being of an elderly person.
- Plaintiff tripped on crack in City sidewalk, which resulted in a broken bone in her foot. Issues presented included comparative fault on plaintiff, and apportionment of fault and equitable indemnity between property owner and City.
- Virtual mediation of a slip and fall on the water on a basketball court resulting from a leak in the roof. Property owner claimed comparative fault against the plaintiff, who removed the caution sign and should have known of the leak. Defendant also claimed that a subsequent re-injury was unrelated to the original incident, and was not the defendant's responsibility.
- Premises liability case in which claimant sustained injuries to his hand from broken ceramic planter on defendant's property. Injury required surgical repair to a severed tendon to restore full function to claimant's hand.
- Premises liability case in which plaintiff fell in store after toe of shoe caught on item protruding from shelf. Plaintiff fractured bones in foot and claimed to have developed arthritis as a result.
- Plaintiff was involved in an altercation with a store employee in which he was assaulted after first pushing the employee. Plaintiff claimed to have sustained back injuries which impacted his ability to work for over a year.
- Premises liability case in which an item fell on plaintiff/customer's head while shopping. Plaintiff alleged that he sustained a traumatic brain injury and continues to suffer from debilitating symptoms.
- Plaintiff sustained a serious cut to his dominant hand when he came into contact with a sharp, exposed edge in the defendant's store. The injury caused nerve damage to the plaintiff, who worked as a carpenter.
- Plaintiff sustained an injury to her foot and toe when a heavy piece of wood fell from a display in the defendant's store onto her foot. Plaintiff claimed nerve damage with residual discomfort.
- Premises liability case in which plaintiff claims to have fallen on an unusually slippery floor in defendant's store. Plaintiff alleges a concussion, as well as aggravation of pre-existing spinal injuries.
- Premises liability matter in which an unsecured open umbrella at a restaurant fell onto the plaintiff, resulting in injury to her hand, wrist and neck. Plaintiff worked as a massage therapist and claimed that the injury permanently prevented her from working in her chosen profession.
- Premises liability case in which plaintiff fell in defendant's store and sustained multiple lacerations to several parts of his body.
- While plaintiff was shopping, she tripped and fell on a low display while looking at overhead lighting displayed for purchase at the store. Injuries included dislocated shoulder and eventual surgical repair with problematic recovery.
- Plaintiff claimed injuries to her neck and back when she was bumped by a forklift while shopping in defendant's store. Defendant alleged that treatment was minimal, and that extent of claimed injuries was exaggerated.
- Trip and fall on metal in the parking lot of a retail store. Plaintiff claimed aggravation of pre-existing neck and back conditions.
- A pipe fell on a customer's head while shopping in a retail store, resulting in a concussion and consequential damages.
- A case involving a trip and fall on an electrical cord placed over the sidewalk in front of a restaurant. Local ordinances were violated by using non-ADA-compliant cord covers and not allowing enough space on the sidewalk adjacent to the city-permitted parklet for outdoor dining.
- Settled a product defect case alleging disfigurement when plaintiff’s finger was injured by defendant’s defective chair. Plaintiff alleged that embarrassment about her appearance caused her to abandon a desired career choice.
- Plaintiff sustained burns to her dominant hand from scalding hot water purchased at a cafe. Plaintiff claimed that the burns resulted in permanent damage to her ligaments and nerves, and that this damage was particularly significant because of her profession as a pianist and music professor.
- Subrogation action in which carrier sought reimbursement on behalf of its insured for loss sustained when tankless hot water filtration system failed at home, resulting in extensive damage to property and contents. The dispute included the product manufacturer, distributor, and installer of the product.
- Product liability case in which a batch of mislabeled drugs was recalled, and the plaintiff discovered he had been taking the wrong drug for three months. Plaintiff claims he had a known allergy to the substance that was erroneously provided to him, and that he has suffered from multiple adverse reactions for several years.
- Settled a workplace accident case in which window washer sustained serious injuries after a fall. Plaintiff alleged employer’s failure to observe required safety regulations. Addressed issues of independent contractor relationship and licensure requirements.
- Employment related injury wherein employer did not maintain workers' compensation insurance. Issues related to whether employee was working within the course and scope of his employment when knee injury occurred. Defendant contested liability, claiming that employee was not authorized to be working at the particular site where the incident happened
- Plaintiff suffered injuries to his cervical spine when he was rear-ended by an inattentive driver. Plaintiff was in the course and scope of his work when he was hit, and went through the Workers' Compensation system to obtain medical treatment and disability payments.
- Medical Malpractice case filed by parents of a 30-year-old son for his wrongful death from overdose of prescription drugs. Parents filed suit against primary care physician alleging negligence for inappropriately over prescribing addictive narcotics and painkillers. Plaintiffs also pursued novel claim for violation of the Drug Dealer Liability Act by physician.
- This was an action for the wrongful death of a 98 year old, after being injured by a garbage truck that backed into decedent while riding a motorized scooter. The case is notable in that there were six plaintiffs, including the surviving spouse and five adult children. Also, there was difficulty in assessing the life expectancy of someone of the decedent's advanced age, as well as attributing comparative fault to the decedent.
- Wrongful death action brought by longtime partner of decedent who died after being struck by truck while on her bicycle. Dispute centered on issue of whether plaintiff had standing to sue under California statute limiting standing to legal spouses. Plaintiff claimed that the relationship satisfied requirements for a valid marriage under common law of another state, in which the couple had previously resided. Case settled after mediation and evaluation of these claims.
- Action for wrongful death brought by parents and child of a couple killed in a head-on highway collision. Issues included possible comparative fault of the deceased driver, as well as valuation of damages.