Hon. Victor B. Kenton (Ret.) was appointed a Federal Magistrate Judge for the Central District of California in 2001, which he served for over 14 years. During this time, he presided over numerous trials and mediated over 500 cases, in areas including intellectual property, ERISA, ADA, IDEA, and FAPE (education), civil rights, employment, wage and hour disputes, pharmaceuticals, complex business disputes, class actions, and commercial litigation. He was frequently requested by lawyers and his judicial colleagues to serve as a settlement judge and it is in this capacity, he earned a reputation for being a hardworking and "go-to" Judge for resolving cases. Having tried over 150 bench and jury trials as a trial lawyer before his appointment, he knows firsthand the risk analysis in going to trial and the importance of weighing the legal, emotional, and business implications.
Judge Kenton has a passion for helping parties resolve disputes and has a reputation for his ability to engender trust from both attorneys and parties. He prides himself in being thoroughly prepared before the mediation to ensure the parties get the most out of their session. If a case does not settle, Judge Kenton is known for remaining engaged with continuous follow-up efforts. One attorney on a complex business dispute commented, "Judge Kenton's insights, tenacity, and ability to think 'outside the box' are not only most formidable, but the reason our matter resolved. We could not have reached a resolution without him."
- Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Class Action
- Civil Rights
- Intellectual Property
- Professional Malpractice
- Real Property/Personal Injury
In his spare time he enjoys traveling, swimming, hiking, scuba diving and underwater photography.
- Neutral, Judicate West (2015-Present)
- Federal Magistrate Judge, Central District of California (2001 - 2015)
- Law Office of Victor B. Kenton, practicing Civil and Criminal Litigation, Business, Employment, Personal Injury, Commercial and Real Property (1982 -1996)
- Law Office of Arthur J. Crowley, practicing Business and Family Law (1974 -1978)
- Federal Public Defender, Los Angeles, Supervising Trial and Habeas Attorney: (1978 - 1982 and 1996 - 2001)
- University of California, Los Angeles, JD (1974)
- University of Connecticut, BA with Honors (1969)
- Author/thought leader: "Ten Tips for Settling Your Case Before a Federal Magistrate Judge." (Daily Journal, 2015)
- LACBA and California Society of Certified Public Accountants Forensic Services Sections Steering, Speaker
- Committee (CalCPA) (June 2015)
- Pepperdine Law School, Adjunct Professor (2009-2010)
- Trial Skills at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA), Educator (2007-2009)
- CLE programs for electronic discovery, ERISA, wage and hour cases, the amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and settlement techniques, Panel Member
- Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL), Board Member (2007-2010)
- Paul Michel Intellectual Property Inn of Court, Board Member (2013)
- Pepperdine Law School, Straus Institute, Mediation "Boot Camp" (July 2015)
- Planning Committee, USC IP Institute (2020 - Present)
- Authored, "Is the Cal Savers Plan Preempted by ERISA?" FBA Lawyer (December 2020)
- Speaker, “Stress in the Legal Profession,” Judicate West - CA State Bar Approved MCLE Provider (November 2018)
- Moderator, "Gender Discrimination and Harassment in the Legal Profession: The Role of the Court in Addressing and Enforcing Civility and Non-Discrimination," Federal Bar Association, Los Angeles Chapter (2018)
- Speaker, "Ethical Considerations in Mediation: Locating the Path to Help You Maneuver the Minefield," Judicate West - California State Bar Approved MCLE Provider (October 2016)
- Panelist, "Best Defense is the Best Offense," California Lawyer, Patent Disputes Forum South (October 2016)
- Speaker, "Perspectives on Effective Mediation," Judicate West - California State Bar Approved MCLE Provider (March 2016)
- Panelist, "Arbitrating in 2016: New Cases, Rules, Challenges & Opportunities," Judicate West: California State Bar Approved MCLE Provider (January 2016)
- Complex disability case involving qualification for extended benefits.
- Mediated a real estate dispute involving a home health care business, using real estate forms for the sale of the business had asserted material representations in the contract.
- Plaintiff, a company that sells products both retail and wholesale, contracted for installation of a software program to manage sales. The program did not perform successfully, because the software platform had serious performance issues.
- ERISA plan sued 4 fiduciary and non fiduciary service providers for negligence in facilitating a fraudulent withdrawal of a plan participant's assets. The case settled by payment to the Plan of varying amounts.
- Mediated a dispute involving an internet ad software provider and its client regarding issues of fraud, collections, and misrepresentation.
- Mediated a dispute among family members over a family-owned business. It was an emotional and intricate matter as it involved family and probate law in addition to a breach of contract with a detailed accounting of the current value of the business and its' future value.
- Mediated a dispute involving the sale of a home care business and franchise. The issues were centered on the adequacy of disclosures by the seller as these affected the value of the business.
- Arbitrated a software case, involving the retail customer, the software writer (licenser) and the installation/service company. Software did not perform as it should have, likely due to defective/inadequate platform. Software company rewrote the software, but the retail company had soured on the product. The principal issue was whether the contract liability limitations built into the contracts with the software company and the installation company would limit or prohibit incidental and consequential damages.
Cannabis Breach Of Contract
- Mediated a case between a landlord sued for strict liability and nuisance statutes for renting to an unlicensed cannabis dispensary. Potential penalties based on daily fines were in the millions.
- Landlord/Tenant case involving property damage that was a direct result of the landlord and new owner of the building who leased space to a marijuana grower. Generator and power supply shut down due and resulted in damage to all tenants.
- Mediated a dispute among several partners who owned a grow operation and dispensary. One of the partners wanted out and the value of the current and future business and future were the key issues in the case.
- Mediated a matter between the ownership of an LLC that sells herbal remedies and a competitor. The settlement involved consideration of tax issues, non-solicitation clauses, trademarks, and other factors.
- Arbitrated a matter to determine ownership of a marijuana dispensary and cultivation business, involving regulations and laws governing marijuana businesses
- Mediated a case involving an agreement for services to assist a client in obtaining a dispensary license. Disputes involved breach of contract and fiduciary duty in which the defendant allegedly failed to provide consulting services.
- Mediated dispute involving ERISA disability and the analysis of the risk of future harm from continued employment.
- ERISA disability case of disabling back pain. Involved intensive review of medical records, and sensitive negotiation with the Plaintiff concerning subjective pain and the application of applicable law on this topic.
- ERISA case involving application of reasonably necessary care standard for plan participant with long term eating disorder. This required an understanding of treatment guidelines under APA.
- Judge Kenton has served as a judge on the bench and as a mediator, arbitrator, and discovery referee in scores of employment cases in state and federal courts in almost every type of employment claim including but not limited to wrongful termination, harassment, breach of contract, FEHA, class action, wage and hour, and discrimination.
Wage and Hour
- Employment wage and hour case, brought by 6 former employees, alleging a range of claims, including meal and rest break violations, overtime, etc. Because of the variety of claims, and that not all claims applied to each employee, it was delicate to fashion a settlement acceptable to all claimants.
- Employment termination cases for 4 related plaintiffs, alleging related claims for discrimination, failure to provide rest, etc. breaks, failure to pay overtime, and other claims.
- Wage and hour case, alleging usual claims, focusing on the exempt/non-exempt classification, plus racially based claims, although not alleged under FEHA, but as negligence and negligent supervision, which may not have been cognizable as pled.
- An employment case, in which plaintiff alleged the employer interfered with his FMLA rights and unlawfully terminated him for attempting to fully exercise those rights. The employer contended that plaintiff was terminated for violating specific rules governing employees not being permitted to create their own retail transactions.
- Employment case of an automotive dealer service manager, terminated for alleged unauthorized off the clock time, and other claims against him. He filed suit for wrongful termination, unpaid OT, and related wage claims. Case settled based on allocation of amounts claimed for various wage violations.
Wage and Hour Class Action
- Employment class action involving issue of classification of truck drivers as independent contractors or employees.
- Mediated an employment case in which the dispute centered on exempt/non exempt status of former employee. Allegations also made of personal injury damages based on alleged misconduct of employer in the workplace.
- Wage and hour and wrongful termination case of a car salesperson. Case involved detailed review of wage and related issues (meal and rest breaks) and alleged retaliatory termination.
- Mediated an Employment Wrongful Termination case, wherein claims of gender discrimination and harassment arose against a global entertainment and development company.
Breach of Contract
- Clothing manufacturer sued major retailer for breach of contract based on buyer's refusal to accept large shipment of goods, as non-conforming, and based on late delivery. In addition, unfair competition, and 17200 claims. Case settled after extensive negotiations and detailed factual review of issues pertaining to asserted non conformance of goods, and late delivery.
- Mediated a matter involving a well-known retail baking business and the lending company's finance agreement terms. The issues involved an alleged breach of contract, fraud, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and a fraudulent inducement to contract.
- Business dispute involving medical billing software. Asset purchase agreement involving software to do Medicare and other OCR scanning and output of billing information with claims of breach of contract and fraud.
- Mediated and settled a federal injunctive class action under "slack fill" statutes.
- Served as a neutral evaluator in a case involving a national tech company in an MDL consumer class action case to evaluate motions for an upcoming trial in Federal court.
- A 1500 employee company claimed its broker misrepresented a MEWA as providing full benefits coverage under its ERISA plan, when in fact it was a self insured program without a stop loss policy in place. The underwriter was later liquidated and put into receivership, leaving over $2 million in unpaid provider claims. There were material factual disputes about the broker's representations to the company, but the case was settled based on a combination of immediate cash funding by the broker and a future credit against commissions.
Complex Civil Matters
- This case involved two interrelated disputes: a license for software to manage a chemical supplies business, along with a separate installation contract with a third party, all of whom participated in the mediation. The contracts contain explicit damages limitations. Efforts were explored to resurrect the business relationship, along with a concurrent termination/damages model.
Govt. Admin and Agency
- False Claims Act (Qui Tam) case, involving assertedly fraudulent billings to Medicare for Radiological services.
- Patent case involving numerous patents, cross claims of literal infringement, infringement by doctrine of equivalents, claims of invalidity, and invalidity by infectious invalidity; inequitable conduct in failing to properly disclose prior art to the PTO, and other complex issues. The products are highly competitive in a limited market. The court had already held two Markman hearings, with additional motion practice on claim construction and inequitable conduct coming up. A very expensive litigation process. A long mediation successfully concluded, primarily with injunction-like terms satisfactory to both sides.
Trade Secret Matters
- Complex dispute: employer of a products manufacturing company sued 4 former key employees, alleging that they stole the employer's confidential information to set up their own competing company.
- Trademark infringement case brought by insurance company against former independent agents alleging that agents used insurer's trademarks to create false loss run reports. Interesting legal questions whether these activities, if true, constitute trademark infringement. Case settled with payment to insurer and private settlement with prohibitive language regarding future conduct
- Mediated a disability case wherein claimant was on short-term disability, then long-term disability under "any occupation," but long-term disability was then discontinued because insurer determined the claimant could do sedentary work. Two years later, claimant discovered he had a neurological disabling condition that had caused his previous problems and carrier denied to reopen claim.
- ERISA case involving mental disorder, interpretation of policy language concerning extent of coverage.
- Insurance coverage case involving first party claim for damage to commercial property based on third party contractor's negligence which allowed rain damage to occur on the property. Issue was whether policy exclusions/limitations applied as well as a conflicting state and federal case precedent.
- Case involving interpretation of insurance contract language regarding coverage for water intrusion damage, turning on definitions of contract terms which have received different treatment in state and federal cases.
- A copyright infringement case involving textile patterns. Good defenses of invalidity of the registration and statute of limitations issues. Case was vigorously litigated by knowledgeable IP attorneys.
- Copyright infringement case concerning ownership of photographic images. The photo model sued the photographer. At issue primarily were the terms of the Release signed by the model.
- A patent case involving a design for an exhaust manifold and a com device. The mediation occurred prior to the Markman hearing on one of the designs. Issues of patent validity and infringement.
- Patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation case. Issues of alleged invalidity were involved in the litigation. Complex technology. Settlement was complicated by a pending IPR and new claims which were recently granted by the PTO.
- Patent infringement case concerning a mechanism for sliding doors. Case settled with an assignment of the patent and granting a perpetual license to the transferring party.
- Served as Special Master in a patent dispute. The assignment involved extensive issues, ranging from pleadings and discovery to claim construction. The technology includes document control patents.
- Copyright and trademark infringement of software. Case settled pre-litigation
- Case involving sales of counterfeit merchandise through a fulfillment service. Allegations of copyright and trademark primary and secondary infringement.
- Trademark infringement involving infringement of a fanciful mark in a consumer product. Settled as a percentage of statutory damages.
- Trademark case involving infringement allegations as to name of business, logo, and trade dress. Case settled on basis of name change and payment of damages based on lost profits.
- Mediated trademark case. Restaurants were involved. The matter raised interesting trademark issues.
Professional Malpractice Legal
- A complex legal malpractice case stemming from a pharmaceutical patent and trademark arbitration. Mediating this case required that I have mastery over the IP issues in the underlying arbitration and an understanding of the duty of care owed by attorneys in IP matters. Many moving parts led to a 13-hour mediation which resulted in a mutually requested mediator's proposal that was ultimately accepted by both sides.
- Legal malpractice case stemming from post settlement representation of client, failure to appear for hearing to enforce settlement and resulting appeal from unfavorable trial court ruling.
Breach Of Contract
- Mediated a residential borrower who sued the lender for asserted errors in a refinancing application. Successfully resolved with a very favorable long term refinance package.
- Mediated a dispute between a homeowner and a renter on a high end summer residential rental concerning asserted misrepresentations in the listing followed by asserted serious plumbing and other issues.
- Arbitrated a matter concerning a residential lease in which the landlord asserted that the lessee violated the lease by allowing the landscaping to seriously deteriorate.
- Complex commercial lease action, involving lease assignments, issues of landlord allowing damage to lessee's property; and whether the communications between attorneys was specific enough to form a lease assignment. Each side wanted the other to pay damages. Case settled with a mutual walkaway.
- Real estate dispute concerning buildout of a restaurant. The mediator got counsel together to work out terms of a resurrection of the relationship, as damages were not a productive outcome.
- Mediated a sale of a residential property held up by a bank lien of questionable validity which needed to be resolved ultimately by a quiet title action to allow the sale to proceed.
- A tenant alleged that the property he rented online turned out to have serious damage, such as mold, when he took possession.
- Commercial real estate dispute involving a restaurant. Issues of Conditional Use Permit issued to restaurant for continued liquor service, but would potentially require landlord to sign a Master Covenant, which could create difficulties because of parking and other issues that impacted other tenants. Settlement was pursued on a second track of financial consideration to restaurant to vacate the space. Land use and zoning issues were at the forefront of the negotiations.
Real Estate Land Use
- Mediated a complex case involving a commercial property which involved the Superfund regarding toxic waste on the site.
- Environmental/Land use case. The Issue was whether an oil company's slant drilling from surface property owned by an environmental group onto adjoining property owned by the oil company constituted a trespass.
- Mediated complex international case involving a bitter family dispute concerning 3 Beverly Hills residential properties held by various family trusts
Warranty of Habitability
- A landlord-tenant dispute, in which the tenant alleged that the rented premises had several serious defects, such as plumbing and sewage leaks.
Assault and Battery
- Minor boys at a birthday party got into a verbal and physical spat. The father of one of the boys, a high-profile individual, was also named under a statute that holds parents responsible for negligent supervision. The case took 4 months to settle, as the attorneys worked through the settlement agreement terms, with the mediator continuing to act as a go-between.
- Construction worker was injured on the job; his foot fell into a concealed hole. Liability contested as to who might have been responsible. Liability was apportioned among the parties, including the safety inspection company.
- Serious slip and fall, resulting in 3 surgeries. Liability seriously contested.
- Slip and fall and premises liability on stairs that were non conforming to code; plaintiff fell and suffered broken ankle requiring surgery. Liability conceded for mediation purposes.
- Plaintiff slipped off the steps of a livery vehicle, alleging he fell into a ditch and sustained serious knee injuries which will require knee replacement. The principal dispute concerned liability, and causation.
- Underinsured motorist arbitration; double rollover after impact, resulting in extensive medical treatment. Liability not contested; submitted on causation and damages. Very efficiently presented and arbitrated in a half day; the arbitrator was provided with all necessary medical records.
- Plaintiff was seriously injured in a fall in her apartment while navigating the stairs. Likely that stairs and railing were not ADA compliant or within current code. Negotiations centered on extent of emotional distress, effect on elderly Plaintiff's lifestyle, and likely future medical expenses.
- Pre-filing putative class action founded on CLRA statute, involving a consumer product alleged to have been misrepresented. Settled the dispute based on class action model for common fund (attorneys fees allocation) or lode star method.