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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Mediating Complex Construction Disputes

Faculty: George D. Calkins and Justice Victoria Chaney

Construction mediation is a specialized form of mediation. This course examines many of the unique characteristics of the construction mediation process, including preparing for the mediation, the mediator's changing roles with multiple constituencies at various stages of the mediation process, and closing construction defect mediation settlements. In addition, the course will consider how the construction mediation process impacts the court's conception and treatment of the process, including case management orders, and legal theories regarding construction defect claims, defenses and damages. While it is expected that most participants will have experience in construction defect law, the course addresess basic, practical considerations.

What you will learn:

  • History and development of the case management order ('CMO')
  • Effective use of the CMO process – practice tips
  • Things to include in the CMO
  • Acting as a discovery referee – see the Foxgate case
  • Identifying factual and legal issues of a construction mediation
  • Meeting with plaintiff and developer to determine scope
  • Ensuring early establishment of scopes of work for subcontractors
  • Establishing a separate track for additional insured issues
  • Identifying 'peripheral' players and setting up an early mediation
  • Use of specific agendas for mediation sessions
  • Mediation techniques
  • Full and partial settlements
  • Mediator's role vis-a-vis the court

George D. Calkins is with JAMS in Los Angeles, California. As a former senior partner with Cox, Castle & Nicholson he practiced in the area of construction law with an emphasis on the analysis, investigation, litigation, arbitration, mediation, and settlement of all forms of construction disputes. Calkins has served for 21 years as a construction arbitrator/mediator and presided over thousands of arbitration/mediation proceedings involving diverse construction issues, including service as arbitrator and mediator on the Law Complex Case Arbitration and Mediation Panels for construction disputes with the American Arbitration Association and the Public Works Arbitration Program.

In 2011 George Calkins received the Jerrold S. Oliver Award of Excellence presented by West Coast Casualty for Outstanding Service and Contribution to the Construction Defect Community and in 2012 Calkins received the Robert B. Flaig Outstanding Construction Lawyer Award from the Los Angeles Bar Association. 

Victoria Gerrard Chaney was confirmed to the California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division One on July 1, 2009, following her nomination by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She had served 19 years on the bench as a trial judge. Justice Chaney was appointed by Governor George Deukmejian to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1990 and elevated to the Los Angeles Superior Court by Governor Pete Wilson in 1994. She presided over criminal cases in Compton, a civil docket at the Mosk Courthouse, and, from 2000 until her elevation, class actions and complex litigation at the Central Civil West Courthouse in the court's complex litigation division. Before appointment to the bench, Justice Chaney was an associate with Dryden, Harrington &Swartz and then served 11 years in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, assigned in her last 10 as an associate city attorney the office's civil liability division. Prior to attending law school, Justice Chaney worked as a registered nurse at the LAC-USC and Cedars-Sinai Medical Centers.