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ROBERT M. BENNETT, ESQ.

  • Based in Orange County, available Nationwide
  • Available for Mediation and Arbitration assignments

Introduction

Rob brings more than 32 years of experience representing both plaintiffs, defendants and insurance companies in California, New York, and New England. In 2012, he left litigation to commit full time to serving as a neutral. During this time, he has served as an arbitrator and mediator in thousand of disputes involving insurance coverage, bad faith, mass tort, and personal injury including wrongful death. Rob has unique experience, after a decade representing plaintiffs, he became managing in house counsel at a major insurance carrier. He then moved to a special counsel position which enabled him to oversee and handle first party cases and umbrella policies up to $10 million dealing with complicated coverage and bad faith issues. He was involved in settling hundreds of claims deriving from major fires in San Diego like the Witch Fire with over 1600 structure losses, and the Station Fire in LA County with over 200 structure losses. In managing thousands of Northridge earthquake claims, he was committed to making sure plaintiffs had enough time to file and settle their claims and as a result he became a driving force in extending the statute of limitations which the Department of Insurance approved requiring other carriers to do the same. While litigating, he earned a reputation of being fair, respectful, and settlement oriented which have led plaintiff attorneys to comment, "He is a defense attorney who thinks like a plaintiff’s attorney”.

As a neutral, Rob is highly regarded as having an excellent grasp of all issues from both sides perspective. He has a down to earth style and cares deeply about people and achieving the best result for the parties. One attorney commented, “Rob was thoroughly prepared, worked hard and enthusiastic about the process and the people”.

Specialties

Hobbies & Interests

In his spare time, Rob is an international sports venue consultant who has worked for the Rose Bowl Parade and Game for over 30 years, as well as the Los Angeles Olympics and World Cup, the Beijing Olympics, and served the negotiating team that brought Formula One Racing to Shanghai China in 2004. He is an avid music enthusiast and film buff. Rob speaks Mandarin Chinese and enjoys travel, winter sports and restoring vintage sports cars.

Website

http://www.rmbennettglobalmediation.com

Testimonials

"Mr. Bennett had an excellent grasp of all aspects of this case!"
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Construction Site Matter

"He had a perfect manner in the case, so comfortable for defendant's attorney, plaintiff's attorney, the 2 plaintiffs and the attorney claim rep."
- An attorney on a legally complex, highly emotional case

"Utilized his litigation experience / knowledge to help parties recognize strength, and weaknesses in real world way."
- Attorney on a personal injury auto dispute

"Mr. Bennett was extremely prepared and did an excellent job. He was very professional in communicating with the clients (making them feel heard and understood) and I felt he completely understood the legal aspects (and non-liability) of the case. I will gladly use him on future cases."
- Attorney on a Wrongful Death matter

"He got the case settled in only a half-day session. He was forthright and fully understood the case."
- Attorney on a Property Damage Mold Matter

"Mr. Bennett immediately grasped the business realities and the litigation “drivers” from the underlying facts and procedural history. He provided extremely valuable feedback and advice about how to increase the chances for a successful future resolution."
- Defense Attorney on a Business Contractual Matter

"Robert Bennett did a masterful job mediating our case. I hope to work with him soon."
- Attorney, Manhattan Beach, California

"This was my first mediation with Mr. Bennett. It started out looking rather dismal. Mr. Bennett picked up on the personalities of the participants very quickly and kept us moving. My client was a sophisticated claims professional, and Mr. Bennett treated him accordingly without platitudes or games that would have put my client off. I am pleasantly surprised by the outcome and appreciate Mr. Bennett’s role."
- Attorney on a Premises Liability Dispute

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Links and Articles

Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • Special Claims Counsel for the Automobile Club (1998-12)
  • Partner, Richardson, Bambrick, Cermak & Bennett, Interinsurance Exchange (1991-98)
  • Partner, Rogers, Bennett, & Henderson, Counsel to St. Paul Fire and Marine (1989-91)
  • Counsel to the U.S. Government, Federal Banking Department of the FDIC (1988-89)
  • Established Bennett & Assoc., Consumer Lawyers, L.A. & Orange Counties (1985-88)
  • Law Firm of Robert M. Bennett, New York, New England, California, Plaintiff Personal Injury and Business Law (1980-85)
  • Plaintiffs litigation counsel, Law firm of Dudley K. Wright, Santa Ana, CA (1979-80)
  • Professor of Law, Northrop University of Los Angeles (1981-87)

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • Juris. Doctorate, Pepperdine University (1979)
  • B. A., University of California Los Angeles (1976)
  • Los Angeles County Superior Court Certified Mediator/ADR Panel
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California; Orange County & LA County Bar Assoc.
  • Pepperdine Strauss Institute Attendee "Mediation Goes Mainstream" Conference, 2002; Advanced Negotiation Skills and Cultural Mediation Strategies, 2008
  • 28 year voting member, NARAS Recording Academy for the Grammy Awards
  • Member Beijing Mediators Association, Peoples Republic of China
  • Member California, New York, Vermont, Federal District & U.S. Supreme Court Bars

Achievements & Awards

  • Design and deliver advanced Bad Faith, Ethics, Insurance Coverage, and Negotiations Seminars throughout the U.S.
  • National Panelist on the Lorman Bad Faith Seminars since 2007
  • Pepperdine Strauss Institute Panelist/Lecturer (2005 & 2008)
  • Past President of the California Association of House Counsel (1993-95)
  • Named Distinguished Faculty Member, Northrop University College of Law (1984-88)
  • Distinguished member award over twenty years' service to the NARAS Recording Academy

Legal Experience

  • Complex Litigation including Real Estate, Banking and Bankruptcy, Securities
  • Personal Injury
  • Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith
  • Medical and Professional Malpractice
  • Product Liability
  • Business Disputes, Consumer Class Action
  • Sports and Entertainment Contracts
  • Automobile Lemon Law and Sales Disputes, Dealership Disputes

Representative Case Information

Recent Representative Cases

Business/Commercial

A.D.A.

  • Slip and fall in an arena involving numerous violations of ADA standards. Failure to access handrails in the restroom resulted in plaintiff injuries requiring significant treatment. Dispute settled during the second mediation session.
  • Plaintiff fell and sustained injuries in an apartment complex. Stairway did not meet current handrail and step rail measurement standards which should have been upgraded during recent refurbishments which were not. Dispute resolved in mediation.

Contractual

  • Complex Pensions/Trust case triggering conflicting decedent's rights issues.
  • Breach of finance contracts and fraud issues.
  • Injunctive relief case on breach of business anti competition clauses.
  • Crowd funding and investment enterprises corp versus former employee for alienation of business etc. Cross actions for wrongful termination and status rating under labor code.

Construction

Construction Breach Of Contract

  • Home addition case with construction defect/architectural malpractice crossover issues.

Employment

Wage and Hour

  • Wage and hour federal court case national Au Pair program sponsored under federal court cultural exchange act. Improper treatment of employees and conspiracy to fix wages. Crossover insurance coverage issues involved.

Insurance

Bad Faith

  • Declination of Coverage, Loss of Business premises use and Loss of Income, Bad Faith and Coverage issues.
  • Large exposure open policy case vs major carrier. Opportunity to settle was made clear.
  • Complex Bad Faith and Business interruption case with flood loss and wrongful declinations by 2 carriers.
  • Wrongful denial of Homeowners claim for flood loss and land movement damages.
  • Complex bad faith case with workers comp/coverage and other aspects of bad faith at play. Seven year case with long delays.
  • Homeowner theft loss case with carrier delays and claims handling issues. Police reports clear, but high value home and contents raised unreasonable suspicions from carrier. Case resolved.

Coverage

  • Significant coverage dispute in liability insurance policy for major public sports venue involving Bad Faith, Breach of the duty to defend as well as policy interpretations on employment coverage, and disability act violations.

Property Damage

  • Complex property damage and loss of use case with coverage issues and out of state defendant. Charter Bus lost from fleet due to damage from auto versus bus.

Subrogation

  • Product liability case with multiple parties; failed kitchen appliance with installer and product issues in addition to coverage issues.

Professional Malpractice

Medical Malpractice

  • Medical malpractice by Acupuncturist. Pneumothorax injury, corrective hospitalization. Case fully resolved.
  • Hospital malpractice - failed detached retina surgery. Some comparative due to altitude restrictions not carefully observed and other factors. Complex medical procedures and prior condition overlay.

Prof Malpractice Accounting

  • Law Firm alleges damage from accountant errors and omissions.

Real Estate

Breach Of Contract

  • Contentious commercial property purchase, sophisticated and difficult plaintiff and developer and association issues.
  • Residential Real Estate buyer-Seller dispute and Transfer Disclosure issues Case.

Property Damage

  • Major contract dispute with cross actions on a Farm well project that under-performed.
  • Complex fire loss matter with evidenciary issues on causation as well as issues with length of ALE and ancillary contents costs.

Real Property

  • Real Estate partnership involving experienced partner fraud and loans against equity before value of property collapsed. Fraud and contract issues.

Warranty of Habitability

  • Very complex Landlord Tenant matter. Residential with habitability issues and wrongful eviction.

Tort

Civil Rights

  • Detainee of Police Department alleging civil rights violations.

General Negligence

  • Significant passenger injuries on common carrier.

Mass Torts

  • Fireworks malfunction with resulting personal injuries and hearing loss. Municipality and manufacturer defendants. Multiple plaintiffs with varying degrees of injury.

Personal Injury

  • Slip and fall at Airport restaurant, Coverage and Liability problems.
  • Aggravated Dog Bite with neighbor conflict issues and disputes overlay.

PI Auto

  • Coverage. Declined claim over issue of uninsured vehicle, direct carrier lawsuit.
  • Intra family business contract dispute, very emotionally contentious with statute of frauds hurdles and waiver-estoppel issues.
  • Lane splitting Harley Davidson with complex comparative negligence issues and serious injuries.
  • Open policy coverage issue on a significant injury case. Issues involved both the bodily injury and the coverage and open policy exposure.
  • Catastrophic Injury Case involving a fall from a Public Transit bus. Elderly Plaintiff had objective injuries but also complex overlay of pre-existing conditions.
  • Wrongful death, and multiple heirs as claimants. Settlement crafted with creative dispensing of recovery including putative spouse and real spouse (two wives) of decedent.
  • Wrongful death. Causes of action versus City and County for defective roadway. Seven figure settlement reached.
  • Delivery truck struck bicyclist. Catastrophic injuries with lifetime disabilities. Liability arguments on vehicle, cyclist, and obstructive signage at the shopping center.
  • Very unique and complex case involving municipality liability for non compliant guardrail on an older bridge. Resulting crash caused quadraplegia in plaintiff who had significant comparative negligence.
  • This catastrophic injury case involving a speeding company owned vehicle and a parked occupied vehicle resolved in two full day sessions. The Plaintiff had permanent orthopedic injuries and a mild cognitive loss from concussion syndrome.
  • Open policy case with a permanent injury to young womans foot which will require future surgery and lifetime orthotics and care.

Premises Liability

  • Workers injuries on unsafe business premises with crossover coverage issues.
  • Defects in Apartment complex due to errors and or deferred maintenance.
  • Premises Mold Case with injuries/Illness. Rental Property Mold-Fungal Contamination case.
  • A guest at a restaurant suffered a serious hand injury in which their finger was severed by entertainment equipment on the premises.
  • Store display by major national retailer. Liability for defective set up and maintenance of display, personal injuries to customer.
  • Disability ADA issues overlaying a premises liability case at a big box home store. Obvious pre-existing medical conditions and new objective injuries.
  • Fall at a construction site. Complex easements from city, to contractor and indemnity agreements by contractor and landowners.
  • Complex multi-party product liability case, with workers compensation, medicare set aside, and personal injuries. Resolved globally with all international parties.

Product Liability

  • Serious product liability case involving a kitchen appliance causing hand injury with surgeries and severe impact to plaintiff. Causation and engineering issues. Case settled during mediation.
  • Three party premises liability and subrogation matter involving product liability leading to flooding and damage to neighboring residence.

Wrongful Death

  • Commercial Defendants vs. Family survivors of a multiple death case all same family, minor survivors. 3 day case.
  • Wrongful death. City engineering road construction defects. Conflicting multi-party coverage issues with significant exposure.
  • Multi-party, three car accident, single death case, with 2 additional significant injuries. UIM policy to mediate in order to avoid a binding result. Difficult medical/coverage issues. Case resolved in mediation.
  • Wrongful death, motor vehicle accident-course and scope school district employee. Insurance coverage issues involved. Fully resolved at mediation.
  • Wrongful death of pedestrian, combined liability of vehicle driver and government entity for failure to repair lighting and design flaws.
  • Wrongful death. County Sheriff vehicle versus pedestrian. Husband and minor children heirs.