Hon. Stephen E. Haberfeld (Ret.)

T: 213-620-1133
F:213-620-0100
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Business/Commercial
Judge Haberfeld brings a wealth of talent, accomplishments, and more than 30 years of ADR or judicial experience to each engagement. He was a former Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and an Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor in Washington, D.C. Judge Haberfeld's recognized ADR expertise in resolving contentious, complex business disputes includes inter-corporate disputes, shareholder, LLC and partnership disputes, contract disputes (including mergers and purchases and sales of businesses), securities, insurance (including insurance coverage), antitrust, real estate, environmental, as well as intellectual property rights and entertainment law, which he has taught at Pepperdine Law School and on which he has been a guest lecturer to fellow arbitrators and experienced IP practitioners.

Representative Mediations

  • Mediator of audits challenging accountings and accounting methods used to compute royalties due company of famous American composer of many Frank Sinatra "standards"
  • Mediator of commercial and residential real estate disputes -- including contract, title, easement, and title insurance disputes
  • Mediator of dispute concerning alleged misappropriation of concepts central to internationally famous director's theatrical motion picture production
  • Mediator of dispute concerning co-authorship credit and royalty claims between internationally known rock band and members of the group's back-up band
  • Mediator of dispute concerning copyright, trademark, and trade dress violations alleged in connection with importation, marketing, and distribution of Chinese "knock-offs" of U.S. IP-protected and manufactured products
  • Mediator of dispute concerning whether valuable downtown LA commercial lease expired or renewed for additional 10-year term
  • Mediator of dispute involving importation, distribution, and trademark ownership of brands of foreign wine
  • Mediator of dispute involving suspension and/or adequacy of business software modules installation and training
  • Mediator of trademark disputes involving companies allegedly having confusingly similar trade names, logos, slogans, etc., and engaged in allegedly same, similar, or related business activities
  • Mediator of unfair competition and trade secret disputes -- including between former partners, and between companies and former employees and independent contractors

Representative Arbitrations

  • Arbitrator of business dispute between competitor/former partners in on-line day trading educational services
  • Arbitrator of business dispute over non-renewal of leading sub-prime unsecured credit card issuer bank's contract for direct marketing services
  • Chair of three-person arbitration panel in contract dispute focusing primarily on alleged violations of non-competition agreements involving major providers of medical imaging services in Southern California
  • Chair of three-person arbitration panel, contract dispute concerning famous TV comedy star's video distribution rights to favorite skits from famous "Golden Age of Television" shows
  • Chair of three-person arbitration panel, contract dispute concerning international pop star's eleventh-hour cancellation of concerts abroad
  • Chair of three-person commercial panel in dispute concerning "freeze out" of a partner by other partners in connection with construction of a famous Las Vegas hotel
  • Chair of three-person commercial panel in dispute concerning responsibility for large insurance deductible in connection with sale of division by one major corporation to another
  • Member of three-person arbitration panel in dispute concerning contract termination and trademark infringement claims involving former manufacturer and national distributor becoming competitors in marketing, distribution, and sale of automotive flushes and lubricants
  • Member of three-person commercial panel concerning corporate limited partners' allegations of mismanagement against general partner of wind energy limited partnerships
  • Member of three-person international arbitration panel in dispute concerning contract termination of CEO of cosmetics subsidiaries of famous multinational luxury goods corporation
  • Sole arbitrator in "Bond girl" contract dispute
  • Sole arbitrator in “Enron”-type action alleging false and misleading accounting and financial information allegedly relied upon in “stock only” sale of private company to public company
  • Sole arbitrator in contract dispute involving internationally famous cable TV host
  • Sole arbitrator in dispute concerning whether purchaser could rescind auction purchase of thoroughbred horse discovered to be unfit for racing
  • Sole arbitrator in dispute over whether commercial film director's return to former production company breached contract with and substantially damaged prominent production company
  • Sole arbitrator in disputes involving departing former managing LLC member, who formed business competitive with LLC of remaining LLC members -- concerning corporate opportunity doctrine and business tort issues
  • Sole arbitrator of business disputes involving alleged violations of covenants not to compete, trade secrets, and unfair competition by sellers and former employees of professional practices and businesses (e.g., medical, motion picture equipment, legal document copying services, etc.)
  • Sole arbitrator of commercial and residential real estate disputes, including contract, title, easement, and title insurance disputes
  • Sole arbitrator of dispute concerning a major studio's "prequel" rights based on a successful theatrical motion picture, for use in a television series
  • Sole arbitrator of dispute concerning composer's claimed rights to additional compensation for re-released recorded works
  • Sole arbitrator of dispute concerning producer credits in sequels to successful "fright" motion picture "franchise"
  • Sole arbitrator of dispute over demanded return of investment in film which went "straight to video," instead of to theatrical motion picture release
  • Sole arbitrator of dispute over demanded return of mostly diverted investment proceeds deposited in reliance on represented financing to be obtained for listed motion picture projects

Representative Matters

  • Arbitrator and mediator of business disputes concerning corporate governance and alleged violations of duties of loyalty and care (e.g., corporate opportunities doctrine, business judgment rule, etc.)
  • Arbitrator and mediator of business disputes concerning whether co-shareholder/ LLC member-employee terminated "for cause" or under "morals clause" or otherwise, as affecting primarily valuation of stock/membership interests and other contractual benefits
  • Arbitrator and mediator of business valuation disputes

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Elected Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators
  • Settlement Judge, Nevada Supreme Court, 2003-present
  • Received comprehensive training in JAMS in-house Entertainment Law workshops including, but not limited to:
    • "Net Profjects and New Media: The Future of Entertainment Litigation"
    • "Legal Issues and Developments in Video Game Law"
  • Former member, "Blue Ribbon" panels, AAA and NASD
  • Former member, National Panel of Arbitrators, AAA, 1972-2004 (AAA Large and Complex Commercial Cases Panel)
  • Panel of Arbitrators, Writers Guild of America
  • Adjunct Professor, Pepperdine University School of Law, 1979-1986, 1990
  • U.S. Postal Service Redress I & II EEO Mediation Panel, 1998-present
  • Probate Mediation Panel, Los Angeles Superior Court, 1998-present
  • Co-Author, "Evaluating the Pros and Cons of ADR in Patent Claim Construction" (2007)
  • Co-Author, "Closing Argument" (segments section), California Trial Guide (Matthew Bender 1992)
  • Author, Comment, "The Problem of the Faithless Elector," 6 Harvard Journal on Legislation 254 (1969)

Background and Education

  • U.S. Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 1988-1992
  • Partner, Haberfeld & Haberfeld, Los Angeles, 1978-1988; 1992-present
  • Partner and Associate, Agnew, Miller & Carlson, Los Angeles, 1975-1978
  • Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor, Watergate Special Prosecution Force, Washington, D.C., 1973-1975
  • Associate, Harold E. Kohn, P.A., Philadelphia, 1971-1973
  • Law Clerk to Judge Leonard P. Moore, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2d Circuit, New York, NY, 1970-1971
  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1970 (Article Editor, Harvard Journal on Legislation)
  • Master in Public Affairs, Princeton University, 1967
  • B.A., summa cum laude, UCLA (Valedictorian, Phi Beta Kappa, Regents Scholar), 1965