Michael G. Ornstil

T: 415-982-5267
F:415-982-5287
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Michael G. Ornstil is a true pioneer in ADR, being one of the first full-time attorney neutrals in California. Since joining JAMS in 1994, he has served as Mediator, Arbitrator, and Special Master/Discovery referee in a wide variety of matters. A skilled mediator who has evaluated in excess of 4,000 matters, Mr. Ornstil gets cases resolved through his pragmatic and focused approach. He has a capacity for quickly zeroing in on pivotal issues and is recognized for his ability to get parties through impasse by focusing on those factors that are critical to settlement.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Mediated a wide variety of cases including matters involving personal injury and wrongful death, products liability, property damage, subrogation, medical malpractice, insurance coverage and bad faith, toxic torts, wrongful termination, sexual discrimination, lemon law, landlord-tenant, partnership dissolution and construction defects
  • Mediated in excess of 4,000 cases in seven western states
  • Serves as Special Master in construction defect cases and other complex litigation
  • Conducts binding arbitrations and since 1991 has arbitrated cases for all local courts

Representative Matters

  • Mediated catastrophic injury claims involving settlements in the $5,000,000 to $10,000,000 range
  • Mediated over ten class action lawsuits involving claims against lenders
  • Mediated a high profile sexual and racial harassment claim at the request of the Mayor's office of the City of Stockton
  • Mediated a high profile housing/construction claim at the request of a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • Mediated a dispute over royalty payments involving a Top 20 rock and roll band
  • Served on the team of arbitrators in a national racial discrimination class action
  • Mediated an amusement park water slide accident case involving wrongful death and multiple catastrophic personal injury claims
  • Mediated a number of cases involving Business and Professions Code section ยง17200 claims against commercial and financial institutions
  • Mediated a dispute over the construction of a minor league baseball stadium

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Distinguished Mediator of the Year Award, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, 2012
  • Recognized as Northern California Super Lawyer, ADR Category, 2010-2014
  • Recognized as a Top 40 California Neutral, Daily Journal, 2007
  • Mr. Ornstil serves or has served on a number of national mediation/arbitration panels including the NASD, EEOC, General Motors, Louisiana Pacific, and MCI panels
  • Lectured at Boalt, Hastings, USF, and Golden Gate University on the subject of mediation and ADR
  • Authored several articles on mediation and arbitration and has been interviewed on local, national, and foreign television and radio stations on the subject of ADR

Background and Education

  • Private practice, Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold, San Francisco, 1982-1994; Partner, Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold, San Francisco, 1987-1994
  • Extensive experience as a trial attorney in a variety of civil litigation cases including personal injury, product liability, chemical exposure/toxic torts, landlord/tenant, medical malpractice, construction, automobile, fire litigation and premises claims
  • Prior to entering law school, held various positions on the options trading floor of the Pacific Stock Exchange and developed expertise representing brokers and market makers in PSE and NASD hearings
  • J.D., Hastings College of Law, 1982; Editor, Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, 1981-1982
  • B.S., cum laude, University of Miami (political science), 1978