Linda DeBene, Esq.

T: 925-938-5060
F: 925-938-6732
Linda DeBene, Esq. brings a 40-year legal career and 24 years as a California licensed real estate broker to the JAMS panel of neutrals. As a legal professional in California since 1978, Linda acquired  exceptional skills and  experience in the business/commercial, financial and mortgage related real estate field as a litigator and transactional adviser to borrowers, lenders, and title industry clients. As a mediator, arbitrator, and court-appointed neutral (including discovery referee and special master) since 1986,  Linda has worked with plaintiffs and defendants seeking resolutions of real estate and financing matters through ADR .  Her case management and organizational skills make her particularly adept in complex case resolutions.

Having been selected or appointed to serve as a neutral in well over 900 disputes, Ms. DeBene applies her negotiation skills and complex case management abilities to her ADR practice, which includes varied mortgage based real estate cases such as subprime related matters, commercial and residential borrowing  disputes, claims of fraud/non-disclosure, foreclosures, and other title and lending related actions.

Representative Matters


  • Mediated to settlement claim against bank and its in-house lending broker for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. In-house lending broker, on her own, made loan to borrowers of bank when proposed bank second loan could not be ready in time for closing.

  • Mediated multiple disputes involving equitable subrogation claims, improper foreclosure sales, wrongful foreclosure claims, foreclosure/sold out junior issues, bait-and-switch mortgage advertising, breach of contract to make loan, improper notice of prior tax sale, improper loan servicing claims, claims on guarantors, and Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Home Affordable Mortgage Programs (HAMP) issues

  • Mediated to settlement complicated tiered encumbrance reallocation arrangement in action by husband vs. wife for forging his name on note and deed of trust without consent to obtain funds for community business

  • Mediated to settlement case involving complicated legal issues over waiver of jury trial rights in light of allegations of bank fraud at inception of guaranty, including extensive discovery into bank’s internal operations manuals

  • Mediated to settlement claim against nationally rated bank and its in house lending broker for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty

  • Mediated to settlement disputes involving inadequate appraisals, identity theft and fraud

  • Mediated dispute between warehouse lender and mortgage banker over rejected loans

  • Mediated to settlement action by second trust deed lenders (pension & retirement plan trustee) against mortgage company and appraisers for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud, and conspiracy in alleged mis-valuation of property

  • Represented private lenders/borrowers in tangible property sales and financings related to multi-million dollar transactions with foreign acquirers

  • Represented private lenders/borrowers relating to emergency church financing funding, funding for take out of highly confidential personal debts, and real estate acquisitions, litigation payments, and release of judgments

  • Mediated case by Housing Authority concerning their recorded affordable housing contract rights to option back property from owner if terms of sale documents violated, which also involved claim priority rights of two national lenders and title insurance issues

Business Acquisitions:

  • Mediated and litigated disputes over purchase of various types of business acquisition lending, auto dealership financings

Financing/Fraud/Elder Abuse:

  • Mediated to settlement claim of elder abuse against national banking entity in conjunction with refinance of home

  • Mediated and settled three related fraud cases involving elderly and familial-related owners manipulated into signing over deeds using false identity and false claims

Mortgage Origination Issues:

  • In addition to subprime related mediations, acted as Court Discovery Referee on dispute between mortgage companies over alleged trade secrets with TILA and origination document issues including overseeing expert witness depositions on origination document requirements

  • Mediated to settlement professional negligence claims against mortgage brokers

  • Mediated to settlement title issues between loan re-purchaser and title companies over ARM and FNMA issues

Subprime Lending:

  • Mediated various cases involving subprime issues such as forged signatures, fraudulent loan applications, fraud, non disclosure, TILA claims, elder abuse, and racial discrimination

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Member, Academy of Court-Appointed Masters, 2008 - present; Board of Directors and Membership Chair, 2011 - present, (
  • Accredited at The Sedona Conference: E-Discovery Dispute Resolution Program for Special Masters & Mediators, January 2010
  • Admitted to Practice California, 1977; Florida, 1971 (inactive); U.S. Supreme Court, 1978
  • Real Estate Broker, California, 1987 - present
  • Appellate Mediator for the First District Court of Appeals; Third District Court of Appeals; and Northern District, California – Federal ADR Mediator Program
  • Completed over 340 hours of ADR training in a variety of areas including special master, e-discovery, mediation, arbitration, negotiation skills, and specific practice areas
  • Recipient of inaugural "Service to the Judiciary" award, Contra Costa County Bar Association, 1999
  • Frequent Lecturer: JAMS presentations, Contra Costa County Bar Association's ADR Committee and Real Estate Section; State Bar Real Estate Retreat
  • Author of various subprime, real estate and ADR-related articles

Background and Education

  • JAMS Neutral, 2005 to present
  • Private Practice, Real Estate , Construction, and Commercial Transaction and Litigation, 1978 - 2005
  • Felony and Appellate Prosecuting Attorney, State of Florida, County of Broward, 1972 - 1977
  • Associate, Private Firm, 1971 - 1972
  • J.D., Stetson College of Law, St. Petersburg, FL, 1971
  • B.A., Stetson University, DeLand, FL, 1968


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