Linda DeBene, Esq.

T: 925-938-5060
F: 925-938-6732
Linda DeBene, Esq. has over 35 years of experience as a litigator and transactional advocate in the construction field for industry clients such as developers, general contractors, subcontractors, and designer professionals, most often resolving disputes through mediated settlements. Both as an advocate and a neutral, Linda has worked for construction industry parties seeking resolutions of matters through ADR processes.

Ms. DeBene has been selected or appointed and served as a neutral in well over 900 disputes, with strong emphasis on construction, engineering and infrastructure, and real estate matters, working both as a private or court-program ADR provider. Since 1986, she has been involved as a stipulated and/or court appointed Special Master, Discovery Referee, Superior Court trial judge pro-tem, mediator, or arbitrator. Linda has served as legal counsel to construction industry parties for 30 years and brings jobsite and contract negotiation skills with both AIA and private documentation to her ADR practice. As in-house counsel to construction industry clients, she served in the role of “project negotiator” on multi-unit attached and detached projects dealing with all aspects of contract drafting, collections, workouts, mechanic lien claims, stop notices, delay claims and insurance, as well as defense litigation counsel.

Representative Matters

Claims for Construction Industry E&O:

  • Mediated to settlement professional negligence claims vs. architects; civil, soils, and structural engineers; and other construction industry design parties
  • Mediated to settlement $5 million cost overrun claim against architect for delay and professional negligence in connection with asserted $10 million budgeted contract for construction
  • Mediated to settlement $2.7+ million claim against civil engineering firm and surveyor for negligence in design and staking of 160-unit apartment development
  • Mediated to settlement developer claims vs. civil engineer; developer claims vs. independent contractor performing faulty customer service work and over-billing; developer claims vs. design professionals and installers over failed roadway; engineer vs. developer collection claims
  • Mediated to settlement fee claim of civil engineer/land surveyor against various public agencies over development of petrochemical railroad transfer terminal
  • Mediated to settlement E&O claim by City against multi-disciplined professional design firm on recreational public works project

Commercial Buildings:

  • Mediated stop notice billing disputes
  • Mediated to settlement condominium and apartment building non-payment claims
  • Mediated to settlement commercial office building construction claims
  • Mediated developer claims vs. design professionals for delay in hotel project
  • Mediated to settlement commercial illegal contract termination claim

Development Negotiation:

  • As mediator, negotiated to settlement disputes involving development of various commercial properties, including reimbursement by one developer to another for road improvements, contract disputes between property sellers and developers on land acquisitions

Multi-Unit, Multi-Story Buildings:

  • Mediated to settlement 116-unit apartment building claims for delay damages and faulty workmanship
  • Mediated to settlement various HOA claims against developers and subs for common area defects

Public Construction:

  • Mediated public school construction delay claim; mediated to settlement public school collection and stop notice claims
  • Arbitrated dispute between school district and general contractor over faulty work
  • Mediated to settlement infrastructure suit by city against design and engineering firm for work related to a sports complex
  • Mediated public school performance bond claim
  • Mediated/litigated to settlement water utility case vs. multiple developers over copper contaminated water
  • Mediated to settlement water utility cases for delay damages, defective materials, equipment failures
  • Mediated to settlement delay damage collection case re: Hetch Hetchy Dam
  • Mediated to settlement dispute between property developers, state, city and county agencies over adverse possession, easement and monetary claims on historic property site
  • Mediated to settlement claim for rejection of extra work change orders on city sewer rehabilitation project

Special Master for Discovery/Settlement:

  • Handled to settlement dispute over construction of commercial truck stop/truck wash facility

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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