Linda DeBene, Esq.

T: 925-938-5060
F: 925-938-6732
Professional Liability

Linda DeBene, Esq. brings  40 years of legal experience and 24 years as a licensed California Real Estate Broker to the JAMS panel of neutrals.  As a litigator and transactional adviser in California since 1978, and mediator, arbitrator, or court-appointed neutral (including discovery referee and special master) since 1986, Linda has developed a high level of expertise in professional liability disputes. As an advocate and neutral, Linda has worked with plaintiffs and defendants seeking resolution of professional liability cases in a variety of practice areas. Her exceptional organizational skills make her particularly adept  with complex case management and high stakes resolutions.

Linda has been selected or appointed  to serve as a private or court-related ADR program neutral in well over 900 disputes with a strong emphasis in business commercial, financial, and mortgage based real estate disputes. Using her negotiating skills and ability to manage  intricate real estate, construction, and business transactions and litigation, Ms. DeBene's ADR practice includes a wide-range of matters involving professional liability related disputes.

Representative Matters

Accountants:

  • Arbitrated and litigated accountant malpractice claims

Design Professionals:

  • Mediated dispute between a city and the designer/engineer in charge of a major sports complex for claims of design errors, cost over-runs, and delay damages
  • Resolved cross complaint against a structural engineer in a matter where the contractor brought a mechanics lien claim, resulting in structural engineer paying substantial majority of settlement
  • Settled dispute involving an action by homeowner against a design/engineering firm for professional negligence in inspection of foundation
  • Resolved a public works engineering and site work collection dispute with cross defenses of bad workmanship related to the driveway installation under a railroad bridge
  • Managed dispute by owner of an eight-figure home against the project architect for design errors and seven-figure construction overruns
  • Handled multiple commercial construction defect cases for design errors against architects and geotechnical engineers
  • Served as Special Master in a defect case involving design errors against the architect and relating to the construction of a truck commercial truck wash and gas station
  • Handled multiple residential construction defect cases for design errors against architects, civil engineers, soils engineers, structural engineers
  • Resolved dispute against civil and soil engineers for construction damages related to failed roadway
  • Resolved claim against architect for alleged design professional negligence that caused delay of hotel projects and lost profits
  • Managed construction claims on stop notices involving local city/governmental districts and general engineering/site work defendants
  • Settled real estate dispute involving a design engineer and engineering consultant with allegations of sellers failure to give notice of property’s insulation and water issues
  • Managed negligence claim against an architect for damages related to improper use of plans
  • Settled construction dispute by the developer against the civil engineer professional liability and with a cross-claim for monies due

Directors and Officers:

  • Arbitrated to judgment dispute between five members, officers, directors of two Nevada LLCs over LLC duties, alleged breaches, and monetary defalcations
  • Mediated minority shareholder dispute for breach of fiduciary duty against officers/directors
  • Dispute between joint shareholders of a corporation for breach of fiduciary duties, interference with contract, and allegations of removing business opportunities and taking clients

Mortgage Brokers:

  • Managed multiple actions involving subprime fraud against mortgage and real estate brokers
  • Handled loan collection dispute by major institutional lender against in-house mortgage broker, with allegations of fraud and cross-complaint for breach of fiduciary duty
  • Resolved various professional negligence cases against mortgage broker in residential transactions
  • Settled deed of trust action by pension and retirement plan trustees against a mortgage company and appraisers for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud, conspiracy in alleged mis-valuation of property

Partners’ Fiduciary Duty:

  • Mediated dissolution of partnership dispute with allegations against a partner for theft and misappropriation of corporate opportunity, with a cross-complaint for breach of fiduciary duty and indemnity
  • Arbitrated and settled partnership disputes of two attorneys regarding how to share profits and losses, with cross-complaint for emotional distress and breach of fiduciary duty

Real Estate Professionals:

  • Managed numerous residential and commercial claims for breach of fiduciary duty against real estate brokers and agents, including:
    • for allegedly failing to disclose personal information known by the broker/agent about neighboring properties, activities of neighbors, prior construction on the property being sold, and prior earth movement
    • for alleged role in performing the lending placement when loan went bad
    • for alleged misstatements of information about numbers of parcels, size of lot/house, whether lot can be split, locations and uses relating to easements
    • for alleged non-disclosures relating to prior repairs as learned from inspectors or sellers
    • for alleged failures to adequately advise about inspections and visible defects
    • for alleged errors in flyers or other marketing materials
    • for allegedly failing to disclose personal information building violation lists from governmental entities relating to rental properties
  • Resolved dispute involving breach of  fiduciary duty and disgorgement of fees against the realtor of tenant who allegedly interfered with tenant's purchase of property from landlord
  • Arbitrated various breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims against brokers relating to construction defects and necessary repairs

Soils Engineers:

  • Handled multiple residential cases for design errors against soils and geotechnical engineers relating to foundations, slides, other earth movement issues
  • Resolved a soils engineer’s claim for breach of contract relating to their professional services

Stock Brokers:

  • Arbitrated individual claim against party's stock brokerage

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Member, Academy of Court-Appointed Masters, 2008 - present; Board of Directors and Membership Chair, 2011 - present, (www.courtappointedmasters.org)
  • 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

Disclaimer

This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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