Ken Gack, Esq. has been a full time neutral with JAMS since 1996 and served as a neutral in thousands of cases. He has a reputation for quickly grasping complex facts while relating to all parties in order to find amenable resolution. Mr. Gack established deep roots in Northern California wine country as a private ADR professional and as a practicing lawyer in Northern California before coming to JAMS, and has a great deal of experience with agribusinesses and the wine and farming industry. This knowledge, coupled with his vast experience resolving the types of cases that agribusinesses face--business and commercial disputes, real estate matters, construction disputes, product liability cases, and employment disputes--makes him a sought after mediator for farming and wine industry disputes of all types. As a neutral, Mr. Gack helps these businesses find workable solutions, that not only resolve the issue at hand, but also help to also foster a positive business relationship between parties in the future.
- Mediated an employment cases involving whistleblower retaliatory termination allegations by the President of a winery against the winery owner, with counterclaims of breach of performance obligations by the former President
- Mediated breach of contract case alleging row crop production issues and failure to achieve anticipated production with ultimate 'best farming practices' issues
- Mediated boundary and access disputes between adjoining landowners with properties in grape production. Case involved issues of implied easement, adverse possession, implied necessity and agreed boundary and consideration of continuing development of agricultural capacity over time.
- Mediated real estate dispute involving allegations of non-disclosure and misrepresentation in sale of vineyard and residence
- Mediated case involving claims between a landowner/grower and a vineyard management company concerning the design, preparation, installation and management of new vineyards. The case also involved counterclaims of inadequate maintenance by the landowner after the installation of the new stock.
- Handled multiple disputes arising out of the purchase of allegedly defective and infected root stock for viticulture. Claims included the failure to institute appropriate quality controls by the stock supplier, the distributor and the end-user farmer, lack of appropriate vineyard management plans, and failure to appropriately prepare soils for cultivation. Settlement amounts relied on the calculation of prospective damages, including projections of potential tonnage, anticipated costs of production, and future values for production.
- Mediated product liability and professional negligence disputes between a product manufacturer/installer and a farm owner alleging that animal (dairy) barns were lacking in appropriate treatment for corrosive resistance and as a result needed ongoing maintenance
- Mediated breach of contract case between winery and a vendor over defective glycol mixture in the winery tank cooling system
- Handled a contractual dispute between a winery and an energy company over the purchase of a commercial wind turbine and the defense of impossibility due to government regulation
- Arbitrator for case between wineries and their owners over breach of a settlement agreement and a stock purchase agreement with damage allegations in the amount of half of one business’s profits
- Arbitration of grower-winery dispute regarding long-term purchase agreements and prospective pricing, with issues of anticipatory breach and pre-termination demands
- Mediated cases involving allegations of excessive sulphur dioxide added during wine making and failure to mitigate resulting issues
- Honoree, Careers of Distinction Award, Sonoma County Bar Association, 2019
- Board Member, SEE International, 2014
- Recognized as a "Top Neutral," Daily Journal Top California Neutrals List, 2013
- Recognized as a ADR Northern California Super Lawyer, San Francisco Magazine, 2006-2013
- Distinguished Mediator of the Year Award, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, 2004
- President and Board Member, Legal Aid of Sonoma County, 2010-2012
- Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Member, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
- Frequently requested lecturer on ADR and civil litigation
- Member, American Healthcare Lawyers Association ADR Panel
- ADR training includes the Advanced Mediation Training Program at the Pepperdine University Institute for Dispute Resolution, the National Association of Securities Dealers and California State Bar ADR Roundtables
- "Gack's Got the Knack for Settlement," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, August 10, 2012
- JAMS, 1996-present
- Private practice emphasizing alternative dispute resolution services, 1994-1996
- Founding and managing partner, James, Gack, Bernheim and Hicks, Santa Rosa, 1982-1994
- Judge pro tem, Sonoma County Superior Court, 1983-present
- J.D., Pepperdine University, 1976
- B.A., Anthropology, Cal. State University, Dominguez Hills, 1973
- "I look forward to future mediations with Ken in other cases as he has been one of the most effective mediators I have been lucky enough to associate with."
-Attorney, Sacramento Area Firm
- “Ken has exceptional skills. He was very prepared, focused and listened to the attorneys and clients. Not a minute was wasted…he managed to weave through the many layers of controversy. He deserves a medal for settling this case.”
- "Mr. Gack is always prepared, always knowledgeable, and always cuts to the core of the relevant issues. Use him once and you will use him again."
- Prominent Bay Area Litigator
- “Extraordinary mediation skills in terms of technical knowledge, ability to moderate all involved, [and a] sophisticated manner of guiding discussion. Ken Gack is one of the best in the state.”
- “Ken Gack is one of the best mediators in the business. Very effective and well-prepared. Kept working the case even after the mediation concluded.”
- “Patience, wisdom, [and] ability to read different personalities. [Ken] was excellent.”
- “Thanks again for working so so hard to get this case settled. It’s a testament to your reputation that you continue to put in 110% effort on the cases. I know after all these years it must be hard to stay focused and engaged the way you do…that’s why you are the go to guy at the head of the pack in Northern California.”
- “Ken was awesome. His patience and ability to understand the motivations in [multiple] rooms and how to nudge and to understand when parties were at their limit.”
- “Thanks again for a very strenuous effort on your behalf in resolving this very difficult case. It’s always great working with you.”
- “[Ken has the] ability to tell it like it is to all the parties when they were wrong. He followed up and settled the matter soon thereafter.”
- “Ken, you are a class act…You have an excellent skill set…I really appreciated your time and expertise.”
- “[Ken has] superior knowledge of issues regarding medical malpractice.”
- “[He is] highly skilled at mediation. Especially valuable for post-mediation follow-up. Ken is one of the best.”
- “Ken is very excellent at moving the parties to the center.”
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