Hon. Bruce R. Geernaert (Ret.)

T: 213-620-1133
F: 213-620-0100
Business/Commercial
Judge Geernaert has had extensive experience as a private attorney, trial judge and private mediator/arbitrator in business, commercial and finance. He has also had extensive experience in business torts, including claims of security fraud under California law, 10b5 claims, other fraud claims in business contexts and lender liability claims.

As a private attorney, he specialized in representing business clients. His clients included leading entities in land and mobile communications, land and air transportation and other utilities.

As a trial judge sitting in Los Angeles Superior Court, Central, he became a specialist in business, commercial and finance cases. For a period of time he was assigned all business and commercial cases for settlement by the Presiding Judge prior to assignment of the case to a trial department under the Master Calendar. In all, he served exclusively as a full time mediation/settlement officer for five years at the request of the Presiding Judge.

In the private sector, he served as Executive Vice President of Avis Rent-a-Car licensee and Grey Line Sightseeing (covering Southern California, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.), overseeing operations, sales, finance and personnel. He dealt with financial statements, balance sheets, profit and loss statements and related schedules.

As a private mediator/arbitrator in business, commercial and financial disputes involving accounting questions, he utilizes a tripartite approach modified to suit the particular case. First, he facilitates as full a communication as possible between the parties through their attorneys and experts (accountants or CPAs). Second, he utilizes his extensive experience in business, commercial and financial matters to separately evaluate the prospects of each party if no settlement were to be reached. Third, he assists in negotiations utilizing his experience and knowledge of successful bargaining techniques and avoiding pitfalls that might prevent a settlement that would otherwise be possible. He brings business, commercial or finance dispute experience that allows, in many instances, non-monetary business oriented solutions.

Note: In providing representative cases, only generic information is disclosed in recognition of the confidential nature of mediations and arbitrations.

Representative Mediations

  • A breach of a manufacturing process licensing agreement dispute resulting in a negotiation of a complex settlement agreement
  • A claim of wrongful termination and incentive compensation against a large software manufacturer: Settled for $865,000
  • A significant fraud claim and misappropriation of trade secrets against a major Wall Street investment banker. Mediation consisted of a 3-day presentation of facts and legal analysis with 20-25 participants which resulted in a $6 million settlement
  • Claims between two governmental entities for breach of contract and indemnity which settled after extensive conferences with experts and executives from both sides for $2 million and other non-monetary consideration

Special Master/Discovery Referee, Representative Matters

  • Discovery Referee in a major stockholder derivative suit against an international oil company. Appointment by Judge James Bascue with the concurrence of two of the leading law firms in Los Angeles

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Member of many committees of the court, including the Executive Committee and Personnel and Budget Committee
  • Former Member, BAJI Committee on Civil Jury Instruction
  • Editorial consultant, Mathew Bender's California Forms and Practice, 1996
  • Contributing Editor to Bancroft -Whitney on California Civil Protocol-Business Litigation, 1993

Background and Education

  • Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court, 1980-1996; (Supervising Judge, Law and Motions/Discovery and Writs and Receivers, 1984-1987)
  • Private practice litigating personal injury, public utilities and regulatory matters in state and federal courts and regulatory agencies
  • LL.B., Hastings College of Law of the University of California, 1953
  • B.S., University of California, 1949

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