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Robert May

Hon. Robert E. May (Ret.)

Case Manager
Lisa Abrantes
T: 619-237-0801
F: 619-236-9032
401 B Street, Suite 2100, San Diego, CA 92101


Hon. Robert E. May (Ret.) is recognized as a specialist in managing complex, multi-party cases. Judge May, who spent 16 years on the San Diego County Superior Court bench, is respected by counsel and their clients for his fairness and extraordinary capacity to keep the most contentious cases on track. He is sought after as a mediator, arbitrator, and special referee. 

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • While on the bench, he was involved in implementing electronic filings in construction defect cases and was instrumental in organizing and working with construction litigation attorneys in formulating standardized case management orders
  • Presided over numerous settlement hearings during his 16 years with the Superior Court and his tenure as an assignment judge with the Fourth District Court of Appeals

Representative Matters

  • Business/Commercial
    • Mediated, arbitrated, and served as special referee on matters involving breach of contract, fraud, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of lease, and class action wage dispute claims
  • Construction Defect
    • Extensive experience serving as arbitrator, mediator, and special referee on construction defect claims involving residential and commercial properties
    • Resolved construction defect cases involving soil, grading, structural framing, window, roofing, HVAC, stucco, plumbing, shower/tub enclosures, tile, mold, delay, and retention claims, as well as related insurance issues
  • Insurance
    • Mediated insurance coverage dispute arising from settlement in construction defect matter
    • Mediation involving contractor’s deductible issue in dispute between insurance provider and roofing company
    • Resolved insurance claims involving breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, subrogation, and contribution
    • Umpire for valuation of damages following structure fire on insured property
  •  Personal Injury
    • Mediated disputes involving automobile and boating accidents, slip-and-falls, and wrongful death claims
  • Professional Liability
    • Arbitrated and mediated numerous medical and legal malpractice disputes
    • Mediation involving misappropriation of likeness claim against medical doctors for allegedly unauthorized use of patient photo showing unique health issue
  • Real Property
    • Court reference for dispute between homeowners association and multiple contractors
    • Mediated dispute between neighbors with conflicting ownership claims to same land parcel
    • Mediator for range of commercial and residential real property matters involving breach of commission agreements, misrepresentation, conversion, leasing disputes, undisclosed defects, easements, landlord/tenant disputes, fraud, eminent domain, and negligence of real estate agents
  • Nominated for Jerrold Oliver S. Award for service to the construction community, West Coast Casualty, 2008
  • San Diego Defense Lawyers Commendation, 1999
  • Ernie Wideman Memorial Sportsmanship Trophy, San Diego County Bar Association and Barristers Club, 1979
  • California Judges Association, Executive Board, 2001-2003
  • San Diego County Judges Association, Vice President, 1999
  • San Diego Superior Court Executive Committee
  • San Diego Superior Court Education & Retreat Committee, Chairman, 1999
  • Barristers Club, 1974-1986; President, 1978; Treasurer, 1977
  • San Diego County Bar Association; Director, 1978-1981; Vice President, 1981; Delegate to Annual Bar Conference, 1976-1982; Chaired, 1980 Delegation
  • Adjunct Professor, University of San Diego School of Law, 1993-2001
  • Presented alternative dispute resolution techniques to Egyptian judicial officers in Cairo, Egypt, 2001
  • Appeared on Primerus Law Hour regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution and Construction Defect Litigation, December 1998 and September 2000
  • Frequent lecturer and panelist for local bar associations and a wide variety of organizations including: Mealey's, CJER, Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada, Rutter Group, West Coast Casualty Service, Defense Research Institute, Western Building Show, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego and California, Trucking Industry Defense Association, MC Consultants, and forensic organizations
  • ADR Training: Mediating the Complex Case, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law, 2006
  • Judge, San Diego Superior Court, 1987-2003
  • Associate Justice, Court of Appeals, sitting by assignment, 1998
  • Judge, Municipal Court, El Cajon Judicial District, 1986-1987
  • Assistant United States Attorney, San Diego, 1983-1986
  • Stebleton, Waters & May, 1977-1982
  • McInerney, Milchen & Frank, 1974-1977
  • Deputy District Attorney, San Diego County, 1970-1974
  • Clerk for the Hon. Robert Staniforth, the District Attorney's Office, and private attorneys, 1969-1970
  • Claims Adjuster, Government Employees Insurance Company, 1966-1967
  • Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, 1962-1966
  • J.D., University of San Diego School of Law, 1970
  • B.A., University of Florida, 1962



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Class Action/Mass Tort
  • Construction Defect
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
Available nationwide


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