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Kevin Midlam

Hon. Kevin W. Midlam (Ret.)

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Case Manager
Lisa Abrantes
T: 619-237-0801
F: 619-236-9032
401 B Street , Suite 2100 , San Diego , CA 92101
Judge Midlam brings to the construction defect table over 35 years of hand-on experience with virtually every phase of these matters. His historical perspective has helped him to assist in resolving hundreds of these cases utilizing mediation and settlement techniques. His prior experience as a trial lawyer, coverage counsel, and trial judge has provided him with an understanding of what works and doesn't work in the prosecution, defense, and resolution of these cases.

Judge Midlam began handling construction cases in the late 1960's. These involved first party claims under homeowner's insurance policies. They arose from damage to homes occurring as a result of earth movement. Hence, these matters became know as "dirt cases." In the early days, homeowner's policies with their "all risk" provisions were the primary target of claims in these matters.

As a lawyer for over 25 years, Judge Midlam handled the defense of developers, contractors, and subcontractors in construction defect litigation. He also prosecuted cases on behalf of plaintiffs. He was coverage counsel for a number of major insurance carriers and dealt with a wide variety of policy issues that these cases generated. He and his law firm handled a number of cases in the appellate courts which led to significant decisions (e.g., Maryland Casualty v. Reeder; Maryland Casualty v. Imperial Contraction, and Commercial Union v. Landmark).

As a sitting Superior Court judge, Judge Midlam handled all of the construction defect cases in San Diego County for 3 1/2 years before his retirement in 1995. During that period, while handling a caseload of approximately 200 construction defect cases per year, he tried 50 of them to verdict. He was involved in a number of appeals that have resulted in bright line decisions on the legal issues presented by these cases.

Since retirement and entry into the field of ADR with JAMS, Judge Midlam has continued to work in the construction defect arena as a mediator, special master, arbitrator, and discovery referee. As in private practice and on the bench, he has handled matters, which have provided guidelines for the various aspects of those cases involving allocation of settlement and concomitant rights to set off, as well as the overall authority of a mediator/special master.

Representative Matters

  • 2,600 Unit condominium project in Palm Springs with various alleged defects involving a builder/developer and over 100 subcontractors
  • 270+ Unit condominium project with the major claims arising out of sulfate attack on concrete
  • Dispute between the builder and architects and engineers regarding the re-construction of a major VA Hospital facility following the Northridge earthquakes
  • Large contract dispute involving the construction of an addition to a hospital in Bakersfield
  • Personal injury claims arising from a flesh-eating bacteria in a construction defect case
  • Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators
  • Active member, State Bar of California
  • Member, California Judges Association
  • Member, Judicial Council, State of California, 1982-1986
  • Board of Governors, State Bar of California, 1979-1982 (Vice President, 1982; chairperson of a number of committees; involved in the establishment of the California Lawyer, the official magazine of the State Bar and served on its editorial board for a number of years)
  • Founding Director, Louis M. Welsh Inn of Court, a college of advocacy, and the William A. Enright Inn-American Inns of Court
  • Lecturer/panelist at the ABA, State Bar of California, California Judges Association, Nevada Bar Association, various local and specialty bar associations, The Rutter Group, Mealeys, and The American Conference Institute. Since receiving his mediation training at the Straus Institute at Pepperdine University College of Law, Judge Midlam has become involved in its ADR bi-annual seminars as a lecturer and panelist on the mediation of complex and construction defect matters
  • Presenter, Judicial College at Berkeley Law School, on matters of case and trial management for newly appointed judges; taught similar subjects as an advanced course for the California Judicial Studies Program
  • Associate Editor, Civil Procedure Before Trial-The Rutter Group and contributor of articles on various subjects to numerous periodicals, including the Los Angeles Daily Journal
  • Adjunct Professor, Western States College of Law and The University of San Diego College of Law
  • "Nuts & Bolts," Daily Journal, ADR Profile, December 10, 2010
  • Justice, Court of Appeal (on assignment), 4th District, Division 1, January-March, 1995
  • Judge, San Diego Superior Court, 1988-1995; Supervising Judge, Vista Branch, 1990 & 1991
  • Founding Partner, Ault, Midlam and Reynolds (an insurance defense firm), San Diego, 1979-1988
  • Private practice, Johnson & Midlam, San Diego, 1967-1979
  • Private practice, Johnson, Estep & Midlam, San Diego, 1965-1967
  • Deputy City Attorney, City of San Diego, 1964-1965
  • J.D., Willamette University College of Law
  • B.S. in Law, Willamette University

Counsel Comments

    • “He is insightful, fair, and balanced. You always know you are going to get a fair hearing.” 

      -Name partner at Southern California law firm 

Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Construction Defect
  • Employment
  • Governmental/Public Agency
  • Insurance
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee
Available nationwide


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