Phillip Neiman, Esq., FCIArb has been a full-time mediator and arbitrator since 2004, specializing in the resolution of complex business and commercial disputes. He devotes much of his practice to securities and investment-related cases, including shareholder, partnership and M&A disputes. He also has substantial experience in a range of other practice areas, including employment, insurance, IP, real property, professional liability, personal injury and privacy tort cases, as well as cannabis sector disputes.
Prior to establishing his ADR practice, Mr. Neiman spent a decade as CEO and General Counsel of a FINRA-registered investment bank. This background continues to inform his work as a neutral on a range of business and legal issues, from tax and accounting to regulatory compliance and workplace obligations to risk management and dispute-related opportunity cost.
As a mediator, Mr. Neiman is known for rigorous preparation and is praised for assisting with risk analysis, creatively identifying settlement options and perseverance in guiding the parties to resolution. As an arbitrator, he is highly regarded for effective case management, evenhandedness and the ability to bring a dose of calm to the adversarial process.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
- Full-time neutral since 2004
- Early practitioner in the field of deal mediation: pre-dispute deal formation in M&A and venture financings
- Served as Court Mediation Program Director for The Congress of Neutrals under the California Dispute Resolution Programs Act; supervised team of mediators for the California Superior Court, Contra Costa County, in day-of-trial settlements; responsible for training and development of mediators, leading an annual 40-hour basic skills class, teaching advanced courses on mediation techniques and mentoring new mediators
Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Cryptocurrency
- Mediated multiple disputes arising from stock and asset purchase and sale agreements
- Mediated co-ownership conflicts involving partners, joint venturers, LLC members and majority and minority shareholders involving a range of issues
- Mediated multi-party commercial disputes involving performance delays, defective products, chargebacks, marketing and payment issues and other contract claims
- Mediated dispute between software engineering firm and its corporate client arising from claims that defective coding and other programming errors caused a series of smart contract blockchain execution failures, resulting in substantial losses
- Settled action brought by private tech firm against the former head of its smart contracts group for violation of an NDA after being hired by a competitor. Claims brought against new employer, including theft of trade secrets and various business torts, also resolved in mediation
- Mediated and resolved prelitigation claims brought by distribution company against outside consulting firm for failing to identify multiple defects in blockchain platform during an audit conducted before implementation of smart contract program
- Mediated dispute between developer of new cryptocurrency (pre-issuance) and seed investor; parties resolved all claims and counterclaims, including valuation issues and fraud allegations
- Mediated a cryptocurrency mining case involving a dispute over proof of work
- Mediated and resolved companion trademark/trade name disputes involving digital currencies
- Mediated an action between co-founders of a cryptocurrency involving coin allocation, relative ownership shares of the sponsoring entity in the event of an ICO and various IP issues
- Mediated "use of proceeds" dispute involving claims by investor group that capital intended for development of terpene formulations and aroma-based product line was diverted by company founder/operator to grow legacy tinctures business.
- Mediated breach of contract action brought against concentrates manufacturer after testing revealed use of chemical solvents in resin extraction process in violation of parties' production agreement.
- Resolved suit brought against selling shareholders of edibles packaging/labeling company alleging breach of reps and warranties in acquisition agreement relating to compliance with state regulatory standards, condition of production equipment and value of supply contracts.
- Mediated and resolved competing claims to assets, including proprietary CBD formulations, oil tincture brands and future licensing royalties, upon dissolution of hemp extraction and R&D joint venture. Mediated licensing agreement dispute in which the developer of cannabis extraction technology claimed licensee failed to exercise diligence in commercialization, marketing and distribution efforts.
- Mediated action brought by cannabis distributor/storage facility against liability carrier following denial of claim related to damaged inventory and separate action brought by dispensary following denial of claim based on employee theft, both involving so-called "Schedule 1 defense."
- Settled negligence action brought against engineering firm after its modification of two large-volume cannabis extraction systems allegedly resulted in slower processing speeds, damage to temperature and pressure controls, and malfunction of solvent-purging components.
- Settled case alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of nondisclosure agreement brought by infused products producer against former employee.
- Mediated dispute between owner of industrial property and financial institution after the latter exercised a call provision in the parties’ loan agreement following disclosure that warehouse space had been leased to a cannabis packaging plant and distributor.
- Mediated claim brought by cannabis distributor against a testing lab alleging errors in screening for pesticide residue and other biological organisms, following issuance of a passing certificate of analysis.
- Resolved dispute between co-inventors of cannabis delivery system in prototype phase involving financial contributions, future capital-raising commitments, control issues and ancillary rights.
- Mediated multiple disputes between landlords and commercial cannabis tenants involving legality of operations, quiet enjoyment and nuisance claims and, separately, resolved "mutiny case" in which commercial center subtenants threatened action after master tenant leased space to cannabis dispensary.
- Mediated wrongful constructive discharge action brought by former employee who claimed she was taunted and ultimately demoted after disclosing off-premises use of prescribed medical marijuana.
- Mediated post-closing suit brought by purchaser of a hemp farm alleging the seller misrepresented certain water rights and failed to disclose a neighbor's pending lawsuit for nuisance and diminution of property value attributable to the growing operation.
- Mediated multiple actions alleging discrimination and wrongful termination based on race, age, gender and disability (FEHA, ADEA, ADA, Title VII)
- Mediated multiple litigated and pre-litigation matters alleging sexual harassment by supervisors and co-workers
- Mediated single-plaintiff action alleging harassment based on gender identity and gender expression
- Mediated multiple constructive discharge cases based on race, sexual orientation and gender
- Mediated multiple cases alleging violations of California Labor Code wage and hour laws, including waiting time penalties, failure to pay overtime, meal breaks and rest breaks and minimum wage claims
- Mediated multiple actions alleging failure to make reasonable accommodations based on disabilities
- Mediated pre-litigation dispute alleging employer’s failure to protect employee from sexual harassment by vendor
- Mediated multiple pre-litigation workplace conflicts involving employees/supervisors and between co-workers
- Mediated multiple actions arising out of employment agreements involving benefits, severance and option grants
- Mediated dispute between mezzanine and early-stage venture funds related to anti-dilution provisions in share purchase agreement
- Mediated dispute between angel investor group and company founders related to technology ownership following departure of software development team
- Mediated dispute between broker-dealer and hedge fund over features of custom (off-market) put option written by trader
- Mediated dispute between equity trader and broker-dealer (employer) over execution of series of block trades
- Mediated dispute between offshore-domiciled hedge fund and U.S. institutional investor over redemption rights
- Mediated multiple disputes involving institutional investors and issuers over pricing and conversion features of privately placed securities
- Mediated post-acquisition dispute between acquiring company and target’s shareholders based on alleged misrepresentations in stock purchase and sale agreement
- Mediated dispute over coverage issues in range of cases
- Mediated claims of bad faith refusal to accept reasonable settlement demand
- Mediated disputes over refusal to appoint Cumis counsel
Personal Injury/Business and Non-Business Tort
- Mediated various trade secret misappropriation suits brought by owners and, separately, licensees under CUTSA; cases involved customer lists, source code and manufacturing processes, among others.
- Mediated dispute arising out of cross-border, cross licensing agreement involving multiple patents
- Mediated dispute involving an option agreement to license a patent portfolio
- Mediated cases involving royalty disputes arising from patent and product licensing agreements
- Mediated cases involving severe personal injury and death arising from defective products, alleged physician error and negligent hiring, among other claims
- Mediated multiple cases involving privacy torts (public disclosure of private facts, etc.)
- Mediated multiple professional liability actions brought by clients against attorneys and accountants
- Monversion action brought by retailer against former employee engaged in forgery
- Mediated various actions brought by buyers against sellers and buyers against brokers and agents, alleging failure to disclose, permitting issues, code non-compliance and use of unlicensed contractors, among other claims
- Mediated multiple quiet title and partition actions involving co-owners, including family members and business partners
- Mediated various commercial construction defect actions brought against general contractors and layers of subcontractors
- Mediated multiple non-defect claims involving developers, general contractors and subcontractors, including delay, payment and lien issues
- Mediated easement and boundary dispute cases, many involving trespass and private nuisance claims
- Mediated disputes involving a spectrum of issues related to common-interest developments under Davis–Stirling, from pre-litigation matters under IDR processes to litigated construction defect actions
- Mediated full range of disputes involving landlord and tenants, including unlawful and forcible detainers, violations of local just cause for eviction and rent control ordinances, habitability issues and retaliatory eviction claims, among others
- Mediated eight-month pre-litigation dispute among adult children of conservatee over future inheritance rights and concurrent mediation of related litigated action pending out of county involving equitable adoption claims
- Mediated dispute involving competing petitions filed by adult daughter and current spouse of proposed conservatee, both seeking appointment as conservator of estate and person in the aftermath of Santa Rosa Tubbs Fire
- Mediated dispute over title to real property brought pursuant to California Probate Code §850 (Heggstad Petition) between decedent’s adult children and decedent’s spouse following a family tragedy
- Mediated case involving financial elder abuse claims brought on behalf of a father against his adult son and trustee pursuant to (Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act), including allegations of false imprisonment and breach of fiduciary duty
- Mediated dispute brought by decedent’s adult sons alleging financial elder abuse and undue influence against their stepmother, who was sole of beneficiary under decedent’s trust, including claims of breach of an oral contract to make a will
- Mediated dispute between intestate decedent’s heirs and decedent’s former spouse involving title to landmark commercial building in California
- Mediated action against trustee for breach of fiduciary duty, failure to file accountings and malfeasance claims brought by trust beneficiaries in estate comprised of commercial and multi-family real property in multiple states